“Get on trend or fail” is the new rally cry from a world leading sales training provider whose latest research identifies a major cause of critically poor sales performance to be an unhealthy reliance on outdated, old fashioned selling techniques.
Doug Tucker, Managing Director of Sales Commando explains: “There are definable patterns in terms of the techniques sales pros use. These patterns change over time and represent sales fashion.
“Techniques that were once in vogue are now old hat and the projection is that what is currently successful in terms of selling will become outmoded in the future. Sales pros need to identify these trends and make sure that their techniques – their approaches to prospects - are fit for contemporary purpose.”
The drivers for these changes are predominantly developments in science and technology which are leading to paradigm shifts in the way society thinks and works. One of the keenest examples of this, in terms of fashion in selling, can be seen in the way the buying cycle has changed.
Doug Tucker: “We’re at a point now where prospective customers have most likely researched our products or services before we first meet them. They may even have had a dialogue with our existing customers.
The upshot of this is that sales pros are having to enter the buying cycle at a far later stage than they traditionally did and consequently, with the buying cycle shortened, there’s less opportunity to build the trust and respect a successful sales relationship demands. This is a trend – a new fashion - that requires new sales techniques to be learnt and deployed.”
As for the future, spotting what the upcoming fashion will be is much like the hunt for the Holy Grail but even so, in selling terms, there are patterns and trends already emerging that will influence the fashion of selling in the future.
Doug Tucker continues: “Sales people are already well aware of LinkedIn but increasingly social media in its many forms will become a target hotspot for the savvy sales pro.
Add to this a dramatic increase in the number of technologies sales people will have to manage, plus the growing importance of Customer Relationship Management software metrics, and the next on-trend selling techniques will undoubtedly be led by silicon algorithms rather than traditional research and pitch techniques.”
These identifiable and changing fashions in the way sales are conducted come with a harsh warning for all involved in the selling process as Doug concludes:
“Being in fashion is no longer the preserve of young trendy things on a catwalk. Today and into the future sales pros must become fashionistas, adapting to the latest trends in selling techniques in order to survive''.