The Phenomenon of Selling By Scott C. Margenau
Sales Tectonics The way you sell, the way you perceive information, what you require to make a sales-oriented choice – all are vastly different from even ten years ago. Selling has changed dramatically since the Internet came to town. Sales cycles have shifted many times over the last thirty years. A quick glimpse at the cycles of sales habits and techniques reveals information that is critical to mounting a successful sales campaign in today’s Web-driven marketplace.
Slick Willy and the Tin Man In the ’70s and ’80s, telemarketing and aggressive sales were the way to go, and companies aggressively competed for top sales people. A good salesperson could often boost just about any business to yield impressive numbers. It was an era of Tin Men and Slick Willies…but it worked. The 1990s brought the beginning of the technology boom as sales cycles once again shifted. A new era brought better-educated salespeople applying “push, push” sales techniques to a wide variety of products. Telemarketing still worked well and “networking” was the big buzzword. Your fax machine spewed reams of paper with endless offers for products and services; the consumer relied on the salesperson for information. Even in the late 1990s, Web sites were underutilized.
Coffee Is for Closers! The 1992 movie, Glengarry Glen Ross, summed up the sales mentality of the time in two memorable quotes that still echo among sales people: “ABC – always be closing, always be closing” and “Put down that coffee; coffee is for closers!” Not anymore. Not today. Most companies use automated phone systems, which act as gatekeepers to weed out telemarketers. Most offices post “No Soliciting” signs. Fax numbers are much less frequently shared, and few decision makers have the time to sift through direct mail.
Two strategic shifts have occurred in “sales tectonics”: It’s 2006. What Works? The first shift concerns the way people find information. Conventional methods such as direct mail, print advertising, salespeople and trade shows still work, but they need to reinforced with a powerful web brand. Most B2B and B2C searches for products and services are now done through search engines. To complicate things further, even if a company or product is discovered through traditional means, the next step, the “investigative” step, is almost always done via the Web.
Inside-Out Web Sites Which brings us to the second shift: how people perceive and interact with the information they find. If it’s TMI (too much information), they’re gone. If it looks unprofessional, they’re gone. And then there’s the mistake that’s made most often: web sites that are created from the inside out. The “message” of an inside-out Web site is developed from the insider’s perspective rather than from the customer’s point of view. A successful message must be created from the outside in; it must satisfy the prospect’s buying process through intuitive design and persuasion architecture. Unfortunately, this is rarely achieved. ImageWorks Studio tested over 100 corporate Web sites, and very, very few successfully branded a professional look and feel, with a customer-centered message leading to intuitive navigation and calls to action to encourage prospect interaction.
ImageWorks Studio To learn more about customer-oriented branding and web marketing/design contact ImageWorks at 703-968-6767 or at http://www.imageworksstudio.com/. Founded in 1995, ImageWorks is an award-winning marketing and design firm in northern Virginia, serving all markets. URL checked: address correct, link live.