WBJ Sales Summit Feedback

Do you remember your first time?

Doing anything the first time usually involves some questions?

I can tell you that the Worcester Business Journal’s first ever Sales Summit was awesome!

Usually, there’s one person that says something like, “This could have been better.”

I heard none of that!

The All Stars were all stars! Scott Zimmerman was fantastic! The attendees were engaged.

Pete Caputa (the freak) blogged while he was presenting about his presentation! Who ever heard of that?

Tracy O’Clair invited me to connect on LinkedIn less than an hour after the event ended!

Laura Briere blogged about her hot shot All Star and commented on my recent post. I had to answer her back.

So, were you there? What did you think? Anything about anything…Let’s hear what you think.

Also, did you make any good connections. How are you gonna follow up?

If I’m not asking a question that you want to answer, tell us what the question is then answer it.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the comments so you can read what everybody says.

Rainmakers and Lead Generation

From time to time, we talk about the difference between marketing and sales.

I’ve had conversations with peers about whether salespeople should generate their own leads.

I’ve even gone so far as to say that the stronger your lead generation program(s), the weaker you are encouraging your salespeople to be and vice versa. The weaker your lead generation is, the stronger your salespeople need to be.

I’m constantly getting pushback. Salespeople want fancy websites, big advertising, more mailings, marketing support, yada, yada, yada. Anything for more leads so they don’t have to work so hard.

Then, tonight, I read Rainmakers and Lead Generation. Brian nailed it. I’ve never seen it put exactly like thie before. Read it and set yourself a new standard!

Thanks, Brian!

Kinder and Gentler….Like the IRS

Remember a few years ago, the IRS tried to fix their image problem by using the words, “Kinder and Gentler”?

Well, I’m wondering if Rick could use a little of the same. I’ve recently read comments like:

“not everyone can or should try to be like Rick”

“Are you sorry you were abrasive”

“people may not like the direct approach”

“Your feistiness is loveable, but only to those who are not afraid of you. Those who don’t know you well may be intimidated by your willingness to confront.”

“Maybe they’re offended by the WAY you tell them they’re the problem”

“This is quintessential Rick”

And that was just in the past week!

In addition, last week I had a conversation with Kate Hyland Mercer and while reviewing our history, I found an email from her from last October that asked “Can you teach clients skills that are universal or are they “just Rick’s way”?”

OK, so here’s the challenge! I can be nurturing and still be effective. You can introduce your best client to me without worrying about me, ‘blowing them up’. I don’t have to be as ‘in your face’ as I have been recently.

To prove it, I will be a KINDER AND GENTLER Rick until Labor Day! FIVE WEEKS of sweetness! I absolutely assure you…..no attitude between now and then. If you have someone who needs a meeker approach, now’s the time. Send me an email. Call. Just make sure that they get in before September 1st.

Two other things…..If you hear a blood curdling scream of frustration late at night, you’ll know who it is.

Second, you might want to give me a wide berth on September 2.

Oh, one more thing….You clients that are already in? You won’t see a change. You bought the old Rick.

Conversations with Experts

‘Twas an interesting week!

I had a conversation this week (with an expert in their field) that started, “Can you help me with following up after I meet someone after a networking event.” I coached for over an hour. I shared word tracks, attitudes, everything that I could. I promise. I didn’t hold anything back. I answered every question and gave extra. We even role-played several scenarios. I wish that I could tell you that it worked, but we were addressing one little piece of the process.

Process…….It starts with figuring out who to talk to, what to say, where to find them, then doing it. It goes through, needs analysis, establishing rapport, yada, yada, yada. It ends with having a happy, repeating, totally loyal customer that’s become an evangelist and a constant source of referrals.

Following up after a networking event is a very small part of the process, and although I gave it my all,

there’s a lot more to do.
The second conversation with an expert was even more rewarding. I mentioned a particular opening question to a quasi-competitor and I got this response. “Rick, I am going to try your question. I love it! Will keep you posted.” I was so enthralled with this acknowledgement from a peer that I called them, immediately. Thanked them for starting my day that way. Then we talked for a minute, specifically about ‘difficult’ clients. They told me about a client that they recently had to tell three things.

1.)    Look, you’ve had the change order for three months. We’ve talked about it for hours. You know it will work.
        Sign the change order or don’t, but we don’t need to talk about it any more.

2.)    We’ve talked about Joe 27 times. He’s killing your organization. Fire him!

3.)    Pick up the phone and call me. Stop sending me 1,000 word emails. I don’t have time to read them. Call me.

I’ve paraphrased to protect the innocent, but the point is, “If you’re asking for help and you’re asking a person that you believe is an expert, shut your mouth, open your ears and your mind and do what you’re told.

In closing, I’ll admit that Todd gave me a pretty good “up yours” and despite Dave Kurlan’s comment, I doubt that he’s ever gonna swallow his pride enough to call me, but if he ever did, he’d find out what nurturing was all about.

Resistance to Change

I’ve been thinking about the comments to my last post. Some of the best comments were verbal.

