With the pandemic dragging on, have you wondered if traditional selling is dead?
It is, and here’s why.
Traditional selling once meant feet on the street.
Sales agents, representatives, and agents calling on would-be and existing customers.
Stopping by to say hello.
Offering to take prospects and customers for lunch.
Driving thousands of miles each year to visit with leads.
Don’t get me wrong, there are always going to be industries in which face-to-face communications are important. But when you can’t travel (or at least not easily), you are forced to find a new way.
Transitioning to New Ways of Selling
Most businesses that have focused on traditional selling have made a shift. In some cases out of necessity, and in a few rare instances a result of some forward thinking.
Car dealerships have moved to selling cars online in a completely hands-free experience.
Groceries get delivered to your front door without stepping foot in a store.
Even fitness classes have moved to online.
None of these are new, of course. Technology has facilitated these types of transactions for years now.
But circumstances have sped up adoption.
These same circumstances are forcing very traditional businesses to look at ways to sell even when their salespeople can’t meet with would-be customers.
Unfortunately, most believe that building some massive sales funnel coupled with Facebook ads is the answer.
I’ve spent almost the entirety of the last year helping customers who work in traditional sales environments to find the best and easiest means to find and connect with new customers.
The solution isn’t sexy, but it works.
Actually, it works really well, and most aren’t even aware of it.
Mixing Traditional Selling with Technology
Finding and generating new leads is very much a technology game nowadays.
Figure out what platforms your ideal customers or clients hang out on, and then find a way to get their attention.
The list goes on.
So when I say it’s a “technology game”, what I’m referring to is the fact that you have to be actively using technology to find new leads.
Gone are the days of just stopping by a company as you drive to your next appointment.
Find them online.
Then figure out how to get their attention.
Here’s where the hybrid approach comes into play. To get their attention, you eventually will have to try and connect with them.
Posting a video on LinkedIn is one thing, but how will you connect with someone who views or comments on the video?
Attending a virtual meeting or trade-show might expose you to potential customers, but how will you transition into a personal conversation?
The answer is…. (drum roll please)
Pick up the telephone.
That’s right. I wouldn’t suggest you send a cold email or reach out on LinkedIn (particularly if you don’t know the person).
Your first step should be to pick up the telephone.
Well, the purpose of the telephone isn’t necessarily to actually speak with the prospect. Chances are they won’t answer.
But you can leave a message that will get their attention; mention where you met or connected, and let them know you wanted to reach out to introduce yourself; then send your email.
You see, although the telephone might seem archaic in nature, everyone has one, whether at their desk or in their hand.
The purpose of the phone is to get your potential customers’ attention.
Then they will look for your email.
They’ll even sift through their junk mail.
Five Steps to Replace Your Traditional Selling:
Search for your prospects online:
Where do they spend their time? What social platforms do they frequent?
Research to find their contact information:
A phone number is priority. Email is good, but secondary to the equation.
Leave a message:
Mention who you are, why you’re calling, and how you can help.
Send an email:
Follow up your voice message with an email. Suggest a time to speak.
Continue to follow up, one voice message for every three emails.
This is the best solution that I’ve found for replacing traditional selling strategies.
You’re able to create personal relationships, and to do so in a way that doesn’t require you to send completely cold emails.
What’s Next? How to Capitalize on this Strategy
We are social beings by nature.
If you don’t believe your prospective customers are engaging online, you’re wrong.
Figure out where they are spending their time.
Spend your time there too.
Then reach out with a simple phone call.
It sounds old school, but it works.
Actually, when you think about it this way, I guess traditional selling isn’t completely dead after all.
© Shawn Casemore 2020. All Rights Reserved.