Have We Lost the Art of Conversation in Sales?

Many years ago before the internet, there were things like "free newspapers" and the yellow pages, I'm not going to describe what they are, but they provided a massive service to the world of sales.

Products like these were run on advertising and there were teams after teams of people selling advertising on the phone. There was no text messaging, no whatsapp, no social media, sales people HAD to use the phone to call people up. We had a conversation.

Let's remember, what you and I sell in the world of B2B needs a conversation, so conversations create sales.

You may know here at DLA Ignite, as a business we focus on one thing, which is being the best at social selling and social transformation. 

We don't want to be a "full service agency" for us that is "Jack of all trades, master of none" which is a figure of speech used in reference to a person who has dabbled in many skills, rather than gaining expertise by focusing on one. We want to focus on the one set of key skills, being digital.

Anyway, my business partner, Adam Gray got called up by an old friend and was asked to do a piece of work, which was to teach a sales team how to have conversations. It's not something we usually do, but as it was an old friend we helped out.

Maybe you know a sales team like this. They get a meeting and turn up and pitch. Then the client says no and sales blame "marketing" for rubbish leads.

Now there is a physiological condition in all of us humans called "persuasion reactance", which the internet defines as ...

"Persuasion Resistance is a natural defense against pressure. Reactance occurs when a prospect senses that someone is trying to compel them to do something; they automatically resist and attempt to move away from the conversation."

In other words, when you pitch at me, my natural reaction as a human is to push back against it. 

Think about when somebody cold calls you, send you a spam email, tries to pressurise you into something, we hate it and push back.

What Adam did was explain to the salespeople how to go into a meeting with somebody you don't know and how you can control the conversations so they actually ask you what you do. Then not pitching, but outlining the business issues you solve, so the other person actually asks for more information.

Maybe the art of conversation is not lost in sales entirely. 

Now Imagine .....

How about if I said, I can take you to a place where all your prospects hang out, would you go?

I can pick you up in the car tomorrow and you can hang out there, having conversations with them.

When you arrived, what would you do?

Grab a coffee and go up to the first one and start a conversation? Of course you would.

Or would you walk in and say "buy my stuff, because we are great". Of course you wouldn't, as somebody would call security.

That's the difference. Selling on social is ...... social. You have conversations with people.

You don't go up to people and pitch to them as people will call security.

The great thing about social is that there is no "prime selling time (PST)", you can have as many conversations as you want. One of my customers, does his prospecting between putting the kids to bed and when he goes to bed.

It's time to bring your demand generation into the second decade of the 21st century and it's time to "start fishing where the fish are" ...... on social. 

Related: How Do We Transform CEOs and the C-Suite Into Creatives?