In truth, Godin probably puts more stock in Twitter and Facebook than I do, and I’ll come back to that in a moment. He and I agree, though, that ideas that spread have the best chance of winning.
The Buying Revolution
Godin—and others on the program—made reference to the “buying revolution” that seems to be going on. One of the other speakers even said that “sales is over, and salespeople are unnecessary.” His point was that buyers don’t need salespeople anymore to tell them about products. They will find what they need—from product information to sources of supply all the way to pricing and placing their order—on the Internet, and they’ll do it at their own pace and according to their own agendas.
I’m not quite sure what this guy was doing on the program, unless it was to reinforce the message that you have to make your sales process relevant to whatever buying process is in place. I don’t think sales is over at all, though, and especially not in our industry. That’s because we are not selling a product. What we’re really selling is that progression of ideas we just discussed.
I can buy a book without a salesperson involved, either at Barnes & Noble or barnesandnoble.com. I can buy food, clothing, and shelter without ever talking to a human being. (In case you’re wondering about shelter, I mean that I make all of my hotel reservations online these days.)
Okay, I can buy printing online too, but only up to a point. I might trust a business card order to VistaPrint, but I’m not going to trust them on something really complex. And I’m certainly not going to go to them for marketing advice. Printers sell something that lends itself to being sold, and I think that was my most important take-away from the Selling Power conference. If it’s easy to buy, it can easily be bought online, and a company’s selling process has to recognize that. If it’s harder to buy, a professional salesperson can be a significant benefit in the what-to-buy-and-who-to-buy-from equation.
Twitter and Facebook
I’ve gotten a few emails from printers and salespeople who, like Seth Godin, put more stock in Twitter and Facebook than I do. As I wrote a few months ago, though, I’m not against using these media in your sales and marketing efforts, I’m just against wasting time. I still believe that most of the time being spent in these media represents a marginal-at-best investment.
Having said that, I recently set up a Facebook Fan Page for my “Sell More Printing” book. Check it out!
Dave Fellman is the president of David Fellman & Associates, Cary, NC, a sales and marketing consulting firm serving numerous segments of the graphic arts industry. Contact Dave by phone at 800-325-9634; by fax at 919-363-4069; or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website at www.davefellman.com. See the ad for Dave’s products and services in this issue.