“Print is dead!” has become the battle cry of the digerati. When I speak to Silicon Valley executives, they tell me that “salespeople don’t read, and print advertising has migrated to the Web, so move all your information online.”
If we go online and Google “success,” we’ll find 312 million entries. If we searched for 100 years and worked eight hours a day reading one article per minute, we’d be able to look at only 5.4 percent of what we could find about success today. Google opens a door to an infinite universe that defies comprehension. The Internet offers us access to excess information, which often leads us to more searching – which leaves less time for work, which in turn drains productivity.
Revolutions tend to create a curious inversion of perception that’s similar to looking through the wrong end of binoculars. What was once big appears ridiculously small. While the old economies are disintegrating and every business hops on the giant information highway, I want to stand up and say, “Not so fast!” For every person who tells me that print is dead, I hear three people saying, “I love your magazine. It helps me as a professional because it makes me think about how to improve.”
Who says that online information has been a great teacher to salespeople? Does the Internet turn salespeople into better listeners? No! Does the Internet turn average salespeople into peak performers? I don’t think so.
I believe the Internet has a few disadvantages over a good magazine, one disadvantage being that the Internet doesn’t have a back cover. When you’ve finished reading a magazine, you know you have reached the end. When you are searching online, you don’t see a stop sign that reads, “You’ve reached the end of what you need to know, now get back to work!”
The magic of online is that it opens doors to worlds we didn’t know existed. With each click, curiosity moves us forward, but the pleasure of discovery goes hand-in-hand with the nagging feeling that there is no closure.
Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message,” meaning that the medium by which a message is delivered becomes part of the message, and it influences how the message is perceived. Online media is perceived as more urgent; it urges us to choose what to read next, and it seduces us to travel further on the information highway so that we sometimes forget what we were looking for.
On the other hand, when we’ve finished reading a good book or a great magazine article, the hidden message is, “I accomplished something. I got a meaningful return on my time investment, and I am at peace with myself.” Closure creates meaning.
To many salespeople, the Internet has become a place to forget themselves rather than improve themselves. I believe that Selling Power magazine is a better place for sales improvement than the Internet. If you disagree, we’ve covered our bets; you can also get the magazine online.
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