(And what you can do about it)
It’s not your imagination. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are struggling to meet their sales numbers. Something has changed. That something is everything.
You may have noticed by using relationship tools such as LinkedIn that a high percentage of your contacts and acquaintances have changed jobs in the past 24 months.
This unprecedented churn should present opportunity, shouldn’t it? People we know moving to new positions usually opens up new conversations. However, in the post-economic collapse era, these folks are stepping into new roles at diminished salaries with increased responsibilities and fewer monetary resources than ever to get the job done. They are stretched thin. And from a sales perspective this repeat business and referral network is likely underperforming as compared to the past.
Furthermore, in the corner offices, baby boomers are retiring out of senior decision-making roles in growing numbers, ceding that authority to a whole new generation of incumbents who have an entirely different way of cultivating relationships.
The problem is that most consumers are tuning out traditional, interruption-based marketing methods. In fact, cold calls are regarded with utter disdain. The reaction translated is: “How dare you interrupt me with an extraneous sales communication. Do you not understand that my time is precious and I do not have bandwidth to do what I need to do let alone accommodate your need to sell me too?
In short this is why the old sales methods are gone forever. Prospective customers are now choosing to interact with the solution providers they choose, when they want, and on their own terms.
The reason you may be feeling a chilling effect on sales now more than ever is because we have just now reached a tipping point; the point at which a critical mass of customers seem to be exhibiting these traits.
The old way is gone. Now is the time to evolve your sales and marketing processes or continue to feel the increasing pain and isolation of diminishing sales opportunities and new business conversations.
It is time to invest in an inbound marketing approach so you can begin receiving and responding to the needs of qualified prospect’s rather than trying to “smile and dial” or “spray and pray” to little or no avail.
This means developing a plan that exploits the latest and evolving marketing methodologies, including content, search, web, PR, digital, social, advertorial, lead generation, and e-mail marketing. It also means reassessing cold calls, print, mail and other less than desirable practices that are falling on deaf ears and blind eyes.
It may be a rude awakening. But once you have a strong plan in place, the results can be seen quite quickly.
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