Wednesday, 14 August 2013

'Old' School is 'New' School

Over a cup of coffee recently a very experienced and senior business developer in the recruitment space said to me that the modern generation of sales professionals and relationship managers are woefully inadequate when it comes to the skills of engaging with people and 'working' relationships....

He said that selling and account management over the last 10 years had degenerated into a focus on transaction processing and 'short-termism' (particularly prevalent in PLCs where they are constantly focused on the short term quarter gains). Business development and sales had become less about the people and more about the process - with the result that business was suffering through a lack of quality relationships.

For him doing it 'old school' - the days when we focused on creating and spending time building real and substantial client relationships (yes the days of long lunches and entertainment) was much needed in today's market.

While business has (unfortunately!) moved on from the days of long lunches it is hard to argue with his views - and they are views I am increasingly hearing from senior sales management and business owners.

The move away from people and relationships is most prevalent in retail banking - where I see people being guided away from a queue to speak to a teller and instead being pressurised to engage with more sophisticated ATMs.

This might be a cost-saving innovation for the banks but it continues to erode any feeling of loyalty (be it ever so slight now at all) or engagement with banks. Retail banking is becoming a commodity business - and it will be very hard to recover loyalty of any form.

There is a need to re-focus on strong relationships, on re-gaining trust and influence in business relationships again, of people to people business. It truly has become important that 'old school' needs to be 'new school'.

If you want to learn the skills of creating and keeping compelling client relationships get my book 'The High Trust Adviser: How to Build High Trust and High Profits in Business Today' over on Amazon and join us at 

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