salesleadsDo your sales reps really prospect based on fairy tales?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away … Well, you know the ending to that famous story. You also know it’s just a myth, a fable, a legend. It’s entertaining, but not real.

Fictional stories belong in books, movies, or in the theatre—not in real life. Yet, many sales reps buy into the mythical statistics and ridiculous promises floating around the Internet about how to drive sales leads in the digital age.

Wake-up call: You’re in the wrong job if you believe everything you hear about lead generation techniques.

  • Believe that 57 percent of the buying process is complete before a prospect ever talks to a salesperson?
  • Believe that Buyer 2.0 drives the sales process?
  • Believe that Buyer 2.0 wants a quick fix?
  • Believe that technology can do your job?

Myths like this are what turn talented sales professionals into mediocre ones. Here’s the truth about Buyer 2.0 and the role of technology in sales:

What Do Buyers Really Want?

Technology might make us faster, better, and stronger. But it has also made prospects less patient, and sales leads much less reliable.

Buyer 2.0 expects companies to move quickly—to deliver solutions and results almost immediately. To some degree, technology enables us to do that. But a word of warning: Faster does not always mean better. Speed can make us careless, sloppy, and less thorough.

If you do things quickly and deliver on target, your clients will think you’re a rock star. But if you goof, you have no time to recover. Your buyer will move on to your competition—after trashing your reputation and brand on social media.

There’s an old saying in sales: Good, fast, cheap. Pick two.

Customers who want top quality and want it fast must be prepared to pay a premium. Cheap and quality don’t belong in the same sentence. You get what you pay for. Clients who try to beat your sales team down on price will continue to expect the same level of expertise and responsiveness. If your lead generation techniques position you as a low-cost provider, then you probably have a fulfillment process that is automated and efficient. If, however, you sell a more complex product or service, forget fast and cheap.

Most companies can’t do good, fast, and cheap—at least not if they want to make a profit and stay in business. Just be upfront with your customers about what you can realistically deliver and why.

Buyer 2.0 Still Needs Smart Sales Reps

Once upon a time, prospects looked to salespeople for information. Now, with a quick Google search and a little time on social media, they can learn all about our companies, products, and services. Before they make contact with us, they have usually checked out our websites, compared pricing, read a whitepaper or two, listened to a webinar, and/or viewed a demo. They’ve also researched what our competitors have to offer.

Some take this to mean that sales leads, prospects, and clients don’t really need salespeople anymore—that the automation of selling has made us irrelevant. And that’s straight fiction.

Our prospects need us just as much as ever. But their needs have changed. They don’t need sales reps to give them demos or canned sales pitches because they can get all that information online. What they do need is expertise and insights about what does and doesn’t work, all of which a smart sales rep with industry experience can deliver.

Buyer 2.0 Doesn’t Know It All

Technology—and all of the information it provides—has made buyers a little … well, cocky. They know what they want (or at least, think they do), so they want to be in the driver’s seat during the sales process.

But while buyers are now very good at homework, they don’t always know exactly what they need from us, or how to get it most efficiently and cost-effectively. They usually don’t fully understand the commitment needed (from themselves and their teams) to implement solutions that guarantee knock-your-socks-off ROI. But we do.

Your sales team can identify prospects’ pain points and deliver exactly the right solution by asking smart questions and listening carefully to their answers.

That’s how salespeople deliver value—real value—in the digital age. And technology won’t do that for us, nor will it give us a huge advantage over our competitors, who (let’s face it) have access to the same gadgets, gizmos, and applications. The most powerful deal-closing tool is still a living, breathing salesperson who can ask the right questions, apply years of experience and wisdom, and offer tailored solutions that make sense for each client.

Let your competitors believe the myths. While they’re waiting for the phone to ring or for emails to come through, your team will be turning sales leads into new customers.

Join the Conversation: What are some common sales myths that you refuse to believe?

Want to learn more about the most effective way to generate new sales leads? Check out No More Cold Calling OnDemand.

Connect with No More Cold Calling

Follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.