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Mark LaRosa

Do the right thing… the sales will follow

With a company named QuotaCrush, you would think that my opinion is that salespeople and sales managers should be singularly focused on quota.  In fact, that is completely counter to by entire belief system in terms of the best way to accelerate sales.

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.

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.

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.

If I… Will you?

Whenever someone asks me about a particular negotiation point or tactic, I always tell them to remember the following phrase and to use it in every negotiation:

“If I…. will you ….”

For example,

“If I drop the set-up fee, will you be able to sign this week?”
“If I can get my boss to agree to the price reduction, will you agree to extend your contract from 12 months to 18 months?”
“If I commit to adding this feature in a future release, will you allow us to use your logo on our website.”

Top 10 tips for getting past a gate-keeper

Lauren Gilchrist of Urgent Careers, wrote a guest post on UrgentSpeed, Jeff Stewart’s blog, about a lively discussion that went on at last nite’s Sales 101 event about the Top 10 ways to get past a gate-keeper.

If you cold-call, this is a must read. There are a lot of really great tips in there. My favorite is #2, “Treat the assistant like a human-being.” In my own personal experience, I have gotten the furthest in sales by just doing the right thing, and treating people with respect.

Here are the 10 tips she lists. Click HERE to see the full description.

Sales 101 for Start-ups

Jeff Stewart, the CEO of UrgentCareers, and I gave a seminar last nite in Manhattan on the topic of Sales 101: How to jump-start sales in your start-up. It was a very interactive discussion, and I hope that everyone attending benefitted from the presentation.

I think the most valuable point that was discussed was Jeff’s comment that since now technology has gotten so much cheaper to deploy, by significant orders of magnitude, your biggest expense is your sales team – and making mistakes here is your biggest drain on capital.

Many people asked for the slide deck so I’m attaching it below.

Where are the sales classes in business school?

I didn’t go to business school. I decided to start my own company right after college – just jumping in and figuring it out as I went along. I’m not sure that I would recommend this model to most people. I think I was too naive to know the risks that were ahead of me – but I think it was the right move for me. What’s is interesting is that as I started and grew my company I didn’t struggle with the concepts of valuation, or financing, or competition, or management or marketing, or any of these topics. What was the hardest thing to learn to do?

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.

Sales Lessons from my 2-year old: Persistance

Think about a typical conversation with a two year old:

Tina: “Daddy, can I have some candy?”
Daddy: “not now”
Tina: “Daddy, can I have a cookie?”
Daddy: “Its two hours until dinner, not now”
Tina: “PLEASE!”
Daddy: “I said no”
Tina: “Can I have an apple?”
Daddy: “Oh, alright. Fine – have an apple.”

While some may read this conversation and determine that I am a pushover, I want you to read into the persistence of the two year old. Not once, did Tina think that she wouldn’t eventually get something to eat – she just needed to figure out the right words, the right win-win solution so that she could get what she wanted. And – she did!

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