David's Posts - David's Blog
Technology, a word that is the friend of some salespeople. A word that strikes abject fear in to other salespeople. Which are you? I started my sales career with a three ring notebook, with a page for each customer, I put in info each time I contacted the customer, until the page was filled, and then I stapled a new page to the back, and carried on. The notebook became dog eared, the pages fell out, info was lost and I was frustrated. Communication was a pager that told me who to call, and the nearest phone booth and a roll of dimes were the way to contact my customer. You learned where there were phone booths with desks, and good lighting, so you could sit down and do your work. Research on a potential customer was a trip to the public library, cold call info was yellow pages; you kept a copy of each phone book in your trunk, and pulled it out when you were working the territory. Orders were placed by handwritten forms, or called in to the secretary who typed it up and turned it in. Copies were on your desk, and you filed it all away in file cabinets.
Today, all my client info is on my laptop, and with an air card, I can get on the internet anywhere and anytime. Orders are placed by filling out forms on the internet, with copies in a computer file. I have two cell phones on my hip, one for company business and one for personal. I have a printer in car, so I can fill out and print contracts on the customer's site. My car has two electric outlets to power all this technology. Which is better?
Yes. I know that keyboard time, has replaced windshield time as the bane of a salesperson's existence, but think back to how difficult organization was in the past. You can now put together newsletters, presentations, and other communications and email them to any number of clients. We can then record our movements on a file in our CRM, and know what we did. We can stay in contact with hundreds of customers on a regular basis. We can use GPS to cut down lost time and energy.
I always fear that that I don't let technology disconnect me from my customer, I need to balance technology with the personal touch. I may email, but I need to be sure to make face to face contact, I may use the cell phone, but I need to be sure we're talking. I can't let leaving a voicemail, be sufficient contact with a customer, I need to be sure I reach and speak with the decision maker. Technology should help me to have a better relationship with my customer, not insulate me from my customer. I also need to resist the need to be a belt and suspenders type of salesperson. I need to embrace and trust that technology works. I don't need boxes full of files in my car, which are copies of things on my computer. I don't need to hard copy every email I receive, I need to let technology lighten my load, not add to it.
We always want to complain about change, and lament the good old days, but they weren't that good. We need to accept change, advocate for more change, and use the technology to the best effect that we can. Let's all prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Labels: David Colomb