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Sales Strategy

The genius behind never logging into the software I was selling

When I started as a sales rep at Air2Web, being a salesperson with a fairly technical background, I immediately asked for a login into the software so I could start playing around and learning the software.  My boss told me that I would not receive, nor would I EVER receive a login into our software.

His reasoning?  If I started to go into the software, I would focus on HOW the software could do certain things and IF the software could do certain things in a certain way – rather than focusing my sales activities on finding the right customers and identifying their pain.

No Single Strategy

I’ve recently gotten into answering posted questions on LinkedIn.  Its actually quite interesting to see some of the questions that people ask – many of them able to be answered with a simple Google search, but others are very thought provoking and I generally love to see a lot of insight from different points of view. 

The format on LinkedIn could be better in order to generate better banter back and forth – something more like Disqus comments – but nonetheless, I think generally its a good thing.

Sales Lessons in a Chick-flick

This weekend, I was subjected to a horrible chick-flick.  To, be more accurate, it was a chick-documentary, but still not something that I would ever pick myself.  The documentary was “My Date With Drew.”  For those of you not familiar with this documentary, essentially its about a man who decides he is going to give himself 30 days to try to secure a single date with Drew Barrymore.

In his words, its a story about how a nobody can use networking, and six degrees of separation to get to an “untouchable” person like Drew Barrymore.  What the movie is REALLY about is how the main character will NEVER be successful in life. – or at least never be successful in sales.

Sales Self-Sabotage

Juff Thull posted a great article on Sales Self-Sabotage on Sales Pro Magazine.

The best point in the article is what he describes as the “Dangling Insult.”  He says:

Here is a typical example, you may have observed this. A salesperson introduces their solution by saying, “We save companies like yours from wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost…” It sounds innocuous on the surface. Statements like this are standard sales-speak and are often true, but they also contain dangling insults. After all, if your salespeople tell a customer that she is wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars, aren’t they also suggesting that she hasn’t been doing her job very well?”

How to sell cow poop

A few weekends ago, I saw a truck come and deliver cow manure to two of my neighbors.  It started me on a thought process about packaging and how really, anything can be sold, when it is packaged correctly.

Think about cow crap.  I have no idea how large this market is, but I have to imagine it is pretty darn big.  And people sign up year after year to willingly let someone deliver a truck load of cow crap, dump it in a big pile on their driveway, and then they take this stuff in wheelbarrow loads and spread it all over their yard.

Good Meeting vs. Great Meeting

When I was a younger sales guy, I used to come back and say that I had a GREAT meeting with the customer.

In reality the only GREAT meetings are the ones that you leave with a signed order.  All other meetings are GOOD meetings.

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.

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.

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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