During a recent interview, I was asked, “What does the future hold for the work force, especially for salespeople? How
will the salesperson of tomorrow change or be different to adapt to the times?”
Of course, my visceral
reaction was to come up with something so transformational and insightful that
it would reshape the landscape of professional selling and salesmanship. But
after I paused and thought more about this question at a deeper level, I realized
this may not be truly possible. After all, when it comes to selling, outside of
the apparent changes in technology that continues to shape the Sales 2.0 evolution,
what has changed over the years? Is there really a new definition for
professional selling? If we were to look at the role, responsibility, skill
set, behavior, attitude and overall disposition that makes a sales champion, is
the anatomy of the top salesperson from 50 years ago to today and well into
tomorrow really all that different?
While I believe there
are some inherent changes we will see within the workforce when it comes to
redefining the role of the traditional salesperson, the real difference will be
evident in those companies who truly embrace and implement these changes and
actually model this definition of sales mastery, as opposed to those who simply
know about it but don’t do anything measurable to change. The economy over last
two years has certainly done a wonderful job validating and exemplifying this ever
widening gap. Consequently, this exposes the real opportunity for us and the
timeless distinction between knowing it and doing it.
We are a society
that is knowledge rich but execution scarce. While we are wealthy in wisdom and
information, we are often lacking in seeing new ideas, strategies and activities
through to completion and implementing the new behavior, thinking or technology
to the point that it produces the desired change we’re looking for. After all,
intention without action is still a diversionary tactic. (The real evolution
will take place with the sales manager, who needs to become a sales coach to
ensure these changes are, in fact made, but that’s a different blog and a different book 😉
Regardless, I do
have my view of tomorrow’s salesperson and this is the transformation I
envision that salespeople must not only understand and embrace but put into practice
so that it truly becomes part of their DNA.
salesperson of tomorrow will continue to evolve beyond their traditional role
and become more embedded into their customer’s business and the decisions that
affect every facet of their operation.
true sales professional will be relied upon as a valuable resource and a
trusted, consultative adviser throughout the entire selling process; and
beyond. This doesn’t mean focusing solely on relationship selling because those
salespeople who are doing so are the ones who are struggling today. Great
relationships don’t always equate to more sales. While additional time must be
spent fostering stronger relationships with key clients, this isn’t about calling
them just to ‘check in’ but having a more strategic set of timely questions
that will help you better understand how the current economic climate has
affected the way they do business and make purchasing decisions.
will help us accurately connect to what the true meaning of value
is to our customers, as opposed to what we generically assume it to be and as
such, enable us to deliver on this at a much deeper, more significant level.
to take a closer and more holistic look at ourselves from the inside out while
challenging our customers, the media and status quo. Therein lies the
opportunity to elevate yourself and become the champion you know you can be.