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Sales is Not A Lottery Ticket!

Sales is not a lottery ticket. It’s not a way to get rich quick, sorry MLM world. Sales isn’t a sleazy chick looking to sell some old unsuspecting man a beater car to make some quick coin. That’s a crook. Sales is not a lay-over profession while you look for a job in your field, that’s lack of commitment.

Sales is a profession for the skilled, creative and driven.

It’s a craft that must be honed.

Sales is a science that must be studied. It’s an art that needs to perfected.

Companies and every day people rely on sales folks to grow their business, to save money, to look good, to lose weight, to feel good, to beat the competition, to realize their dreams, to win a race, to expand their mind, to save time, to be more efficient, to build a car, to have more fun, to design software, to build skyscrapers, to redesign their homes, and everything else that happens in the world. Sales people are behind the biggest and most impacting changes in our lives.

Sales is no joke. Sales people make the world go ’round.

If you’re in sales to help people and businesses grow, win, change, share, etc., then you’re in for the right reason. If not, get out. You’re not doing you or your customers a favor.

You can make a lot of money in sales. The bigger the impact you have in people lives, the more money you can make. But, sales is no lottery ticket.

Poweball is $150 million dollars as of this morning. Now that’s a lottery ticket! Sales is a profession. Take your pick.

 

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Finally! A New School Sales Conference

 

It’s a giant ping pong joint in the Flatiron District of downtown Manhattan.  It’s one of those hip places you’ll see millennials kickin’ it on a Saturday night. It’s not a stuffy, hotel conference room with 100′s of round tables, covered neatly with white table cloths, all awaiting a day of talking heads. Ugh!  It’s one of those places that reminds you of how cool New York City is and it’s where the NYC Sales Hacker Conference is going to be this upcoming Thursday. Now, that’s new school.

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For the past several years, I’ve been kicking around the idea of starting a new school sales conference. Now I don’t have to because, Max Altschuler has done it. He’s created the Sales Hacker Conference.  It’s a hip, real sales conference, dropping crazy wisdom on sales leaders, sales people AND the sales automation companies who are trying to change the world of sales and he’s rewriting the rules of sales conferences at the same time. The goal is to connect todays sales automation companies, with its blister pace of growth, with sales organizations who are woefully missing out on the bad ass sales efficiency that can be gained through these sales automation tools.

We’ll uncover the secret sauce that powers entire sales processes from lead gen to proposal to close and beyond. Everything covered will be immediately actionable so you can go home and implement these strategies and tactics directly into your company.

As much as the conference is about connecting these two groups of folks, who stand to gain so much from one another, the Sales Hacker conference is also about teaching mad sales and sales leadership skills like:

  • Lead generation and list building tools and processes to creating an outbound sales – machine.
  • Outsourcing and automating the entire sales funnel.
  • Relationship building and engagement strategies that will not only boost open rates but develop trust from potential partners, clients, and recruits.
  • Creating new viral sales channels where your partners do the leg work for you.
  • Hiring the best salespeople and the right salespeople for your team that ramps up fast, every single time.
  • Building a sales culture that motivates employees to hit their goals and makes them love their job.
  • Scaling all of the above, while doing all of the above, and doing it right.

If you like the “idea” of sales conferences, but don’t actually like sales conferences, the Sales Hacker Conference is definitely worth checking out. The speaker list is pretty bad ass too, including my boy Kyle Porter CEO of SalesLoft, Hubspots top money go getter, Mark Roberge, Tawheed Kader CEO from ToutApp and more.  So go register now. To make it even more dope, Max has given ASG community folks a little discount love. Use ASGVIP in the promotional code section and save a little coin.

Let’s grow this sucker! It’s time for a new school sales conference and Sales Hackers is heading in the right direction.

 

 

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What You Don’t Know About Your Pipeline That’s Killing Your Sales

What do your sales pipeline stages look like?

How many do you have?

Are they working, does your pipeline tell you what you need to know?

If you’re like most sales organizations your pipeline stages are average. They do just enough for you to track sales, to manage opportunities and to provide a rough forecast. But, also like most sales organizations, when it comes to crunch time, when it comes to the end of the quarter, your pipeline fails you and you’ve missed  your number again. High or low, it doesn’t matter. If you miss your forecast substantially (high or low), you’re not doing your job as the sales leader and that’s because you don’t what’s happening inside your sales funnel.  A big culprit of this “blurry vision” — pipeline stages that are too big.

