A RainMaker to be?

This is a guest post by Arjun Moorthy. Arjun is the VP of Business Development at Hubspot. He was referred to me a few weeks ago and was evaluated as an entrepreneurial salesperson. Today, we reviewed his evaluation together. These are his words.

Rick – as you requested, here is a short blog post I wrote up after our chat this morning.  I intended to post it to my blog, curiousjuice.com, but you are welcome to modify/quote it as I think that was perhaps your original idea?

As regular readers of my blog may know I care a lot about people finding their true career calling as I myself struggle through that.  Recently I did a sales skills evaluation with Rick Roberge using a methodology from Objective Management Group.  The 40-page report is very detailed and at first I didn’t agree with several of the assessments but on a second review I found it was startlingly accurate.


Rick and I talked for an hour and a half today as he clarified various points and gave several helpful, memorable examples to help me address the issues that were highlighted in this report.  And all this he prefaced with just one thing: enjoy what you’re doing otherwise you’re doing it wrong.  That may sound obvious but that advice, along with my observation that those who are really good at sales actually do enjoy their job, has immediately changed my outlook on every meeting that I have coming.

I don’t know if I would ever have been a great engineer but I think with the right coaching and guidance I can be great at sales.  And getting to be great at something, versus just good at it, is what you want to aim for in your career.  With the abundance of opportunities many of us have in the west, too often we end up jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none but that only takes you so far in a job.  To get to the top and stay there you really have to excel at that role.  So, I’m buckling down for the long haul here and will keep you posted on what happens.
Interestingly, Arjun does not carry a sales quota, but he recognizes that non-sales executives need to know how to sell. Be sure to subscribe to his blog so that you can be kept up to date on his progress.

Fun Friday Post – Get the WHOLE Story!

Little Johnny watched his daddy’s car pass by
the school playground and go into the woods.
Curious, he followed the car and saw Daddy
…and Aunt Jane in a passionate embrace.
Little Johnny found this so exciting that he
could hardly contain himself as he ran home
and started to tell his mother. ‘Mommy, I
was at the playground and I saw Daddy’s car
go into the woods with Aunt Jane. I went back
to look and he was giving Aunt Jane a big kiss,
and then he helped her take off her shirt.
Then Aunt Jane helped Daddy take his pants
off, then Aunt Jane…’

At this point Mommy cut him off and said,
‘Johnny, this is such an interesting story,
suppose you save the rest of it for supper
time. I want to see the look on Daddy’s face
when you tell it tonight.’
At the dinner table that evening, Mommy asked
little Johnny to tell his story. Johnny started
his story, ‘I was at the playground and I saw
Daddy’s car go into the woods with Aunt
Jane. I went back to look and he was giving
Aunt Jane a big kiss, then he helped her take
off her shirt. Then Aunt Jane helped Daddy
take his pants off, then Aunt Jane and Daddy
started doing the same thing that Mommy and
Uncle Bill used to do when Daddy was in
the Army.
Mommy fainted!
Moral: Sometimes you need to listen to the
whole story before you interrupt!!!
Sales lesson: Have you ever jumped to conclusions because you thought that you knew what your customer wanted?
New program starting Labor Day…. Schedule a call on my calendar.

How to Refer

Many ‘self-proclaimed’ referral experts cite Emerson’s rule of compensation as the mindset of a good referral maker. It’s usually interpreted by newbies as ‘if you refer to me, it will help me and I will want to help you’. I’ve always felt that this is one selfish person trying to get another selfish person to help them first. This explanation works better for me.

I belong to a group of Inbound Networkers
The group owner doesn’t allow members to post their own content or introduce themselves (No sales pitches!), but does allow members to introduce each other to the group. I often don’t know the person that’s being introduced, but I read these introductions with an eye to finding someone that has an expertise that will help someone that I already know and care about. It’s not about me. It’s not about the person that I may refer. It’s about the match between expertise and an issue that my friend may have.
When I refer, I make the introduction. I make sure that both parties know why I’m making the introduction and then I let them do the rest. I don’t try to make it a three way call. I don’t try to get a piece of the action. My compensation comes because I’ve put two people together. If it works, they both love me. If it doesn’t work, they both know that I was thinking of them.
One last thing. Sometimes, you may want to refer someone to a client that you are working with or a prospect that you want to work with. Make the intro the same way. For instance, if you know an entrepreneur or business owner that you like that wants to grow their business, tell them that you read an article about sales help for entrepreneurs, send them the link and let me know that you did. They’ll like you. I’ll like you and if I double or triple their sales, we’ll both love you.

Non-Sales Sales

This article was originally published on 8/13/2012. The last paragraph has been updated. The rest is as it was.

My mother sent me a newspaper article written by Emily Hughey Quinn from Tribune Media Services. The title was “Buy the way…It’s OK to use sales techniques to advance your non-sales career.”

 
It arrived by “snail-mail” before I
left. Then, last night my son, Mark told me that he gave my name to another
entrepreneur with the suggestion that he hire me as a sales coach. He added
that he couldn’t understand why I’ve been so resistant to taking on sales coaching
clients this year. I replied that it was really simple. Most entrepreneurs
don’t put a high enough priority on developing sales ability. I’m not talking
about just being able to sell to customers, although most need help there.

Coincidentally, I’ve spent the past few weeks
contemplating some of the non-sales coaching that I’d delivered to my clients
and trying to decide why it was important. So, here are a few examples.