Last night, as usual, I called my mother on the way home. Her comment was, “I don’t think Jason likes you.”

I also spoke with a new client (That’s right. Occasionally, they say, “Yes.”). He said, “So, the lesson is my way or the highway.”

I also discussed the post and debriefed my sales process with several of my associates at work. (That’s right. We practice what we preach.)

The point is, Jason is right. “…if I changed, I could sell more.” My response is, “What if I don’t want to?”

I found this article entitled “Top Ten Reasons for Change Resistance“. This excerpt is from the closing paragraph.

“To win people’s commitment for  change, you must engage them on both a rational level and an
emotional level. I’ve emphasized the emotional side of the equation for this list because I find,
in my experience, that this is the area would-be change agents understand least well.”

This is another excerpt from the same paragraph.

“But I’m also mindful that a failure to listen to and respond to people’s rational objections and
beliefs is ultimately disrespectful to them, and to assume arrogantly that we innovative,
change agent types really do know best.  A word to the wise:  we’re just as fallible as anyone.”

Let me close with this thought. Last week I had a great conversation with Sandra Condon about her blog. At the end of our conversation, she asked, “Aren’t you gonna try to sell me?” I replied, “You’re not a prospect.” and then we discussed the reasons that she wasn’t a prospect and she agreed. Think about it. I meet a lot of people. I’ve probably met you. Have I ever asked you to buy? Very few people get to my closing table. Most that do ask to be there. That doesn’t give me permission to be rude, disrespectful, or do anything that would make them feel bad about themselves, so I’m not. I do not want their money unless they are willing to change and the first step is usually the most difficult. Once they take the first step, I’ll help with the rest and if they don’t want to take the first step, I’ll help them not take it.

I want help…I don’t want help.

The latest entrepreneurial story started at 9:30 AM, Saturday, 6/14 with this email:

Happy (grand)Fathers Day Weekend!~ Hope your up in God’s Country enjoying. I can see the light…I am in need of some of your expertises and or some other sense of my options of “driving” my business. The post that made me think was: BootStrap Entrepreneur and if I am in the same boat as other clutter minded sm business owners this post really got me thinking… what if Rick is on 2 something..for me and other small business entrepreneurs that can use the help. Even though I need an expert in Sales I think that the question that I had to ask myself made clear sense to me… Is the person that is running my core business a salesman like myself? The clear answer is no , and I don’t consider myself a good salesman…I just believe in what we do and that has worked up until NOW. As always we have a bunch of irons in the fire, some are going to break soon…

We met for about two hours, exchanged a couple of emails and telephone conversations which resulted in a plan that gave him what he wanted. I sent the plan at 6:24 AM on Friday 7/18. It ended with the following:

You have three choices. Reply with, “OK, let’s get going. I’m in for Phase 1.” You and Mike Thornton will need to have a five minute conversation to get a credit card to charge the monthly payments to and the information required to set up your evaluation. He’ll then send you a link to take your evaluation. You’ll take it and we’ll have your results within 2 business days. Then I’ll design your program and we’ll be moving. Reply with, “No, thanks.” I’ll never mention it or bother you again. Do nothing. I’ll retract my offer at close of business, Monday and never mention it or bother you again.

At 6:06 AM this morning, I received the following email.

Good Morning Rick, By the tone of this email and your three choices & assuming that these correspondences “bother” me, I will not be needing your services. Regards,

Every entrepreneur that I’ve ever met has said that they believe in what they do. That’s the secret. They all want help, but don’t want to change and when somebody like me has the balls to tell them that they are the problem, they usually get offended. The ones that get over it get help and double or triple their business. This guy said that he doesn’t “need” my services…I think that he doesn’t “want” my services. What he was hoping is that I wouldn’t challenge him, wouldn’t make him feel uncomfortable, and that I’d tell him that it’s not his fault. I realized something during this exchange. When I did collections, I sold my services to my clients but delivery was to debtors. I didn’t have to like anybody because I didn’t spend much time with anybody, debtors or clients. When I take on a new client, I’m gonna spend considerable time with them. If they’re argumentative, uncooperative, egotistical jerks, why would I want to spend any time with them at all? Bad enough, I have to be with myself!

How important is quality?

Scenario #1:   Suppose that you had a friend that worked for a company that provided the kind of solution that you were looking for. Suppose that you called your friend and said, “Hey, we should talk. I’m thinking that I need what your company does.” Suppose you told him three times and HE NEVER CAME! Eventually, you gave up and bought from somebody else. Now, suppose that sometime later, you ask your friend how come he never responded and he tells you that he wasn’t confident that his company would deliver a quality solution to you.

What would you think? Are you happy that your friend ‘protected’ you from his employer or are you disappointed that your friend would represent a company that may not deliver quality?

Scenario #2:   Can you count on your company delivering quality? If/when you get a call from a dissatisfied customer, are you surprised or is it more like, “Again?” Does your company have the same issues with quality over and over again? Can you assume that your company is ‘in the right’, or is it just as likely that the customer has good reason to be dissatisfied?

Would you work for a company that consistently under-delivered?