Technology trends threaten to make relationship-based professionals, like retail sales associates and insurance agents, obsolete.
Digital communication and the access to information it grants have become a way of life. But what happens when face-to-face communication and good ol’ fashioned interpersonal relationships are swapped for search engines and retweets? Could it mean the end of professions like retail sales associates and insurance agents?
As Run-D.M.C. might say, we’re not going out like that.
Surviving the Digital Economy
The threat of becoming obsolete is a very real fear for retail sales professionals. Online retail sales are steadily increasing, with overall sales forecasted to reach $370 billion by 2017. According to Invesp, more than 62 percent of U.S. consumers with internet access already shop online at least once a month.
However, as our own Scott McLaren explained in a recent piece for TWICE, there are ways today’s salespeople can thrive in a digital economy. It starts with understanding the customer and embracing digital communication. As Scott points out, multiple communication channels are important when communicating with potential customers. ‘Today’s buyers crave instant gratification [and] even those who prefer not to be addressed with sales pitches at the door still likely want in-store resources,’ says Scott.
Selling Insurance in an Online World
With more and more resources available online and brands like Google looking to enter the insurance industry, insurance agents face a similar dilemma: remaining relevant in an online world. Although the Internet is changing the way customers purchase policies, insurance agents can still provide valuable services, if they understand what their customers are looking for.
As Scott mentions in a recent article for Property Casualty 360, it’s important to treat the Internet as a tool, not the enemy. ‘Keep in mind: you’re the expert,’ said Scott. ‘And your knowledge about the industry is unmatched by any dot-com option.’
To stay relevant in the internet age, education is key. What resources do you use to stay up to date? Tweet us at @Fortegra and let us know.