Salespeople Don't Know?

I have been reading a book titled How To Sell When Nobody’s Buying by Dave Lakhani.  Dave has some very good points throughout the book.  In an interview with Dan Schwabel on his blog, Dave asks the following question:

How has selling changed in the last two years?

The following is an excerpt from the interview regarding this question (emphasis is mine):

Selling changed dramatically and no one told the salespeople. Most salespeople are still slogging along using the same old ideologies and techniques from the 80’s and 90’s that are based on ideas from the 60’s and 70’s. The result is a bunch of very frustrated salespeople and managers who are not making their numbers. Then, along comes an economic downturn and wholesale destruction of many industries and salespeople don’t know what to do or where to turn. What really changed was buyer mentality and buyer psychology. Consumers and prospects are overwhelmed with choices, markets commoditize faster than ever now and virtually all of them are over-communicated.”

Come on Dave.  No one told the salespeople?  I am not sure which salespeople you are referencing but I don’t buy it.  Salespeople already know this.  They knew it before all the smart people started writing about it.  The sensed it five years ago or more.

If your income depends on successfully selling a product or service, you know when changes are occurring.  Communication with our customers changes.  Decisions are being made by different people within the customer’s organization and the time frames begin to shift.  Expectations in frequency, responsiveness and attention are all in flux.  If you are in sales, you either know about these changes early on, or you are not selling much longer.

Successful SalesMakers don’t need to be told that selling has changed!  They are the first ones to know it .

What do you think?  Do you need to have someone tell you that selling has changed?

  • Fred

    I couldn’t agree with you more Miles. Successful sales professionals are on top of their game and seldom, if ever, need a house to fall on them. Lakhani’s comments are more appropriate for those buried under houses or otherwise retired. I must admit that I’m not familiar with Lakhani. Is it possible his comments are academic naiveté or does he have significant real world sales credentials?

  • bill

    Successful sales people are on top of their game and do (should) know this. But really, what % of the sales reps out there fall into this category?

    I for one, are in current observation of (and working in) a small company that have, by most standards, “successful” salespeople who are owners, managers of the business. They’re anchored by how things were done back in 1999-2003 but seem reluctant to evolve into new sales techniques and methodologies. The current struggle is embracing whether or not we need a CRM in house or not.

    “I don’t get it, why are salesreps always complaining about not having a CRM? We didn’t have a CRM when we were salesrep and we made our numbers.” says one of the owners.

    My response was just to remember our dad and grandads could say the same thing about the mobile phone and the computer.

    Therefore, I relate to what Lakhani is saying here. Technology is evolving so fast that it’s also changing buying behaviors.. .and I would have to say the greater majority reps don’t realize it until they have the “house fall on them” or lose a monumental deal.

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