The day my business partner and I launch Future Selling Institute, a site designed to help sales managers and sales leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, I find all of this hyperbolic stuff about the death of professional sales and selling.
Hold on to your hats, boys and girls, we’re going for a little ride, and it’s sure to get bumpy.
The truth of the matter is that non-value creating salespeople haven’t been necessary for a long, long time. But value-creating, high business acumen salespeople that help their clients generate greater business results than they would otherwise, regardless of product or service, are going to be around for a long time to come.
Rest assured, it cannot be otherwise.
The Allure of All That Information
It’s interesting and provocative to think about how self-sufficient we all are now that we have all the information that the Internet provides. We can research our purchases in advance, we can shop around for the best price, and we can even read reviews from other purchasers. We don’t need salespeople now, do we?
We all suffer a bit from our own arrogance when it comes to deciding things for ourselves. Who knows better than you what it is that you want and what will best serve you? For this statement to be revealed for the complete and utter nonsense that it is, all you have to do is consider that we choose our own government; there is plenty of information available, and you study all you want and never quite get the right outcomes (not that I am suggesting there is a better way).
Mr. Farrington bought a phone. He didn’t need the salesperson. Or did he?
Over Christmas, I popped into the AT&T store to pick up a couple of iPhones. I knew what I needed, but the salesperson, a wonderful and charming girl, knew her material cold (we call that product knowledge). She jumped onto her system, and made sure to get two phone numbers that were easy to remember and very close to the same digits (serious savvy attention to outcomes I didn’t know I even wanted). She rejected a bunch of numbers that weren’t good numbers (we call that business acumen and value creation).
I told her for whom I was purchasing the phones, and she chose two very different cases based on who was receiving the gift (we call that women’s intuition). Then, I told her how I wanted to set up the plans and she stopped me dead in my tracks, insisting that there was a way I could get much more for my money by making some changes (we call that business acumen, value creation, experience, and loyalty-building customer service of that kind that isn’t possible with anything less than this charming girl).
She saved me time, and she saved me money. Two words: Value. Creator.
I’ll leave you with three thoughts (which I am certain to write more about later):
First, trusted relationships still matter. Experiences and loyalty-creating actions are still as sexy as all-get-out, and they are the domains of human beings (including those of us human beings who sell).
Second, to suggest that selling is dead is to suggest that new ideas and human resourcefulness is dead, and that it is no longer necessary. It’s to believe that information by itself takes the place of the successful use and interpretation of information combined with human creativity and knowledge. When you really, really need the right business result, you wanted trusted relationships and human resourcefulness.
Finally, to suggest that selling is dead is to suggest, wrongly, that no value creation is possible outside the realm of providing information, the smallest part of what salespeople actually do for their clients.
For what it’s worth, the future only looks brighter for those possessed with business acumen, resourcefulness, self-discipline, and determination.
If you believe that your job could be replaced by the Internet, what in the Hell are you doing wrong?
As a salesperson, what do you do that creates value for your dream clients in a way that is irreplaceable by any technology known to man?
What do you do that creates experiences for which there are no substitutions?
What do you know that goes beyond what can find on the Internet? What experiences and knowledge do you have that isn’t easily obtainable without the years of experiences that you have had to learn what works and what doesn’t?