Old School Sales Process vs. Social Media Sales and How it Can Impact Your Way of Thinking

I recently worked at a manufacturing company that has been in business for almost 60 years. This particular company is very innovative in their particular field. They are good at what they make and they have molded and changed their own industry to their very own standards. The problem they have which will eventually impact their business in the long run is not their product or lack of creative engineering but their old school sales process. Their Sales team is excellent at selling but they lack good communication skills both internally and externally. There is a very large gap between the Sales process and the Sales team themselves. Of course the sales men are very good at selling but they are the ones who do not stop or take a breath. They are “on” 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

We had a team meeting where we were brain storming and trying to come up with a formalized business process and a plan for the last 3 quarters of the year. This was the most painful meeting I have ever participated in. Being in the room one could see how talented every sales person was; seeing their strengths and even their weaknesses.  The problem is with social media and everyone having a smart phone nowadays old school sales tactics do not work. One of the sales members insisted that postcards drove business. As nice as that sounds (and you know the post office loves it) post cards do not work anymore.  Most of us do not read junk email let alone junk snail mail. As soon as I suggested social media all of them had a meltdown. Of course they were thinking MySpace or Facebook. Of course I think facebook would have been good idea but that was not what I was focused on. They assume because their ideal clients are hotels or individuals with extra money looking for an easy small business venture that they do not use social media.

Everyone is using social media, EVERYONE. To assume that (an example) an older Asian American family is not using social media and smart phones is narrowing your own thinking. By doing just that you are putting yourself in a box instead of reaching “outside the box” as most Sales people strive to do. This will than prevent you from giving new potential clients the benefit of the doubt. When it comes to Social Media, Technology and Communication always assume everyone is using Social Media.

Social Media is a powerful sales tool and can revolutionize any industry and sales team. Social media should be on the top of every sales team process list. It should be one of the many ways you keep in contact with your current clients and how you reach out to new potential clients. Old School sales tactics did work at one time but we have to admit when things change. To improve our own processes individually and as teams we have to be willing to understand the world in which we live in. We no longer live in the 1950’s when housewives home baking and raising children. We no longer live in the time when the only way to really communicate with a new market of people is by mail or door to door salesmen. Now everything and everyone is available at our finger tips literally. You can reach millions through social media if you do it right.

When I had suggested Social Media to my sales team at the time I was thinking something more along the lines of a weekly blog or a monthly newsletter. Some of the sales people had really strong strengths such as particular tips for new business owners and layout designs they did on their own time. Why not share that information? Not only would you enlighten your own client base but you will attract attention by your knowledge depth and your willingness to share tips and tricks with a larger audience. They are not just focused on getting the product out of the factory but building businesses that will make an impact on their respective markets. Sales teams would show their clients, customers, industry competitors that not only are they innovative and creative where their products are concerned but in their sales tactics as well. Most Sales guys are very good at what they do; just remember why you got into sales in the first place. Always remember the old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” does not apply to People, Sales, Social Media and Technology.

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