The Internet Changes Everything. For the Better?
The Internet Changed Everything. Did It Make It Better?
A common lament I hear from sales executives these days is that it is hard to get younger salespeople to pick up the phone and make a call. They are too accustomed to e-mail. That and the ten year observance of September 11, 2001, prompted me to think about where this generation of salespeople was on that terrible day. The world was quite different ten years ago.
There were no social media. Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in and YouTube did not exist. We did not have smart phones nor computer tablets like the i-Pad.
Go back another ten, a total of twenty years, and the internet was in its infancy. People exchanged information face-to-face or by telephone calls. There was no e-mail, texting, online shopping, blogs or search engines. Newspapers and books were read in hard copy.
Bill Gates was right when he observed, “The internet changes everything.” Here are some thoughts on changes in how we work in general and do selling in particular:
Work used to be a place you went. Today, many workers, especially salespeople, “telecommute” and work from their homes. I am among them.
Workers used to take breaks together, hang-out around the water cooler or grab a beer after work. With more telecommuting, there is less socializing around work.
Everyone who sends an e-mail knows there is a line marked cc to include other people. How many know “cc” stands for “carbon copy”, an old practice of making duplicates on flimsy carbon paper and physically sending them to other recipients. Office practices like this meant a lot more paper being filed and toted around by salespeople.
The vehicles of business used to be telephone and physical mail. If we needed to communicate with a client or a prospect, we either wrote a letter and mailed it or called them on the telephone. Today, most communication is done by e-mail.
It used to be at the end of the work day people went home and rarely heard from co-workers or customers again until the next day. Today, most workers carry electronic tethers and are accessible around the clock by e-mail or mobile phone messages.
And then there is PowerPoint. Although it was founded in the late 80s, it wasn’t ubiquitous until the mid – 90s when Microsoft bundled it in its Office Suite. Some say that blaming bad presentations on PowerPoint is analogous to blaming bad writing on the pen. But, let’s acknowledge that there is a lot of really bad PowerPoint out there and many use it as a teleprompter crutch.
Are these changes for the better? Do we have more time? Do we have better relationships with our clients? With our co-workers? Are our sales presentations better? I think not. What are your thoughts.
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