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.

Sales of a FREE product mirrors challenges of marketing

I plan to write extensively about the challenges that I have had in developing and managing a sales compensation plan on a free enterprise product. 

As a matter of introduction, I was talking with one of the other managers of my company on Friday, and while we were talking we came to one giant realization about sales compensation/motivation on a free enterprise product.  That realization is that enterprise sales becomes similar to a marketing challenge.  In marketing, you never know ahead of time what the right places are to spend your money.  Yes, you do market research, and you think hard about where to advertise, where to promote, etc.  But, ultimately, many of the places you promote your product are not right, and some exceed expectations.

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.

The Next American Frontier

I think this article is amazing.  Its quote refreshing to read an article about the future of America that is not pessimistic.  As an entrepreneur at heart, I think that this is dead-on.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121115437321202233.html

Sales in the world of “free”

As I’ve mentioned, I’m currently running sales at Angelsoft, which provides deal-flow management software to early stage investment groups like angel groups, venture capitalists, incubators, business plan competitions, etc as well as software and services to the entrepreneurs with which they interface.    The sales team I’m managine is really bright and really enthusiastic, and I’ll be blogging about them a lot as I relate what’s going on at Angelsoft to other stories and ideas.

Salesforce.com drives me insane: Part 1

Salesforce.com is the WORST salesforce tool, except for all the others.

I have a lot of gripes with sales force tools, and I’ve yet to find one that is actually functional for all people in the organization.  I think that sf.com did one thing well.  They provided a tool that lets sales managers get a pipeline report and since its an online tool, the minute a sales person updates their information from anywhere in the world, that pipeline is up to date.  No syncing – no installs, etc.

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