When pipeline stages are too big, it’s hard to know what’s going on.

When is a pipeline stage too big? When too many sales yes’s need to be achieved to get to the next stage, they’re too big. When too many sales actions and efforts are required or when the stages are wildly complex the stages are too big. When sales stages are too complex, when there is lots of activity, lots of moving parts, big sales stages become an abyss and it’s time to consider breaking them up. It’s almost impossible to accurately know what’s going on when a stage is too big and the result is an inaccurate forecast.

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Deals end up all over the place when a stage is too big!

 

When a stage is too big you don’t have the visibility needed to know where the deal actually is. It’s hard to know if it’s close to moving to the next stage or if it’s still in the beginning. The key is to avoid big stages and break them down in to more manageable stages.

A Good Pipeline Stage Size;

Start with the complexity. If there is a certain complexity in a stage such as a demo, or a trial, consider making the demo or trial it’s own stage. This way you can separate the impact and data results from the trial from the effort required to get a commitment to the trial and from the review phase. The key is to make sure there aren’t too many complex sales efforts in a single stage.

Also, consider length of time. If your sales cycle is a year long. Having a two sales stages that can take 5- 6 months each and two stages that can be done in a few weeks will cause you problems. Deals get stuck in a stage with little visibility and because the stages are naturally long, you don’t find out they are in trouble  until it’s too late.

Activity can also play a role. Like anything, the more parts that are involved, the more points of failure. Consider building sales stages that don’t require too many activities. If there is too much going on in a stage, too many activities that have to be accomplished, one trip up can slow everything to a halt and you may have no idea what the problem is.

Make sure stages align with the buyers journey, how your buyers’ buy. The best thing you can do is to break the sales cycle down so it aligns with the most important and impacting “YES’s” required from your buyers to get the sale. Each “yes” gets you closer and it’s more manageable. (this video breaks down the next “yes” concept.

Let me be clear. I’m not a fan of big, 10 stage pipelines. I personally prefer no more than 6, unless there is a compelling, justifiable reason. But, at the same time, a pipeline with only a few stages that allows deals to become lost or wallow for months, does you or your sales people no good.

Take a look at your current pipeline stages. Are they fluid. Do you find some take longer to move out of than others. Do you know your average “time in stage” data? Is it skewed to one or two stages?  It shouldn’t be. It doesn’t have to be equal, but if one or two of your stages is taking up the majority of the selling time, you have a stage problem and it’s affecting forecasting.

To improve forecasting, you need to know the flow-through rate of your opportunities from stage to stage. If one or two stages takes a long time to leave, rest assured you’re losing deals and slowing down the process.

 

This is the methodology I use to map sales cycles to pipeline. Check it out. 

ebook-real-sales-cycleDownload the ebook

It IS Personal

We like to think of sales people as problem solvers and fixers. And, for the most part we are, at least the good ones are. But there is more to sales than solving a problem and fixing stuff. Sales is also about people, not about people liking you or you liking the people you sell to, but peoples emotions. You see, no matter what it is someone is buying there is a personal motive, a personal need behind the decision — it’s personal.

No one or no act can be completely selfless.

I remember when I was a kid, we would try to stump one another with this question. We’d challenge each other with coming up with an act or a person that wasn’t selfish.  No one could do it. The reason was, no matter how much someone gave, sacrificed, shared, etc., it always came with some return, some benefit to the person giving. Therefore, despite the benefit to the receiver, the giver was doing it because they got some internal reward or return; it made them feel good, it absolved them of guilt, it made them feel like a better person, it met their religious needs, it warmed their heart to see others prosper. They did it for them. Regardless of the motive, it’s impossible for people to be selfless, therefore every decision we make is selfish and personal.

My girl Ash over at The Middle Finger Project had a great post the other day about this and the personal element in selling.  I particularly liked this quote;

Every single person sitting on the other side of a transaction is hoping. Hoping to feel understood. Hoping to feel seen. Hoping to feel like somebody actually gets them. And it’s your responsibility as a business owner, as a marketer, as a sales person, . . . to facilitate the damn connection.

