Silhouettes of dancers and music notes

I’m A Little Bit Country….. He’s A Little Bit Rock and Roll

Anthony Iannarino (my favorite sales blogger other than myself – LOL) said in his most recent blog,

“Three generations of sales approaches are being used today. The oldest of the three is over fifty years old and designed to address the world of the 1960s and 1970s. We can call this approach “Legacy,” an approach that was effective for a little over two decades.

The second oldest approach evolved as a direct response to the limits of the Legacy approach.The world of the 1980s and 1990s and the first part of the 2000s was a time of increased competition causing clients to require greater help and support from a salesperson, the sales organization, and their “solutions.” We can call this approach, “Legacy Solution,” This approach was incredibly powerful, providing an approach that helped salespeople help their clients.

The third and newest approach to B2B sales is just now coming to the attention of salespeople, sales leaders, and sales organizations. Like the two earlier approaches, the Modern Sales approach evolved to address the world as it exists in the 21st Century.”

For the first time, I disagreed with a parts of his analysis and a few of his conclusions on what techniques a successful sales person should follow in their daily sales efforts.  While I saw a little bit of myself in all three of his approaches:  Legacy, Legacy Solution, and Modern Sales, I don’t believe that sales people in today’s industry need to be pigeonholed into one category or another.  I truly believe that it is all about the customer and the relationship and a “little bit” of all three methods.

People buy from people they know, like and trust.

Some customers work well with Legacy salespersons (interact and build rapport, identify decision maker, establish credibility for your product, give customers solutions to problems, and overcome and mute challenges).  It is a ‘nuts and bolts’, ‘don’t hide behind fancy language’ kind of approach.  Getting to know the customer and letting them get to know you, developing a like and trust relationship are the building blocks of a great sales relationship!

There is not much difference between the Legacy and Legacy Solution approach (rapport-builders, why choose us and let me tell our story, ask questions, give solutions, provide proof providers, and ask for the business).  It seems that the latter differs only when it comes to problem solving…. a Legacy Solution salesperson typically works with the company to come to a consensus and arrives at a solution to the the customer’s needs together.  They don’t tell the customer the answer and expect them to buy into it.

The Quick Brown Fox Jumped Over The Lazy Dog

Mr. Iannarino defines the Modern Sales approach as:

      1. You start a conversation around why your client needs to change with evidence of the forces responsible for their poor results.
      2. You already have a well-developed theory about your prospective client’s challenges.
      3. You know more than your client as it pertains to what they will need to do to improve their results.
      4. You are agile enough to control the process, regardless of where you find your client on their buyer’s journey, including helping them build consensus.
      5. Your client learns more from your conversation and experiences the “aha moment” that indicates you have helped them with a paradigm shift.
      6. You can recognize that your contact’s objections are concerns and can effectively address them.
      7. Your client makes changes outside of changing their supplier and their solution

He further defines the difference in approaches as:  “The modern approach evolved to provide a greater level of value than the older approaches because decision-makers and buyers found the older approaches inadequate.”

This is where Mr. Iannarino and I differ.  If I read the 7 points in the Modern Sales approach above, I don’t get “relationship builder” warm and fuzzy feelings.  I get the feeling of a cold and hurried sales person who just wants to make the deal and move on.  I don’t feel like this is the right approach for us in the hospitality business.  We are warm and fuzzy, and comfortable and clean, and upbeat and hospitable!

woman walking down country road with guitar slung over back
I'm a little bit Country and maybe a little bit Rock and Roll and a little bit R&B and a little bit Motown and ...... well, maybe a little bit of Everything!

I truly believe in keeping up with the times and taking a modern approach when it comes to hospitality sales.  That being “a little bit of Country (or Everything)” approach is the key to being able to sing in harmony with that “a little bit Rock and Roll” customer.  Finding the balance that each of us need from a relationship will allow us to make ‘music together’.  What we really need is a “Songs in the Key of Life” approach.

So, let’s look at both sides of the equation and try to find a little bit of everything to grow our sales techniques.

Let The Choir Sing Together
Legacy Traits
  • Build rapport with your client.  
  • Establish credibility for your hotel product.
  • Listen to your customer and define what their issues are and offer solutions to their issues.
Legacy Solution Traits
  • Give your 30 second elevator pitch about why they should choose and rely on you.
  • Provide proof providers (testimonials from other companies and customers).
  • Ask questions.
  • Ask for the business.
Modern Sales
  • Research your customer and learn about their company and recent successes (and failures).
  • Ask about their history with other hotels and what they liked (and disliked).
  • Build consensus by offering examples of other companies who “tried and liked” your hotel product.
  • Recognize and overcome objections and effectively address them with examples.

There is nothing wrong with old school selling techniques as long as you keep abreast of up-to-date information.  Balancing your strategies to fit your customer’s needs is the real key to success.


Happy Keeping A Little Bit of Everything,


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