People are lethargic. They don’t like change, and they are scared by new ideas. They’re naturally afraid of anyone they don’t know. Amazingly, despite everyone being ubiquitously reachable with modern technology people have paradoxically almost never been less available to actually connect. There’s probably a few reasons for this.
There are more people competing for fewer gateways
Technology has improved efficiency to the point that not as many people even need to be part of the process. This means less targets and therefore more people competing to connect with them. Prospects I speak with routinely say they receive hundreds of calls a day and don’t dare to check their voicemail. Think direct mail might help? It might, if it somehow stands out from the giant pile of other stuff they’re being sent.
The rewards of “breaking in” are higher
Because there are less people involved the rewards of breaking through are higher. The bureaucracy that used to dominate corporate structures (or so I’m told) is gone in favor of a direct command efficiency. Businesses have embraced the fact that they need to be “fast” or “nimble” and want the kind of quickness that comes from a single decision maker. So if you do get through, you’ll probably only have to convince one or at most a handful of people.
There’s a return to classic sales virtues and values
Inside sales was founded by Ken Krogue in 2004 and since then the theory has come to dominate nearly all sales departments. The concept of leveraging technology to breakthrough and save time is now being used by the field of sales reps, leading to a new kind of cold-war-esque balance in which nobody really has a unique advantage over anyone else. In my opinion this is leading to a new plateau in which classic values, the kind Jeff Gitomer talks about all the time, are important again. Persistence, good time management, tenacity, determination and patience, leveraged with normal inside sales tech, now give the sales rep the edge over the competition.
Where’s the future going?
I wouldn’t be surprised if the future saw a series of people, or even marketplaces, for connectors. People who are leveraging their connections for cash to facilitate introductions. In a way that kind of transaction is almost happening today, is only a thin layer away from happening in earnest. A brokerage that exchanges social connections, or attention for some other kind of value, money, access, etc., could become a very lucrative business in the next decade as more people try and fit through smaller and smaller gates.
It’s apparent that being disruptive, shaking things up, interruptive (hopefully in a good way) and thinking outside of current channels of engagement is required to make real connections and separate yourself from other members of the unwashed masses. Classic communication channels, email, phone, even LinkedIn and Facebook messaging are no longer introduction channels, and breaking through will have to be done “off road.”
It makes sense though; in every story you read about people “making it” or “leveling up” it always occurs around a social network being leveraged or some other borderline dangerous stunt that leads to a connection that takes someone to the next level.
Is that Sales 3.0? Is it being professionally annoying and obnoxious?