If we want to get better at selling, we need to add more of the human element and make it personal for our clients and prospects. When we need to close a deal by the end of the quarter and push the prospect to close early, that’s working against the human element and that’s not making it personal (well, personal for you). When we understand that our prospect is counting on our solution to save her $15,000 dollars a month and therefore her business and so we offer additional free consulting time to ensure everything goes perfect, that’s making it personal. When we recommend the competition because we know our solution won’t deliver as needed and our prospect is banking their promotion on this purchase, that’s making it personal. Understanding what’s in it for the decision maker and what their personal connection is, that’s how we make it personal.

When we know what the personal drivers are, when we understand “the person on the other side of the transaction,” when we are engaged at a personal level, we are better sales people. Numbers, pipelines, deal strategies, products, quotas,  the competition, RFP’s etc. all drive sales, but it’s all noise without making it personal.

Sales is personal, get that right and everything else will fall into place.

Why the Rich, the Beautiful and the Accomplished are as Unhappy as Everyone Else

Everything you think you know about success is wrong.

Dan Waldschmidt

 

Success is elusive for most people. It’s elusive for the rich, it’s elusive for the poor. It’s elusive to the attractive and to the ugly. It’s elusive to the fit and to the fat. It’s elusive to the old and the young, to the married and the single. As much as all of us want success, it seems to avoid more of us than those of us who’ve found it and this fact was not lost on Dan Waldschmidt and it’s why he chose to write EDGY Conversations.

EDGY is as advertised, edgy. It’s not a soft, rah, rah, make everyone feel good book. It smacks you in the face and challenges you around every corner.  The premise, in simple terms, you aren’t doing enough to be successful; you’re quitting, you’re not working hard enough, you don’t give enough, you make too many excuses, you’re not disciplined and more. I know harsh uh? But, I give Dan credit, he’s right (after 4 years of studying 1000′s of people and how they achieved success) and I think that’s why so few people truly achieve the success they desire.

Dan doesn’t pull any punches and he’s put himself out there right from the beginning with his vivid account of his desire to put it all to an end. A powerful scene, the book opens with Dan holding a gun to his mouth. . .

I can still remember the oily taste of cool metal on my tongue.

 

 

Keenan: The book opens with pretty powerful story about you on the brink of committing suicide.  What made you start with that story? Where did you get the courage to reveal such a personal story? It showed some real balls.

Dan: I didn’t have the courage to start my book that way. The original version left out that story. My team pushed back vigorously against me not being honest with the readers. They got in my face about it until I decided to share intimate details that I had not even told my family.

My 12 year old nephew came up to me after reading my book and asked me why I wanted to kill myself. That’s a tough question to have to explain to a relative. I explained to him that sometimes life gets really painful and you just want it to get better. Sometimes you’ll do really crazy things to feel a little bit better. I think we can all understand those emotions. That’s what makes us all human.

It’s so important to realize how fear and pain drive us to do what we do. We often think we’re in complete control of our behavior. As you take a deeper look at your own motivations you start to realize how out of control your life really is at times.

Keenan: What specifically made you stop? What was it that made you put the gun down? Where do you think that thought, emotion, feeling came from? When at the brink, can others leverage your experience to make the change and stop the pain or do they have to get there on their own?

Dan: I realized that I had never been a lucky person. Everything I had ever achieved was the result of painfully hard work. For some reason I realized, as drunk as I was, that I wouldn’t be one of those people who got lucky and the gun misfired. If I went down this path, it would be final. For some reason the finality of that realization shook me. As heartbroken as I was at the time, I thought I still might have a  fighters chance to fix things. So I gambled on myself. And put down the gun.

 

Keenan: It’s a great book, it attacks becoming successful from a different angle, but why write the book in the first place? This was clearly a big effort. What possessed you to take on such a project?

Dan: I felt like most of the books on motivation or inspiration were wildly out-of-date or out-of-sync with reality and the business world that I live in. I was fueled by a very simple question: “How do ordinary people rise above the limits of mediocrity to achieve outrageous success?”

By the way, I didn’t want to write a book, I wanted to create a movement. This book is just one way to get people to question what they think they know about success. I have to admit that I’m probably more than a little bit crazy when it comes to biting off projects like this. Then again, I’m writing this for myself. I’m one of those ordinary dudes who needs a spotlight on the path ahead.

