Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Professional Mediocrity

Are you a sales professional who does everything right, works hard, but just can’t break out of being mediocre? Do you sometime take chances, pushing to close a deal only to have them blowup in your face? Let’s see if we can help.

I just got back from an annual Frisbee Golf Tournament that I play in that has been going on for 31 years. I have never won. I play well, don’t make many mistakes, don’t get too emotional, don’t take too many chances, and don’t win. Sometime if I have a nice drive and approach shot, and if I have a good look at the pin and I think I can pick up a stroke, I’ll take a chance. Generally I miss, and sometimes lose a couple of strokes.

Birdy to bogie is never any fun. So it is easy to get conservative. Don’t take a chance, play for par, play not to lose, and not to win. It is easy to get greedy when you can see the prize, over extend and get burned. I can hear you now, you are saying, you want me to take a risk, but not take a risk, what gives?

I think the lesson I have learned is you need to take risks when you can’t see the prize. If I threw a little harder on the tee-off, cut the angle just a little, got more aggressive on the approach shot, I would have a better chance to get a birdy. So being aggressive when you can, conservative when you need to, this will put you in a position to win. Oh, and don’t throw into the deep rough.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It Is What it Is

And you are what you are. You may not be happy about that, but it is the case. While it is possible to get training to gain new skills, personality is not a skill.

So you have to understand that you have positive and negative traits. You can have one without the other. You can put yourself in a position to maximize the positive and minimize the negative, but they are a package deal. So what can you do about it? Roll with it.

You are who you are, don’t fight that, you sell best when you are confident. If you aren’t confident with who you are you wouldn’t be successful in sales. Don’t try to hide your negative, it will shake your confidence. Remember, it is what it is.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Game 7 Sales Call

Do you ever have game 7 sales calls? You know, this one for all the marbles, first or last, wreckers or checkers, you are either getting the deal or losing the deal.

Nothing more exciting than a game 7…or more nerve wracking. There are some reasons to look forward to a game 7 situation. First, you are still in the game, you have a chance to win. Another reason is the fact that it is a contained situation, you know the time span.

Time can kill a deal by just making it rust, if you have a deal that goes on and on and on, you may want to force a game 7. It is better to go for the win, than to play a prevent defense. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sell or Train?

What is your job, to sell, or to train? I don’t know about you, but I see few comp plans that pay for you to train your prospects. So where is the line?

Every technical sales process has some level of knowledge transfer. Some knowledge you have that you need to make them understand in order to close the deal. We all do this every day. This is what keeps us employed, our ability to explain the technical and make it relevant. But don’t forget the sales process….

Discovery, what do they need. Once we know this and how our solution solves their issue, we can present it, with the minimum amount of technical knowledge needed. Once we have presented the solution and the client needs more. More Proof of concept, more knowledge, more examples, we need to evaluate the time it will take. Time = Money. Is the deal worth it?

So you have several options. One, do the extra work as part of the sales process for free, offer to sell them a pilot installation with some training, bundle additional training into the sale, or walk away…

So are you a salesperson, or a trainer? 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Learning new facts

There are several things we know about all our customers. It may be their needs, it may be base software, it may be their options, but whatever they are, we know them. Well what if we don’t? What if your base beliefs were wrong, would that affect your sales process? Well let me help you, it will.

All of our base sales processes are based on our ability to present a value proposition for the solutions we provide. The value of these often is dependent on the customer’s core processes and infrastructure. So how sure can you be of your value prop if you’re aren’t sure of your customer’s core?

Here is an example. Hosted backup is a no brainer. The cost is low, the performance great, the solution scalable. But what if your client doesn’t have internet access? None, nada, zilch, how effective would hosted backup be? Not much, so it would have a low value to this customer.

This is the same issue with many countries around the world. No steady supply of clean power, little to no internet access, low quality equipment, pirated software, and low technology knowledge. These items to me are core items. I count on the customer to have all the items I listed to sell to them.

If you are considering selling into a new market, you need to get information on the items you count on your customers having. Without this data you may be left in the cold.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Billy Mays

Is it your hope to someday replace Billy? No? Then why do you sell like him? You get this software…and a free installation, but wait there is more! Signup now and I’ll throw in this fabulous hardware too.

I understand how hard sales is, but don’t make it harder by being like an infomercial too.

Sales should have a process like everything else in your business. Each item has price and a cost. This includes your services as well. How valuable can those services be if you can give them away? While it may get you this deal, will you now be expected to give service away on every deal with this customer?

So let’s assume you do need to give something to sweeten the pot to close the deal. The right way is to define the service, price the service, and establish its value with the client. Once we have established the value, now it is worth something. Trading value for value is different than giving something away.