Sales Process is dead. False. See Consultative Selling is dead. According to the same statistics, 52% of salespeople are not following a staged, milestone-based, customer-centric sales process. This is a huge improvement from just 10 years ago. But again, this is trending up, not down, so not only can it not be dead, but CRM without an integrated sales process is just a data warehouse.
Traditional Selling is dead. False. This one depends on how you define traditional. If we define traditional as features and benefits selling (FAB), then it should be dead and buried. Unfortunately, it’s far from dead because more than half of all salespeople (weak) are still selling this way.
The old way of selling is dead. See Traditional Selling.
Relationship-building in sales is dead. False. In 2011, Harvard Business Review, the biggest publisher of junk sales science, declared it dead. That alone should be reason enough to poke holes in the statement. There are two ways to consider relationship selling. The first, is as a sales methodology where the priority is taking the time to make friends and build a relationship under the premise that people buy from people they like. In the 60’s and 70’s, the relationship was enough. Today, that kind of sales methodology should be dead. While people DO like to buy from people they like, that’s no longer the only criteria. So if you can help your prospect equally as well as anyone else, the relationship will make a difference. But if you can’t, so much for the relationship.
Always-be-closing is dead. This. Should. Be. Dead. It fits right up there with traditional selling and features and benefits selling. Half of all salespeople are not selling this way because they are afraid to! Sales bullies and amateurs sell this way – and they shouldn’t.
Social Selling is dead. Already? Talk about fads! We’ve only been selling socially for several years so how can that have died as quickly as Pokemon Go? The reality is that there never was social selling. Personal promotion? Sure. But selling? Nobody was selling anything over social networks. Just marketing and advertising and blogging, and connecting, and building networks and followers. Sounds like PR and marketing to me.
Outbound is dead. False. See this article.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will replace salespeople. False. I’m sure you’re getting all the cold emails, and then several more follow up emails, powered by AI, that are so awful that I’m sure most are getting deleted. Further, AI will never be able to replace a human having a deep, thoughtful conversation that gets a prospect emotional. For example, take a look at the following consultative questions I taught a sales team to use yesterday.
Salesperson: So why do you need this?
Salesperson: How were you handling that up until now?
Salesperson: If you’ve been doing it like that for all this time, why change now?
Salesperson: Tell me about the last time that happened.
Salesperson: How did you that affect you?
Salesperson: How did you feel when that happened?
In each case, the salesperson can’t ask the follow up question unless they get the appropriate response they are hoping for. And as the questions become more emotional and more difficult, the tonality, pace and facial expressions must change along with it? Can you imagine this type of exchange taking place over email driven by AI? No. Freakin. Way.
All of the lies create excuses for salespeople to not learn, embrace, practice and apply the most important aspects of successful selling. The lies mask the best practices of great salespeople and great sales organizations because they suggest that there’s an easier way to sell where you can hide behind your keyboard and monitor. Well, I’ve got news for you. There are no shortcuts, no easy paths, no magic pills, nothing but doing the hard work. If it isn’t challenging, and you aren’t challenging yourself to improve, then AI will replace you.
Image copyright iStock Photos