The story goes; when I was four years old I picked vegetables from my mother’s garden and sold them door-to-door, so I could buy candy at the corner market. I’ve never been shy. I’ve always had a “knack” for sales.  I managed a retail outlet, sold Volkswagens, and was a sales manager for a home remodeling company. I was in sales for 40 years, and much of that time I practiced and taught, old school sales techniques. When it comes to outdated sales strategies, I know what I’m talking about. But I’ve learned to be a new age sales consultant. Ten years ago I began consulting organizations, on leadership, social media, and sales. I tossed out every piece of old school sales training I’d ever muttered and begun anew. Here’s what I learned.

Old School Sales  

The salesperson of the past had a scripted presentation. The presentation might have been used by everyone on the sales team and presented to every customer. I was a sales manager for a national organization (72 offices in 41 states) that did exactly this.

New Age Consultants

Today’s best salespeople are problem solvers. They don’t have a one size fits all for every customer because no two customers have exactly the same concerns, wants, and needs.

Old School Sales

The old School salesperson used sales techniques and tricks. They believed sales psychology was the key to successful sales. The problem with this method is it works. It creates sales, but not lasting relationships because it ignores the needs of the prospect and focuses on how to influence their decision making it fit the sellers needs not the customer’s.

New Age Consultants

Today the best sales people learn how to ask questions rather than influence the decision-making process. The best sales people are detectives uncovering the needs of clients and offering solutions.

Old School Sales

ABC (Always be Closing) this is what I was taught and how I trained others. Just keep asking for the order, pleading for the sale.

New Age Consultants

ABH (Always be Helping). Today’s salesperson knows if they help customers they’ll build relationships that go beyond buyer and seller.

Old School Sales

Old timers overpromise by doing whatever it takes to get the sale; overpromising seldom leads to a good end. Even worse than overpromising, bait and switch tactics were commonly used to entice prospects, and then lead them away from the enticement to a product or service that was more profitable for the seller.

New Age Consultants

New consultants believe in being transparent; they inform prospects of the truth even if it’s not what the prospect wants to hear or isn’t the most profitable outcome for the seller.

Old School Sales

Old School sales people believed personality was the key to a successful sales career. Sales potential was measured in charisma and charm. It was more important to be a good confidence person or con man than to help clients.

New Age Consultants

Today the best sales people don’t rely upon charm alone, they are knowledgeable, excel at connecting people, and they solve problems.

The New Sales

There continue to be old school sales technique advocates. However, the days of using salesmanship rather than sales consulting are waning. Consumers today, whether B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer), have access to all the information they need. They no longer want or need a salesperson to educate and influence them in the decision-making process. New sales consultants focus on the customers’ needs and solve their problems. Is your sales team old hat or new age?

If you’d like to read more on this topic try these posts.

Serving Others is the New Sales

Is Your Sales Cycle Up to Date or Old School?