Category Archives: Sales

A marble on the keyboard; advice to new sales reps

marble on keyboard

Sales outreach is on my mind.  We are launching a new product, Capture! and today, two of our junior reps reached out to me for advice. Why? I am a phone animal.  I break call accounting systems, wear out wireless headsets and I’d blow the curve for the average rep.  I have fun on my calls and have learned,  failed,  explored and developed techniques to get 9 out of 10 call backs.

At this point in my life it is not a set of techniques, but a way of thinking.  It is now part of me. However, I wasn’t always this way.  It took years to cultivate the skills, to act with intuition, to do without thinking,  to blink.  Back to speaking of new people…

Working from home today, I got a call from Chris, a new sales representative at RingLead (for those who know me, I recently accepted the position of Acting CEO @ RingLead).  RingLead is a specialist in helping to Dedupe  Salesforce.  Chris was on speaker phone and he had another “Chris” with him.  They wanted to bounce ideas off me.  They developed a call plus email campaign.

New campaigns are not simple to execute.  You must A/B test and adjust as you work through the initial campaign.  We did a great job in recruiting and these guys were prepared. After bouncing a few ideas around, they were ready to go.  Why is a CEO spending time doing this?  In this case, I just built and delivered a new product where I am the subject matter expert (Capture!).

The knowledge needed to be transferred throughout the organization.  Besides, I am good at it and I enjoy doing it.  Eight minutes  (yes I timed it) of time spent coaching these new reps in the right direction can have tens of thousands of dollars of impact in the long run.  The ROI is there.

This is an important distinction that most organizations miss.  The manager is not necessarily the trainer, nor the coach.  I am not the manager, nor the trainer, but a few minutes of high-impact training can make huge impact if used strategically.  Write this down.

Back to my new sales guys.  Now they are ready.  In fact I can see they are making calls now.  Not 30 second calls, but four, five, eight and twenty minute calls.  This means they are engaging.  Capture is going to be big!  What 5 bits of advice did I give them?

  1. Sales is a numbers game. ok duh, Donato, no big secret there.  Everyone talks about this.
  2. Every call counts. This is less talked about.  Some dismiss this, yet they are dead wrong.
  3. Every call affects your attitude Even less talked about.  This is where the leader exceeds the manager. Managers rarely talk about this, leaders do.
  4. Attitude is everything.   No,  really.  This is where the coach exceeds the typical leader.
  5. Put a marble on your keyboard What the heck?

It is simple.  If sales is a numbers game, every call counts and affects your attitude (and attitude is everything), then you must control your attitude.  You do that by putting a marble on your keyboard.  Get it? Blog over, fat lady sings and I now I get to press “Publish” If I lost you, watch my video (I’ll explain it).

In addition to my video if you are facing reluctance in picking up the phone, my friend Connie Kadansky is the “Call Reluctance Coach”.  Her material is top quality and can be seen at:  http://exceptionalsales.com

Trade show tip: Remove fillers from your vocabulary

Trade shows.  You have 10 seconds maximum to engage and get the interest of a passer by.   Time is critical.  Time is everything.

Eliminating filler words such as “Um”,  “Ah”,  “Er” and “You know” is paramount.  It kills your presentation and will cost you the sale.

So you’ve been is sales for years and you think it’s ok?

I’ve got news for you:  When I hear constant “Um, ah, er, eh, you know” in conversation you are stamped as irrelevant.  You are an amatuer.  You’ve had some great sales months, but you are not a great sale rep.   Language and the articulation thereof is the engine that drives sales.  If your communication ability sucks time from my life,  I just don’t have time for you.  I am not alone.

I am being honest with you, right now.  You may be right out of college or have a few sales years under your belt.  Maybe you just never made the effort to improve.  You may think it is ok; your friends may talk this way and reinforce this habit.

If you are thinking this way, you are wrong.  You will never be great in sales without mastering communication. 

The first step to fixing the language filler problem is realizing you have one.  If you have the desire,  this video will help.  Good luck.

When Marketing Lies About Technology

I’m at a talk about marketing at a conference, sitting in the audience, blending into the mix of SEO students and experts. Unlike most conference, I am not speaking, not helping with sales at a booth and not scheduled with back-back meetings.  This is a chance for me to sit and learn.

At the end of a fantastic panel discussion on SEO tools, demand generation and technology, the panel went into the Q&A section of the talk.  One panelist was asked what made her technology better than the next tool.

“We spider the entire Internet, every day. Every site and keyword, everything, so we have more data to work with.”  She said.

Looking around me, I saw eyes wide and heads nodding.  They swallowed it.  What happened next was like an out-of-body experience.

“Buuuuullshit!” I said, just-loud-enough for the group in the small theater to hear.  I just couldn’t help myself.

