It is 2020. Children are born with square eyes and a smartphone glued to their hand. Half of your office is probably still weaning themselves off Pokémon Go and debating over traditional and digital selling. Words like ‘cloud’, ‘farms’, ‘phishing’ and ‘whaling’ no longer conjure up images of a Sunday drive to the countryside. It is amazing how the split between online and offline communication can divide people, even though the world is already at our fingertips.
The majority of salespeople I come into contact with fall into one of two camps: the old school “this is how we’ve always done it” camp, and “digital is the way of the future, cold calling is dead” opposition. What if there was a happy medium that took the best parts of both worlds? In this post, I will share my experience of leveraging traditional and digital approaches to selling and the impact it has had on my personal and professional brand.
As a millennial, my friends and family are well aware of my social presence. We keep in touch through the ‘dings’ of Facebook Messenger, the daily Snapchats, the endless selfies on Instagram, and by posting meme after meme on every platform. Yet, we still go out for coffee, we attend family lunches, and we go to birthday parties. Picking up the phone to speak to friends doesn’t seem out place. Is the business equivalent really so strange?
My bread-and-butter involves traditional methods of reaching people: calling, emailing and meeting in person. Since starting up a sales career, I have been leveraging social media (LinkedIn in particular) to share relevant content and stay on top of mind with my clients. It helps me keep up to date with industry trends and gauge what my network is talking about. It also allows me to keep in touch with literally hundreds of people, long after we have initially met or spoken. Through building my online network, I have connected with people I otherwise would never have had the opportunity to speak to.
A few weeks ago, our CEO, was in Melbourne. In the weeks leading up to his visit, I reached out to connections I have made on LinkedIn, to set up meetings with our CEO and myself. The purpose of the meetings was to find out more about the organizations and the people we engage with and to see if our organization can add value to the client firms. I was humbled by the responses and by the meetings: At 25, I never expected to be sitting in front of people with more years of experience than my years of life, with the CEO of my company, and be able to give them something of substance they could take away. Post-meeting, I was again able to use Social platforms to share things I learned and add value to my network, as well as reach more people through referral.
My job is about enabling the people I make contact with to do what they do more efficiently, more effectively and with less risk. If my presence – digitally or in person – means I have improved a person’s job, business or industry, I have succeeded.
Phone calls, emails and meetings are not dead, despite assertions to the contrary. An exclusively online presence will never replace the human element, but without the reach of a digital platform (LinkedIn, Facebook), how can you ensure you are getting in front of the right people?
A digital presence is efficient. A traditional approach is effective. You CAN be both. We leverage traditional and digital selling to conduct our business. My colleagues and I at Insight and Innovation bounce in and out of traditional and social selling, seamlessly.