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Death (and rebirth) of Sales Professionals at ECCO:

February 13, 2013

Adobe acrobat (.pdf) version of "Death (and Rebirth of a Salesman" by ECCO president Bernard Gizzi

Click for an Adobe acrobat (.pdf) version of “Death (and Rebirth) of a Salesman”

by Bernard Gizzi

It has been widely reported that with the growth of the Internet and online Business to Business search and transactions, the need for a “real life” salesperson has greatly diminished. I am here to both confirm and deny that belief and offer the ROADMAP for sales professionals to follow while addressing the changing needs of customers (and supplier) in the new Digital World. We at ECCO are committed to this progressive path for sales professionalism.

First, let’s agree that the best salesperson is;
1) A great listener who asks the right questions.
2) Not pushy yet available on call.
3) Knowledgeable and can get you the right answer, in a timely manner.
4) Enjoyable to converse with and has good consultative skills.
5) Especially good at problem solving and supports client even after the sale.

So, let’s see how the internet meets these needs;
1) It listens well (i.e. When you type in a question, it gets you an answer, just not always the exact answer you needed). However, it may require more research and time invested on your part to get an appropriate response.
2) Not very pushy. Unless you are on an intense and annoying marketing site.
2a) It is always available. Assuming you have internet access.
3) It has a mega database of information.
4) Its conversation is often 1 way, and has a pretty plain personality.
5) Most of the follow up is accessories, offers, or service plans, with problem solving often referred to with FAQ’s!

Now, how does the ECCO LIVE sales professional stack up?
1) Usually, a good sales person is a good listener with strong discovery skills often using good questions to find a client’s pain. WE at ECCO CHOOSE NO VOICE MAIL to reemphasize LIVE communications as a way of doing business.
2) Too often, with all the pressures of simply trying to keep our jobs, we are forced to be a bit aggressive (pushy) in our quest to know what our customers need and when. Plus, we cannot claim to be available 24×7…despite sleeping next to our smart phones in lieu of loved ones.
3) Knowledge can be a tricky one since a). we have Internet access and can lower search time with our ability to know the right questions to ask, and b). we know how to assess the risk of probable answers, to determine which solution is best for quality, reliability, and availability (e.g. a product’s expected life
4) Besides not having voice mail to hide behind, we typically like to communicate and relate to our customers so our relationship and knowledge grows.
5) Our follow up can often differentiate us amongst our competitors, especially if we are solving a problem.

So, while the internet is a wonderful tool, a professional salesperson at ECCO can offer much more and AUGMENT it to add value to customers and suppliers alike. However, the internet will not rest. So, here is a ROADMAP we will follow in 2013 in order to stay relevant:
–> GET & STAY CONNECTED (and have the internet’s power at your fingertips) whenever speaking to a customer, just 3 months ago our team member’s did not have their own email addresses, so now we are wired and ready to communicate in either medium.
–> WE WILL ASK GREAT QUESTIONS (probing appropriately to find YOUR real needs).
–> WE’LL ADVOCATE SOLUTIONS (that are weighted to guide you away from risk and toward credible
–> TRY AND BE PLEASANT (knowing that the Chicago weather can often make us cranky at times).
–> FOLLOW UP (to solve problems and if all is going well, ask for more opportunities and referrals).

So, there it is – a ROADMAP that we at Electronic Connector Co. will use. While the internet may use algorithms and search engines, social media, and Live Chat, it cannot replace the astute and ever evolving sales pro at ECCO. As an experienced and well respected Electronics Company Executive once said, ”while I like WWW (his apt named Weimaraner pup), this dog simply can’t HUNT”. Not like a REAL SALES PRO, no way!

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