"...sales methods that have proved successful over a period of some 20 years will have to be discarded because new developments give rise to the need for new working methods."
When do you reckon were those words written ?
They could have been written yesterday but weren't.
I have received an email from a Sales Training company only this week talking of 'paradigm shifts in selling' and another email the week before where the subject box read " Death of the Salesman stereotype". The changes in selling were summarised as follows
But the quote was not from those recent emails to my in box.
I have a book on my bookshelf by Marc T Miller and Jason Sinkovitz called "Selling is dead" Copyright 2005 but the words above do not come from that book either
No, those words come from an earlier incarnation of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management magazine - Winning Edge -back then called Sales Management and Sales Engineering -The Journal of the Institute of Sales Management.
This issue concerned was for December 1980 - I was 27 years at the time and the UK was in recession.
I have been clearing out my home over the last couple of weeks and came across the magazine which for some reason I had kept.
It was from a very different era of course.
The readership and membership of the Institute back then was predominantly male. The selling profession was very much a car centred ministry of road warriors in those days.
These were days before the Internet and even mobile phones let alone smart ones.
Flicking through the yellowing pages of the magazine, I noticed an article within the old magazine that caught my eye " Sales Techniques for Beating the Recession".
It was interesting to see that much that challenges today's salespeople were pretty similar concerns back then.
16 areas were highlighted ( I have written the gist of each topic after each title)
1. Too Expensive - handling the Price objection
2. Negotiate with the boss - advice on selling as high up the customer's organisation ie 'C' suite / board level.
3. Don't think solely of your commission - selling profitably not just going for turnover sales.
4. Many salesmen just won't believe it... - various myths of selling * see the 5 boxes
5. Small orders are more of a liability for the customer ... -selling the benefits of larger orders / packages
6. Looking for new customers ? - New Business Development
7. 'I don't know your company' - presenting the benefits of your company beyond product benefits
8. Arithmetic problem - measuring your activity ratios before Salesforce.com you had to do it yourself !
9. Tips for status-conscious salesmen - body language, personal space and presence.
10. Good customers deserve less frequent visits - better preparation, planning and communication skills
11. Selling by telephone - choosing the best channel to do a task -back then you visited or phoned now we have many channels e.g. email , LinkedIn, webinar, skype, blogs , twitter, You tube, personal visit etc.....
12. Between visits - keeping in contact
13. Tactics of a doctor's salesman - although the tips were for pharmaceutical representatives they covered body language, personal space and demonstration skills
14. The biggest of orders is worthless if the company's margin is negligible - up selling higher price product, don't just confine the conversation to your favourite product cover the relevant range, strive for long term agreements, bulk contracts.
15. Organisational shortcomings - an unplanned day is only half a working day- and a source of irritation and nervousness which can be transmitted in your voice. Plan some leeway for time between appointments.
16. After sales service - the customer needs reliable suppliers much more than 'cheap' sources of supply.
I guess it shows we need to embrace our brave new world but not entirely disregard the lessons from the past even as far back as 1980 !