selling in the digital age

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No kidding and this is 100% true: I attended an AGM yesterday in Bracknell and was party to a very serious & ernest discussion concerning the nature of the sales process. Get me! Much to my chagrin, frustration and displeasure, the nature of selling has apparently changed. Here are the notes I took, and this is how it is out there, in the ever-connected digital age. I think it’ll make you chuckle and forget your own woes for a couple of minutes. Many a true word spoken in jest, and the next time you get a sales call, please just take it…

– You will not get through on the phone. The best you can expect is to leave a message that draws, or teases, the recipient, to either click the link or go to your website. But only if you’re either very good, or very, very lucky. Personally, I find very laboured & heavy breathing as successful as any technique.
– Change your Lithuanian ISP. Irrespective of the price it’s not helping matters.
– You will not get a call back. Ever. Never. Nada.
– Chase, chase and chase, chase as much as you like, and you may indeed become bothersome enough that the individual does eventually take the call. But only to tear a strip off you, curtly give you directions as to where you should go and inform you never to call again. Ever.
– Don’t take any of the above personally, you’ve always been a c*nt irrespective of the digital revolution.
– Traditional direct marketing doesn’t work anymore either and will probably not get delivered to the right person. Even if it does, it will be binned prior to opening, but not prior to you being referred to some august, overly authoritarian, postal body for some minor contravention and having the b*lls to try and get hold of somebody. For something.
– Email marketing will end-up in the Junk folder. Try again. Try another variation of their name. And another. And again. And you will be reported as a spamming deviant and potential paedophile.
– The jury is out with regards to Social Media as a sales tool, but are you brave enough to ignore it?
– Social Media is a ‘catch-all’ term and you need to know/appreciate the differences between the platforms:
o Facebook (Trolls & selfie-dollies only need apply)
o LinkedIn (Imagine sharp-elbowed retail middle-managers scanning for any weakness in the Ibis bar at three in the morning)
o Twitter (Deep, meaningful individuals whose opinion you need to pay special attention to, They are the future. Thankfully, not yours)
o Instagram/Pintrest/SnapChat (Self-absorbed narcissists who you wouldn’t want to sell-to in any event. And most can’t write their own names properly yet)
o Google+ (Why would you? Just why would you?)
– When the ‘personality, tone & timbre’ of the message is being discussed you know you’re being bullsh*tted. And, dammit, why can’t I seek to influence the bleeding conversation, Mr Redditor!
– Apparently, social media is all about building supportive communities. My personal favourite are the Doomsdayers.
– As for PR, you did realise Ab Fab was a documentary, right?
– RFIs/tenders are deceased. The decision has already been taken and you’re there to make up the numbers and justify said decision. And some junior procurement officer’s salary. Make your excuses and withdraw.
– All info to support the decision will have been gained transactionally, with no conversation and no engagement whatsoever. It really is a one-way street, where only the personality of your last tweet is ever recalled.
– Oh, that old one:
o I’m just in the area, can I pop in to tell you about… No. Are you homeless? And you left the message at 3.45am.
o What’s-his-name told me this would be really up your street? No. Are you a chugger? He died ten years ago.
o I did some great business with your last company. How? I’m 21 and graduated last month.
o Hey, fancy a coffee and a catch-up? No. Delete me from your address book and unfriend me immediately.
o I just need one more order to close the quarter. No. Liar. I can hear the desperation in your tears.
o Don’t we have a relationship? No, if I wanted a relationship I’d get a dog. And it wouldn’t be an old dog like you that’s incapable of learning any new tricks.
o Lunch? Click. Brrrrrrr…

So, is all lost? No! But you do need to have:

– A great product. Imagine trying to sell a sh*t product in this day and age? Ouch.
– A compelling message. Go back to basics – what problem does your product solve? No problem, or not enough of a problem to make people bother = No sale.
– A well-priced product. Not too expensive and not too cheap. Price it for market conditions and expectations.
– Specialise and target the product. Don’t be all things to all people as those days are long gone.
– Keep the supporting sales & marketing collateral short & sweet – use animated explainers and youtube vids where possible. Telly Savalas was right and a picture does, indeed, paint a thousand words. Mind, he was one ugly bald f*cker so it was just as well he could act.
– Apparently, your website needs to be a conversion engine. Just make sure it’s not a VW. I never trusted them y’know…
– Webinars work. Especially for the egos of those ‘performing’ as it’s like being in your own porn movie but with you clothes on. On the other hand, half of those ‘watching’ are in fact naked and having real sex under the auspices of w**king from home. That’s working from home. The other half have nodded-off.
– If you already have a supportive ‘business’ network thank your lucky stars and say a minimum of three ‘Hail Marys’ at each & every opportunity in the future. Don’t tread the ‘welcome mat’ too often though, as remember, all said and done, you’re still a c*nt!
– Ensure you have the slickest, sharpest ‘elevator-pitch’ in the business. If you haven’t take the elevator to the top floor and do us all a favour…
– Blow your expenses budget every month. You might not know when you’re next going to be able to afford to eat-out.
– Do what you have-to to cultivate the network. If the purchasing guy is a swimmer, learn to swim or become a lifeguard; if the HR Director’s a p*sshead, join his AA group and threaten to blow his cover on the next call; the receptionist is a size 24?, you’re going to need all the booze you collected from outside the HR Director’s last AA meeting. And then counselling. Remember, you have no dignity and nothing, BUT NOTHING, is beneath you.
– Most importantly, never ever give up as that next call, that next email, that next Twitter posting, is the one that will pay-off and pave the way to landing you the biggest deal in living memory. Probably. Just you watch…