Industrial Sales Reps Don’t Need Business Cards Anymore

Do Industrial Sales Reps Still Need Business Cards?

no business cards-industrial sales repsWell…maybe a few.  Let me explain

We all know your customers and buyers are more informed than ever.  It is now said by several trusted resources, such as Gartner, Forrester etc., that your buyer is 70% through the buying’s journey before the sales group has a chance of getting their hooks into them.

I recently was in my office at home when my 15 year old Denon receiver took a dump.  I quickly went to the web and researched receivers that fit my specifications.  In less than a half hour I had made a decision on which receiver was best for my application. Normally I would have ordered on Amazon, where I read many reviews as part of my research.  Instead, I needed the receiver quickly so I jumped in the car and drove off to Best Buy.

I walked briskly in the door at Best Buy, proceeded directly to the home entertainment area  and picked up my new Yamaha RX-575 Receiver.

Done.  No interaction with a salesperson.

Your industrial buyer is doing the same thing without your sales group.  A more educated buyer is meeting your foot soldiers at the door (or on the phone)… better prepared than ever.

Has your industrial marketing and sales strategy changed to accommodate your new buyer?  Your buyer’s new attitude will not tolerate the old school sales tactics of the past.  The “rust-belted” ways of cold calling, direct mail, cold-emailing are simply not effective anymore.

In his ground breaking book, SalesShift, Frank Belzer outlines the behavioral changes in your buyer brought to you by Google and others.  Belzer outlines the fundamental changes your sales staff must change…RIGHT NOW.  These changes not only require a shift in skill sets, but a shift in your sales reps’ attitude

The environment we all sell into (including yours truly) has radically changed in the last couple years and according to Belzer we need to develop and sharpen the following skills:

Consultative skills:  As Belzer says we need to go beyond what the customer expects from a sales person.  Ask probing questions with the goal of getting, “Oh, I had not thought of that”

Advisor relationship:  Although your prospect comes to the relationship with more knowledge than ever, your people skills are more critical than ever.  Folks still gravitate to someone they like and trust.

Natural style:  Because our prospects are so well prepared no longer do they response to “What will it take to get this deal done?” or “On a scale of 1-10, 1 meaning you are not interested and 10 meaning you want to give me a check, where are you?”  And then “What will it take to get you to a 10?”  Not only does the prospect greet you with more product knowledge but also a distaste for slick sales tricks.  They want natural people that don’t have any agenda other than a helpful agenda.

Demonstrated integrity & trust:  Your prospects can’t get this from a web site or from downloading your e-book. Your prospect needs to trust your company and its products and that begins many times with your sales group.

So back to the original premise of this blog post…business cards.

I was at a recent meeting with an industrial manufacturing company in Michigan.  I already had a relationship with the President of the company.  We were in a follow-up meeting with some of his marketing managers.  When the members of the President’s team came to the conference room we started the obligatory business card exchange.   In unison 2 out of the 3 marketing personnel said “Oh, we don’t need your card we have read your blog and your Linkedin profile and you are plugged into our CRM system already.”

As an industrial sales rep, do you have a blog demonstrating your expertise & consultative skills?  Have you pumped up your Linkedin profile to be all that it can be?

Are you focused on Belzer’s outline of new skill sets for your well informed industrial buyer?

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"By Tom Repp"



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