Yikes, it is early as I write. Our darling dog, Murphy – an adorable and mischievous 2 year old black lab – gave us a 5:30 wake up call this morning. Who knows why. Murph does things for his own reasons, not mine or anyone else’s. As my boyfriend and I are fond of saying, “It’s Murphy’s world and we just live in it”. Even his brother, Shorty gets worn out sometimes, but more to come on the adventures of the black and tan brothers.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m usually an early bird, but on this particular Friday – the day after Christmas- I have no particular place to be. Sleeping in, just a tad, would have been nice:)
Christmas was just plain fun, and I’m happy to say that I am now the proud owner of several new technology toys. In my possession is a brand spanking new IPhone 3G, an Eee PC and a Snowball for podcasting.
The gifts were fun for two reasons:
1) I do love technology. Not just for the sheer geekness of it all – even though I am a closet geek – but I absolutely love what it can do for us used in smart ways.
2) I firmly believe that how we promote ourselves, build our networks, and expand our potential customer markets to sell more of our products and services requires the integration of technology into how we work.
I have a particular passion for both the art of the sale and technology, and I totally believe that if you happen to be of the old school sales mindset who believes that nothing helps you close a sale like a face to face meeting, you are bound to find yourself irrelevant in relatively quick fashion.
Here are 3 reasons you need to integrate technology into your daily sales process:
1. You can build a much larger network.
A potential client of mine (I ultimately decided they weren’t the right client for me) actually said that “because their reps sold to people outside of their geography, they didn’t need to network locally”. I think that’s completely stupid and that comment is perhaps a good indication of why their sales team will end their year at 30% of quota. One critical element of successful selling is networking. Even if your particular sales geography is not where you live, you still need to be out in the community meeting people. It’s good for the company first and foremost. More importantly, you just never know who you will meet who can connect you to the client you want to reach.
The truth is these reps aren’t networking online either – equally stupid. If you are selling to people who live outside your sales geography, do I really need to explain why you have to be online? These folks need to get a clue.
2. It’s not who you know, but who knows you.
Competition on practically all fronts is fierce. The way to get yourself known outside your itty bitty circle is to be online. Participate in blogs, appropriate business forums, write articles, network with other people, create podcasts…whatever it is you need to find a medium that works for you and get yourself known. Don’t get hung up on whether you can write well or not. If articles aren’t for you then spend time daily answering and posing questions in groups liked LinkedIn and others. Not only will you grow your own knowledge of trends and issues in your industry, but you have the opportunity to position yourself as a knowledgeable expert. Of course, that means you need to take the time to craft well thought out answers.
By the way, these days a lot of your potential clients will Google your name to find out more about you. The more you are seen in cyber land – provided you don’t present yourself as an idiot out there on the lunatic fringe – the more credibility you have with them.
3. Buying decisions are no longer made just by the boomers.
While the boomer generation may be more used to meeting with you in person or on the phone, the younger workers live online. As more and more of them become the key decision makers, you better be there. If you aren’t using – or at least aware – of the technologies they are using to ask for advice on everything from finding the right job to the right product or service to buy, you’re dead. Sales is about building relationships, which essentially means being able to relate to others. If you can’t speak the lingo of this new world, how can you expect them to trust you enough to want to buy what you have to offer?
Regardless where you are on the knowledge scale of technology, commit yourself to learning something new every day. Read books, listen to audio casts, watch YouTube videos, put up a Facebook page, start a Twitter account, create your own blog…whatever – do something, get going, have fun!