old school sales rolesModern selling has made the sales people in movies like Tin Men, Glengarry Glenn Ross and Mad Men look dated, and a lot of people turn their nose up at sales reps that hobnob with customers like Herb Tarlek might have back in the day. But there is still that old saying that people buy from people and while the Internet has had an immense impact on selling in most sectors, there are still many sectors where relationships and face to face sales skills have an enormous impact.

Consider car sales, for instance. While more than 90% of car buyers research purchases online prior to visiting a dealer, the vast majority of buyers will interact with a sales person face to face prior to making a purchase. A study of automobile buyers by Maritz Research indicated that the top influencer on that purchase is the sales person at the dealer. ¬†Keep-in-touch calls to customers and gifts for repeat customers are still pretty common, so perhaps the titles of the sales people have changed to consultants and customer advisors, but the tactics that work haven’t changed a lot over the years.

Another sector where the internet hasn’t entirely disrupted selling is high priced products and services. No one is going to buy an SAP project online with their credit card. Sales skills, account strategy, and developing relationships with executive stakeholders is absolutely critical. While the focus may be on business case and cost/benefit, many times it is not the solution with the best business case that is selected for a variety of reasons. Face to face selling plays a huge role and will for the foreseeable future.

Lets look at highly priced competitive sectors, particularly where businesses are selling to businesses. In these sectors, the relationship between the sales rep and the buyer(s) is one of the key differentiators, along with service. Golf tournaments, customer appreciation parties and other entertainment venues are still popular in these sectors.

These are just a few examples that show that while the profession of sales is evolving rapidly, it is still often about people buying from people.

To your success.



Eliot Burdett

CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting
Before Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies, where he took the lead in recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software). He was also Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless.

Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.

He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.

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