 

Keenan: Success is a hot topic, there are literally 1000′s of success books, “gurus,” seminars and more, all telling people how to be successful. With so many resources, why do you think people are still flailing? Why are there so many “unhappy” unsuccessful people out there?

Dan: Success is as vague a term as the word “food”. It means much different things to each one of us. The reason why people are unhappy but still “successful” is because they’re not really successful at all. They fit into a category of wealth or leisure that someone else defines as being successful. They’re unhappy because they are working to change their circumstances — which is the same reason why we are all not as successful as we think we should be — despite all of the books and seminars about the subject. Its a lack of will, not skill that is holding us back.

 

Keenan: It seems to me that self-awareness is critical to becoming successful. There was a great book written not too long ago called Mistakes Were Made, But Not by Me, describing something alled cognitive dissonance. It argued too many of us aren’t in tune with ourselves and don’t admit to our mistakes or weaknesses out of fear of accepting we’re not who we think we are. We’re afraid we might not be as infallible or as good as we perceive. How do you suggest we become more self-aware and accepting of our short comings in order to not only make the changes, but the right changes?

Dan: The self awareness that you reference is what we call the “Y” factor. Or being a little bit more human. We live in such busy lives that we rarely stop to think through cause and effect. It’s easier to deflect criticism most days than to stop and take it to heart. Its natural to blame someone else rather than to take ownership of the flaws that we can perfect.

Again, this is a perspective issue. Failure is never easy to accept. It’s never fun to have to learn from your mistakes. It’s only when you look back on a particularly hard time in your life that you realize your personal growth. Those memories can help you when you’re in a tight spot.

Instead of blaming someone else or refusing to improve, you can exponentially improve by being aware of the pain and fear in your life that causes you to make dumb decisions. If your militant about holding yourself accountable you’ll see yourself rapidly improving while everyone around you is still being passive aggressive and pointing the finger.

It’s easy to see how you can quickly become a superstar with a better attitude, right? 

 

Keenan: Which part of E.D.G.Y do you believe is the most difficult for people? Change is hard and your suggesting people have to change in 4 different areas of their life. That’s a lot. Where do you see people struggle the most to change?

Dan: Most people struggle with putting in enough effort. Look — hard work is hard work. Especially after you’ve been working as hard as you can for as long as you can remember. You start looking for something that’s easier. You start buying into some of the nonsense you get told about get-rich-quick schemes or other shortcuts.

We all can do the right thing 1 or 2 times. It’s much more difficult to keep doing it even when it looks like the wrong thing.

 

Keenan: It seems to me the definition of “success” is critical before someone can achieve it. How do you suggest people define success in a way that will motivate them to actually be E.D.G.Y and achieve success?

Dan: That’s important to realize. Success is what you call success. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a lot of money and there’s nothing wrong with just wanting to be a great dad or a good church member. You’ll be horribly frustrated if you tried to live your life based off of everyone else’s standards.

Sit down and figure out what you want for yourself. Don’t make excuses — just start working your way towards achieving that goal. Tune everything else out. Ignore the doubters, the haters, an intellectual critics. Just focus on what you want and work tirelessly to achieve it.

 

Keenan: You tell a LOT of great stories in the book. In one of the more moving stories you talk about the gratitude you felt after running through a poor part of Philadelphia where many of the homes had “cardboard taped in the windows where glass should have been.”  You thought to yourself ; “doesn’t one deserve glass windows?”  And when you arrived back at your hotel you were changed.  Have you since gone back to that neighborhood and done anything to help folks get windows with glass?

Dan: No, I haven’t. I’ve always wondered who lived there and their story, but I’ve never gone back.

 

Keenan: The last chapter on a human strategy is great. EQ is something that we all “know” is critical, but does our demand for “proof” and data in today’s world undermine that?

Dan: Helen Keller is attributed with the observation that “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”. That runs counter to most business strategies. We want to clearly see the plan and plot progress on a spreadsheet before we do anything. If we can’t do that then we would rather not do anything at all.  That usually means we don’t create beautiful things.

 

Keenan: You say it takes courage to look past pain and overcome fear. Where can people find the courage, inside themselves, needed to overcome the pain and fear that works so hard to keep them down?

Dan: Tiny steps lead to big finish line. Courage is something that you lose just after you stop looking for it. Instead of trying to conquer huge problem with huge effort, it’s better to just take a little  step in the right direction. Usually the hardest challenge you will ever have is taking the first step. Once you’re already headed in the right direction it’s easier to take a second and a third and a fourth.

