What do you do to gain an edge when it comes to selling?

Surely you promote your company’s strengths, heritage, dependability, strong product range and great customer service, but what else do you do in the sales process to stand out?

You have probably upgraded technology over the years to help you be up-to-date with productivity trends. Perhaps you embraced PowerPoint for presentations, carried a PDA or now own a tablet.

These technology forms at their outset did a little more than just provide new productivity tools, they told your customers something about you. And when they were new and different, they were cool.

So What’s Cool?

The Atlantic recently covered the publication of a paper in the Journal of Consumer Research that attempts to define cool. The paper, by Caleb Warren and Margaret C. Campbell states that: “Coolness is a subjective, positive trait perceived in people, brands, products, and trends that are autonomous in an appropriate way.

It’s something new and surprising that bucks the norm or changes expectations. It’s something that connotes leadership. It often has a “wow” factor that changes the way people think about it—and you.

Here are six cool sales technologies or tech features that can help you when you’re selling wholesale.

6 Cool Sales Technologies to Give You an Edge

1. Digital Catalogs

A 2013 research report from Forrester, “Online and Mobile are Transforming B2B Commerce,” stated that “69% of B2B companies currently selling direct to business partners online expect to stop publishing their print catalogs altogether within the next five years.”  That may or may not happen in wholesale soon, but it shows the momentum behind electronic catalogs.

Whether you carry a laptop, a tablet, or simply want to have the catalog accessible over the web, make it electronic. Digital catalogs lead with a modern foot forward and, taken one step further, can even allow an order to be completed online, offering powerful ease of use and convenience to your customers. Digital catalogs allow depth through rich media drilling down into details and search, which makes it much easier for the customer to find what they want. Even cooler is live access to inventory levels of all your products. You can reassure the buyer that the items they want are in stock, or help them select others if there’s a delay.

2. Tablets

As an enabling platform, tablets are powerful and easy to use, sleekly designed and eminently portable and sharable. They allow touchscreen control, zooming, multiple photos, and with the right catalog, searching by SKU or name.

3. Interactive Quotes

Can’t get face time with a customer, or need to send a follow up summary of your order after a sales meeting because further approval is required?  Sales order management solutions like Handshake offer the ability to create the quote or an order and provide editing privileges to your customer, allowing them to amend it as they see fit and then electronically sign it and send it back. It’s quick and collaborative, turning sales into more of a partnership. You can also put together your own quote, send it via email and use a technology like DocuSign or Echosign to have them sign it without the need for paper, scanners, or fax machines – all of which are so NOT cool. (To read about how one company is using interactive quotes to increase their sales, click here.)

4. Custom Branded Software

When the software you are using can be branded and skinned with your company identity, you get to capture the cool factor for yourself. Look for apps and technologies that allow you to incorporate your own branded assets, colors and fonts to maximize sales impact.

 5. Offline Access

Sometimes (like at a trade show) you just don’t have internet access. However, with offline access to your digital catalog and order writing software, whether on a tablet or laptop, you can still share it with your customer and fully write orders. This cool factor is about problem solving before the problem occurs. And let’s face it – only totally un-cool people pay for wifi. Fake it till you make it by doing everything you can do with internet access – but without it.

6. Interactive Presentation Software

Presentations don’t have to be flat. Tools like Prezi and Slidebean offer rich options for dynamic presentations, including animations, video and panning and zooming. Use technology to make your storytelling more engaging. After your appointment, leave your story behind with a link to the presentation that your customer to view on his or her own time.

Sales is not Just about Cool

It’s fun to wow a customer with something new and different and feeling that you have an edge gives you confidence. But to truly collaborate with clients, remember that it’s not just about gadgets or impressing them with the coolness of your technology. At the end of the day, while cool makes a difference, what’s most important is putting the customer first – listening and attending to their needs.

Use any sales technology or apps you think are cool? Let us know!