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How The Internet Is Changing First Sales Call And Lead Generation.

Oct 28, 2007
Back in 1978, when I made my first ever sales call, the thought of doing anything but meeting my client face to face was not an option. Sales was an industry of first names and firm handshakes, of looking your client in the eye and saying their name. That was the way you did it (because that was the way your father did it, and the way his father did it).

Back then, computers were the domain of the government, research scientists, taking up whole buildings. There were a few video games, but most were the size of refrigerators and sat in arcades. We had no idea what we were in for in just a few short decades.

Welcome to the year 2007 and the maturing of not just the PC, but the internet as well. A time when personal computers are more than just glorified word processors. It is time to update your selling methodology: the internet is the new hotspot for meeting with prospects. No the internet is not replacing the face to face sales call; it's just changing its purpose and order in the sales process. If this is news to you, you aren't on the cutting edge. You're not even a step or two behind. Your competition has discovered WebX and Go to meeting and are talking to their prospects right now, from across town...or across the country. How do we know that? Look at the stats: Founded in 1996, WebEx has grown into the worldwide leader in online meeting applications, with 64% market share. More than 3.5 million people use WebEx every month to communicate and collaborate online. As for their competition Go to Meeting...we know the numbers are not quite as strong, but when you combine these two, you get a sense of what is really happening in new business development these days---and more importantly, where it's happening: the first sales call is being done at virtual meetings not on site meetings anymore.

Decision makers are more likely to commit to on line meetings because they are faster, more convenient. There is no driving to another venue, no getting situated in the conference room...heck, he might not even have to leave his own desk. He can sit in his chair, sip his coffee, have your meeting, listen to your introduction, and then get right back to work.

When a prospect commits to a online meeting it's not the same as committing to an on site meeting. Online meetings are less intrusive and less interrupting to your prospect's workflow. There's a pretty good chance your prospect would PREFER an online meeting to one that takes place face to face. That's not a bad thing, because in sales, any opportunity to give your pitch is chance to step up to the plate (even a virtual one)...and that's better than sitting in the dugout.

On-site meetings that result from a cold call require getting a bigger commitment from a prospect nowadays. They may want to check references, see your pricing and feel more confident about your services before even letting you step foot in to their office. Then there is the matter of scheduling, coordinating the team (if it's a team decision) and finding a place to accommodate everyone. Compare that to simply opening a computer program on your desktop with a click of the mouse, and you start to see the appeal. So, while you're in the lobby waiting on your prospect...who's on the other side of his computer monitor?
About the Author
Al Davidson is the President and Owner of SSM ( Strategic Sales & Marketing, Inc. http://www.manageyourleads.com ), which he founded in 1989. SSM has completed over 50 million cold calls to high level business decision makers and generated over 7 million sales leads.
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