Sunday, June 28, 2015

Rip Van Winkle Selling

As the story goes, Rip Van Winkle wanders up to the mountains to get away from both his nagging wife and his responsibilities. He meets a man struggling with a keg and helps him reach his destination where a group of men dressed in antiquated Dutch garb are playing nine-pins. After imbibing in the contents of the keg, Rip lies down to take a nap, his musket and dog both at his side. When he wakes up, it’s to find his musket rusted and rotting, and his dog gone.
He travels back to town, but doesn’t recognize anybody. He finds his house in ruins, learns that his wife has passed away, his dog has been long dead, and no one’s seen or heard from him in 20 years. When he gets into trouble for announcing his allegiance to King George III, he discovers that he slept through the entire American Revolution!
This story reminds me of some of the stories I’ve heard from sales people over the years. They start by shaking their heads and complaining that selling isn't what it used to be. As they continue, their frustration with management starts coming through. I nod my head because I know what they’re going to say. It doesn’t matter which department their complaining about, it still boils down to the same thing—management expecting superior results from antiquated tools. What can you do you?

If the Problem is that marketing is relying too heavily on brand name recognition as their go-to strategy for getting customers and prospects to say yes…

Your Solution may be two-fold. You might not be in a position to get management to change their strategies, but you can still bring great resource—like Hubspot—to their attention. If they’re slow to embrace digital opportunities, don’t let their limits become your limits. Improve your position by figuring out where your tech and web savvy millennial customers are hanging out. Connect with them where they are, and through resources like LinkedIn, and let that be your edge for bringing in new business.

Is the Problem that management is relying on an old CRM, a homegrown CRM, a CRM designed more for accounting than for sales, or worse yet—no CRM at all?

Your Solution could be to provide management with information about the value of updating old systems. Today’s CRMs are more cost effective, and do more than keep track of customers. Remind them that as a sales professional, knowing your company has a reliable CRM in place allows you to speak with more confidence about the products and services your company offers. But again, don’t let their limits become yours. Make sure you have your own CRM in place if they don’t.
Every company has built in challenges. If you’ve chosen to stay, then there must be a good reason why. If you’re comfortable with the thought of snoozing through the next 20 years, don’t do anything. 

If you’d like to be prepared for what comes after the next 20 years, let’s have a conversation.

Alan Luoma is a Sales Coach with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, new product development, sales and product training. He works part time with a national sustainable packaging company and their distributors to increase sales. Alan is an expert that speaks on eliminating behaviors that prevent you from being successful in sales and uncovering sales prevention departments that hinder your success. He is a member of the Hartford Springfield Speakers Network, The National Speakers Association and New England Speakers Association. You can view his profile on LinkedIn, or contact him at

1 comment:

  1. Good information, Alan. Take charge of your own destiny, right?