Why Old School Sales Is On Its Way Out, And Influence Sales Is In

Evolution of Sales Techniques

"Coffee is for closers!" If you've been in sales very long, you've probably heard this from someone. It represents the old school sales culture and may have even led to success for some, but the world has changed and the sales profession must evolve with it for continued success. First of all, just look at how coffee has changed, with our cold brewed, double mocha, half-fat lattes! Second, today closing doesn't happen with a high pressure conversation in a highly aggressive environment.

Older Perspective

The old view of sales was built out of the idea of scarcity. Basically, it means there's not enough to go around. In this view someone has to win, which means everyone else has to lose. In a sale, it means you are in competition against each other, fighting to make sure you aren't the loser. Of course this brings stress, high pressure and negative thinking towards sales.

Like the pressure you feel when you are approached by that aggressive, commission hungry salesperson who insists this is your lucky day because he is gonna "hook you up." Hollywood has long supported this damning image of the predatory and sly salesperson. Look at movies like Wolf of Wall Street, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Boiler Room to name a few. They all had that element of scarcity, distrust and manipulation. In fact old expressions from way back add to this idea that a great salesperson can sell literally anything to anyone. "He can sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves," or "She can sell ice to an Eskimo."

This image and portrayal of a sales person has hurt the sales industry. Most of the sales leaders I talk to suffer from the same problem of high turnover. A key to this it the fact that many of the people in sales never really wanted to be salespeople. They never went to school for sales and ended up there because their original degree or career didn't work out. They are often millennials and gen-y'ers, usually with a lot of debt, no experience and some very negative beliefs about sales. They don't respond to the same aggressive, fear and intimidation tactics or the sell at all costs strategies that may have worked in the past, so they end up hopping from job to job seeking more fulfillment's and to feel valued. This is not a plan for success for anyone, and this strategy has run its course in today's sales environment.

New School of Thought

Sales is one of the most valuable roles in any company and is also one everyone plays to some extent. Can you imagine if your best, smartest and most creative team members did not have the ability to influence others on why their ideas are valuable? Or your top operations people couldn't make a compelling business case for a new system? Sales is identifying a person or company's need and using influence to show them that you have a great solution. Every interaction has some level of influence in it. Every time you exchange information with another person you are influencing them to trust and believe you.

This is where we make a big shift from old school sales, rooted in the salesperson's desire to get the deal, to the new school of influence sales, based in a desire to truly meet your customer's needs. With the internet and interconnected economy we live in today, there are far more options to buy products/services than ever before. The days of having to face off with the used car salesman who ran the lot in your city are over. Not only are there dozens of used car lots, but I can buy used cars online now and pick them up from a literal car vending machine. Having so many options removes the leverage sales people used to have over a customer, and in turn customers' needs have evolved from just delivering a product to meeting their specific emotional needs.

Influencer Selling

The new school of influence sales requires us to have emotional intelligence. Psychology today defines Emotional intelligence as the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.First we must know our own value, so we can manage our own emotions. Then we are able to hear the real needs and emotions of others and transfer value with the right emotion and influence. We do this by aligning our beliefs behind the exceptional value we provide, which includes not only our company and the value of our products and/or services offered, but also the value we have as an individual who is truly seeking to serve others' needs. Once you appreciate your own value, you are able to listen to others without judgment or scarcity. This is active listening, and when combined with emotional intelligence we are able to truly understand and respond to the needs of others.

Changing old patterns of beliefs is not always an easy process, as some of these have been with us for years. It takes vulnerability to address these beliefs and the leverage or desire to change them. Perhaps you are questioning the value or offer of your company and may have to make a difficult decision to walk away if there is not enough leverage to keep you there and support the changes needed. Maybe your struggle is with belief in yourself, and it's time for you to really challenge yourself in a whole new way. Either way influence sales starts with you. This is why the best sales training companies are filling in these gaps by integrating emotional intelligence into daily habits of influence sales through web and app based conditioning programs. Wherever your growth opportunity lies, it's time to fully step into the new school of influence sales, and you are your first customer.
Christopher McCoy
Christopher McCoy> all articles
I have been in sales for over 20 years in a variety of roles and I am currently director of business development and communications for NASP and the other Trusum Visions companies. I am a CPSP/CPSL graduate and also a certified NASP advisor, trainer and master coach. I am an influencer at heart and passionate about being an example of persistence, positive thinking and delivering massive value. I am extremely close to my family and have yet to start my own. I have high standards and expectations for myself and those I spend my time with. Love and respect for yourself and others is the most important quality I demand. My mission is to serve you and to empower you through your process of growth so that you may do the same for others when the opportunity presents itself.
  • /data/userPictures/AA9BA7A4-2BEC-410D-95F3-9F0FC5C17E73.jpgTaiwo Daramola, Mr.6/20/2018 9:00:42 AM
    I remember that gone are those days when manipulative selling which is a sales process that gives salespeople a slimy reputation. Instead of relying on the strength of their products, shrewd salespeople would use manipulative psychological techniques to lead unsuspecting prospects to a sale and as a result, a lot of customers who ended up with products they didn't really need! while relationship-focused selling is the relationship selling model and it focused on building rapport with prospects to gain their trust before a sale. Though this is still being used today. As consumers are growing intelligence and easy, instant access to information on the internet; they are much more sophisticated and not likely to fall for those schemes anymore which makes manipulative sales techniques not as effective as they once were.
    A newer sales process model has been gaining in popularity over the past few years: the consultative sales model. In this model, the salesperson acts as an expert of

  • /data/userPictures/71F39D31-BCB3-4C34-8FDA-EF3F6B8B45E0.jpgDaniel Lauritsen7/18/2018 5:04:06 PM
    As someone working in an old school office pushing new school of thought sales, I genuinely appreciate this article. Thanks for posting!

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPicture.jpgSimon Kenna8/11/2018 2:26:16 AM
    I have over 200 books on sales and telephone sales in my library of business books and as many that I just threw away. The concept of "sales not being what it used to be" has been flung around for all of the 30 years I have been selling. Every other book telling you it's not the same. Guess what ? I have several quite deep books on the psychology of the sales interaction through persuasion. It's all about persuasion . Persuasion and it's myriad of opportunities has never changed and will never change. Nobody writes an article or makes a presentation saying the basic art of persuasion has changed. Get yourselves tuned into persuasion and you will never need another new dawn in sales.

  • /data/userPictures/E7AFE85A-44C0-4135-8599-20C3B8205AF5.jpgKeaton Quinn10/10/2018 9:55:33 AM
    Being a younger individual in a sales position, I greatly value the the push that is changing the sales culture away from the old school of thought. I myself strive to continue this change and enjoy see others doing the same.

  • /data/userPictures/1DD7B9B2-F4C0-4C37-B28E-C4059D97C97F.jpgChristopher McCoy12/10/2018 3:19:41 PM
    Thank you everyone for taking the time to read and comment.