After being asked by Jordan Adams to contribute to his LoveMediaSales site for media salespeople I also joined his LinkedIn group. One of the discussions posted there was asking. “Are sales floors getting quieter?” I thought I’d share my brief answer on my blog too…
Yes, sales floors are getting quieter and I agree that this is in part down to the use of email and social media. I use the latest technology extensively, probably more extensively than most and I am quite a techno-geek at times and it is most certainly powerful, effective and allows you to leverage networks. It also makes contacting people quick and easy. Every salesperson should know how to use social media properly… but that’s another story…
- Many salespeople do not pick up the phone when they should and this costs them money.
- Many salespeople and businesses rely on email contacts and fail to build open and honest relationships with their clients.
- Clients are less open, less honest and find it easier to say, “No” and give no feedback when not having to actually speak to anyone in person.
- Even though they may get less sales the secondary gain for salespeople of working this way is that they do not have to hear a “No.”
Because they now have other options many choose to progress sales via email and social media when they should be building personal relationships and progressing the sale in person. Many may not like the truth but for most, despite what they say, this progression onto using technology when personal contact would have been better is more about distancing themselves from personal rejection than anything else. Why have someone say “No” to your face when you can avoid it?
To take a simple email example…
A salesperson speaks with you personally about something and then follows up with an email a few days later asking if you are interested. You “park” the email because you are busy and unsure of how to progress and then a few days later you get another one asking the same. You decide you don’t want it and say so via email. You have made your mind up.
What can the salesperson do about this? Very little.
They were absent at the time of the decision. They knew nothing about your thought processes and they now have limited options to do anything about it without appearing overly pushy.
The supporting information could have been sent by email. Arranging to talk could likewise have taken place that way but the sales conversation should have taken place in person or on the phone. Only that way can you build a relationship, develop personal trust and get real opinions and guage the message, the person and the relationship using your communication skills. Via email you can do none of this.
In my experience, this use of email is common place in sales now. Many (most) salespeople use email to try and SELL. Email is a support tool not a sales tool. It supports the sale. It does not make the sale.
And don’t even get me started on the uses and abuses of social media…
p.s. I don’t see this as a new problem by the way… There were plenty of salespeople who used to solve the avoiding personal rejection by moving callbacks to letters or just not making them at all!!