Is "Hard Selling" Needed Today?

(Picture by reddit)

(Or Is Social Selling and B.A.R. the Future of Sales..)

(I originally posted this article on but for some reason a lot of people were having problems viewing it so I've moved it here so everyone who wanted to read it could.  My apologies to S.J. from Google+ who was trying to read this article all weekend but couldn't on LinkedIn.  I hope this resolves the problem.)
I was reading and article and talking with some folks over at Sales Hacker the other day when we started throwing around some ideas about Social Selling.
(For those of you who have never been to the Sales Hacker website and LinkedIn group you really need to check it out. Great people to interact with and they are always having great conversations about sales and how to hack sales.)
Social Selling is a fairly new concept to some so lets give you the definition of what Social Selling is today.
Social selling is when salespeople use social  media to interact directly with their prospects. Salespeople will provide value by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy. - (Definition provided by Sam Kusinitz

What struck me as interesting in my conversations with the folks on Sales Hacker is that even though they understand the fundamentals of the Sales process they also understand that in this day and age you have to think outside of the box in order to get sales results.
They also believe and see the value of “Relationships” in the sales process.
Anyone who’s read any of the my other articles knows how important“Relationships” are to me so when we were talking about this topic it not only got my attention but it also struck a cord with me.
It also got me to thinking...
Is hard selling of products and services really needed in today’s economy?
I know there are a lot of sales people who flat out unequivocally will tell you that of course there is a need for hard sales people today, but I'm not sure if I totally agree with that answer.
What I do question though is the way in which people go about sales today.
I for one hope the days of the hard sales are long gone. I can’t stand hard sales or the people who try to force me to buy something via hard sale tactics.
But is there another way?
I think there is, and I think that is where Social Selling and the B.A.R. mindset intersect. (If you read one of my earlier pieces “A.B.C. or B.A.R.” you’ll have a better background on what I mean when I reference my ideas on the B.A.R. mindset.)
I’ve already defined what Social Selling is above but maybe you are not familiar with my B.A.R. mindset as it applies to sales so let me give you a quick break down.

B.A.R. stands for:

B - (Build)
A - (A)
R - (Relationship)
(Pretty simple isn't it. Nothing to complex or scary just a very basic and simple concept.)
To take it another step further on how it applies to sales in particular what if the sales process went something like this by using the B.A.R. mindset instead of using hard sales tactics.
  • Introduction to someone new.
  • Start building a relationship with that person.
  • Conversations between each other.
  • Build a stronger relationship through mutually helping each other.
  • Continue to have conversations and continue to build an even stronger relationship.
To many of the seasoned sales people I am sure these steps look familiar. The only thing that has changed is a mindset shift.  Going from old hard (pressure) sales to a new way of doing sales.
An updated way if you want to call it that.  Sales is like everything else in business, if you aren't willing to grow and change you will eventually get left on the wayside.
Back a few years ago maybe the old hard sale tactics worked and could be used to bring in a big chuck of your sales business.
Today that’s not going to work so well.
Whether we want to accept it or not we have to realize that “People will always buy from People they know and trust” and how do you get to know and gain peoples trust?  By building a strong relationship with them.
So you have a choice... You can stay with the basics and the fundamentals of the hard sale and I’m sure there are some markets, products, and customers that will embrace that style.
Or you can upgrade your mindset, skills, and tactics and start building strong relationships to be the global sales superstar I know you want to be.
I firmly believe that “Your” success is all in your "Mindset" and the "Choices" you make each and every day.

So what are you going to choose to do today... Hard Sales? or start using a hybrid of Social Selling and the B.A.R. mindset?

The choice is yours.

"Thank You" for taking the time to read this post, and for letting me share some of my thoughts and ideas with you.

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