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Selling in 21st Century

By Alen Majer

There has been a revolution in everything in our society except in sales. The sales industry has crawled while other professions have been running: "new" sales books are still talking about the same tips, tricks and techniques that were working in last century and bringing the success to sales people.

Certainly selling has the look of 20 or 30 years ago, features and benefits are still the main topic at every sales training, whether internally done or from an outside trainer, and management is pushing the same old ideas about cold calling and open-ended questions, but customers are changing rapidly in their behavior, buying habits, knowledge about the situation on the market, and most important - their expectations from sellers.

Selling itself is changing. Whole business environment is more dynamic, we have many and breaking new products on the market, and competition is bigger, harder, and stronger day-by-day. Buyers are more educated, they are searching for information by themselves, and they are looking from providers to understand buyer's situation, needs and business.

Sales cannot continue to resolve twenty-first century situations in the business world using last-century tips and tricks. Tomorrow's sales challenges cannot be met using last-century's understandings and strategies. Those skills and information are not wrong; they are simply incomplete for today's market. Unless this is acknowledged and the sales professional admits that he does not know all there is to know about sales and customers behavior, there can be no hope of continuing excellence in sales as is.

I believe it is finally the right time for the dinosaurs of sales to become extinct.

The 21st Century changes the rules of engagement. New knowledge is needed and also new set of tools which will include the technology, to help you in your search for your next customer.

Technology is developing at a pace that rarely anyone can catch up, and especially the last two decades many trained sales people are not in the position to utilize the advantages of the technology. In this regard, the technology can be your friend or foe.

Web 2.0 enables Sales 2.0 and many sales people can take customer communications into their own hands and to an entirely new level. Sales reps have more control over the tools that they use, and they can be always on, answering to customers questions in the matter of minutes and not hours or days.

Trigger events are great toolset to help you find new opportunities on the market for your product or service. With trigger events it will be easier for you to find companies that have immediate wants and needs. You are looking for events that can trigger the sales opportunity for you.  

Trigger events can be divided depending where they have been triggered, inside or outside the company. Therefore we have two sorts of trigger events:

Internal trigger events are events triggered inside of the company or business.

External trigger events are one that we cannot influence, but we need to adapt to a newly created situation. It affects the customers’ success and could change business environment dramatically.

Internal events we can further divide into the two major groups: positive ones or growth trigger events, and negative ones or stagnation trigger events. If it shows the growth of the company (hiring 20 new sales reps or opening new offices, or new products have been introduced) we can say we have internal growth trigger events.

Learning about the trigger events, what they are, where to find and how to use them, your benefit is that with this newly acquired knowledge you will be able to qualify prospects faster and find your next customer much easier than before.

And not just that – you will be able to put customers in the market who didn’t feel that way before you contacted them. Trigger events can be a very powerful weapon for sales person who wants to be able to qualify prospects faster and understand his customers’ situation, and even identify needs with customers together.

With trigger events you will be better prepared for challenges that customers are putting in front of us each day. You will be equipped with a completely new set of tools needed to recognize who could be (and should be) on the market today for your product or services, giving you the better understanding where you should focus your selling activities.

Learning about this new set of tools you will be reminded, motivated, and pushed to do something more for your sales career and your sales numbers. A sales person needs to grow, to try to reach that next goal and to have a life filled with success in his or her profession, which makes life more worth living.

Read other articles and learn more about Alen Majer.

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