Several years ago I joined an internet company as a sales rep, and in about 3 months, I became the top salesperson. At the national sales meeting, one of the other reps came up to me and asked how I was having so much success. I responded, “I’m honestly not that sure that I’m ding anything revolutionary. It just seems that these people are happy to take my call and after explaining the product and how it solves their problems, they are willing to buy.” He stared at me blankly for about a minute and then said, “…You call them?”
While it may seem obvious that you should never vomit on your prospects, its a very common move that sales people make.
No.. I’m not referring to actually spewing your chewed Shakeshack burger onto your customer – but spewing WAY too much information.
The easiest thing to do in a sales call is to just talk and talk and talk. Yet – this rarely leads to a sale. When you are more focused on getting all of your points out, and less on what the customer wants to hear – you are essentially losing lots of opportunities to learn what the customer needs – and responding to that need.
I recently was a featured speaker at a SalesHacker event at Projective Space in New York City, and while I spoke about many topics from my book, I spoke for the first time about the topic of sales land mines and it seemed to generate quite a bit of questions both at the event and afterwards, and I realized that while I teach this method a lot, I have never written about it.
To be clear, I do not mean to make light of all of the tragedy in the world relative to land mines, but it is a term that describes a particular sales tactic well.
I believe in sales karma. I don’t like it when people just blatantly ignore my emails or requests for meetings and I’d rather they just simply reply NO. So I’m very careful to never simply ignore emails and requests that come to me.
But, if I ever send a blast email, it is clear that it is a blast email. I personally subscribe to the notion that you should be doing your homework and researching companies to make sure that you are responding in a way that matters to the prospects. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be spending so much time on FunnelFire.
I know that I’ve been very lax on new posts here – but its been for good reason. First, because I’ve been hard at work at FunnelFire – which is moving along very well. Second, because I’ve been putting all my writing effort into finishing my startup sales book. It’s taken a while (I do not recommend trying to write a book AND launch a start-up simultaneously).
It’s available on Amazon now in paperback and kindle versions.
The book takes many of the themes on this blog and puts them into book form, organized nicely – and I expand on most of them.
Ask most people what the key line is from Field of Dreams, and nearly everyone will say:
If you build it, they will come.
On a near regular basis, I talk with people who subscribe to this methodology. If you build a great product, if you send out the mass emails, if you do all these things – well then customers will magically appear and money will start to flow. There are quite a few stories these days about how salespeople will become irrelevant because people will just magically find web-sites and buy stuff.
I saw this post today on VentureBeat about free courses being offered by Stanford to “Build Your Business”
Scan the list… NOT A SINGLE COURSE ON SALES!
It doesn’t matter how much “cryptology” you use, or how good your “graphical models” are, or how “creative you are” if you can’t get people to buy the product – if you don’t have people who want to PAY you for it. You will eventually go out of business! (BTW: are they seriously trying to teach how to be creative? isn’t that in your nature or not? of course, I feel the same way about teaching you how to be an entrepreneur, you either are or you aren’t – it can’t be taught).
On Long Beach Island, NJ, there is an italian bakery, Ferrara’s Italian Bakery, that has a sign outside their shop claiming that they have the “Best Jelly Donuts On The Planet.” This summer, every time I passed the shop, I was struck by this sign. That is a really bold statement. When you make a bold claim like that, I am compelled to find out. I can’t let a statement like that go unchallenged. Already, their marketing/sales campaign is working because… well… if you make a comment like the best on the planet then I am compelled to come in and at least purchase a donut.