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Sales Management

'Tis the Season for Sandbagging

Its worth repeating my post from last December about the December Sales Problem.

December is a hard sales month for companies for several reasons:  The month is really only 2.5 weeks long before your prospects shut down.  Budgets are often used up.  Vacations make it hard to get deals done.  Prospects are more focused on their Holiday party then they are on your solution, etc.  The list is long, and very intuitive why its hard to get sales done.  However, as I’ve posted before, December can actually be an amazing month for sales.

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Sales Lessons from a 6 year old: It's all about the cash

You can draw sales lessons from everywhere in life.  The reason for this is that most of sales is about the interaction of human beings with each other – about the acts of persuasion and communication.  I write constantly about how everyday life teaches me valuable lessons about how to become a better salesperson and sales manager.  First, I wrote about Sales Lessons in a chick flick.  Then I wrote about Sales Lessons from my 7 year old.  Then, sales lessons from my 2 year old.  I also wrote recently about sales lessons from my colorblind brother.

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The best salespeople have expensive hobbies

I gave my “Sales 101 for entrepreneurs” lecture to the entrepreneurs at DreamIT Ventures in Philadelphia last week.  If you aren’t familiar with them, its a TechStars / Y-Combinator style incubator that helps launch great companies on a shoe-string.  It does so by providing a great environment and access to top notch mentors and experienced VC’s and entrepreneurs.  I was honored to be one of their speakers this year.

During my presentation, one of the entreprenuers asked me a great question:  What should I look for when I’m hiring a sales candidate?

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Act now! Q1 is ending.

I shouldn’t be writing, and you shouldn’t be reading, this post.

Why?  Its the end of the quarter, and if you are in sales, and if you are awake, you should be working on how to use the end of the quarter to get as many deals closed as possible.

This week is a key week to call all of your stalled deals and wake them up with an offer.  This is the time to grab your April and May deals, and see about moving them into Q1.  This is the week to make sure the deals that you are counting on for Q1 – actually happen.

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Weekly Pipeline Calls

I’ve been asked by a few clients recently about the value (or lack thereof) of weekly pipeline calls.   I think that this depends entirely on the way in which the meeting is conducted, and the intended purpose of the meeting.

When I started my first company, I had no formal sales training, so my sales were haphazard, my tracking was minimal, and my team was tiny.  While we had ad-hoc meetings about different clients, there was no structured weekly meeting.  Sales certainly got done, and the entire team was often involved, but we didn’t have anything formal – and in many ways this was how we wanted to work.  It was a free form, make it happen approach.

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WSJ: Entrepreneurs Can Lead Us Out Of Crisis

There is a great article in the Wall Street Journal today on something that I’ve been arguing lately.  That the only way out of the financial crisis is through entrepreneurs.

Missing from this legislation [the stimulus bill] is anything more than token support for the long-proven source of most new jobs and new growth in America: entrepreneurs. These are the people who gave us everything — from Wal-Mart to iPhones, from microprocessors to Twitter — that is still strong in our economy. Without entrepreneurs, we will never get out of our current predicament.

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The value of a rolodex

I find it amusing that the word “rolodex” is still in the lexicon.  I don’t know of any professional salesperson that I work with that still uses one of these devices.  Yet, they still sell these things!  Who is buying them?  Are there salespeople who store their most valuable information source on handwritten cards on their desk?

With Outlook, salesforce.com, pipelinedeals, highrise, or any of the other fantastic digital products that exist in managing and keeping on top of contacts, would anybody really still use a physical rolodex?  Rolodex has never released, to my knowledge, a successful digital product.

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Easy to Buy = Easier to Sell

This morning I went to buy a cup of coffee.  This coffee shop charged $1.95 for a cup of coffee – after tax it was $2.11 per cup.  I watched as the line built up and built up while the cashiers made change for each person that tried to buy a simple cup of coffee.  I even saw people walking away because the line was getting too long.  I wondered why this shop didn’t change the price just to make the act of buying a cup of coffee that much easier.  There is a LOT of margin in a $2 cup of coffee – and by simply lowing the price (even a penny) they could have made buying the coffee that much easier and I would argue, made more money in the long run.

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