How to Take Advantage of Technology AND Old School Selling 


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I was recently at a CEO conference where I heard a speaker from one of the marketing automation companies declare that, “Cold calling is dead.” And I have heard this statement several times before; it’s clear to me that many sales and marketing companies want to make the sales process seem so much easier now that we have all of this great technology at our disposal. 

But the reality is that these tools, while they provide us with critical resources that we MUST take advantage of and never had before, do not excuse us from doing the hard job of selling. Technology empowers us to be more effective as we sell but it does not create shortcuts.

We still need to develop our selling techniques and get back to basics. I was re-reading ‘How I raised myself from failure to success in selling’ by Frank Bettger, one of my favorite sales books. While the techniques in his book are 100 years old, they are still relevant today.  But now, we can apply technology to these key techniques. 

Since I was referring to cold calling earlier, let’s take a moment to focus on the prospecting piece in Bettger’s book in which there is a line that says, “Prospecting is like shaving; if you don’t do it every day, pretty soon you will look like a bum.”  That means we need to have daily prospecting goals and then we can apply today’s technology to these goals to ensure we can be successful.  Our Outlook and iCalendars should be used to set aside the appropriate amount of time for cold calls.

As a follow on to this piece, Bettger referred to his first appointment with a prospect as a “5 minute interview” and kept a close eye on his watch to ensure that the meeting did not run over the allotted time, showing the appropriate respect for his prospect’s time.  Keep in mind that managing the clock gives you the right to ask for the next appointment. 

Lastly, when asked what he wanted to talk about in that 5 minutes Bettger simply said, “About you.” Prospecting is about the other person on the phone, not you. Earning the right to this conversation means you must do your homework and then do what you say you will do. 

I am so fortunate to have a super customer and mentor who probably does not fully recognize the impact he has had on me as a sales rep or the curriculum that Sales Gauge delivers.  Matthew Appelstein is this mentor who has always demanded from sales people they earn the right to present and engage with clients. His techniques are “old school” and his sales teams are among the best I have ever seen – fully prepared and delivering exceptional results year after year. 

So let’s always keep in mind that while technology lets us see over the horizon, we must continue to earn the right to get the appointment by doing our research, leveraging our connections and actively listening before we tell them what we have to sell. And one last thing –  the guy who said that cold calling is dead later mentioned that 20% of their sales team’s time is still dedicated to cold calling. I guess there is “dead” and “not so dead!”

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tim Haller
Tim Haller has over 25 years of sales and sales management experience. He has delivered training and consulting to Fortune 100 clients across a variety of industries, including technology, business services, travel/leisure and biotechnology. Tim has trained hundreds of sales professionals to close business through the use of effective sales prospecting, negotiation, and closing techniques.


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