From studying the brain, we know that activity counterbalances the primal part of the brain that creates fear. Simply taking the first step is usually good enough to give you the courage to keep going.

 

If you had to sell this book on a street corner, what message would you belt out as people walked by to get their attention and get them to stop and buy the E.D.G.Y book?

“Everything you’ve ever wanted for yourself is just a conversation away. It might just be a conversation that’s a little tougher than you anticipated.”  I know it was for me.

 

 

DAN’S BIO:

Dan Waldschmidt is an international business strategist, speaker, author, and extreme athlete.  His consulting firm solves complex marketing and business strategy problems for savvy companies all over the world. Dow Jones calls his Edgy Conversations blog one of the top sales sites on the internet. He’s been profiled in Business Week, INC Magazine, BBC, Fox News, The Today Show, and Business Insider, has been the featured guest on dozens of radio programs, and has published hundreds of articles on progressive business strategy. He is author of Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Achieve Outrageous Success.

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How to Instantly Know if You’re a Next Generation Sales Person or NOT!

You want to know if you’re a connected, next generation sales person? It’s easy. You use all of these tools below.

Now, before those of you defensive, old school nerds get your panties in a wad, I’m not saying that your not a good sales person, or that you’re not making quota or that you the world has passed you buy. I’m simply, yet profoundly, saying that if you aren’t using all these tools, you are old school and most likely leaving money on the table and are slowly being left behind.

The tools of selling have changed and they are changing everyday. It was just a few years ago a Franklin Covey Day Planner, a Rolodex, A CRM, a phone and a notebook was all you really needed to kill it. No so much anymore and integrating these tools into your selling process is increasingly paramount.

Next generation seller’s are crushing it using the following;

Feedly 

Feedly is an RSS reader. (They did a great job capitalizing on Google’s decision to kill Google Reader.) Why does it matter? Feedly let’s you aggregate all the sales, business, industry, customer and competition blogs you need to be and should be reading. It updates regularly when any of the blogs you follow adds new content. Today’s bad ass sales people understand the importance of knowledge and information. Feedly puts it all in one place and makes it dead simple to read. With a killer mobile app, today’s new age sales people are up to date on what’s going on in there space all the time. They are only a few clicks away from a giant, relevant, dynamic library of sales and industry information.

Evernote

I’m still blown away by those pretty, little note binders, I see sales people still carry around. Yeah, I used to have one, but the days of written notes are over. Let’s be real, we almost NEVER actually review the notes after meetings. It’s a rare occasion that we ever go back and read what we wrote. Especially if it was in an old notebook. How often did you go back an entire notebook looking for notes?  Today’s new age sales person understands note taking is more than written notes, but that it’s about information storage and retrieval and that’s why they use Evernote. Today’s sales people use the web clipper feature to save a web page about their client or competitor. They catalog pictures of the clients products with their notes. They share their notes via email with their boss or put them in their CRM. They link their Evernote to Google search so any notes they’ve taken in the past that may be relevant to a search they are doing today will pop-up. Today’s savvy sales people aren’t just taking notes, they are capturing specific, relevant content and information about their clients, the industry, their competitors, and making it instantly retrievable.

Hootsuite (Social Management System)

Today’s savvy, new age sales person is social, period! They understand the power of social media beyond Linkedin and use it to sell. Therefore, they know that managing all their social profiles needs to be done through a single hub like Hootsuite. They know that listening is as important as sharing. They know social keywords could be the path to their next sale. They build lists on Twitter, they tweet engaging, relevant information, they participate in LinkedIn groups, they stay caught up on FB and they do it all from one place, knowing efficiency is king. If you’re not using Hootsuite (a social media management system), your not social, if you’re not social, you’re not a next gen sales person.

YesWare/ToutAp/Signals (Email Management System)

How many times have you wondered if the email you sent was read. You haven’t heard from your prospect in a few days, and you’re wondering to yourself, should  I send another, should I call her, what should I do?

