Every few years I forget how bad a golfer I am and I go out and abuse an unsuspecting course somewhere, well yesterday was the day I was barred from another course in Ontario.
As I only golf every three or four years, I don’t get to see the new toys and gismos as they come on the market, but more as a series of snap shots with improvements in each. While it may be old hat to some, yesterday was the first time I saw a GPS type gismo that told you exactly, I mean exactly how far you were from the hole. But as you would expect this did absolutely nothing to improve my game (my apologies to those that do have a game). Nor do I suspect the lack of one limited the abilities of a good player five or six years ago.
It got me thinking that a similar reality is unfolding in sales. Technology is always improving, “enabling” sales people to be more productive and profitable. But the reality remains that selling, like golf comes down to skills, commitment to improvement, and your willingness to be solely accountable for your actions and resulting outcomes.
This is not to disparage the benefit of tools, toys and tricks, but if you are not willing to put in the time and work, success and continuous results in a competitive market will be limited. There are basics in sales, just as there are in golf; if you practice, develop and evolve those basics you will continue to grow, improve and I will argue enjoy and get more out of sales, as you do out of golf.
There are plenty of articles, posts, advice and more available to sales professionals. There are all kinds of tools, and applications helping you to manage time, contacts, leads, tweets, and social and/or unsocial acquaintances. We have given many of these toys and the culture that comes with it cute names like “Sales 2.0”. Remember 5 years ago, when we only have the internet and cell phones, I guess that was “Sales 1.0”; and back in the early 90’s when all we had was cell phones and snail mail, must have just called that “Sales”. This I guess leads to the question that in the 80’s when all we had were land lines, was that “Sales -1.0”, or maybe in the spirit of the age, “Sales Unplugged”.
The key is that what made one successful then are the same things that make one successful now, skills, practice and work. All the tools, social networks and rebranding can’t change the fact that skills applied by intelligent and diligent sales professionals will deliver results no matter the tools or the hype, even when we move to “Sales 3.5”. While the gismo may tell me how far we are from the whole it did nothing to help me get the ball closer to the pin or reduce the number of strokes it took me to get there.
What’s in Your Pipeline?