How Selling has Changed over the Years
The art of selling has undergone tremendous changes over the past few decades. The question is how much. Personally, I would say that it has changed a lot. Take a look at a few concepts such as inbound marketing and social media advertising which were non-existent in the past few years, and you will agree. The traditional art of placing random calls to prospective customers is now viewed as an avoidable expense unlike in the past when it was a necessary cost of doing business.
With the economy still recovering and the government still implementing austerity measures, businesses have been cajoled and hassled to cut down on spending, be more price-conscious and conduct further due diligence. Occasionally, you will come across a salesperson complaining how it is difficult to clinch deals with customers. This is partly due to insufficient funds to spend, and partly due to resistance to buying that has become an instinctive habit of most customers.
The rapid growth of the Internet has made information available to just about anyone with a phone or Internet connection, besides the sales people. This has fueled the development of inbound marketing, a term that refers to attracting customers through provision of information that they are seeking. The traditional “outbound marketing" revolved around outbound techniques such as print ads, attending exhibitions and trade shows and making random calls to prospects. This concept was based on creating a rapport with prospective customers and then warming them until they tried out your service or product.
To be successful using outbound marketing, you had to know the average number of prospects to visit in order to clinch a single deal. This method was therefore inefficient. With statistics indicating that the cost of sending a salesperson to visit a prospective customer has nearly tripled since the 80s, this method has become too expensive. A solution had to be found.
Luckily, with the explosion of the Internet, inbound marketing has gained popularity as sales managers look for cost-effective ways of acquiring new customers or leads. Inbound marketing has been made possible through search engine optimization, blogging, webinars and social media communities such as Facebook and Twitter. Through such methods, you can get into contact with prospective consumers who offer ready ears to what you are offering. For example, you can install the chat feature on your website to reach out to visitors and offer to help them. Following up on such warm leads is a low-cost and a highly-effective method of marketing yourself to prospective consumers.
Inbound marketing is a gradual process. You must first create a website or a blog which must be updated on a regular basis. You can also build your company’s site in social media communities. Create interesting content that will draw prospective buyers to your site. Great content boosts up your site’s ranking in search engines such as Google. A customer seeking services or products offered by your business can easily be drawn to your business if your site ranks high enough on search engines.