Picture a salesperson. What do you imagine? Is it a smooth-talking man with a Crest-white smile selling “the most durable” tupperware on the market (which likely won’t survive the top rack of your dishwasher)? Or is it a stern-looking woman wearing a finely pressed suit, talking too fast and phrasing everything as if you’ve already made a deal?
Of course, these are stereotypes. But the fact remains—consumers don’t have a high opinion of sales professionals. Ever hear someone say, Never trust a salesman?
Unfortunately, there’s a legitimate reason for the skepticism.
Sales historically has used outbound strategy to generate revenue. Sellers go out in search of leads, or cold call to create opportunities to sell. And because buyers don’t anticipate the sellers’ outreach, sellers developed some unique skills to get what they want. One might describe the traditional salesperson as foxy and well-trained in the art of persuasion; charming, but only to give the illusion of trust.
Spoiler alert: Just like the classic protagonist, Willy Loman, this breed of salesperson is long gone. In fact, the entire idea of outbound sales is dead and the murder weapon is lead intelligence. Information has given rise to a new strategy called inbound sales and it’s changing everything about the way buyers and sellers see one another.
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