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Extremism is Hurting the Sales Profession!

Source | LinkedIn : By 

We’ve all witnessed the danger that can come from those holding extreme views in politics and religion. Although the consequences aren’t nearly as dire, I see more and more extreme views hurting the sales profession. Who espouses and promulgates such views? It’s some of the so-called pundits who would have us believe that anything that used to work no longer does in the modern sales world. These nouveau “experts” proselytize  the “death” of those terrible “old-school” sales fundamentals in order to promote their self-serving agendas. And unfortunately, there are lots of them and their voices are loud. They proclaim the death of solution selling, telephone prospecting, sales process; the list goes on. Some even proclaim the demise of the field sales person. “Why do you need field reps when buyers are already well past halfway through the buying process before they engage with a sales person and all your wonderful content has influenced them to buy from you?”, so the rationalization goes. Besides, your crack SDR team can surely do the demos and “facilitate” the buying process (even though they possess neither the skills or experience to do any real selling in many cases). David Brock recently wrote an excellent piece on this topic: Laziness and the 57%.

These “experts” sometimes cite biased interpretations of research statistics to validate their positions. I get it; they’re trying to sell something and provocative headlines sell better than bland statements. [For a great read on this see Steve Hall’s post, The Big (Sales Short).] But sadly, many of us don’t seem to recognize that it’s just hype. Instead we blindly gobble up their over-dramatized nonsense, diving full-bore into their “‘great new approach” that supposedly renders all past practices obsolete without stopping to ask some important questions; like “do they have an ulterior motive (commercial agenda)?”, “does this make sense for me, for my target customers?”, “how did they come up with these statistics and in what context?”.

It’s partly our own fault. We continually look for the next big thing, the shiny new object, the silver bullet, the magic secret, the easy way to sales success. We’re attracted to the extreme. We want to avoid the hard work of executing the proven sales fundamentals.  But it’s also the fault of these so-called experts. Many have never really sold, or at least not for long. It seems that their only real knowledge about the “old way” consists of narrow definitions and twisted sound bites that conveniently support their claims. Don’t get me wrong, some provide a fair amount of helpful advice. But what irks me is that so many “throw the baby out with the bath water”. In order to promote their latest commercial venture, they take the position that all things old (aka tried and true) are no longer effective (i.e. they’re dead).

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