As I was getting going this morning, I was thinking back to a client that told me, “I know I was sold…I just don’t know when.” at the end of our first meeting. That sales call happened at least 10 years ago and for the past 10+ years I’ve thought that her comment was a compliment on my ‘sales ability’. This morning I realized that it wasn’t about me. It was about her. She didn’t have an issue with her “Buy Cycle“.
Most of the time that I hear talk about “buy cycle” issues, it’s about the need to think about it, shop around, get multiple bids, or do more research. This morning, I realized that “buy cycle issues might also include, ‘the belief that salespeople are basically dishonest’, ‘the fear that if you actually listen to the salesperson and answer questions honestly, the salesperson will sell you something that you don’t want or need’, ‘the fear that if I show that I’m beginning to think that this salesperson has the solution, he will overcharge me’, or ‘the fear of being sold, period’.
In other words, it’s a trust issue. They don’t trust the salesperson so they put up a super strong defensive wall to keep the salesperson from discovering the truth because they don’t believe that the salesperson would do right by them because (Are you ready?)……the salesperson needs to make the sale, will do anything to make the sale, even if it’s not a good fit. And they know this because (Are you sure that you’re ready?)
It’s what they would do!
Some salespeople believe that “whatever it takes” includes unethical stuff. It doesn’t. If you, as a prospect, don’t trust, you won’t be trusted. If you, as a prospect, don’t answer questions truthfully, you won’t get truthful answers. If you, as a prospect, put up a huge wall, you won’t be able to get through your prospect’s walls.
So, the Golden Rule of Selling is the Golden Rule.
Let me close the way I think The Sales Archaeologist would close, by paraphrasing a Ronald Reagan quote.
Mr. Salesman, tear down this wall!
I had a conversation with a guy who sells mailing lists two weeks and two days ago. I blogged about him here. I followed up with the promised email and ended with, “Call if you have questions.”
You should know that we were introduced to each other.
So I called a week ago and left a voice mail message to call me back.
I left another message yesterday.
Today, a company owner asked me if I knew where to get a list of VP Sales based in New England.
I said, “No.”
Seriously, would you take the chance that this idiot wouldn’t return my friend, the company owner’s call?
If you’re not gonna take or return calls, why should anyone take or return yours?
So, tonight, I’m minding my own business, when I get a new email in my inbox….from Guy Kawasaki?
Huh? That’s right, Guy “The Evangelist” Kawasaki. Uh huh! Guy “How to Drive Your Competition Crazy” Kawasaki. What the heck does he want with me?
Here’s the message.
I am the CEO of a company called Nononina. We operate a website that is an “online magazine rack” organized by topics such as Fashion, Celebrities, Sports, Gaming, Macintosh, Science, Green, and Autos. Your feed is included here:
You can see all our topics here:
We have Alltop badges that you can add to your site/blog here:
Please tell your readers about Alltop.
Well, my mama didn’t raise no fool and I’m sure not gonna say, “No.” to Guy Kawasaki, so I’m telling you about alltop which is a list of all the top blogs. You can click the first link and my blog’s there. There’s a bunch more categories at the main link and my badge is to the right under ‘blogs that I read’.
What a day!
Money isn’t everything, but….
I’ve been broke and I’ve been flush. Flush is better.
Fake it ’til you make it.
As you may know, I network a bit. It’s not unusual for me to be in a room with 2-300 other salespeople, smiling, shaking hands, swapping business cards, shmoozing, 2-3 times a week. Sometimes I just watch and shake my head. Engineers go to engineering school. Franchisees get ‘trained’ at the home office. CPA’s and lawyers have to get licensed. Contractors learn their trade (apprentice, journeyman, master). Photographers, decorators, web designers, IT consultants, etc. learn to do what they do, BUT…………………how many of them go to ‘sales school’?
Seriously, how many of them are gonna exchange business cards and never speak with that person again because they can’t get the person on the phone? How many of those experts are going to need three sales meetings to get a ‘one call close’ done? How many of those business owners are going to have to discount their price to get the business?
Then I got to wondering how many of those people started their business with the idea that they were going to make $100-200,000 a year. Then I got to wondering how many of them were reaching their goal.
Ready? According to the U.S. Census, at least 80% of U.S. households didn’t make it in 2006 and it could be as high as 96%. Flip it around by saying, “19.1% of U.S. households earned over $100K and only 3.5% of the households earned over $200K.” Here’s the source
I was reminded of this post
So, if you ever see me shaking my head at a networking event, don’t ask. I probably just watched one of the 80% miss a buying signal and walk away or agree to call the following week even though the prospect’s body language said, “Welcome to voice mail jail!” All that education wasted because they don’t want to learn how to sell effectively.
I have a standing telephone call with a client every Monday morning at 7:30.
I’m still at my beachhouse in Maine, but the call happened as it should.
During the call, we started talking about our weekly meeting at David Kurlan & Associates, the general agenda, timing, attendance, etc. The conversation expanded into our daily huddles. When we were done, my client said, “Boy, you really practice what you preach.”
In my opinion, that is the highest praise that my client can give.
So, for the record, if we suggest that you do something, it’s probably because we do it and it works for us.
Who is the best salesperson you know?
The deadline to nominate them is June 13th!
If you buy from them, get their boss to nominate them!
If they work for you, you nominate them!
If they work with you, get your boss to nominate them!
Here’s the link. WBJ Sales All-Stars Nomination
Also, the Sales Summit has been expanded to all day July 30th! Mark your calendar! Details to follow!
One more thing. This post should be forwarded to every salesperson, manager and CEO that you know in New England.
