Technology and the selling process

The art and skill in selling remains relatively constant, but the tools we use to enhance our productivity are constantly changing. We have previously shared our view that the skill in selling is not in any way related to the skill involved in kindergarten "show and tell". Real selling requires energy and hard work. It requires thought and persistence. It requires skill and commitment. It most certainly is not as easy as "show and tell". Particularly if we want to be successful.

We have been thinking recently about the role that technology can play in our selling, and the way in which it has already impacted.

The world is changing, and so too is the way we prospect. It may have escaped the notice of some, but over the past eighteen months the effectiveness of the New Zealand Herald as a prospecting tool has dropped dramatically. Significantly, the effectiveness of Herald display ads have been hit even more than run-ons.

What has displaced the Herald has been TradeMe. The potential buyer or tenant can search, and filter, for their preferred criteria - and then get far more information than a Herald advertisement will ever tell them. And they don't even have to move from their desk or buy a newspaper. All this information is available free! Is it any wonder that electronic media have rapidly displaced the type of media that gets ink on your fingers?

This obvious change in the landscape of prospecting lead us to thinking about what else should, or could, change.

Our first conclusion, is one that is distinctly highlighted by the difference between the Herald and TradeMe. TradeMe gives far more information, plus visual imagery. Whilst we acknowledge that very often potential clients don't know what they need - often because they don't know the right questions to ask - not providing them with even the most basic of information simply creates more work for everyone. Information such as land area, floor area, zoning, car parks, length of lease and cubic volume are all important. But should we also be providing details such as potential number of pallet spaces and picking faces ?

Once we have that information, then it makes sense both to be able to transmit easily to the client, but also ascertain what the client requires - having acknowledged that this is not always easy.

Ultimately there is no substitute for physically getting a client on site, there must be steps that can be taken prior to that. Too much time is often wasted, and the parties antagonised accordingly, both by agents taking clients to patently unsuitable properties, and/or clients not being suitably qualified as to their needs, wants and requirements.

It's easy to conclude what we would like to see happen - in an ideal world! But what are we going to do about it?

Expedio's conclusion is that we firstly need to get our house in order, and produce much more comprehensive detail on the properties we have available. That doesn't mean more paper - but more customer relevant information. So we are working on what information customers really need - like how many pallets a building will hold.

Step 2 is to work on ways that we can easily disseminate that information.

Having had the opportunity to experiment with an Apple Ipad, we are excited about the possibilities a tool such as this can offer - it's instantly on, with a great screen, and very light and portable. It will never be a substitute for actual sales skills, but merely a great assistant. So we are working with our software professionals on the best way to utilise this selling tool.

And to encourage agents to embrace the efficiencies of electronic media, we are giving away to the agent successful in leasing or selling any of the following properties (57H McLauglins,8 Grayson,1016F Great South Rd,65 Leonard Rd ) a FREE IPAD - for your professional use of course !