Traditional vs. Modern Sales: Is There Room for Both in Small Business?

Before delving into this topic, I’d like to share a thought with you: if you want to educate your ideal clients about your product or service, you must first know who they are and where they hang out. You see, if you aren’t knowledgeable about your target audience, no amount of marketing or sales will be effective.

Many small business owners struggle to distinguish the difference between traditional and modern sales. They question whether or not to use one over the other. Is there room for a combination of both? Let’s find out.

Traditional “Country Style” Sales

What we know as “traditional” sales, I like to call “country style.” We tend to associate a “country style” with a laid back, face-to-face way of doing things; slower paced, less stressful, but still productive. Multimillion dollar deals are made this way all the time!

In the traditional business world, everything hinges on the sales person. They visit the Chamber of Commerce, network with local groups, communities, and friends to establish relationships and get the business name out there. They attend conferences, workshops, and trade shows. They cultivate the relationships they establish to sell their product or service, or to receive qualified referrals.

Although this is a good way to meet hundreds of people and advertise, most sales people fail to cultivate and establish long-term relationships. In my experience, even those who try only succeed partially, maybe 2 percent of the time. While the prospect of a referral is present, most people won’t take the time to dig out your contact information.

In traditional business, most business owners don’t see the big picture. They don’t see how much time and money they spend cultivating contacts that are never fully recorded and maintained. Their sales associate must meet as many people as possible just to identify low hanging fruit sales, and they’ll likely never identify and follow through on high hanging fruit sales for future business. If the sales person leaves your organization, all of their leads go with them because there was never a mechanism in place for recording and tracking those leads.

Traditional style business gives business owners and sales professionals a sense of mental satisfaction. They feel as though they’ve given it their best shot and met a few ideal clients. Therefore, results are on the horizon. But in reality, without a proper working style or system in place, they will leave a lot of food on the table.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” ―Simon Sinek

Let’s not forget that good help is hard to come by. One of the biggest issues with traditional business methods is identifying the reliable sales person and duplicating them, which might never happen. Expansion is always a necessity. Some businesses get lucky and find the perfect sales professional to achieve expansion, while others aren’t so lucky. I know many who are still looking for a good sales associate. In seven years, I’ve only had one truly reliable and loyal sales associate.

The traditional sales style has challenges. Once challenge is getting a reliable sales person. If you’re lucky enough to do this, you’ll have a sales professional who should be knowledgeable of your service or product. They should transfer all of their contacts to the system (if you have one in place) and stay in touch with these contacts or ideal clients. The traditional style cannot be duplicated or expanded, and only a few are lucky enough to get more than one dependable sales person.

Modern “Technology Enabled” Sales

Modern sales revolve around technology and process, and not all businesses are using modern methods correctly. We live in a digital age, which allows people to connect with others and “hang out” through technology. I strongly believe that you will be happy when you’re surrounded by people you know and friends. Today, people want to hang out, usually via electronic media.

Small businesses reaping leading sales are using modern sales methods to their core. They establish and maintain relationships that make us feel like we’ve known them forever, even though we may have never spoken or met.

Since launching my blog, I’ve talked about marketing and sales in two stages: identifying your ideal clients and establishing a relationship, and then staying connected with them so they can easily purchase your product or service when they need it. Modern technology enables you to do just this, and the good news is that business owners can have full, ideal client lists using 100 percent automated and expandable mechanisms. I plan to cover this broad topic in more depth later on.

It isn’t hard for an entrepreneur to allocate time to learn technology and establish a process to increase their sales. The first few weeks or months will be a kind of investment, a learning curve. Every business is unique and will devise a unique sales process. Did you know that with a few clicks you can send a personalized thank you card to a client or lead, an automated email sequence based on lead interest, track most of these activities and more?

Traditional vs. Modern: What’s The Verdict?

A business needs both traditional and modern sales to truly succeed. Through traditional methods, you can establish and grow locally, giving that personal face-to-face touch whenever needed while learning which sales pitch works, how to reach your audience and how to best profile you ideal clientele. By combining traditional methods with modern techniques, you can better meet, connect, and stay connected with your ideal client base.

“It’s not a faith in technology. It’s faith in people.” –Steve Jobs

Irrespective of our sales method, all we are trying to do is win people’s confidence. Be confident and have faith in yourself. You will come up with a creative solution to grow your list or hire external company like mine, who provides a service because of their love and passion for what they do.

In truth, each sales method will only be as effective as you make it. You’ll reap what you sew. The more involved you are, the more precise your record keeping and tracking mechanisms become and the more fine-tuned of a team you have in place, then the more success your business will gain.

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