Basically, in a nut-shell…

I don’t think that I can remember the last time I ate a nut out of a shell.  I have more than one nut-cracker in my house, but I cannot recall the last time I purchased or ate a nut that wasn’t shelled for me already.  And, to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I saw a nut-shell.  Yet, salespeople and other people presenting to me constantly use this phrase.

The point here is not that nobody looks at the shells of nuts anymore, its that it is maddening to me to hear salespeople or anyone for that matter using tired and meaningless cliche’s like this one in their pitches.

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New Year… New Try… New Tactic

Happy New Year.  The new year can bring about positive and negative feelings for a salesperson.  Its a great new start to a year, and a new chance to crush it.  But… it also probably means, you lost your accelerator that you were enjoying from crushing it last year, and now you have to start all over.  You are on an even playing ground with other salespeople, when you were enjoying being on top.  If you missed your mark last year, perhaps this is your chance to shine and make sure that you beat your numbers this year.

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Experimentation = good. Lying = BAD!

One of the things that you must constantly do in entrepreneurial sales is experiment.

You need to experiment on price, on pitch, on the offering, and essentially everything about the product.  When you experiment, you learn about what the issues are that are the most important and also what the levers are that will draw the actual close out of a person.

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Mommas, let your babies grow up to be salespeople

Remember the old campy country song that warned Mommas to not grow up to be cowboys?  While I’m completely aware that the song was not intended to be taken seriously, but it of course promotes the professions of “doctors and lawyers and such”

While those are truly admiral professions, I have to say that I am not sure why salesmanship is not promoted more.  “Let ’em be doctors or salesmen or such” fits just fine.  (My apologies to all the VERY talented saleswomen that I work with – but salespeople was too many syllables, but don’t think that doesn’t mean that I don’t think mommas should push women into sales too.)

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Sometimes, its OK to be the grasshopper

I’ve been doing sales for startups for 20 years now.  In this time, I’ve learned quite a bit about how to make sales happen.  In particular, I’ve learned a lot about how NOT to do something, and also how to read situations well so that I can come to win-win solutions.

Sometimes, I’ve learned these lessons through failing and picking myself up again.

Other times, I’ve learned from talking to people more experienced than me.  My sales mentor has been an incredible resource to me.

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Your Sales Manager is a TOOL

There is a big difference between being a salesperson and being a person in sales. What actually makes you a salesperson instead of just a person in sales? You CLOSE deals.

A true salesperson does what needs to be done to get the deal done. Sometimes that means sweetening the offer. Sometimes it means dropping the price. Sometimes it means explaining the benefits better, or comparing yourself against the alternatives. But a good salesperson always figures out whats holding up a deal and then looks for ways to overcome that obstacle/objection and get the deal done.

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Sales Lessons from the Grand Bazaar

One of the nicest things about being in sales is getting to travel to interesting places that you probably wouldn’t go to normally.  In my career, I’ve seen nearly the entire US and several countries.  Last week, I got the opportunity to travel to Istanbul and it was an amazing experience.  I am very intriqued by historic sites, and in particular the events that shaped the world we live in today, but actually planning a trip to Turkey wasn’t high on my list.  My family would much rather travel to more relaxed and vacation sites that require less thinking.  And… as a salesperson that travels, we are often at the mercy of where our families want to go when we do get fun travel.

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Don’t Declare Sales Victory Too Early

Sales is hard.

Anyone who has done sales in a start-up can attest to that fact.  Great salespeople make it look easy – or at least hide the struggle well from non-salespeople.   Once a great salesperson builds their pipeline, gets down their pitch and starts rolling with it, they can easily bring companies on the pipeline, and move them through, and can often do it with, what looks like, ease and finesse – and often with amazing predictability.

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