Old school sales vs. new school sales. Traditional selling tactics vs. modern selling techniques. These are the highly-debated arguments that are currently circulating in the field of sales. It cannot be denied that over the years, sales as a profession and as a business function have dramatically evolved, thanks to advancement in technology and subsequent development of new sales tools.
However, despite the advances in selling techniques and cries of the post-salesperson age, old-school sales are still driving the energy and soul of the sales industry.
The belief among many sales leaders is that the only way for a sales rep to be successful is to get fully on board with all things new. But in truth, the best things about the new school of sales are truly pages right out of the old-school sales playbook. How so?
What is Old School Sales?
Old fashioned sales are all about meeting with your customers, getting to know and understand them, identifying their pain points and providing solutions to make those pain points go away. It is about building trust and rapport and getting to the position where you are seen as a valuable partner and not just a vendor from whom a customer occasionally buys from. This is the very core where all new school sales techniques are founded on, isn’t it?
The lines are separating the old and new school of sales, therefore, are no more than just illusions made by people trying to make money by telling sales reps they need to join the new school of sales.
But we can’t ignore that the world of old-school sales is shrinking, as sales technology grows. We may only be able to see our clients in person a few times a year. The majority of the relationships are forged via email, a once-a-year meeting, or small talk at a party. So how do we form the real trust necessary to justify a client being willing to take a risk to work with you? How does old-school sales fit in a digital world?
Old School Sales in Digital World
While there’s no absolute way to ensure the success of old-school sales, it has always been proven that time and effort go a long way. Here are some tips bring that old school sales approach in the age of social media and smartphones:
The digital world is extremely time-sensitive. Get an instant messaging account and give it out. Even if you can’t deal with all requests immediately, just acknowledging you’ve received them and that you’re on top of it goes a long way. Of course, when time gets tight, you need to prioritize, but do your best to avoid letting a client request get buried in your inbox.
Own up to problems as soon as you notice them. Never will avoiding a complex client situation pay off. There’s a solution to every problem, and proactively addressing it only puts you in the driver’s seat.
Keep in Touch
While a monthly update or meeting doesn’t make sense, always try to grab lunch/coffee with your clients every so often. Keep it light, fun, genuine. Customer loyalty rapidly changes every day, and from a prospective employer’s perspective, your network is your true value, so don’t let it slip.
Overall, in the age of the internet, it’s the old school salesperson, with his or her simple techniques and ingrained relationships, that catches the client’s interest and warms their heart, and will make it possible for your business to dive deep into the great digital unknown.
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