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High Touch, High Tech: Sales Needs Both to Survive

Selling is a person-to-person business.

It’s been said that buyers already know everything they need to know about your company and your products and solutions before they ever speak to a salesperson.

This suggests that buyers don’t really need us anymore—that sales has become so automated, and that salespeople are irrelevant. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We still have a role to play—an important one. In fact, buyers might just need us now more than ever.

Sales: Powered By People Since the Beginning of Time

Word-class salespeople know and care about their clients. We understand our clients’ most pressing business issues and hurdles, we know about their industry developments, and competitive landscape. We help our clients connect the dots and put them in touch with resources that strengthen their business. We provide a level of understanding and human solution that isn’t delivered through a “Click Here” button.

High-Touch Is the Next Big Thing

In the January, 2013 issue of Condé Nast Traveler Magazine, hotelier André Balazs shares some of his favorite innovations from the past quarter century and the ones that will change the world in the next 25 years. He says: “Travel will become our most-prized luxury. Travel takes more than money. It takes the most precious commodity: time… In the future, the greatest indulgence will not be a Ferrari, it will be a week in Kathmandu.” And customer service will go old school, “The more technologically focused the world becomes, the less people will want to check in via iPad and have their pillow preferences stored in a computer. Instead, wouldn’t it be great if you could arrive at a hotel and have someone greet you by name? He’d take you up to your room, where you’d find your clothes all pressed and hanging in the closet? This simple, old-fashioned service is the most pleasant luxury.”

Go Big, Get Personal

The more technology-driven this world gets, the more we appreciate the personal touch—real recognition, in-person time, and actually getting to talk to and work with people. John Naisbitt, author of High Tech/High Touch: Technology and Our Search for Meaning, says, “The more high tech the more high touch we desire.”

Yes, there are certain things we’d rather do for ourselves with the help of our trusty computers, but at the end of the day, we also want to do business with people. For example, when we fly, we no longer need a person to find the schedule, sell the ticket, or issue the boarding pass. But we do want and appreciate a real, live person to greet us as we board the plane, and ensure there’s a pilot in the cockpit.

For the record: I am not tech-phobic, a Luddite, or afraid of change. (Read about why social networking isn’t  the next best thing, you are.) As our world and culture change, so will sales—and that’s OK. What doesn’t change is that our community is comprised of people. And people need interaction. So step up and make a difference in your clients’ lives and business. Help them succeed by being a top-notch, high-touch sales professional: be a resource, a cheerleader, a sounding board. Be part of the solution.

Comment Here & Join the Conversation

How will you make 2013 your high-touch year? What are your customer-connection hurdles, and how can we clear them together? Comment here.

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