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  • Randy Shoults

Keep Calm & Sell


As salespeople we are being sold and attacked. Sold on the premise that everything we are selling is a commodity and attacked on the value of our profession. We are barraged with news about how selling has changed and how much more power buyers have today. The underlying message is “don’t call us, we’ll call you.” And there appears to be overwhelming and compelling data to support this attack.

  • 90% of the decision makers won’t respond to cold calls.

  • An average of 5.4 people are now involved in the buying decision.

  • 75% of buyers use social media to find information on vendors.

  • Buyers complete 67% of their decision before they contact a sales rep.

Unfortunately, salespeople are buying into this CRAP (Constant Rhetoric Against Prospecting). This is not a movement solely aimed to diminish the value, and thereby lower prices, of the product and services we sell; it is aimed at diminishing the self-value of professional salespeople. The response to these threats, by professional salespeople, is simple -- Keep Calm & Sell.

When we look at this CRAP with a professional sales perspective we can quickly and effectively move past it. Here is some of the CRAP we are dealing with:

90% of the decision makers won’t respond to cold calls.

  • Yes, “cold calling” is dead, duh! The professional salesperson has known this and embraced it for years. Cold calling used to be necessary to gather information that we can now easily obtain thanks to a pretty well know sales tool called the internet. Armed with this handy instrument we can now gather valuable intel so that when we make outbound sales calls (prospect) we know who to ask for, the company’s value proposition and how to align our products and services to advance the business’s mission.

  • Let’s not confuse the significance of a meaningful discussion with a decision maker who responds to a cold call with a “like” or “connection” on social media. If a 10% return on cold calling doesn’t have you inspired to prospect, then you probably haven’t been in sales very long. Those of us that have use the power of social media for marketing purposes and recognize that most sales occur after the fifth sales (not marketing) contact. A fact that has not changed over time.

An average of 5.4 people are now involved in the buying decision.

  • How is this bad? Instead of having an all or nothing proposition with a single decision maker, we now have the opportunity to connect with any one of five decision makers. With the opportunity to engage and inspire more than one champion within a company our odds of building a value-based relationship have now increased by over 400%.

75% of buyers use social media to find information on vendors.

  • If ever there was a time when marketing and sales departments needed to effectively collaborate, it is now. Having the combined forces of both departments clearly aimed at creating and communicating a well-defined value proposition is overdue. Finally getting this right creates an advantage that deserves to be celebrated.

Buyers complete 67% of their decision before they contact a sales rep.

  • To the professional salesperson who develops relationships with prospective buyers, this is also a positive statistic. As a result of established relationships, they are invited to the party, as opposed to sales vultures who simply attempt to crash the party by showing up late when there’s fresh money being served up.

There is a lot of talk these days about how much selling has changed; some have even declared the end of consultative selling. They assert that buyers today demand greater value and substantiate it with research such as:

74% of buyers choose a sales rep that was first to add value and insight.

  • Since 1970 when Mack Hanan first introduced us to the consultative selling approach, professional salespeople have understood that providing value, as well as a return on the customer’s investment not only wins the sell, it establishes long-term business partnerships. My, how times have changed. Really?

Salespeople are being sold and attacked by a contingency of people praying on their vulnerabilities and fears. The professional salesperson responds to these fear tactics with fearlessness. They understand and embrace a consultative sales approach where their value is derived from the value they create for their clients. They recognize the critical role they have in any businesses success and are resolved to cut through the CRAP, Keep Calm & Sell.


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