Technology to the rescue my friend. Today’s savvy, next generation sales person knows that data is key and part of the data is knowing if and when their most important emails are being opened and read. Yesware, Signals and Toutapp allows today’s sales

people to monitor when their emails are opened. They are notified and can call just when their client is reading their stuff, increasing the chance of making a connection. YesWare and Toutapp let’s today’s sales people schedule when they send emails, allowing them to manage their email when it’s most convenient for them, like at night, while sending  email at the most optimal time, which could be the next day.

 

 

Tellwise/Tinderbox/ClearSlide (Sales Engagement/Buyer Automation Tools)

Just like email management systems, today’s next generation sales person leaves nothing to chance, especially their presentations and sales content. Tellwise/TinderBox and ClearSlide all allow today’s next gen sales people to track and monitor how their prospects engage with their content. What slides or pages are their prospects looking at? What are they forwarding to others in the organization? What links are they clicking on? Savvy, next generation sales people don’t wing it. They put too much time into presentations to just chuck them over a wall and hope for the best. They make sure they know how their clients are engaging with their content and adjust their deal strategy accordingly.

CardMunch (Digital Business Card Manager)

I bought 250 business cards almost 6 months ago and probably have 200 left. Business cards aren’t as important as they used to be. With LinkedIn, Google, About.me etc. it’s not too hard for us to find out the title and contact info of anyone we meet. However, when we do get our prospects or clients cards, today’s next generation sales person wastes no time in making them digital and tossing them in the recycle bin. Carrying around books of cards or spending hours inputing them into your address book is a waste of time. Next generation sales people get that the camera in their mobile phone is for more than #selfies and snapchat.

Cardmunch let sales people take a picture of a business card and then puts the information into a digital address book. It even lets them connect with the business card owner on LinkedIn with a click of a button. It keeps a copy of the business card as well as creates a new contact record in the application. One pic and contact captured.

Sales is changing and today’s next generation sales person gets it. They use the tools that make them more efficient, more productive and more engaged. They’ve expanded their ability to connect with clients, get things done and deliver.

As I said, these tools won’t make up for bad salesmanship. If you can’t sell, you can’t sell and these tools ain’t gonna make spit of difference. But, for those that do know how to sell, they are ahead of the curve. They are the next generation of sales people and they are killing it.

Are you a next generation sales person? Go on, go for it. You should be.

Are there any tools you think should be added to this list?

(Decision criteria: The tools here are tools that sales people can and should be able to leverage on their own. They can be downloaded and installed in most instances without support or approval from corporate. There are a number of additional tools that today’s next generation sales people use, however they are corporate or enterprise and sales people are reliant on their organization to purchase and adopt for them.)

 

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I Hugged a Lot of People at the AA-ISP Leadership Summit

I was at the AA-ISP Leadership Summit in Chicago the past few days. AA-ISP (American Association of Inside Sales Professionals) is the group driving and pushing this burgeoning space called inside sales.

Inside sales is growing like a frickin’ weed.  It is substantially outpacing outside sales. More and more organizations are embracing inside sales because of the financial benefits. Inside sales saved companies a shit load of money without much disruption to revenue production. It’s a model that is gaining in traction and it should be.

I hugged a lot of people at the AA-ISP Leadership Summit because it had been a long time since I had seen many of these folks. A lot of my relationships are created online. It’s fair for me to say, that I have met as many people online in the last 5 years than I have met in person, if not more.  Of those people I’ve met online, I’ve met many in person and thats where the relationship really goes boom!

Inside sales is without a doubt a viable, real, beneficial structure to driving revenue but it lacks the in person touch that transforms relationships, business or personal.  I found it oddly paradoxical that here we are, all talking about the value of inside sales and reducing outside sales channels, travel, and face to face interaction while we were sitting next to each other listening to presenters, having drinks and having dinner. The in person engagement was alive and well during the summit.

As valuable as inside sales is, I think the organizations who are able to maintain the person interaction that makes relationships go boom are going to win. It shouldn’t be inside sales vs outside sales or virtual selling vs in person selling. It’s not black or white. The key will be for companies to leverage the benefits and efficiency of inside sales with the personal and engaging nature of outside sales. I think there are a million ways to do this, each one being unique to the business, product, strategy and structure, but the key is to find ways to accomplish both.

I met EVERYONE of these people online first; Ken Krogue Koka Sexton, Sean Burke, Lori Richardson and Jaime Shanks but I got to hug them all at dinner this week.  It’s dinners like this one we had last night that makes the relationship go boom!

