Over the last decades, salespeople often used the power of personality, or the development of a relationship to build trust and heavily influence what a sales prospect would think of the product. In other words, the better a person was at the art of sales, the less the product they were selling even mattered. Hence the phrase, “he can sell ice to Eskimo’s.” It might be true to say that the harder a product was to sell, or the harder it was to get someone to spend a large chunk of money, the more you needed the human element involved in order to influence the prospect into signing the agreement. For example, I spent about three months of my life at 18 years old selling Kirby vacuum cleaners door to door. Now these are good machines that do the job, and they are also very expensive compared to competing products. We sold them door-to-door and it was commonly known that some of the easiest people to sell were those that would struggle the most to afford them. However, these were the people that were easiest to influence from a human level. In fact, one of the top sales guys targeted people living in trailer homes.
The reason this kind of sale worked was because the salesperson could parachute into the lives of the prospects and whatever came out of the salespersons mouth was hard to verify easily. Today, things have changed. Even a person in a trailer home can go online and in an instant type in a product name and see what others have paid for it, how it stacks up against competitors, etc. The reality of where we are headed is that people are becoming less and less willing to be pushed into to making decisions with the only information coming from the sales person. It is just too darn easy to check the Web to gain more information.
This change in human behavior is going to drive us to a world where we still can promote products and services by influencing, but the influence is going to have to be supporting and evangelizing a products strengths, and those strengths are going to have to be supported by information that can be found online. Not only that, people will also be able to verify pricing ranges because buyers and reviewers will post this information so the salespersons ability to unfairly get in the pocket of a prospect will diminish.
I had the chance to hear Scott speak in the springtime — his perspective on the impact of social media on sales is an interesting one. You can follow the ‘via’ link above to go to the source and read the rest of the article if you’re interested in reading the rest of his article…