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December 2008

Who to hire for my start-up? Gray hair or jeans

In speaking to so many start-up entrepreneurs, I get the same question over and over again:  what type of sales person should I be hiring?

This is a very interesting dilemma for start-up companies as they begin to build their sales plan, and as they try their best to get to profitability.  You have a serious choice.  Do you hire someone who is experienced in sales or do you hire a junior, super-energetic salesperson.

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Start with the right sales relationship

In the past two days, I’ve gotten a call from two of the banks that I do business with.  The first one, Chase, holds my home equity line, and I got a call from a woman who wanted to talk to me about my line.  The second bank is TD Bank and they hold my personal checking account and also my QuotaCrush business account.

What was interesting is that both banks were calling me with essentially the same exact pitch.  Both women that called me wanted to call to establish a “relationship” with me.  They wanted to let me know that they would be my “personal banker” and that I could call them with any questions and concerns and they would help me out.

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My Christmas Tie Mistake

Mickey Christmas TieThis morning I had a sales meeting, and before I went I sent out a tweet that said “business casual sales meetings means I get to wear my really cool Christmas ties almost never… I think I’m going to wear them anyway…”

So… I go to my meeting, and the very first thing the man says to me is, “Interesting tie choice. I’m curious as to why you would wear that.  I think perhaps you didn’t think about whether wearing a Christmas tie would bother me.”  I was caught quite off-guard and for a moment thought perhaps he was following me on twitter and was making a joke about my morning comment – but alas he wasn’t.  He was truly upset at my tie choice.

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The December Sales Problem

The end of any quarter is deal-making time, but December is the best of them all.  I was talking to a salesperson the other day whose opinion was, “nothing happens in December”  Ah, how UNTRUE!  In fact, when other people slow down, its the chance to make a big deal.  But… there is a problem with December that puts sales people against sales managers and while both are aware of it, it certainly creates problems for all sides.

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Using your network to make contact

Sales professionals live and die by their network.  Becoming a very successful salesperson typically means that you can use your network to its fullest to get and GIVE introductions, referrals, and more.  There are dozens of posts on ways to build and maintain your network (and I’ll likely have several posts here on this), but what do you do when you want to ask someone in your network for assistance in making contact?

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Sales Presentations: No demos….EVER!

I recently spoke at the NY Xpo for Business at the Jacob Javitz center on the topic of “Knockout Sales Presentations” and one of my tips that drew the most controversy was when I said, “During a sales presentation, you never, ever, ever, ever give a demo.”

Before I fully explain my position, I want to give credit where credit is due.  Much of the basis of my presentation comes from the Pitch Coach himself, David S. Rose, who provides advice to entrepreneurs looking for angel investors.  If you want to view his presentation, its on his blog here.  What my presentation did was rather than look at presenting to raise money, it was how to take theses ideas and apply them to making a killer sales presentation.

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