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Inside sales is awesome. It’s growing and provides tremendous value. But, I think we will all be served well to remember, sales is still a people business.

I had a great time a AA-ISP and it was fun to hug some friends I haven’t seen in a while.

Go hug a client today.

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Why This Sleazy Sales Pitch is Frickin’ Awesome and You Can Learn from It

Yesterday I posted this video from The Wolf of Wall Street.

In the post, I suggested that there was actually some good stuff to learn from this sales call. It’s a pretty cheesy call. He’s lying, he’s manipulating the buyer, he’s overbearing and he cares very little for wether or not his buyer actually makes money. So, yeah it’s not  ”good” sales. But, in this traditional, used car salesman, cheesy pitch are some intriguing lessons.

Lesson 1: It’s not about you, it’s about them

Don’t make it about you, make it about them. DiCaprio starts the call by anchoring the buyer in the fact that HE sent in a card and HE wanted to know more about penny stocks that; “had HUGE upside potential with very little downside risk.”  By doing this he’s able to position himself as a consultant NOT as a sales person, almost as if he’s doing they buyer a favor.  DiCaprio wastes no time taking the role of consultant and the holder of valuable information the client asked for. He positions it as the buyers call, not his.

In the real sales world that’s our job. It’s not about us, it’s about our clients and their needs. It’s our job to position ourselves as consultants or harbingers of quality information and killer solutions. If we make it about us, we aren’t doing our job and DiCaprio got to that part right away. He was quick to point out the buyer asked to be contacted.

Lesson 2: Create Urgency

It took DiCaprio just seconds to drive home the point that this was an fleeting opportunity that needed to be acted on immediately. He was quick to point out that Aerotyne International was on the cusp of “imminent patent approval.”  Yup, this opportunity is about to go and you don’t want to miss it.

In the real world fabricating urgency is just plain stupid, BUT finding real, tangible urgency, that’s another story. Great sales people are very good at identifying urgency buyers may not see or miss. They are able to highlight real, valid opportunity costs to waiting. They are able to demonstrate real first mover advantages when they exist. Killer sales people have noses like truffle pigs when it comes to digging out real, measurable, demonstrable urgency.

DiCaprio created a tremendous sense of urgency and maintained it through the entire call. Urgency matters.

Lesson 3: What’s the Future State?

Nothing is sold without a vision AND acceptance of a future state, change. Inherent in sales is a willingness or desire to move from the current state to a future state and DiCaprio’s pitch wasted no time making sure the buyer had  a solid vision of how his life could change, what his future would hold, if he made this decision. He could stand to make “upwards of $60,000.” Not to miss a gimme, DiCaprio was quick to validate the buyers observation that he COULD pay off his mortgage with that kind of money. DiCaprio anchors him in the vision of a paid off home, debt free life. This future state in contrast with the current state is critical in selling.

In the real world, anchoring customers in what they get, how their world will change is critical. In the real world of selling helping clients see how their world will improve, how they can increase revenue, be more competitive, save money, win market share, reduce costs, etc is where the win is.  It’s not in the features or the products, but what the products deliver. The greater value the future state a product or service can provide, the greater the probability the buyer will buy. You want make more sales, create bigger and better change.

Paying off your mortgage, that’s big change.

Lesson 4: Credibility

We knew DiCaprio was full of shit and so did he. Because he knew that, he tried to fabricate as much credibility as possible. He mentions his analysts, he mentions patents pending, he even cops to the fact that he “loses” deals once in a while — so few losers however. With little to work with, DiCaprio does his best to weave in as much credibility building as he can. He understands the importance of trust and comfort when it comes to the sale. He does such a good job, the buyer is actually thanking HIM at the end of the call. The buyer is thanking him with exuberance.

In the real world of sales, credibility is everything. With credibility comes trust. However,  unlike the sleazy, lying approach DiCaprio takes, killer sales people build credibility through knowledge and expertise. The key to gaining credibility in the real world of selling is to be know more than your clients. It’s to know what’s happening in the industry. It’s to know how your solution impacts your clients business. It’s being aware of the trends, the alternatives and more. In the real world of selling credibility is earned by being your clients go to person when they need to solve a problem and actually solving them.

Cred is key to selling and DiCaprio knew it, established it, and maintained throughout the call.