I had coffee recently with a fellow salesman that I hadn’t seen in a while. He had changed jobs a month ago and when I asked how it was going, I didn’t get a “Great!”. His face told me to probe, so I did.
Before I continue, let me point out that my friend is a great salesman. His sales quotient is 150-ish out of 175. This guy can sell a lot, sell clean, maintain margin, and do all the things that you would want a salesperson to do.
OK, so back to the story. Apparently, my friend expected to develop a pipeline and close business the way he always has. He was the first salesperson that his technical employer was hiring. My friend’s been selling for many years and is very well networked. He recognized that many of his existing contacts were going to be able to help his pipeline. I N S T E A D….his new boss is a micro-manager. He asks for news several times a day. When my friend identifies an opportunity, the boss (a techie who thinks he can sell) dictates a letter for my friend to send to the prospect. So, my friend is hoping he can last long enough in his new job to close a few deals, make his boss realize that he can do the job, then convince the boss that he should be allowed to work at home. (The boss is upset if any of his employees aren’t at their desk by 8:30.) Uh, friend, good luck with that!
Another friend, Dave Kurlan, would say that this boss made a hiring mistake, but I think that my friend made the hiring mistake. My friend’s product was a great salesman that could work independently, required little supervision, and would bring in business without much support. That’s not the solution that the boss wanted to buy. I blame my friend. My friend is a much stronger salesman than the boss and my attitude is that the stronger salesperson is always responsible to make sure that the sale is done properly. A job interview is a sales call. Your interviewer expects you to be strong and if they don’t, you probably don’t want the job.
As I thought about this post, I realized a similarity between job candidates, professionals that sell and entrepreneurs. My friend’s problem was that he was selling himself. His ability to sell. He was emotionally involved. Had happy ears. He didn’t want to disqualify himself because that might make him appear inadequate. Doesn’t that happen to lawyers, CPA’s, engineers, tradespeople, consultants every day. Don’t they take on projects during slow times hoping they can ‘figure it out? Don’t they take on difficult clients hoping they can work out their differences later? After all, they’re awesome! It’s their own abilities that they’re selling. Of course, their customer’s gonna like it when they’re done. Right?
So, I’m sitting in my office and in walks Ed Kleinman to ask, “So if I walk into your office, you blog about me?” I answered, “Probably.”
Ed, in case you don’t know, coaches coaches. He helps Objective Management Group distributors become successful in their businesses. He holds their hands. Slaps them when necessary. Here’s the wisdom that he shared. He had just come from the veteran’s session where someone asked where they could find information on “The Cycle”. Ed answered, “Page 96“. That’s how well Ed knows his stuff. He knows what page it’s on.
That led us to talking about presentations and how often we watch presenters flipping back and forth in their proposal searching for the chart, quote, or page that they’re looking for. It makes them look unprepared. Be ready. Know your materials.
Now we know why so many of Ed’s disciples are perennial champions.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve got a pretty cool life. I get to interact with experts on a very unique basis. I enjoy the freeflowing exchange of expertise and ideas with people that are good at what they do and realize that collective thought is usually much more productive than the sum of individual thoughts.
Dave was conducting a workshop today for veteran OMG distributors. Being able to eavesdrop on that session would be enough for the average salesman, but remember that I’ve got a cool life. I was sitting at my desk and in walks Howard Popliger. In case you don’t know, Howard is the Founder and CEO of Epic Development. We talked about strategic account management in Fortune 100 accounts, retainer relationships vs. project relationships and the importance of samples, demos, and pilots.
I also had an interesting precall strategy session with Bruce Bower and Chris Mott. (That’s right. We actually practice what we preach.) Why would somebody with Bruce’s experience, Chris’ experience, or mine take the time to talk about tomorrow’s call? Because in 5 minutes, we had three different approaches that all made sense. Our collective thought and experience made the salesperson 3+ times as prepared for tomorrow’s call.
Finally, earlier today, Mark Paskell introduced me to Ron Roberts. Ron and I talked from 6:30 to 8:38 this evening. That’s right, two hours and I don’t know about Ron, but I could have gone longer. Ron calls himself the Contractor’s Business Coach, but his website is http://www.filthyrichcontractor.com/. How’s that for posturing? Ron and I had a great time sharing contractor stories and I see great synergies down the road. Incidentally, if you’re a contractor, you should subscribe to his newsletter. Check out his website to preview the content.
According to Investopedia:
Bootstrap – A situation in which an entrepreneur starts a company with little capital. An individual is said to be boot strapping when he or she attempts to found and build a company from personal finances or from the operating revenues of the new company.
Investopedia Commentary – Compared to using venture capital, boot strapping can be beneficial as the entrepreneur is able to maintain control over all decisions. On the downside, however, this form of financing may place unnecessary financial risk on the entrepreneur. Furthermore, boot strapping may not provide enough investment for the company to become successful at a reasonable rate.
I Googled “Why Entrepreneurs Fail”
http://learn.trizle.com/posts/865-why-entrepreneurs-fail They can’t relate to customers so they can’t sell.
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1154/is_v74/ai_4116367 They’re uncoachable, unwilling to be taught. They make the same stupid mistakes everybody’s already made.
http://andrewbode.wordpress.com/2007/04/28/why-entrepreneurs-fail/ Confusion in the order of importance between logic and passion.
http://urbanworldonline.com/6-reasons-why-entrepreneurs-fail/ No mentors, support groups…Going it alone. Won’t invest in their own learning.
Are you a bootstrapped entrepreneur? Will you admit to any of this? Do you want to fix it? Would doubling or tripling your sales in a year fix it? If your answers are, “Yes.”, “Yes.”, “Yes.”, “Yes.” Send your phone number via my email link at the top of the page. If any of the answers are, “No.” Good luck with that.