A Year Old Sales Best Practice Probably Isn’t

If the sales practices you use on a regular basis are the same ones you were using last year or 2, 3, 5, 10 years ago, they probably no longer deserve the “best” label. Don’t get me wrong, just because something is not a “best” practice doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not an “excellent” practice. A bronze medal in the Olympics isn’t best, but WOW, MOM, WOW anyway!!! Do not dump your habits wholesale just ‘cause they’re getting a bit old.

What I’m advocating here is a healthy and relentless skepticism about what is or is not literally “best.” Progress is relentless. Competition is relentless. Our quest for continuous improvement must therefore also be relentless.

Not that I’m the poster child for this concept. I’m not holding up the following example as some earth-shattering proof of my genius. It’s just an example I’m really familiar with, since I lived it. Back in January, 2001, I decided to launch a monthly e-newsletter. Don’t laugh, back then it was pretty bleeding edge stuff. I got a good bit of grudging recognition, a boat-load of kudos and some actual business. It was indeed a “best” practice. Was.

Then the spam police emerged and I had to add all the double opt-in procedures. Double opt-in was, in its time, a genuine best practice. It’s been demoted now to a “you’re a moron if you don’t use it” practice.

Ditto for html-format newsletters. Ditto for “if you’re having trouble reading this click here.” Ditto for links to a “best” practice landing page on your web site embedded in the e-newsletter. Ditto for 50 other things.

These days, a coordinated attack with a blog in the vanguard supported by a special landing page on the web site, opt-in e-newsletter, LinkedIn, Twitter and highly targeted “watch this video” e-mails are a best practice in my world. Some of you read that and giggle at its quaintness. Others of you read that and wonder what on earth I’m talking about.

That’s my point.

“Best” is relative. Best for you? Best for your company? Best for your industry? Best in the world? Best today? Best this year? Best for whomever, whenever?

Whatever you’re doing… No matter how good… It ain’t good enough. Never. Ever.

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