Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Check out this site as well.

check out www.trialclose.com.

all about sales, marketing and the fun that goes along with them.

It's been a long time.

Check out www.alwaysonsales.com

It is all about Sales, marketing and the fun associated with them.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Please take our Poll!

What Industry do you sell from?
Software as a Service (SAAS)
Consumer Packaged Goods
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Friday, December 16, 2005

How To Let Your Prospects Sell Themselves

This is a terrific article on how selling techniques have evolved.

How To Let Your Prospects Sell Themselves
Carter, R Douglas
The American Salesman - December 2, 2005
Originally Published: December 1, 2005

A powerful new paradigm is rumbling through the world of sales, transforming how professionals relate to and connect with their clients. In contrast to previous sales techniques, seventh generational sales puts the client firmly in control - with enormous benefits to both prospect and salesperson.

Let's take a look at how the sales process has evolved. Each generation of selling requires a Sociological shift in how salespeople relate to their prospects. The first generation entailed a trade or barter. Thog give you this if you give Thog that. You don't even need language to trade one thing for another. This simple, prehistoric method of exchange goes on to this day.

The second generation occurred when someone was able to create a stockpile. They most likely did this by controlling access to a necessary or desired commodity like food, water, shelter, salt, obsidian, etc. You want flint, go see Thog. It was our first store.

In the third generation of sales, Thog proactively took flint on the road. He became a peddler, looking for customers instead of waiting for them.

The fourth generation of sales took the form of a sales route - the first systematic approach. Thog learned certain clients bought from him at predictable times.

Fifth generational sales is called "the scientific approach" or need-based selling. Find a need and fill it. If you've ever attended a formal sales training, you probably learned fifth generation, need-based selling.

Fifth generational sales is based on a presentation where you need approaches and openings, features, benefits and evidence, along with tie-downs, nail-downs, holddowns and pin-downs. It's about responding to objections and rebuttals and 119 classic closes. This style of selling is the foundation for nearly every sales program taught today.

In the mid-to-late sixties, though, prospects got tired of being pitched. They started saying things like "Wait a minute. You don't know enough about my unique situation to know if your product will actually help me. You need to find out more about me and what I need before you start pitching me."

And, as a result, Sales managers and trainers developed consultative - sixth generational - selling. The notion behind consultative selling is that the salesperson acts as an assistant buyer, putting the client's needs first. However, consultative selling is an illusion bordering on manipulation because it still focuses on what works best for the salesperson.

In consultative selling the salesperson uses questions to qualify prospects and gather information which can be used later to leverage the prospect. Whether or not prospects understand their needs and motivation matters less because the salesperson assumes the role of an expert. It's still just a presentation punctuated by questions, the answers to which tell you what part of the presentation to give next.

Here's what doesn't work with this illusory process. Imagine that you, the salesperson, understand exactly what your prospect wants and how your product and service will help achieve this. On the other hand, your prospect doesn't have a clue. If your prospect doesn't make a connection between current circumstances and the impact of your product or service, are they going to buy? No.

In contrast, imagine your prospect discovers the connection your product or service provides between what is and what could be. Let's say that you only marginally understand this connection. Will your prospect buy? Yes.

Seventh generational sales, or Revelation Buying, isn't really about selling at all. It's about letting your prospects discover for themselves the long-range implications of doing what they are currently doing as compared with making a change. Here's how you can create this: ask questions for your prospects' sake, not for yours. "What is it they most want?" "What's going on now that tells them they need to make that change?" "What happens if they don't improve on situations like these?" "What happens if they do get the results they want?"

Asking questions like these requires you to set aside the universal human question, "What does this mean to me?" When you let prospects discover on their own the implications of their choices, it creates a trusting exchange. You get more referrals. You get bigger and higher quality sales because your prospects don't feel pressured. And as a result you can take more time off...and experience far more personal satisfaction.

(C) 2005 The American Salesman. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

Good Selling!

Your Resource

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What's Your Definition of Selling?

Read this great article from Selling Power:

What Does Sales Mean To You?

