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Do You Know How the Telephone Works … or How to Prospect?

What’s trust got to do with it?

When we showed my 85-year-old aunt how to use a computer, she told us she still hadn’t figured out how the telephone worked, so don’t bother. She walked out of the room. End of conversation. She talked a lot about “back in the day” and reminisced about what life was like when she was younger. This wasn’t the first time she’d witnessed a changing world, and she knew that new wasn’t always better.

Were the “good old days” as wonderful as people say? Yes and no. Was it easier to do business? Absolutely.

You left the office, came home, and enjoyed a meal and evening with your family. No work. No phone calls. Referrals and relationships were how to prospect. Deals were closed with a handshake. People valued both business and personal relationships. Trust was built because salespeople made time to build and nurture these relationships.

What’s changed is technology. What hasn’t changed for top salespeople is their dedication to their clients and to relationship-building. They know how to prospect, and they understand that people, not technology, are their competitive edge.

Matt Heinz isn’t nearly as old as my aunt (or as old as I am, for that matter), but he understands the value of the old ways of working. In his brilliant blog post, “4 Tips for Commodity Selling in a Competitive Market,” he makes the case for “back in the day” selling and shares tips for how to prospect like we did decades ago. Here’s a snippet:

4 Tips for Commodity Selling in a Competitive Market
By Matt Heinz

A few years ago, I sat down to a delicious meal prepared by my parents (well, mostly prepared by my mom, but when dad is on the grill, he gets some credit too). I remarked on how fresh the bread tasted. My dad took the compliment and said that he picked it up at Great Harvest.

Suddenly, he had a far-off look in his eyes.

“Back in the day”, he started, “my family would only buy bread from the Brenner Brothers. They were the best. But it wasn’t just about the quality of their bread.”

“What else was it?” I asked.

He explained that the whole Brenner family worked there. The couple that founded the shop ran the joint, but their children and cousins were either in the kitchen, behind the counter, or out on delivery. He’d walk through the door and from behind the counter, Lee would shout, “Hi Stevie, what are you looking for today? The usual? Something special? Let me help you!”

Reminiscing, my dad said, “They were such a hard-working bunch that just made you feel special. My family never even thought about buying bread from another bakery.”

Read the rest of the article.

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