I was then asked by the moderator to, basically, explain myself.  I proceeded to talk about why “spidering the entire Internet” was not possible.  This is an area that I am a subject matter expert.  I won’t explain it hear, but if Google can’t do it…well, you get the idea…  I then asked if she borrowed Google’s new quantum computer and got a few laughs.   My goal was not to ridicule, but to recover from my sightly louder than expected comment.  Next, I basically said that I was impressed with what their technology did, actually do, but it shouldn’t be misrepresented as “everything on the Internet”.

Her comment was that she was not the “techie person” and that she got over-enthusiastic.  People laughed and that was the end of it.

The point is that Marketing does not need to lie, it would have been just as impressive if she portrayed, accurately, what they actually do and how.  This is a problem in many technology companies.  The process starts very much like a myth or legend.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Arthur C. Clarke

The technologist creates something that looks like magic and Marketing tries to explain it and the legend grows.  Soon, Sales is fabricating any explanation that sounds good and a technology myth is born.

Don’t do this.  Technology, Sales and Marketing need to be on the same page.  If you don’t achieve unified messaging someone else is going to call bullshit and you will lose a sale.

 

LinkedIn is not a social network, Facebook will morph

After about 2 years of talking about this topic, I thought it best to collect some solid data before doing an official blog about it.

LinkedIn is not a social network.

A thing is defined by it’s major attribute.  While LinkedIn has aspects of a social network, it is actually a social database.

Hey Donato…But they say they are a social network!

In the early days they were.  As the network grew, savvy users realized they needed to grow their networks as large as possible to spread their reach.  In polls done over the last year in live webinars, I’ve asked groups ranging from 200-600 how they use LinkedIn.  Here are the questions and the responses.

1.  I get as many connections as possible and figure out how to contact people directly.

2. I use LinkedIn to as it was meant.  Connect with people through a series of connections.

3.  I don’t use LinkedIn.

69% of people choose option 1. Last year, it was only 50%. The trend is growing and…

LinkedIn is a social database.

Continue reading LinkedIn is not a social network, Facebook will morph

The “After Show” Effect, CES in Las Vegas

You picked the right trade show, you got people to your booth.  Great conversations and a pile of cards.  Your sales team is excited!  What next?

There are many facets to success at a trade show.  Elevator Pitch, pre-show marketing, booth setup, etc.  If you don’t have a good elevator pitch, here is a blog that can help you.   Nailing the 30 second Elevator Pitch.

Again, I ask…what next?   Think about this scenario, it is an important concept.

For the sake of this scenario, our fictional vendor is TabletCo.  They sell the hottest new Android Tablet for the educational market.

A prospect, Harry, walks up to your TabletCo booth.  He loves your product! Harry is excited about using the tablet at the school where he is a History teacher.  The school district is large. It is a good opportunity.  Some further questioning yields the fact the entire school district wants to have a tablet for each student.  Being a conscientious sales rep, you get Harry’s card.  You are all set for the follow up…or are you?

This is the disconnect point.  Not just in sales at a trade show, but sales in general.  Important questions:

  1. Is Harry the decision maker?  Can he say YES to a purchase?
  2. If is he the decision maker, is he the ONLY decision maker?
  3. What is the approval process for purchasing at Harry’s district?  Is Harry even aware of the process?
  4. Is the information on Harry’s card current?  He is a teacher, did you get a cell phone, direct line and email address?
  5. What happens if Harry moves to a different position in the next week?
  6. What happens if Harry gets laid off?
  7. What are the names, titles, emails phone numbers and backgrounds of other people that will participate in a decision?

Simple questions.  Do you normally have the answers after the show?  Why is it important?

Having multiple points of contact is the single greatest factor in getting a sales advance.

What is a sales advance?  It is not a sale.  A sales advance is forward movement in the sales process.

Having, and leveraging 3 points of contact “after show” will give you a 9X success factor over following up with a single contact.

Did you get 3 points of contact or a single card? How do can you turn a single point of contact into multiple points of entry?

Turn this:

Scan of Donato's Biz Card

 

Into this:

 

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After spending $1000’s at a trade show, every lead is precious. Don’t waste them.  If you have the opportunity at the show, leverage each connection to get as many points of contact as you can.  Some good questions to ask:

Does your contact sign off on the purchase or does she simply recommend? Who are the parties involved in the decision process?  What are their titles? When was the last time your contact signed off on something?  What is the approval process?  Are they currently using another vendor? When does that contract end?

If you are having trouble getting those additional points of contact, a great resource is Broadook’s Profiler.

Bottom line.  If you are not prepared, your first outreach after a trade show can be your last. Spend the time to get as much out of your leads as possible.

Last thought:  Think hard.  People getting back from a trade show are bombarded with every vendor emailing and calling after the show.

How are you going to stand out?