I heard a speaker several years ago say that in the not too distant future the sales profession wouldn’t exist. He said that everything, absolutely everything would be purchased online with no human interaction.
I thought that was one of those attention grabbing throw-away lines that speakers sometimes use to get the attention of their audience. (Not that I would ever do that) But he was serious, he really believed what he was saying.
At the time I was certain he was wrong, in fact I thought it was a downright stupid thing to say. I’m not so sure anymore. Research shows that the Centennial Generation (that’s the generation just entering the workforce) would prefer as little contact with a person as possible when buying something.
Have you seen those commercials where you buy the car online and then go pick it up at a car vending machine? (I don’t know what else you would call it) That company was built for the Centennial Generation.
There was a time when I couldn’t have imagined anyone buying a car without seeing and test driving it. Now I can easily imagine car dealers only existing to repair cars bought somewhere else.
I still can’t believe that the sales profession will ever completely go away. But I can certainly foresee the day when there are far fewer people selling than there are today. That day is likely less than 10 years away and if you still want to be selling in 10 years then you had best start making some changes right now.
There are lots of very lazy salespeople around today. They are basically order takers who are unprepared, unaware of their customer’s needs, and unlikely to ever overcome an objection by proving the value of what they are selling.
The good news is that they will be the first salespeople to leave the field of selling. The ones who remain will need to be professionals of the highest caliber. They personally will need to provide value to customers. They will be highly paid and much sought after professionals.
Think about this, if you can get everything you need, pricing information, product knowledge and customer support online then why would you need a salesperson mucking up the transaction?
If you’re going to be in sales 10 years (or less) in the future you MUST add tangible benefits that a customer or prospect can’t get any other way.
The question to ask yourself today is “what do I bring to the table?”
Can you, with a high level of specificity state why someone should buy a particular product or service from you? I’m not asking why they should buy it from the company you work for, I’m asking why buy it from YOU as opposed to some other salesperson.
This may sound harsh but if you can’t answer that question then you should plan on a career other than sales in the near future. Alexa, Siri or some other form of Artificial Intelligence will have taken your place.