Is Sales Easier Or Harder Than 20 Years Ago?


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Is anyone besides me tired of hearing complaints from salespeople about how much more difficult sales is today than 20 years ago? The usual complaints are, “The prospect is more educated, no one is picking up the phone, there is a ton of competition.” 

It’s time to stop the pity party and conduct a reality check. Salespeople have more tools to be successful with today than 20 years ago. If you’re not succeeding, it’s probably because you’re spending more time making excuses instead of sales. 

Apply the emotional intelligence skill of reality testing.

Reality Check #1:  In the good old days, the ‘easy’ days of selling, your major prospecting tool was the local yellow pages. You smiled and dialed with the goal of connecting with a complete stranger on the phone. If prospect’s had a display ad, you considered that an “A” prospect. 

There was no prospect website to review. You didn’t have access to LinkedIn profiles to learn more about a prospect’s resume, personal interests and common connections. And you certainly couldn’t do a google search to uncover other important data.     

Reality Check #2:  Salespeople complain that no one is picking up the phone—all they get is voice mail. Back in the good old days of selling, your prospect didn’t even know you called—because there was no voicemail. You often had to drive three to four hours, drop in the prospect’s office, do a quick introduction to start building rapport and relationships. 

Okay, I think I’ve made my point. Here’s another reality check. Prospects are more educated today. No problem. Salespeople have the same opportunity to become more educated because of the enormous access to information that can make them an industry expert and master of sales and influence.   

Your prospect is expecting more today—so what—give it to him or her.

It’s your job to understand the business of business. Examine your last few appointments. Did you walk away knowing the answer to these questions.  How does your prospect make money?  What was the prospects top three initiatives for the year and why?  What macroeconomic influences are affecting your prospect’s business? Make each meeting with your prospect relevant and more than he or she expected. 

Is selling easier or harder today?  I will let you decide because perception is reality.  

Good selling!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colleen Stanley
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc. a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, emotional intelligence and hiring/selection. She is the author of two books, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success, now published in six languages, and author of Growing Great Sales Teams.


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