Friday, February 8, 2013

Selling Face-to-Face Is Almost Obsolete

The new salesperson is "plugged into" an industry rather than plodding from customer to customer.

Texting Addicts
Traditionally, business-to-business selling involves face-to-face conversations. However, "road warrior" is becoming increasingly rare in the business world, according to a study by Dr. James Oldroyd, the world's top researcher in the mathematics of selling.

His research recently revealed that corporate hiring for "outside" sales positions had leveled off at a measly .5 percent annual growth. By contrast, corporate hiring for "inside" sales positions was growing fifteen times faster!

Even salespeople who DO meet with customers face-to-face are doing so much less frequently than in the past. Oldroyd's study revealed that over two fifths of all customer conversations conducted by "outside" salespeople are done over the phone.

The shift away from face-to-face selling is driving many top firms to hire and cultivate people who can become subject matter experts and communicate with customers with a combination of email, phone, texting, social media, and web conferencing.

Oddly, the sales training world doesn't seem to have caught up with this trend. Probably 90 percent of the sales training courses available today assume that there will be  face-to-face meetings. The other 10 percent cover cold-calling.

Every day I get emails from business owners and salespeople who are struggling to adapt to this new way of selling. The problem is that they're attempting to use selling concepts and skills that are rapidly becoming obsolete.

If you read Sales Source regularly, you've probably noticed that I seldom post about sales situations that crutch on a face-to-face meeting (e.g. "having a great handshake" or "dress for success.") Now you know why.