How Sales Have Changed: What You Must Do To Compete Online
The kind of sales that was commonplace decades ago doesn’t really exist in the same form today. It’s quite incredible how sales have changed…
I can attest to this fact, personally, as I built my business up from the days of the door-to-door salesman forced to do cold call sales to what it is now, a data-focused technologically driven business.
To make sure you don’t get left behind in today’s digital age of sales, read over the following ways strategies have changed over the years.
Ideally, you can take a bit of the past, in terms of a sales approach, including being good with people, and use it to enhance the sales theories of today, which typically involve technology and data.
1. Have an Online Presence
With most people doing their research via a smartphone or laptop, a business’s online presence is more important than ever.
Sure, word-of-mouth is still a thing. However, even with word-of-mouth, a well-designed business website can give potential customers a “first impression” of your business they simply can’t get from a phone number and address.
You might ask yourself whether or not you can still compete without a website or mobile app. Well, technically yes, you can still do business, but you are handicapping yourself and why would you do that?
Fun Fact: Over half of all “near me” searches will result in an eventual store visit.
Therefore, it’s important to have a website or mobile app at the end of a “near me” search. This is what is called a “click-to-brick” conversion and a great way to increase sales.
2. Offer Your Product Online
Perfected by giants like Amazon and other online retailers, today’s sales often take place outside of brick-and-mortar stores altogether.
This movement towards the convenience online purchasing offers means you need to give your customers the option of purchasing online in order to keep pace with your competitors.
Consider the following scenario, you and another company both offer roughly the same product for the around the same cost.
What will set your product apart?
Sure, it might be your marketing.
Of course, it could also be the fact that you offer your product for purchase online, without requiring your customers to get in their car and drive across town to make their transaction.
Providing them the option of checking out and paying for their product, all from the comfort of their home can give your business the boost it needs to compete against another business.
It also allows you to make a sale without ever meeting them face-to-face.
3. Handle Customer Reviews Professionally
Potential customers are now a quick click away from finding out all kinds of information about your products and business in the form of reviews.
Sometimes, these reviews are unfair.
Thankfully, even a negative buzz around your business gives you an opportunity to respond with good customer service, and if you handle even unfair criticism professionally, your reputation will remain intact and will likely even improve.
4. Target Specific Customers
With the many avenues available to businesses today for tracking customer’s searches and the like, it is possible to specifically target individuals who are more likely to buy a certain product.
This takes place all the time, even to you.
Just think about how many times you have searched for a product or service and then see an ad for that or something similar pop up on your Facebook feed.
It’s a bit freaky, to be honest, but it works.
Specific online advertising geared towards a specific customer is now possible and it’s a tool you should be using.
According to Brian Halligan the CEO of Hubspot, “People shop and learn in a whole new way compared to just a few years ago, so marketers need to adapt or risk extinction.”
You as a modern sales professional, whether you have a large or small customer base, need to embrace the changes listed above or risk getting left behind.
The following are actionable ways to bring your sales into today’s digital age…
5. Create an Online Presence
If you don’t already have one, get a website today! Then, keep up with it, adding interesting, engaging content.
Follow up on your business’s online presence as well, by answering reviews, etc.
6. Invest in a Digital Marketing Strategy
Whether you utilize social media ads, email campaigns or employ tools that track potential customers’ purchasing habits, getting your business into the digital marketing world is a must.
How has your sales process changed over time? Are you adapting to these changes?
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.