“You need the right tools.” was the message last night as I was entertained at the Cake Boss – Buddy Valastro – Christmas show with my husband and 16 year old (she was REALLY excited about it).

I guess whether you are in sales, a leader,  customer service, or a pastry chef – getting your job accomplished is easier when you have the right tools!

And it got me thinking… yes we need the right tools – we need tools to help us accomplish our job – but tools can also become a crutch, a detriment, and a detractor.

Yes, you read that right… I know the right tools are necessary, but tools can also be a trap to unproductive habits and actions as well!

Some sellers (far too many from my observations) are very happy with their smartphones, tablets, etc. and spend a lot of time on the ‘cool’ factor and the apps and such… which is great, I guess.

But my question is…are they more productive because of it?

You see, I have a dilemma about tools – I’ve seen too many people become LESS productive because of their ‘tools.’ They are so focused on the tools, and  what they CAN do, what’s the latest, etc. that they lose track of what a tool is for.

A tool is an ‘aid’ in getting something done.  

Not a new something to be done.

What? Does that make sense?

If your tools and technology are taking up more of your day than the time you spend with buyers… they are no longer aiding you in getting your job done.

In sales – we succeed by having conversations with people – that’s our job. If technology and tools keep us from doing that at the level we need to succeed, they are not helpful!

When I am at conferences, lunches, the airport, lobbies at companies, etc. I watch more people focused on what is in their hand than what is going on around them. More important, WHO is around them. When I heard a woman describe that she found a great job – with a 50% pay increase – through a stranger she met in the airport, I was reminded that much of the casual and unplanned meetings of people are thwarted because people have their face down versus up and connecting with ‘strangers’ (who may just be their next sale, next job, or new best friend 🙂 )

I’ve seen sellers so focused on using their tablet and such to show the cool factor in their sales conversations, that they lose track of the fact that there is a buyer involved who needs their attention, expertise, and help.

So what are the right tools for your job in sales? Yes, technology and efficiency tools are important, but I believe the right tools are your skill and will to act, to converse, and to solve problems for buyers.

Use your technology tools to get in conversation with more people, track information that lets you have more effective conversations, and keep sales moving forward. And don’t forget that the right tools for your sales job are in your head … and heart.

p.s. Now, to show I am not living in the stone age, I do believe that tools are needed and often mention a valuable resource for those who need to add technology or tools to their toolkit – there is a great website called Smart Selling Tools. Nancy Nardin continues to stay on top of the latest and you can find a ton of resources there.