- Pay phone booths you drive up to in your car, reach out your window to put in your quarter and push the buttons to place your call. If you were lucky, it wouldn’t be raining (or snowing) and you wouldn’t have to explain the dripping from your left blazer sleeve at your next appointment!
- Car phones for those early adopters. They did help eliminate the pay phone stops but certainly didn’t reduce the cost of the call and required complete installation into your vehicle.
- Pink slips that read “While you were out” neatly placed in a circular file on the receptionist’s desk with messages awaiting your return. By the time you got back to the office the buyer’s sense of urgency was gone and you would start over again with prospecting.
- Thermal printed faxes curled up on your desk – sometimes they were actually legible!
- A “Rolodex” with all your contacts names. Some of us OCD types had blanks that could be typed and then perfed out so they were nice and neat.
- And yes, I did say typewriter! We used them prior to graduating to the word processor. It was a badge of honor to be able to type 70 WPM!
- Client meetings were done over lunch or an occasional round of golf. Relationships were just as important then as now, our customers just had more time than in today’s world of shrinking budgets and less staff.
- Letterhead, envelopes and stamps – we actually mailed information to our prospects back in those days. I call it early content marketing!
Having a business plan and a sales process is critical to our success. It is really that simple. If you have all the tools but no plan, you will still miss opportunities and your customer will buy from someone else. The tools allow you to communicate more effectively and make it easier for your prospects to respond but it also makes it easier for the buyer to avoid you! So use them wisely as part of your overall sales process.
In the end it is still up to you to deliver your message in a way that is relevant to your customer and offers them a compelling reason to choose your product over another. Use the tools available today to keep yourself organized, your pipeline full and your prospects moving through the sales process systematically toward the sale. If your prospect has a legitimate need that your product or service can solve then you have created the ultimate win-win situation.
Take some time to think about your sales process. What are the systematic steps you take to move your prospect forward? So many of us get the research, introduction and qualification part but lose traction because we don’t have a solid process for developing the relationship and identifying the customer’s need before dropping our solution on them and trying to jump to the closing step too soon – a recipe for disaster in the selling game.
If you are unsure of your process, get some help! There are hundreds of great books out there to read or listen to. There are blogs and videos and professional selling systems available. You can hire a selling coach or find a mentor that is willing to help you. Just be sure to map out your process, stick to it and the results will be dramatically improved!
Good Selling Fellow Warriors!