I sound like a broken record at times. I
continue to preach about sales tactics from my point of view, which in most
cases, is based upon a successful track record. Recently though, I’ve been
accused of being “old school” when describing what works and what doesn’t work,
because I don’t often cover topics related to social media, texting, etc. Being
told that “that’s your opinion” or “your point of view on sales is outdated”
generally doesn’t sit well with me. One person even went so far as to say I was
“out of touch with the reality of today’s digital marketplace”. Of course, this
same person has less than 20% of the sales opportunities I currently have with
clients and prospective clients. And, it has now become a bit of a hot topic in
There is no right or wrong way to deal
with sales communication. Sales, however, cannot be built upon a single
approach to communication, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any ‘A’ level
sales person that says so. It requires a blending of tactics. In the recent
conversation’s I’ve been a part of, I have been accused of being singularly
focused on the cold call, in that I believe it is the only way to open doors.
This could not be further from the truth. But, the lessons learned by a sales
person in the cold calling process are invaluable and will last them their
entire career. Yet, so many younger or newer sales people roll their eyes at
the idea of cold calling, and then try to circumvent this tactic and find short
I consider myself the king of the phrase
“touch points” in my office. Touch points with target clients requires more
than just picking up the telephone. It requires email, traditional letters, telephone
calls, face-to-face meetings, and yes even a text message here and there. I’ve
even used Facetime and Skype over the years to blend digital communication with
I’m not an old curmudgeon that believes
we need to go back to door-to-door sales or faxing order sheets to customers.
I’ve been there, done that, but do believe again there are lessons learned that
make me an ‘A’ level sales person today. From my so called “days of old” I
learned patience. Quick sales lead to quick losses. I have watched many a sales
person become victim to this scenario more times than I would like. Yet, some
continue to seek the quick hit answers to what may be a longer sales process.
As I ponder over this post, some
frustration overcomes me. I am reminded of an uncle I was quite fond of growing
up. Rick was a very smart guy. He was the guy that would be reading two, three,
sometimes four books at a time, ranging from philosophy to crime drama to
business how to’s. He could rebuild an engine on a ’69 Mustang as easily as he
could whip up a five-course gourmet dinner. He was a great guy too. Fun to be
around would be putting the description mildly. He was the ultimate sales guy.
Unfortunately, Rick was always looking
for an easy sale or a quick buck. Throughout my childhood and into my early
career, Rick started and closed eleven different businesses. Nothing had
staying power because Rick never followed traditional sales tactics. It wasn’t
that he didn’t understand traditional selling, rather he knew the tactics quite
well, instead he chose to skip this step or that step. He refused to make cold
calls and deemed them too much of a time investment. It would take too long to
fill his pipeline. He constantly tried different approaches to gaining clients,
but ultimately failed in his efforts. Rick is retired now and doing okay. He
lives a modest life in Baltimore near family and friends. On the surface, he
seems content. Under the surface, he has regrets. I know because he’s told me.
He wishes he would have been much more patient, stayed the course, learned from
those that had successfully gone before him, and “desperately wishes he would
not have cut corners or tried to always find short cuts to success”. He never
learned and mastered the basic tactics of selling which never led to the
blending of tactics to increase his overall sales.
In the world of sales, regardless of
what product or service you are selling, there’s really no such thing as old
school versus new school. There are basic principles of sales, proper pathways
to success, blending of all tactics throughout the sales process, and patience.
The greatest of all sales tactics is patience.