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The five new rules of sales and service

29th Oct 2014
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The vast majority of human beings - more than five billion of us - are connected instantly to each other via web-based and mobile communications devices.

While the communications revolution provides immense benefit, in our technology-driven life, we crave humanity.

Information about products and services is available to buyers everywhere, 24/7, and for free.

Publishing valuable content has become essentially free for companies. At the same time, customers have a (loud) voice through social networks and review sites.

The new rules of sales and service

1. Authentic storytelling sets the tone

  • People want authenticity, not spin.
  • People want participation, not propaganda.
  • Your organisational story cannot be dreamed up by an ad agency.
  • The individual at the top of the company is the master storyteller, the conductor of the organisational orchestra.
  • With social networks, every employee has a role in sales and customer service and must sing from the same hymnal.
  • Buyers want information in language they understand, not gobbledygookladen jargon.

2. Content is the link between companies and customers

  • You are what you publish.
  • Companies must drive people into the purchasing process with great content.
  • Blogs, online video, ebooks, infographics, and the like let organisations communicate directly with buyers in a form they appreciate.
  • Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn allow people all over the world to share content and connect with the companies they want to do business with.
  • Smart sellers now not only deliver proprietary information such as their company’s white papers and research reports, but also curate information from other sources on the World Wide Web.
  • On the web, the lines between marketing and sales and service have blurred.

3. Big Data enables a more scientific approach to sales and service

  • The best organisations customise the buying experience for each customer.
  • Because of the infinite amount of information available on the web, buyers now have more information than sellers and therefore buyers have the upper hand in negotiations.
  • With a plethora of independent information available to buyers, sellers must tell the truth about their offerings.
  • Online communications are infinitely measurable.

4. Agile selling brings new business to your company

  • Buyers actively use search engines and social networks to find companies to do business with.
  • The buyer is now in charge of the sales process, and wants to buy on his or her own personal timetable.
  • When a buyer is ready to buy, the company must respond with lightning speed.
  • Instead of causing one-way interruption, making sales is now about delivering content at the precise moment each buyer needs it.
  • Companies must treat people as individuals
  • When buyers have valuable information at the click of a mouse, it is sellers who need to ask the right questions.

5. Real-time engagement keeps customers happy

  • In our always-on world, buyers expect instant, 24/7 service.
  • Because of independent product reviews, there is now a huge incentive to fix problems and make customers happy so they don’t complain publicly.
  • Customers expect employees of the companies they do business with to support them via social networks.

Today, people like to buy because they have far more choices than in the past!

The new rules of sales and service are not theoretical. This is no academic exercise. There are people who are implementing these rules today and enjoying high growth as a result. But the new rules demand a new kind of leadership.

This is an edited extract from The New Rules of Sales and Service: How to Use Agile Selling, Real-Time Customer Engagement, Big Data, Content, and Storytelling to Grow Your Business, by David Meerman Scott, published, November 2014, by Wiley, RRP £18.99

David Meerman Scott is an internationally acclaimed marketing and sales strategist whose books and blog are must-reads for professionals seeking to generate attention in ways that grow their business. He is author or co-author of ten books, three of which are international bestsellers. The New Rules of Marketing & PR, now in its fourth edition, has been translated into 26 languages and is used as a text in hundreds of universities and business schools worldwide. It is a modern business classic with over 350,000 copies sold so far. 

Check out his blog at and follow him on Twitter @dmscott.

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