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.


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.


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.


Selling is like playing a 1980s video game

Video games certainly have changed since I was young.  Today’s video games have over-arching stories, character development, video interstitials, plots and sub-plots, awards and minigames, social integration, challenging gameplay, and certainly lots of amazing graphics.

In the 1980’s, video games all nearly had one objective, and then you got to repeat that objective over and over again, at an increasingly quickening pace, until you lost.  You couldn’t “win” at any game because these games didn’t really have an end.  And, when you did lose, you threw in another quarter and tried again – trying to get further and further along.  Pac-Man, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, etc.   They all operated like this.


Social tools are making sales people less social

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?”


Thoughts on Entrepreneurship in the Middle East

I got to spend this week in Jordan on behalf of Angelsoft, at the inaugural event for the Bedaya Angel Network. Bedaya, which means “start” in Arabic, is a new organization aimed at bringing the entire Middle East’s angel investing efforts together. Angelsoft, as the world-leader in software facilitating connections with entrepreneurs and early-stage investors, was asked to help put on this event, and I will admit I was a little nervous about traveling to the Middle East at this time given the unrest in the region. Even Jordan itself had installed a new government in the past few weeks. Nonetheless, I thought it was important so I ignored my fears and went.

For two days before their event I roamed the country of Jordan. I met with local people, and visited their amazing history. I saw Petra, Jerash, the baptism site of Jesus, the Dead Sea, Elijah’s hill and so many other amazing historical sites. Since I was alone, I struck up conversations with locals all over the place to get a feel for what the people here were like. Since I was here to learn about entrepreneurship and angel investing, I wanted to get a feel for the culture, the initiatives of the people, and their attitudes towards Americans and the rest of the world. (I even gathered some thoughts about sales for my QuotaCrush blog – of course.)


The risk of being dead right

In order to be a great salesperson and/or a great entrepreneur, you have to have conviction.  You have to believe in your own vision, and in your own ability to execute on that vision if you have any chance of success


Mark LaRosa’s answer to Do all great startup salespeople make a certain number of outbound calls and emails a day?

In an established company with an established product, you can count outbound calls, and you can require minimum amounts of calls, because you have a defined product, a defined market, a defined price, and a well-defined pitch. When all of those are in place, then you can very easily dictate that it is simply a numbers game – and you insist on driving as many calls as possible to get the required results. It will be well defined, that 100 calls leads to 10 sales, or something like that.