Is Selling in 2015 More Difficult than it was in 1989?

Demand Creation ‌• March 5, 2014

Selling then and now  What a difference 20 years makes…

Have you tried to reach a prospect on the phone these days?  Tried to get a prospect to respond to an email you spent hours writing?  Have you ever wished they would just simply respond and at the very least, just tell you to buzz off?  Anyone who is in the business of selling and retiring quota has likely experienced these frustrating outcomes for their countless hours of prospecting time invested.

But is it really harder to get connected with prospects today than it was 20 years ago?  For those of us who transcend that timeline, we can tell you that it has never been easy to establish a first contact with a complete stranger.  Twenty years ago, our prospects were protected by personal admins. Managers, directors and executives often used these “gatekeepers” to screen and filter out unwanted solicitations by salespeople.  As email came about (mostly after 1994), these same gatekeepers were often used to actually read, screen, and reply to their boss’s email.  And, cell phones were a luxury that only a few special people had.  This meant that salespeople had to work hard at getting ahold of their prospects when their prospects were in their offices and could actually speak on the phone, usually either before or after the 8-5 workday.

My point in comparing “yesteryear” to today is that I don’t believe it has ever really been easy to get connected with strangers as a part of the sales prospecting and lead development effort.  Ryan Caligiuri wrote an article recently that suggested there were five reasons why prospects might not want to connect with salespeople:

1. Your value is not clear to the prospect

  • Capture your prospect’s attention by inspiring them with the benefits You/your Company has helped others like them achieve.  Everyone relates to stories about how others with similar challenges to their own — overcame.

2. You’re an unknown quantity

  • Use your LinkedIn network to help get an introduction.  Provide your mutual connection some context so there is a known value equation everyone will feel good about acting on.

3. You believe that your prospects don’t need what you offer

  • Everyone is getting their job done today, but there is always a better way.  Take some time to hone your 3-4 compelling competitive advantages that you can incorporate into your reach-out or follow-up emails.

4. When you do connect, you’re too busy selling when you should be listening

  • Be prepared with 2-3 open-ended questions that will get your prospect talking and you focusing on listening to them.

5. You give up too easily

  • Everyone is busy and it will take several attempts to get connected with your prospects.

Bottom line, prospecting isn’t easy.  To that end, OppSource developed the DemandPursuit Desktop™ system that enables inside sales and lead development professionals to more effectively prospect.  If you’d like to learn more about how you could use this system to significantly improve your results, schedule a web demo with us by [clicking here].

Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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