I’ve been thinking a lot about outside sales and what it takes to make it.
For those not familiar, I worked in an outside sales position for a number of years. My role here at CFS is a little bit of everything—and being that I’m head of marketing with a direct report to sales—you’d be right to guess that I’m involved with inside sales, outside sales, and everything in between.
But at the heart of the matter is this: traditional “sales” in the way that we know and define it, is changing.
Outside sales struggles. Inside sales struggles.
People are sick of being sold.
Salespeople and sales managers are sick of reading “how to” articles and watching countless videos promising to take them to the next level.
Everyone wants (and arguable probably needs) to change the game.
How Outside Sales Can Change the Game
So, what are we going to do about it?
Well, let’s start by embracing change. If you’ve been following the CFS blog for any length of time, you’ll notice that change is mentioned quite frequently.
We are believers in change.
We are believers in reinventing yourself and your company often.
I had a conversation a few weeks ago with Chad LaTour, a good friend of mine and a Regional Sales Manager at Wright National Flood Insurance Company.
We discussed this idea of traditional outside sales and how sales reps work incredibly hard for referrals. After hashing out how most salespeople work, I pressed Chad. I wanted to know the “secret sauce.” He said very bluntly, “there are a million tips and tricks out there, but it’s all about building the relationship.”
This stuck out to me and got me thinking bigger: if it’s all about relationships, then why are people in traditional outside sales roles blatantly selling? Why are we so obvious? And what can salespeople do to be less obvious? How can we step back and build real, sincere, honest relationships with our clients?
There are business disruptions happening all around us right now.
Airbnb has disrupted the traditional hospitality industry.
Uber has disrupted the traditional transportation industry, especially here in New York City.
Tech companies are creating new disruptions each and every day.
So the question is: what are you doing to disrupt your industry?
As an outside sales rep, how can you disrupt traditional sales? How can you build relationships with clients without tips and tricks and “traditional” sales magic? What's outside the box?
I hope the ideas above have you thinking as much as I have been lately. I don’t have all the answers—and I know for certain I never will—but I’m open to a discovery.
Have thoughts on this topic? I’d love to hear more. Comment below or shoot me an email to keep the conversation going.