Old Fashioned Sales

Sales Specialist
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There can be no doubt that the Internet, more specifically, the worldwide usage of the Internet has brought about drastic changes to most every career. Even medical doctors, who once consulted journals, reference material or attended bi-annual seminars, now turn to sites like WebMD for research and information.

Despite its influence, the Internet is not all-powerful and should not be seen as a replacement for many of the activities that define us as sales professionals.

Belly to Belly, Face to Face

Many products and services can be and are purchased entirely through the Internet. Even products that are eventually purchased from a brick and mortar store are usually researched and negotiated online. Think of auto sales and how most every car shopper arrives at a dealership equipped with the pricing they expect to pay, the make, model and features they want to buy. The shopping was done on the Internet and only the purchase was made face to face.

Despite your occupation, if you are in sales, it is certain that the Internet, and your customer's access to it, have and do affect your sales cycles, approach and results.

Yet this does not mean that sales is a dying industry, to be replaced by online stores, super low prices, and aggressively priced shipping rates. While some industries will fully resort to having only an online presence, many will still demand a sales professional to meet face to face with prospects and turn them into customers.

Business will always need professionals to meet with prospects, to qualify them, to present to them and, of course, to close deals.

Expecting a well designed online store and low prices to replace good old fashioned sales is akin to casting to product or service to the profitless world of being nothing more than a commodity; to which customers assign very little value and see only the practical application of your product and demand the absolute lowest price possible.

A Union of Efforts

The Internet has, without question, caused constrictions of profits across most industries. Lower profit margins create the need for businesses to lower their operating costs in order to be competitive in the ever-evolving and expanding market. But those whose product or service has either actual or perceived value above the value of a commodity, are relying on both sales professionals and the Internet to reach their customers.

How many businesses that sell a product or service, whether large of small, have no Internet visibility? Very few, if any. Most businesses not only have a public web page but have also invested time and energy into Social Networking. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are flooded with businesses trying to draw exposure to their products, their company and to their value.

In the end, with most businesses employing the same or similar marketing strategies, it comes down to which company has the most capable sales professional when determining which business wins and which loses.

The Continued Need for Sales Skills

Competition is a wonderful vehicle for success. Without it, we would have little reason to improve our products, services and our sales skills.

The Internet has delivered us all the competition that we could ever hope for and all the reasons why committing to a never-ending approach to improving our skills should be any sales professional's top priority.

You, as a sales professional, need to consistently improve your rapport skills, your prospecting abilities, your presentation skills and your closing skills. In addition, you must learn how to use and then to improve your effectiveness to using Social Networking in your daily efforts. To shun the Internet and Social Networking is like throwing in the towel. While you may not believe that Web 2.0 is important, it is and your not accepting it as being important does not make it unimportant.

Are sales careers old fashioned and soon to go the way of the Dodo bird? Certainly not, yet those who rely solely on their original sales skills and do not embrace emerging trends will become extinct.