So, have we been sold a line of cow excrement? There are millions (perhaps billions, I haven’t checked) of page results that show up when searching ways that businesses can drive sales. I would venture to say that a vast majority of the ways being touted as great for sales are computer driven - i.e. email, social media, etc.
So is social media a good source for salespeople or not? The Southwestern Psychological Association held their 2012 annual convention in Oklahoma City. At the event, results were released from two surveys which indicate that no, electronic media is not the most helpful for salespeople trying to generate new sales.
Behavioral scientists, Trelitha R. Bryant and George W. Dudley with the Behavioral Sciences Research Press in Dallas, Texas conducted the surveys. The researchers asked 4,768 salespersons (67% men and 33% women with an average age of 40) questions as part of a standard assessment protocol for sales professionals - the Sale Preference Questionnaire (SPQ*GOLD®) . The survey is designed to measure emotional discomfort associated with “cold calling” for new business.
The results revealed the most helpful means of generating new sales per the respondents questioned:
Face to face and telephone - 70 percent (+/- 1%)
Email - 10 percent (+/- 14%)
Other computer mediated communication - less than 10%
The results did not vary depending upon the age of the individual questioned.
Further analyses uncovered another relationship, noted Dudley:
"Salespeople claiming social media is most effective might be struggling with sales call reluctance®, an emotional impediment to production characterized by apprehension, conflict, hesitation or avoidance specifically associated with sales prospecting. They had elevated prospecting distress scores on eleven of the twelve forms of sales call reluctance measured by the test."
A second study was done to see if the results could be duplicated. This time only 1,512 additional salespeople consisting of 64% male and 36% female, each group with an average age of 40 was very close to the original results.
Face to face and telephone - 68%
Computer mediated - 2.8%
"The second study confirmed what we learned in the first," Bryant said, "including the link with sales call reluctance."
Computer-mediated social media may help find a date, keep tabs on old friends or support a political campaign. But most salespeople don't think it's as helpful as conventional person-to-person contact for generating new sales."
Of course, “old school” sales people will be nodding their heads in agreement as they read this, enjoying the confirmation of what they’ve known all along - nothing beats a personal touch, especially when it comes to sales.
Does this mean that a realtor doesn’t need to have an online presence? I wouldn’t kick your webmaster to the curb just yet. If these surveys hold true that doesn’t mean you are wasting your time online - it just means you might want to take a closer look at your sales strategy to see if it’s still working for you.
In the meantime, nothing beats having an online presence to bring people to your doorstep - how you convince them to do business with you is your deal.
What about you? Do you believe that computer technology has helped you to generate more new sales than before you began to use it? We’d love to hear what you think!