Closing Up Front

I just read Trish’s interview of Silvana Sears.

I want to use one little snippet. It’s not out of context and it’s very important to anyone who is involved in any part of the sales process. Here’s the snippet:

Trish: What do you look for in a candidate…?

Even though we don’t close deals, I like to hire someone who has closed before. I think this skill helps them do a better job on the front end of the sales process because they know what has to happen on the back end. I think it contributes to our high conversion and close rate.

So, this is what I wanted to point out. Silvana manages inside salespeople that set prospects up (quite well I might add) for outside reps and she prefers salespeople who have closed because they know that closing is a natural conclusion to what started at the beginning.

Great interview. I hope I get to meet Silvana someday.

You can read the whole interview here.

Thanks, Trish!

LinkedIn, Dave Kurlan & Mike Eagan

Pete Caputa asked a question on my Recession Strategy post. I decided to post it on LinkedIn. You can read the question and answers here.

Dave Kurlan asked a question about motivation. Read it here. As you read it, think about what works on you and comment there.

Finally, if you’re interested in new bloggers, check out:

Mike’s Thoughts

Tell him what you think.

Mothers Day Post

As you may know, my mother reads my blog. She also reads Pete’s, Dave’s, Trish’s, Frank’s, John’s, Kai’s and Zane’s and usually follows their links. She also, at 76, works part time at the Price Chopper, lives with her cat, and talks to me almost every day during my evening commute. It’s during those commutes that, among other topics, she makes her comments to those posts. During Wednesday’s commute, she asked if Mike Eagan had started his blog yet. She was disappointed in my answer and Thursday she asked when Linda (who wants my mother to adopt her) was going to start a blog. I told Linda during my Friday morning commute. We’ll see.

Friday evening, I was watching Katie Couric interview John McCain and his 96 year old mother. As I watched the Senator during the interview, I saw various facial reactions that I could relate to. I saw incredible pride and respect. A few times I saw, “Oh, crap! Don’t ask her that!” Which usually led to a look of relief. Yup. I could relate.

Then, later that night my mother made this comment to my Recession Strategy post. I know that many of you don’t subscribe to the comments on this blog, and I don’t believe that this comment should be missed. It is probably the most important piece of information that’s ever been written here. A few weeks ago, Rich Myers watched my son, Mark, at the MIT Sales Sloan Sales Conference. He made a couple of comments that indicated that the 20 years that Mark lived with us was a worthwhile investment. Well, as you can see in my mother’s comment, I was clearly influenced by the 20 years that I lived with my parents.

So, Happy Mothers Day, Mom………….and THANKS!

What’s Your Recession Strategy?

Two stories from earlier this week.

I was at a networking meeting where everyone in attendance was expected to stand up and give a commercial that would describe to everybody else in attendance who they’re looking to meet. Someone who works in the real estate industry stood up and said, “What I really need is someone to fix this economy!”

I was at a trade show on Wednesday talking with a CEO and asked, “How’s business?” He leaned in and whispered, “We’re up 48%.” Me: “Holy cow!” He then spent the next few minutes telling me all the things that he and his employees started doing months ago to make sure that the economy was an opportunity, not an obstacle.

What’s the difference between these two? The first guy blames everyone and everything else except himself for his failure. He will not accept responsibility. He’s a crappy salesperson. He doesn’t differentiate himself. He’s got what he’s got and may lose it this year because his competition IS working to take his clients away and his reaction is to worry that they’re going to.

Meanwhile, the second guy is DRIVING his company and up 48%!

So, what do you think would happen if I asked the first guy if he wanted my help? Would he say, “Yup, I know it’s me and I need to change. Here’s a pile of money.” or would he say, “Bad economy. No sales. Might be going out of business.” I’d be tempted to say, “Some people think that might be a good thing.” and direct him to this post.

Remember this post? Mr. First Guy figures that if he doesn’t admit that he’s the problem, he’s not.

Incidentally, I didn’t mean to concentrate totally on the loser, but here’s something interesting. The guy that’s up 48% and I are gonna be talking shortly. Why? Because he wants more than 48%.

What’s your recession strategy. Going out of business sale? or Up 48% isn’t enough?

Sales During a Recession ala’ Boston Celtics

Frank posted at I apologize for not picking an excerpt, but quite honestly, if a post is this good, I’m not gonna show you a piece of it. I think the whole post is worth reading. So, think about it. His first point is bring your “A” game or go home. His second point is think outside the box. Differentiate yourself. The old you isn’t good enough this year. And, doesn’t his third point say that it’s not about you. It’s about your customer. Great post, Frank!

So, by now, you may know that the Celtics won that first game and I want to share a lesson that I got watching the sports part of the 11 o’clock news. Please understand that although I know the difference between a 2-point shot and a 3-point shot, that’s about where my knowledge of basketball ends.

OK, so a Celtic player is at the microphone. (He’s a black guy if that helps.) And he’s talking about the type of game that they played. He said something like, it’s like a boxing match where it’s all body shots. No jabs. No hooks. No finesse. Just body shot, body shot, body shot. It wasn’t pretty and we almost killed each other.

So, I got to thinking. How many salespeople say benefit and get an objection, then feature and another objection, than another feature or benefit to get another objection. Salesperson delivers another body shot and the prospect counters with another body shot until eventually somebody is knocked out and now that the loser is unconscious, the one left standing is declared the winner.

Does it really have to be that way? Aren’t you sick of it?

Can you find the compelling reason (jab)?

Can you develop some urgency (hook)?

Do you have SOB quality (cross)? (Buy the book.)

My 2:42 of Fame

If you’ve never been to a Corridor Nine event, you don’t know what you’re missing.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended their Speed Networking Breakfast. It was a especially fun for me that morning and thanks to Catie Foertsch (who’s always watching), I can show you why!

Thank you Corridor Nine! Thank you Catie!

No real lesson here other than to remember Woody Allen’s advice that 70% of success in life is showing up!