Saturday, August 23, 2008

Listening on what people are looking for!

Recently I have had several sales presentations given to me. Specifically three. I want to break these down because there was a variety of positives and negatives. Plus, I feel like I have not touched the core of this "Sales" blog.

1. This presentation was in person and had one person present that had never met me before. It continues to amaze me that someone will travel over four hours for a sales visit and not confirm an appointment the day before. What if I forgot, no longer there or something had changed? Eight hours would be wasted. Next, they came with prepared PowerPoint of death. If your even going to attempt this, you should probably come with something to show it to me on. Then, we went directly into the presentation.

No questions! Not what are your interests in this, business problems, are you the right person, or any type of qualifying question. Simply I am going to regurgitate this old presentation (PS with a another companies name at the end)

Keys to remember in starting a successful sales cycle.

1. Remember that people's time is important.
2. Prequalify when setting an appointment. Just getting an appointment isn't the goal
3. Set expectations early.
a. How much time it will take.
b. What you will be covering
c. Needed information or equipment
4. Visit the companies website. Know something about the company you are going to visit.
5. Try and learn something about the person you are going to meet. Facebook and Linkedin are great resources to find out about contact people. Their interests, successes and family!
6. If you are going to have a power point presentation (Personally, I suggest not to) put the companies logo on it, maybe a web shot of their page.
7. Invite the person you have the meeting with to bring other contacts within their company to attend. You may be surprised who the bring (In a good way!)
9. Confirm meeting day prior to the meeting
10. Shut off your phone, or better yet, don't bring it into the building. You looking at your phone during your presentation make me wonder if I am important enough for you.

OK, I started this entry with the idea that I would cover all three meetings. Clearly that would be a HUGE entry. So I have decided I will cover the next two meetings in the next couple of days. I will deep dive into the meeting itself and then the followup.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Speed of Trust Revisited.

I am still reading Covey's Speed of Trust. I have to be honest, the reason it is not complete is the latter half of this book is a bit hard to get through. However the first part has been almost life altering. Altering in a way that I view interactions.

The more conflict and poor business decisions I see, the more I can relate that there are significant taxes paid on distrust. People covering their back to make sure that they don't get "Caught" by those who distrust! I have made a decision (And evangelized) that I am going to trust people. The thought of spreading this to others, even in the small area's that I have tried so far, has really opened people's eyes to trust, and more about dis-trust.

Do something for me today, look at the interactions you have today, see if you trust these people. If there are issues in trust, identify them and move the trust forward. You may be shocked at the power of trust.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"C" Level People

I was ask over my last post what a "C" level person is. This reminds me that sometimes I use terms that are industry specific. Sorry, I will try and do better.

"C" level person is a "Chief'"
Operating Officer COO
Process Officer CPO
Financial Officer CFO
Information Officer CIO

In other words a person that refers to an owner, main decision maker and can make things happen! The alternative may be a person who recommends, influences but ultimately does not have the power to make a purchasing decision. Let me be clear, this does not mean that the other recommends or influencer's are not important, rather ultimately you have to get to the C level for the purchase to happen.

Why sales people sell to the wrong people?

This morning I received a piece of spam with that title. To be honest, it sparked my interest to open this mail. I was disappointed in their thoughts. They were not even worth me putting down. However I then began to have my own thoughts on the matter.

I don't think that most sales people want to sell to the wrong people. I believe it is comfort. Lets face it, selling to C level people can be intimidating! However this is where real success can be had. Assuming that most sales people are selling to the wrong people, you automatically have an advantage.

Beyond comfort and intimidation, I believe it comes to asking. I come back to the three basics

1. Time frame
2. Decision maker
3. Budget.

Without these three things, there is no reason to move forward. I have continually been shocked when I ask if we have these three things identified. If we don't, or I have in the past accepted a not so sure answer, there is trouble to be found. The relationship is poor, we don't understand the customer and we are either proposing the wrong solution or simply providing a "Competitive Bid"

COMPETITIVE BID. These words hurt my ears. There is almost no value for the customer or us to do this process. That what this is, a process. Not sales.

Think back to the last sales cycle that you lost. Did you really understand the three basics? You may have and still lost, but experience tells me that more than not, this is where we failed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Growin things?

Last year while Jenifer and I went to Jamaica, my dad planted a couple of cantaloupe seeds. By the end of summer we had quite a few melons.

Last fall we let a few of the melons rot on the vine and we threw some of the Halloween Jack-o-Lantern seeds into the same field.

Guess what, this year, I have more Pumpkins than I can ever use and more melons then I probably should eat. Nothing real scientific in the raising of these. Throw seeds down, wait, pick.

Maybe we spend too much time getting in the way of natural abilities. This includes people. Nurturing natural ability and not restricting it. Helping overcome other deficiencies.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympics are showing class

One thing that I have been amazed with is the class the athletes in the Olympics have shown. When a world class athlete makes a great move/performance, there is a small fist pump, but no gloating or in your face performances. Yet when you watch professional sports (Baseball, Soccer, Hockey or Basketball to name a few) there is always this type of poor sportsman ship.

Even when Olympic athletes make mistakes, there is not a huge pout. Acceptance and moving on.

I happened to see an interview of Colby Bryant (Professional Basketball Player in the Olympics). He was truly proud for representing the USA. He became more impressive when he spoke to the Italian press and I found out that he spoke Italian, then being even more of a diplomat he spoke to the Spanish press in Spanish. What a great representative of the USA.

Remember sportmanship everyday. Winning the big deal or losing. It will always be remembered the class that you exhibit!

Go for the gold!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Wii?

Every once in a while products amaze me. The Nintendo Wii is a great example of this. It is not superior technology, the graphics are average at best but the game play and the way you interact with this is amazing. It looks like Nintendo is going to continue to innovate this product. From online game play to the Wii fitness (the first real workout game that I am aware of but am yet to try) this is truly unique. The Best Buy that Aaron and I visited last week noted that the Wii continues to sell out in 24 hours. It has been out well over a year! What a record!

I think that this goes to teach us that truly unique solutions do not have to have superior technology, rather they have to something different from the competition. I can't wait to see what is coming in the future.

The Playstation and XBox 360 continue to be neck and neck in competition. The Wii stands alone in my mind when it comes to gaming solutions. This is how I want to develop solutions!

If you havn't had the chance to try out Wii bowling you should definitely should. My mom practically broke a lamp having fun last Christmas!