I had a great chat recently with a super impressive Senior Developer – I’d heard his experience and was in awe of his knowledge. Then he asked me how I used to be a Sales Manager. ‘There’s no way I could do what you do’. When I quizzed him further, his response made me chuckle. ‘ I can’t engage with people like you Sales people. It makes me panic. Put me in front of a computer any day and me and the headphones become best mates’. Then it struck me.
Being able to build relationships with people, face to face, without any digital interference, is an art. And one that should be celebrated. So how do you continue to sell in a Digital world?
1. Use the tools to build a knowledge base.If you still use paper based diaries, notepads and your memory to make sure you cover your customers and prospects, now is the time to stop. Technology has seen database, invoicing and customer management tools become ultra simple and accessible. Cloud technology means you can access and update information real time and become the most organised and empowered sales person you can be. If you are not capturing soft data then you need to revise your business process.
2. Become more local than the localsThis quote came from a brilliant real estate agent in Sydney. If you are in Sales, engage the online community in your ‘territory’ by becoming the most local influence you can be. For example, a Personal Trainer working in Bondi can not only post images of the beach front prior to the start of his / her first session, but also comment on what’s happening at the local school sports carnival, who won the aths meet on the weekend and what the cricket score was. Selling to the local community via social channels is free, engaging and invokes a feeling of connection with your prospective customer base.
3. Revert to the basicsOne thing is for certain – people like working with people. Even if disrupters are coming to break open your market, if you focus on your ‘knitting’, you should still carve out quite an effective niche. Follow up when you say you will, call to say ‘thanks for the chat’, or send an impromptu card with some relevant information which they will deem important. Provide ‘Purple Cow’ moments. If you are unaware of this, Seth Godin wrote a great book about it. Basically, provide a more personal service tailored to the need of your customer and the outcome will only ever improve.
Finally – email when you absolutely need to. Call when you don’t.