Newer is not always better…
Last week I was going through some of my vinyl records. I have a turntable and a decent selection of vinyl, both old and new. When I make the time to sit and listen, I am blown away by the fullness and life-like quality of the sound. To my ears, and evidently many others, the sound is more realistic than the latest digital version of the music. Sure, I must get up every 20 minutes to turn the record, and I can’t skip songs, but savoring the experience is worth the effort.
Much like the transition from vinyl to digital, there are differences in how we do business today versus years ago. Buyer behaviors have changed. Technology has made us more efficient — but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. I just had what felt like a never-ending bout with a credit card machine. Yes, I want credit; yes, the amount is correct; no, I don’t want to donate any money (I did that last time); no, I don’t want cash back; yes, the amount is correct (again); and no, I don’t want a receipt! Progress? I think I prefer the old carbon method… The point is that “progress” should not interfere with the customer experience. If you haven’t read Beyond the Sales Process by my friends and colleagues, Steve Andersen and Dave Stein, you may want to add it to your summer reading list.
I constantly read LinkedIn articles and newsletters speaking of the latest sales techniques and how methods previously used are old news. Yes, sales education has evolved over the years. There are many more ways to learn. There are many more studies done on behaviors and habits. But, some things never get old. Don’t get fooled into moving away from the basics just because something is newer.
Some sales techniques that never get old:
- Taking time to build relationships with your clients. How about spending time to find out what is important to your clients? How about understanding what they perceive as value?
- Asking questions to delve deeper into your clients’ wants and needs. (I cringe when I hear of these articles that talk of by-passing these important steps. Some of these writers have too much time on their hands). Do you know what pressures and obstacles your clients face in executing their plans?
- Listening instead of talking – I haven’t met many clients who want to be told what to do or be controlled.
- Mastering the fundamentals of the sales process. Can you communicate the unique value you bring and be insightful? Can you build rapport and demonstrate credibility and empathy?
Much like playing my vinyl collection, the extra time required to learn and master some of the ageless sales fundamentals will greatly enrich you and your teams. As I heard from a fly fishing instructor in referring to casting, “basic fundamentals, refined to perfection, are your most advanced techniques.”
There’s a reason why the sales people who are most successful spend the time and effort doing what has worked for years… decades, even! Successful sales people realize that shortcuts don’t work long term.
Next in rotation for me? How about the heavy vinyl pressing of the Allman Brothers Live at Fillmore East, released in July 1971? Newer digital doesn’t come close. It does not get much better than that…