Lesson 5: Passion and Conviction

Listen to DiCaprio’s voice as he sells this man on Aerotyne. Look at his face. The passion and conviction are undeniable. Listen for his inflection. He softens his voice at the right time, then raises his voice to create excitement at just the right time. You can’t help believe that DiCaprio, for the fleeting moments he’s talking, believes what he’s saying. The passion and conviction for the Aerotyne opportunity can be felt in his words, his body language and his tone. It’s infectious.

Yeah, yeah, I know, he’s a con. But in the real world of sales if you don’t believe what you’re selling, if you don’t have conviction for your offer or solution, you’re fucked. Just today, I was working with a client on a big channel push and we were going over the presentation. It lacked conviction and authority and we fixed it. We knew there was no way the channel partner was going to get behind the new initiative if we didn’t demonstrate conviction for it too.

Conviction and passion are the grease to a good sale and DiCaprio greased his way into a $4000 dollar sale.

No doubt! DiCaprio conned this poor guy out of $4o00. What he did and how he did it was unscrupulous. So, before anyone gets their panties in a wad, I’m not condoning how he sold. What I am doing condoning is the underlying methods of how he sold. They were good. DiCaprio understood what it took to influence someone and he executed to a tee.

As a sales person, are you this good?  Do you incorporate all 5 of these lessons into your sale? You should, you just might get a few more deals.

I loved this scene, it was one of my favorites. It offered sales people so much, if they were looking. Do you/did you see it?

Oh  yeah, there is on more lesson.

Lesson 6: Don’t be sleazy! ;)

Nuff said!

 

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20 Bad Ass Chicks You Need to Know

In the ever accelerating world of lead management, there is a crew of women who are making a name for themselves by changing how sales and revenue are driven through leads. Those of us in sales, we like that, right? Good leads frickin’ rock!

These bad ass ladies were just recently announced by the SLMA (Sales Lead Management Association) on their 20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management. I dig working with chicks, more so than dudes in many cases. I’ve find their presence brings greater unity, more innovation, creativity and empath to teams. So, I was stoked to see this list.

I believe the presence of women in sales is grossly under represented. Women are bad ass sales people and I personally want to see more making their mark. We (A Sales Guy Recruiting) were recently engaged in a number of high-profile sales people searches, when my lead recruiter asked; “Where are all the women? I can’t find any.” Her question hit me hard, because I knew she right. It’s hard to find women in sales, especially technology sales.

This list makes me happy and I hope to see more lists and exposure for woman like this one.  (Hmmm, idea swimming in my head.)

Check out these bad ass ladies, they do good stuff and deserve the recognition they’re getting.  And a little extra love to my girl Nancy Nardin. Way to go sister, way to go!

Winners (Twitter Account)  Company/Accomplishments

Lisa Arthur    Teradata

Marge Bieler RareAgent

Karla Blalock PointClear

Lisa Cramer   LeadLife Solutions

Robyn Davis  When I Need Help

Jeanne Hopkins Continuum Managed Services

Jocelyn King Altera

Janet Lee  Lattice Engines

Liz McClellan PGi

Laura McGuire Saligent, Inc.

Barbara Morris Laser Image

Margery Murphy Acadia Lead Management

Simone Nabers ReadyTalk

Ellie Mirman HubSpot

Nancy Nardin Smart Selling Tools

Hila Nir ZoomInfo

Genie Parker VanillaSoft

Laura Patterson  VisionEdge Marketing, Inc.

Beki Scarbrough CA Technologies

Mari Anne Vanella The Vanella Group

Keep your eyes on these ladies, they are making things happen.

Why This Sleazy Pitch is Actually Good Selling

Have you seen The Wolf of Wall Street? It’s a great movie. It was a blast to watch, entertaining as hell.

It’s not a “sales” movie per se, but it does have some killer sales scenes and references.  This one is my favorite.  Watch it closely, it’s sleazy and manipulative, but despite its sleazy nature, it’s actually a killer pitch. Can you see it?

Did you see it? How does this pitch leverage some good selling techniques and approaches? What do you see?

Let’s have some fun with this. Share your thoughts in the comments and tomorrow I’ll follow up with my thoughts on why this pitch is actually good selling.

This is gonna be fun, what do you see? Is it good selling or do you think I’m full of shit and it’s just plain sleazy?

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