Sales lessons from a pop song: “Call me, maybe?”

My five year old daughter has been walking around the house over the past few weeks singing constantly, “Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but here’s my number.  Call me, maybe?”  Carly Rae Jepsen’s song is incessantly catchy, and is therefore in my own head constantly.   It does not help that I picture this cute five year old bouncing around singing it.

Of course, i hear the words and I think of how it relates to sales – in particular how it relates to “not so great” salespeople.

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Long Sales Cycle? That is NOT OK.

I recently sent a note to an entrepreneur friend of mine whose company is doing well, but I heard thru the grapevine that he needed some help in the sales department – that things just weren’t moving along as fast as he would like them to.  So I reached out and let him know that I had some cycles available if he wanted some help putting together a sales plan, and figuring out how to accelerate his growth.

He very quickly, and politely replied that the type of sales planning and assistance that I do at QuotaCrush really wasn’t applicable because, “his product has long sales cycles and long lasting relationships.”

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It’s a presentation not a lecture

In sales there is a rule that many sales people know, and that is, “he who talks least…wins.”  And of course, there is the old adage that God gave you two ears and one mouth and you should be using them in that proportion.

When you give a sales presentation, you should remember that it is a presentation – a chance to present your solution/product/offering.  When you present something, you are offering an introduction to it so you should be providing your overview, and then be using the rest of the time to determine how, if at all, you can solve your customers problems.

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The 21st Century Rolodex: The Sales Network

I wrote a while ago about how I think the value of the rolodex is gone, yet still so many people hiring sales people want to know about your Rolodex.  Who do you know at their target companies, and who do you know in a particular industry.

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The wrong metrics force bad behavior in salespeople

Metrics are used all over in sales organizations:

  • How many calls did you make?
  • How many connects did you make?
  • How many meetings did you schedule?

Metrics are how managers feel good about how people are doing – its how they can point to things and say, “look – my people are working.”  Often, tt is how managers and CEO’s can turn to their board and investors and say, “I have no idea how we didn’t make our numbers this month, we made 4,000 outbound calls!”

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Fail 7 out of 10 times? You might become a legend.

One of the most frustrating parts about being a salesperson is the constant rejection, the constant stream of failure.  The more neophyte salespeople I work with, the more I see the frustration over this simple fact of sales.  Sales is a numbers game.  You can’t win them all, and you have to get out there and talk to lots and lots of people, to find those people that need your solution, have the means to pay for your solution, and decide that you have the correct solution against all the other alternatives.

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More math = less sales

A sales person that used to work for me called me last week to get my opinion on a new position he was considering.  We chatted for a while about the position and the opportunity, and I was very excited for him.  Its a great company, a great product, a great team – and I think it will afford him quite a bit of opportunity to advance his career.

Then we started to figure out if the comp was right for him.

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Low sales is FAR worse than high commission payments

I can’t name a single business that has failed as a result of over-paying sales people.  Its probable there are a few, and I’d love to hear that story if you know of one.  Its certainly possible to create a sales compensation package that is overly generous – but in general, commissions are designed to be a percentage of sales.  Therefore, by definition, if commissions are rising, then so are sales.

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