It’s remarkably sad that with all the new tools and technology available today, so many sales professionals still rely on this 56 year old device for an introduction to a prospect we want to meet.   What’s our hope when we ask this question?  Someone in the room says, “Sure, I know Bob at Widget Co., play golf with him twice a week.   I bet he’d love to buy something from you!  I’ll set up the meeting and you be sure to bring the contract.”

Yes, of course we know better, but we all still ask it anyway.   I did it myself this weekend, hoping an associate of mine could ‘get me in’ with the CEO at one of my prospects.    (Nope, it didn’t work.)

It’s not that sales people are lazy.  Most of us work longer days now than we ever have.   But it’s difficult to break from old fashioned habits.   And while the reality is ‘working the Rolodex’ can be successful at times, eventually you run out of prospects.  A good friend of ours calls this Post-Rolodex Traumatic Stress Disorder (PRTSD) – that terrifying discovery that all your business friends and family are tapped out for leads and introductions and it is time to grow your market yourself.

PRTSD can be lethal for sales people who don’t recognize the symptoms, but the good news it is treatable if properly diagnosed.   Think you may be suffering from early stages of this condition?  Here are some quick ways to tell.

–        You dutifully attend your networking breakfasts, asking each time if anyone knows the head of IT at New Co. and can get you a meeting.

–        The reason you think that IT executive at New Co. will want to meet you is your exceptionally low cost.

–        Your participation in social networking consists of tracking down high school friends and commenting on their family photo uploads.

–        Your keep your target list in Excel and do your own prospect research by surfing company websites.

–        You still generate all your own leads.  (See first diagnosis question above).

It is likely many of us are showing a couple symptoms of PRTSD, but please don’t over-react.  Many of the “Old School” prospecting techniques we learned in Sales 101 still apply, its just that there are many extraordinary “new tools” available to help improve and accelerate the process.

A new term is emerging in the marketplace: Sales 2.0.  It is a convergence of sales and marketing best practices/methodologies and productivity enhancing web tools that improve sales efficiency and accelerate the sales process.  Getting actionable information into the hands of the right people at the right time is a key component of closing a deal, shortening your sales cycle time, finding and retaining loyal customers, and ultimately earning you more money.   Sales 2.0 is really that simple to define and getting your sales organization there is worth it.   We use technology to make all facets of our life more efficient and more intuitive, why not apply it to sales?