Sorry for the lack of content lately...been shopping and wrapping for Christmas! More to come; stay tuned!

Good Selling!

Your Resource

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

So You Want to Get Into Sales Huh?

I have been thinking about this for a while now.

You know; When someone that has never been in Sales asks about it and shows some interest in what it is really like to pursuade the VITO (Very Important Top Officer to those uninitiated) to part with their hard earned money (or in many cases their company's or shareholder's money). Sales is not for the faint of heart. You will have pressure and quotas and metrics to over achieve, but the reward is great. Sound glamorous? Read on.....

It is always nice when you have done well in sales. The company executives appreciate it, they see the revenues you bring in. The Engineering Dept likes it as they more than likely built what you are selling and no engineer wants to build something that doesn't sell. The Marketing Dept likes it because now they have conversion from their efforts of "waving the flag" to promote the product. Don't think sales is an easy, 'lounge chair' type activity. It is 'an exciting, edge of your seat hunt', whether or not you are managing existing clients or finding new ones, it is always a new day in sales. Something new will happen daily.

My message to those looking at entering Sales is initially this:
  • You must be hardworking.
  • You must be a good judge of people and their body language or their voice inflections over the phone (for inside sales).
  • You must learn how to run your own business while working within the structure of your employer.
  • You must be hardworking.
  • You must know how, when and why to ask for the business. ie Close the sale.
  • You must know how to close fast. Those that close fast make money. Those that don't, don't make money.
  • It's all about working smart, understanding what you are selling, understanding who you are selling to, understanding why they would want to listen to you talk about your product or service much less buy it and having the ability to close the sale.
  • And you must be hardworking.
I have seen many sales reps come and go in a few different companies, and let me tell you, the ones who didn't work hard never made it.

By working hard I mean: Coming in early and leaving late. Eating lunch on the run or at your desk. Making those extra 10 calls per week. Understanding the product and competitors in the space sooner than expected. Ramping faster than expected. Always having the business within your mind's eye. Thinking about it on the weekends and doing research on the industry. Becoming the resource for your team and customers.

If you have the ability to be a lead gen person and have the desire to be in sales, you should set as many appointments as possible for the sales people that you support. This would be a great measure of whether you would be successful in sales. If you can't set an appointment after hours of cold calling, you should question your ability to sell. If you aren't making enough calls to schedule the right number of appointments, you should make more calls; It really is a numbers game and the more you do, the better you will get and the higher your conversion rate will get also. Work harder. The appointment is your sale in Lead Gen. No appointment=No Sale.

The one thing I always ponder is how can I do more in sales than I just did? How can I get better? It is the maximum potential question. What is the potential of the sales person and are they achieving their max potential in relationship to what and how much they have closed to date? Potential that is under-utilized needs to be developed. If you have a lack of follow-through, sales is not for you. If you don't like "figuring out" a company and mapping it by political drivers, business drivers, decision drivers, and competitive drivers, then sales is also not for you.

If you like a good challenge, like to interact with people instead of code, and have a passion for helping to solve business problems, then sales may be the right place for you. Being a little competitive helps too.

Always remember: Nothing happens until something is sold.

Now where is my Bluebird?

Got Sales?


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Nice Deals!: Update # 2

This is my second update on this month's contracts.

So for the second contract, I had negotiated directly with the President of this company, who in turn put his attorney in touch with me. This attorney was lobbying hard for a 90 day out clause for convenience instead of an annual commitment.

At the end of the day, my company said no and I agreed with that.

A contract is just that: a commitment to buy over a period of time; in this case one year. There are no "outs" for convenience. For convenience means that if the client didn't like the color of our UI, he could terminate without cause. In every contract it is boiler plate to have an out for breach or material breach. This deal is still alive, but will take longer now due to the attorney now in the role of "middleman".

My point to you is this:

Never ever let an attorney or a PGP push you into an "out" for convenience. It is not how stable business is done and if it is, it isn't sustainable for the long term. Imagine if all a company had were customers with contracts that had convenience clauses in them. That company would have a long list of potential issues including but not limited to:
  • Customer Churn
  • Revenue Leak
  • Low Valuation
  • Low credibility depending on the industry targeted.
  • Always being in customer acquisition mode versus building a sustainable model. ie: more going out than coming in.

