A conversation earlier today reminds me of what I see as a pervasive, obsessive attitude in our society – a me first, quick fix, I’m so important, gotta have it now mentality. That attitude and short sighted thinking can never lead to building a sales pipeline that leads to closing business consistently month in and month out.
Look around the next time you are out in public and notice the couple sitting at a nice restaurant having dinner who aren’t actually having a conversation with each other. Unless you consider that perhaps they are texting each other from across the table. They are so busy “staying accessible to their clients and prospects” that they are missing the relationship with each other.
Notice the guy who’s in the middle of ordering his Chai Latte holding up a finger to shush the Starbucks clerk as he puffs out his chest to answer that all important business call. It’s probably the wife reminding him to pick up toilet paper on the way home, and never mind the 10 people behind him waiting to place their order.
How about the young woman at the Publix check out counter who is juggling a baby, the money for her bill, and a conversation she is having on a cell phone perched on her shoulder who then barks angrily at the bag boy that she didn’t want her purchase bagged (as in you idiot pay attention), as if the poor guy was supposed to read her mind.
Listen to the sales person griping that the executive they met at last week’s networking meeting isn’t returning their one and only phone call. OMG – how could they be so rude?
We are, without a doubt, a drive-by, fast food, it’s all about me, I called you so you should care nation. We want it now because...well, it’s about us and we just want it.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes are struggling to bring sales in the door and expect that a longer term problem – like outdated sales approaches, fear of selling (I’ll just build it and they will come), inconsistent sales processes, ineffective use of technology or the wrong people in the jobs – can be corrected with a short-term solution like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. I love these technologies and used effectively to support well thought out business goals, results are absolutely possible. But people, people, people…have you learned nothing from my rants? If you want to slam up a LinkedIn profile today and maybe post a tweet or two – you will get NOWHERE!
But just for fun let’s imagine that the conversation between the desperate sales person looking for that drive-by solution goes something like this...
“Hi, welcome to the easy sales warehouse where you don’t need to lift a finger to close a deal...may I take your order? Um yes, I’d like an order of LinkedIn with extra cheese, no onion and a freshly pressed profile that lands me two consulting contracts today, while I continue to fish for bigger opportunities. Coming right up, sir. By the way, would you like a side order of Twitter to go with your LinkedIn order? Twitter’s hot! All it takes is for you to spew out a few Tweets and you are sure to land that executive contract a bit later in the week. It’s only a dollar more. By the way...we’re running a special on Facebook Fan Pages. There’s nothing much to do but post the page and let your legions of fans bring the business right to your doorstep. How ’bout it? Facebook page for another 50cents?”
The new age art of the sale isn’t about woo woo, but it is about thinking differently. Technology for technologies sake will not fix your sales problem. Purpose, plan, people, participation, persistence and PATIENCE is what it takes, especially in a flattened world where boundaries have been erased. Create value, demonstrate capability, do for others – that’s what gets it done – and it doesn’t happen in the drive through lane at the Mickey D’s around the corner.