I read a good article a few days ago which explained why you will always need a good website and that chasing the Social Media hounds is something to avoid. While I feel that Social Media is here to stay, there is something to be said for maintaining your course and and not losing sight of the things that brought your business to this point.
Then I reflected on my nearly thirty years in the business world and began reminiscing about the many sales forces and management teams I’d worked on and thought of the many times we were taken “back to the basics.” For many of you reading this, you will remember the sales training days of old when sales training got so esoteric, you wondered if we were in sales training or in medical school training to be a psychologist. I mean remember the diagrams and “quandrant graphics” showing where different types of buyers stood and how we were supposed to analyze them then place each buyer in a neatly defined area only to learn we had mis-diagnosed them and forgot that we were supposed to be dealing with building relationships?
Many of you just chuckled because you remember scratching your head and saying “Who is this guy and what the hell is he talking about, I have a family to feed and I’m supposed to play Dr. Phil?” Yeah, THAT training. The all-day, multi-day snooze-fest, accompanied by a hard-cover three ring binder full of all kinds of useful information that immediately went on our bookshelf in our office to show everyone that we understood the “essence of selling.” As my favorite Sunday Football pre-game show hosts might say “C’mon Man!”
Then one day while working in the printing industry we got yet another announcement we would be attending a two-day workshop put on by the 3M Company (always great stuff from them) entitled “Back to the Basics.” Yeah, how to shake a hand, look someone in the eye, and lie your ass off. No, just kidding. But really are your shoes shined? Is your car clean? Do you know what you’re doing today? Is your week planned? Or, are you gun slinging it through your work week? Yeah, THOSE basics. Refreshing it was and we learned quickly that before you can run off an play psychologist in your sales function, you better have a really firm grasp of the basics of selling, or you might as well hand a machine gun to a monkey(VIDEO).
Fast forward to 2011. You’ve built your website. Maybe you have a plan for it. Or, maybe it’s your corporate catalog. Perhaps someone is feverishly trying to get traction with your company Facebook page, Twitter account, Corporate blog, Linkedin Company Page, YouTube Account, eMail Campaigns and all the many wonderful marketing tools available to us, which by the way grow by leaps an bounds on a regular basis. Now know this. I am a fan of Social Media and I believe it is a great way to COMMUNICATE with your audience. Not sell to them, but COMMUNICATE. And I won’t hijack my own post by going down the road of Social Media use explanations (there are at least 375,689 guru’s, experts and swami’s that have already done so on the web).
My point is, as we all venture down these new lovely paths and learn to use new marketing and selling tools, are we making sure our business fundamentals with regards to marketing and selling, are sound? Are we regularly working with, providing tools to, and training to our sales force? Is everyone in our company who has interactions with our customers and prospects well trained to do so? Do our processes serve us, or our customers? How easy is it to do business with us? All these simple things that either put you on the map, or took your competition off of it. Let me ask you this, have you ever called a company and when an actual human with a pleasant demeanor answers the phone, do you ever find yourself having an internal sigh of relief? Yeah, THOSE little things…