Ride pendulum back to old-fashioned salesWritten by Tom Richard | | email@example.com
While spending some time with my brother, I noticed his Aviator sunglasses sitting on the counter. Thinking I was funny, I grabbed them and said, “Hey, 1985 called and it wants its sunglasses back.”
Putting on his sunglasses and mocking what to me was quite funny, my brother simply shook his head wondering how he could be related to someone as fashion ignorant as me. How was I supposed to know that Aviator sunglasses were back in style?
I hear similar gaffes daily when listening to those in business who are certain that the Internet is ruining business as we know it. These people, who tend to have more years punched on their time cards, opine that the Internet is turning the business world into nothing more than a transaction-based environment. They remember days when relationships ruled supreme and business was sealed with a handshake.
These same boomers are sure they can beat the Internet by emphasizing service and personal relationships. However, as they review declining sales reports, they shake their heads, not knowing how they can compete against low-price and low-service Internet companies that pop up each day. Yet, moments later they passionately tell folks 20 years their junior that they too must pay their dues by getting out on the road to create relationships by shaking hands and demonstrating superior, personal service.
For years, the ability to clearly articulate how traditional companies can overcome the challenge of the Internet eluded me. That was until I watched “60 Minutes” the other night as reporter Morley Safer presented a report on the new generation called “millenials.”
Watching this extraordinarily condescending report about a generation to which I never knew I belonged, I found myself shaking my head at the television in much the same fashion my brother shook his head at me when I teased him about his sunglasses. Safer’s report was presented from a point of view that the “Millenials” are ill-prepared for a demanding workplace.
Reasons cited include our demands to put happiness and values before that of the company, reliance upon technological advances to communicate and a constant drive to find a job that is ideal in its enjoyment and allows us to maintain relationships with our network of family and friends.
I was finally able to see my generation from the eyes of those who have been in the game of life longer than me. It also became obvious that there are no differences between the generations, per se, only different environments. The advent of the Internet created the change. Personal relationships in my father’s generation were always face-to-face. In my generation, we were quickly taught to communicate through different channels. When understood and used properly, those channels tear down walls, not build them up; open doors, not close them; increase the need for personal relationships in selling, not diminish them.
In my opinion, the only thing the Internet has changed is our ability to connect with people. Instead of being limited to our small community, the world is at our fingertips and within reach. Those who long for days past — when the personal relationship ruled supreme — are disillusioned when thinking the Internet has taken away the heart and soul of business. Those who comprehend that the Internet is a means to connect with others realize the pendulum of business is swinging swiftly back in the direction of people and personality driven organizations.
Whether you are a baby boomer or a millennial, understand that business is done when two people connect. Life is simple. We are born to communicate with one another. The world has not grown larger; it has grown smaller and as things grow smaller, relationships grow stronger. Enhance your ability to connect with other humans using whatever tools are available and sales will climb as you ride the pendulum back into good, dare I say, “old fashioned,” relationship selling.
Tom Richard is a Toledo-based sales trainer, gives seminars, runs sales meetings and provides coaching for salespeople. For more information, visit www.TomRichard.com, call (419) 441-1005 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.