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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Are You a 21st Century Salesperson?

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A recent issue of Canadian Business magazine featured an article on the changing face of sales. The article stated that salespeople are finding it more and more difficult to connect with busy decision makers and that these individuals no longer tolerate the standard sales tactics that were once effective.

The article went on to say that salespeople need to develop a higher level of business acumen if they want to succeed. It’s no longer enough just to be an expert in your products or solutions. Nowadays, salespeople must have a better grasp of key business issues affecting your prospect. Plus, they also need to be able to offer insights and ideas on how to solve or manage those issues.

In my own conversations with corporate executives, I have found that they are hungry for insights that might help them gain a stronger foothold in the marketplace. Decision makers expect you to present solutions they haven’t yet considered. They want new ideas that will help them maintain or improve their competitive advantage. Decision makers do more due diligence and research than they used to. This means you need to do your own homework and be prepared to discuss business.

What does that mean? It means that showing up at a prospect’s office and spewing out every feature of your latest product or pitch a solution is no longer effective, because from the prospect’s perspective, many products or solutions look the same.

It means that you need to know how current market trends may be affecting your prospect. It means that you need to know what is going on in your industry. You need to be well versed in local, national and world events because all of these affect your prospect’s business decisions.

Business has become more complicated, which means selling is also more challenging and complicated. So, what do you need to do? Here are four quick suggestions:

  1. Read more business and industry magazines. Look for new trends and changes that may affect your industry, prospects and customers.
  2. Ask prospects more questions about their individual and corporate challenges.
  3. Use social media to learn what top players in your industry are saying and predicting.
  4. Attend conferences to gain insights from key business leaders.

Savvy salespeople know the importance of looking at business from a macro level. They are becoming better business people by staying informed so they can have intelligent, meaningful conversations with their customers and prospects, conversations that demonstrate that they really know what is best for them.

The business world is changing all the time and if you want to succeed, you too need to change. What are you doing to keep up to these changes?

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Kelley Robertson helps sales professionals master their sales conversations so they can win more business at higher profits. Get a free copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” and “Sales Blunders That Cost You Money” at


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