Also remember that if you are working with a PGP that is non-committal or "circular" as some may say, chances are they will push for this clause. Know that up front and try to disqualify them by letting them know your terms are hard and fast according to the length of the contract.

Contract negotiation is one of the most important and integral pieces of the sales process as it directly correlates to your de-booking rate and your company's overall valuation.

We will have a section on contract negotiation sometime in the future. Stay tuned!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Your Sales Resource

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Nice Deals!: Update

Good news!

Today one of my contracts came in. I am half way there.

Keep on Selling!


Sales People: From the Prospect's View

I just found this great post on GoDaddy, also a great resource for domains, hosting etc. It is a very complete and useful account into how the Founder and President of GoDaddy views his time spent on various activities daily including sales calls. A very interesting read.

It reinforces the fact that as Sales Professionals, if we aren't selling and closing, we are wasting the PGP's (Pretty Good Prospect's) time. I know you are thinking but what about building rapport? Yes that is number one, but if selling isn't hand in hand with rapport, you may have such great rapport that your PGP now has the comfort level with you to say no or extend out your sale because "hey we are such great friends, I know you'll understand."

Just be cognizant of the fact that your rapport was probably initiated because you were trying to sell them something.

Here's the link:


Take it easy,
Your Sales Resource

What Makes a Pretty Good Prospect?

I was thinking today about the details and efforts that go into identifying a Pretty Good Prospect, which will be known from here forward as a PGP.

A PGP is someone or a company who obviously "fits" into the target market of the product or service you are selling. This also ties into managing your time effectively, but we'll save that for another day. If they aren't in the target market, they probably won't listen, won't buy and won't make you any money either. Don't try to sell icecubes in the NorthPole.

When I identify a good prospect from scratch (no list or contact):
  • I look at VC newsletters
  • I look at the PGP's 10K if public.
  • I look at their Careers page to see if they are hiring
  • I look at what departments are hiring
  • I look at revenues annually
  • I ask my colleagues about them to see if anyone has sold to them before
  • I check online resources like Google, Yahoo, Zaba, Hoovers and OneSource
  • I check to make sure that in third party newgroups there isn't a reason posted for me to not engage them...ie "they are in bankruptcy" or some other extenuating factors
  • I check the message board on Yahoo finance if public

When I am filtering web leads that come to my homepage, there are "gates" I need to put in place to get a more defined, quality PGP lead such as:

  • Company name
  • Employee count
  • Annual revenues
  • Contact info ie first, last, email, phone, job function, department
  • Company website
  • Industry
  • Where did they here about us

When I have a list or contact it is still somewhat tactical, but more strategic:

  • I think about how to triangulate in a PGP to make sure I have investment from the PGP internally
  • I check to make sure they are the correct contact and what their "rank" is politically within the organization.
  • I try to learn and have an Understanding of what drives interest in the PGP
  • I ask what was the last product they implemented
  • I make sure that I have a thorough 360° understanding of the PGP's business proposition; what do they do, how does that benefit their customers, what is their average sale, how many employees do they have, what is their rank in their industry, who are their competitors, are any of their competitors already a customer of mine, Do we share VC's, and lastly, Do we share any partnerships?
  • I have a definite use in mind for the PGP for my product in terms of what pain I think it could solve; I have a game plan for penetrating the PGP

Some final nuggets:

  • If you can't see a fit for what you are selling to your current PGP, you must look elsewhere to sell it as they won't see a fit either. This will be evident as you won't have the passion and sense of urgency in your demeanor (over the phone or in person) to sell it.
  • Don't waste your time with companies that aren't a good target, even if they are inbound or a referral; Yes contact those, but keep in mind that there are far more companies out there that will be PGP's and you can feel at ease to simply move on to the next one you feel will be a good target

Finally, I have started a Yahoo! Group as a sales resource.

Check it out at: http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/trialclosesaleshelp/

Make it a great evening!