Last month I covered two trends for every sales-person to know: #1 Your past success will increasingly hold you back, and #2 Technology-driven change will dramatically accelerate. (Rapid change is your best friend.)

This month I would like to share some additional trends for successful salespeople to keep them abreast of changes in their industry. The more you understand and adapt, the better your sales will be – today and in the future.

Increasingly time is becoming more and more important to people. Why? We have an aging demographic in the United States, with 78 million Baby Boomers. And time gets more valuable as you get older because you have less of it. Additionally, the world has become more complex with much more for people to do with their time. Today we have iPods, cell phones, the Internet and a host of other technologies that didn’t exist when the Baby Boomers were babies. There’s so much more going on and we’re connected in so many more ways that everyone is increasingly strapped for time. With that in mind, the last thing you want to do in sales is seem like you’re taking someone’s time.

Instead, you want to be giving them time. You want your customers to feel that talking to you is actually saving them time. Think about all the time wasters your customers might experience: long wait times for service, long hold times on the phone, long delivery times for products…the list is virtually endless. Such time wasters hurt your sales and profits. Therefore, make sure you have the processes in place that will keep customers from wasting time. When you can prove that you’re a time saver, people will choose you over the competition every time.

Many salespeople rely on such marketing tools as a company web site, flyers, and sales letters. But all these things are static, meaning they are merely informing people. You hope your sales messages will entice the prospect to call, but it’s still a one-way interface. A better way is to have your sales messages create action. One way to do that is to engage prospects with your sales and marketing efforts. For example, you could have a contest that encourages people to go to your site and enter. So instead of just saying that you want people to buy your snack product, for instance, you can tell customers that they can go online and create or vote for the next new flavor. Now you get them involved in your product. The key is to generate communication, engagement, and involvement through your sales and marketing efforts. If you call someone and just talk to them and aren’t creating dynamic dialog, then you’re really just giving them information. You want to give people consultative advice. You want to listen and speak and create dialog. Only then do you truly capture your prospects’ interest and convert them into paying clients.

Next month I will cover the final two sales trends taking place – all of which affect salespeople in every industry. Understanding all six of these trends and how to maximize them will help you reap the rewards of a successful sales career.