Are Face-To-Face Sales Obsolete?

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An article on Inc.com today suggests that selling face-to-face is no longer practical, and that now a salesperson must instead use all the technology available to them when making a sale.

They cite a study by  Dr. James Oldroyd, the world’s top researcher in the mathematics of selling, that says the days of jetting off to Los Angeles to meet with a client and then Miami the next to see another potential lead, is obsolete.

His study showed that hiring for “outside” sales positions had gone down to .5 percent annual growth and “inside” sales has grown fifteen times faster. Even salespeople who do meet with customers face-to-face are doing so less and less and over two fifths of all customers conversations conducted by “outside” salespeople are done over the phone according to Oldroyd.

It’s something we even see in our own company. Our sales people, as well as our publisher Craig, spend a lot of time on the phone. Even in the office we hear them always switching from their cell phone to the office phone while also checking their emails. Then, when they go out to meet a client, they are constantly on the phone talking to other clients during their free time.

Although they might be “on the road” all the time, they are always accessible.

The same should go for retail business owners.

Many times they only think about the customers that walk into their store. While these are customers you must constantly think about and give great customer service to, you also can’t neglect the vast amount of online shoppers, as well as those who are interacting with your social media sites. You should give them an easy, personal purchasing experience.

Social media is a great way to talk to these customers that you may never see in the store. If a customer takes the time to thank you for your product or services on social media, you should take the time to thank them back. If a customer emails you with a problem, try your best to respond as quickly as possible.

Recently, there was a discussion in our offices about the acceptable time of returning an email. I remember years back when, if you got back to them in the same day, that was acceptable. Now-a-days, email is almost being treated as a formal way of texting someone. Even in our offices some people expected an answer back within the hour, others said all day was fine. Whatever you may feel, you have to expect that your customer will want a quick and timely response.

While working with your customers face-to-face is still extremely important when they come into the store, your market and reach to customers must be much larger than that. While you continue to give excellent customer service to people in your store, don’t forget to give excellent customer service to those online as well.

2 Responses to “Are Face-To-Face Sales Obsolete?”

  1. John Cullen

    Feb 08. 2013

    I still love face-to-face selling if it’s within budget. I think it helps you to connect with potential clients and gain a certain level of trust. Again it really depends on budget but face-to-face meetings definitely help my close rate!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Colette Fairchild

    Mar 06. 2013

    No matter what, we’re still human and need face-to-face interaction. In fact, I believe it’s a welcome break from being glued to our computers and smartphones all the time. A balanced mix of personal interaction and technology works best, I think.

    Reply to this comment

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