Two Ears, One Mouth… use them in that proportion

As I was relaxing last evening, I remembered an old adage that one of my mentors said to me.

You have two ears and one mouth for a reason.  You are meant to use them in that proportion.

What a simple phrase that says so much about sales.  Listen twice as much as you talk.  When you listen, you can craft your sale around what the prospect’s real pain is – why they would even think about buying your product.

"Innovational" not a Generational Divide

It’s great to get back to some blogging.  I’ve got about 10 major points that I want to post here – but its been a very busy two weeks – and its not even the end of a quarter!

I’m currently sitting on a two year post as a trustee of Stevens Institute of Technology which is my alma mater, and just one amazing university.  The trustees had a two day meeting that co-incided with commencement at the university, and I had a lot of time to talk with my fellow trustees, and as I talked about my current position, and the challenges of selling FREE software, I was amazed at how quickly most of the people that I talked to just understood it.

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The Next American Frontier

I think this article is amazing.  Its quote refreshing to read an article about the future of America that is not pessimistic.  As an entrepreneur at heart, I think that this is dead-on.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121115437321202233.html

Sales in the world of "free"

As I’ve mentioned, I’m currently running sales at Angelsoft, which provides deal-flow management software to early stage investment groups like angel groups, venture capitalists, incubators, business plan competitions, etc as well as software and services to the entrepreneurs with which they interface.    The sales team I’m managine is really bright and really enthusiastic, and I’ll be blogging about them a lot as I relate what’s going on at Angelsoft to other stories and ideas.

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Salesforce.com drives me insane: Part 1

Salesforce.com is the WORST salesforce tool, except for all the others.

I have a lot of gripes with sales force tools, and I’ve yet to find one that is actually functional for all people in the organization.  I think that sf.com did one thing well.  They provided a tool that lets sales managers get a pipeline report and since its an online tool, the minute a sales person updates their information from anywhere in the world, that pipeline is up to date.  No syncing – no installs, etc.

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No free trials

When dealing with large enterprises, its my opinion that a salesperson should never offer up a free trial. If the marketing department wants to deal with that and then pass off a qualified lead to you – great but the blanket free trial has no merit in sales – unless of course you are salesperson that doesn’t want to make money.

Now, this is not to say that you shouldn’t let large companies get their feet wet, but the idea is to get the commit upfront otherwise you will see the trial going much longer than you would like it to go.

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Ask for the order

How simple and over stated is this basic premise of sales, yet how often is this the major issue with a salespersons performance?

If you are a sales person and you see that you are not crushing quota, ask yourself if you are asking for the order. With Web 2.0 sales, and other products with low cost trials, it’s way too easy to just have your prospect drag you out longer and longer and longer. And, if it’s a big prospect for you, it’s a scary proposition to have them not do business with you. But, I say, if they are not committing and are not willing to commit, then they aren’t doing business with you anyway and you need to move on.

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Sales Teams have NO room for prima donnas

So far in my latest gig, I am happy to say that I have not heard my sales people ever complain about grunt work that had to be done in order to get the sale; however, I can tell you that in my career I’ve seen it a lot.

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