  • Negotiating with their employer (i.e. a raise, better hours, promotion, etc.)
  • Hiring and managing subordinates
  • Gaining the support of co-workers or other departments within the company

You might expect those kinds of examples, because they’re sales
related, but my clients have also needed help with:

  • Getting financing or better terms from investors, VC’s, bankers
  • Buying ‘right’ (options, service, price, terms)
  • Raising teenagers and interacting with spouses
  • Growing a network that works

Mark suggested that many business owners and startup entrepreneurs
needed a resource that they could use a few times a week to strategize and
rehearse from a sales perspective prior and to debrief and plan after important
meetings.

So, here’s the plan.

There are 12 weeks between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. If you are
an entrepreneur or a business owner and you agree with Mark, contact meTell me what you want to get done ‘sales-wise’
during those 12 weeks. We’ll see if we can make it happen.

BTW, if you are not a business owner or entrepreneur, but you are
trying to do something that’s important to you, contact me anyway.

Fun Friday Post – Perfect Presentations

This came to me from Steve.

After 45 years of marriage, a husband and wife came for counseling.
When asked what the problem was, the wife went into a tirade listing
every problem they had ever had in the years they had been married. On
and on and on: neglect, lack of intimacy, emptiness, loneliness,
feeling unloved and unlovable, an entire laundry list of unmet needs
she had endured.


Finally, after allowing this for a sufficient length of time, the
therapist got up, walked around the desk and after asking the wife to
stand, he embraced and kissed her long and passionately as her husband
watched – with a raised eyebrow. The woman shut up and quietly sat
down as though in a daze. The therapist turned to the husband and
said, “This is what your wife needs at least 3 times a week. Can you
do this?”

“Well, I can drop her off here on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on
Fridays, I fish.
Why do prospects not by from you? It’s the wrong solution! You didn’t listen long enough. You didn’t ask them whether they wanted a turn-key solution or they were willing to do some/all of it themselves. The budget’s not right. They don’t like you. Whatever!
Never present until you know it’s exactly the right solution and you know your prospect will say, “Yes.”
You know how to reach me.

Using ‘Entanglement’ to Build Customer Loyalty

Our guest author today is Michael Boyette. He is the executive editor of the Rapid
Learning Institute
Selling Essentials e-learning site and editor of the
Top Sales Dog Blog. Contact Michael via email
or connect via
Twitter

It’s a universal rule of business that you must keep your
customers satisfied to keep them around. But here’s another truth: satisfaction
isn’t enough. Satisfied buyers switch all the time. In fact, one study found
that 50 percent of “satisfied” customers are predisposed to switching
suppliers.

Here’s the problem: It’s hard to create a competitive
advantage with satisfaction alone. Buyers expect it from every supplier.
And given half a chance, hungry competitors will do everything they can to
appear more responsive, helpful and easy to do business with than you.

There is another driver of customer loyalty: the pain your
customer would feel if they were to STOP doing business with you. Research
suggests that when it comes to customer retention, these “switching costs” have
twice as much influence as satisfaction.

For some types of products and services, switching costs are
naturally high: A company uses a certain customer-relationship management
system; if it switches to another system it will lose critical data. An airline
has the only flight to Toledo on Wednesday mornings, which is when you really
need to fly to Toledo. In other businesses — such as office supplies or
commodity materials — the cost of switching tends to be low.

As a salesperson, you don’t have much influence over these
built-in switching costs.

But there are switching costs that you can influence:
the ones embedded in your relationships with your customer.

The Entanglement Strategy

Every salesperson works to create great relationships with
their customers, of course. But relational switching costs involve more than
getting your customer to like you. The key to customer loyalty is to create
“entangled relationships” that add value and become difficult for your buyer to
unravel.

Here are two ways to build satisfaction and loyalty through
entanglement:

#1 Create more decision makers

Buyers often claim to be the sole decision maker. That can
be a good thing. It’s easier to get a decision when you only have one person to
convince. But if your buyer changes jobs, moves on or just decides she likes
another vendor better, you’re out of luck.

On the other hand, multiple decision makers favor the
incumbent.
When, for example, you have five decision makers on the buying
committee, your account is often more secure because it can be difficult to
change the status quo.

Your goal: Once you win the account and become the
incumbent, seek opportunities to create more decision makers – and be
sure that all of them have a stake in keeping you around.

Find out who else in the organization has a stake in your
product or service. Ask to meet with them to find out how they benefit from
what you sell. Answer their questions and be sure they know who you are and
what you do. By doing so, you’re ensuring that the buyer’s decision has the
support of the team. But you’re also getting other stakeholders entangled in
the purchase decision. If the buyer is ever tempted to bring in another
supplier, they may stop and think. “I’d better see what the people on the team
have to say.”

#2 Training

Everybody knows that training is a pain in the neck.
Managers are never happy about pulling people away from their jobs to learn a
new product or service.

Conventional wisdom suggests that you downplay the need for
training. Make it seem as easy as possible to get things started.

The entanglement approach suggests that you make a big deal
out of training. “Without proper training, you won’t get the full value of what
you’ve bought.”

Offer to take care of both initial training and refresher
courses. Offer to train each and every group affected by your product or
service – production, marketing, customer service, sales, etc.

Work hard to make sure your training is valuable and don’t
hesitate to ask your customer’s people to work hard too. The time and effort
they invest becomes yet another entanglement. If they later decide to switch
suppliers, most of the value would be lost – and everyone would have to get
trained again.

Entangling yourself into your customer’s
business requires planning and hard work. It doesn’t just happen. You have to
look for opportunities to add value and integrate yourself and your product or
service into your customer’s everyday life. In the long run, the deeper and
more entangled your roots, the greater your customer’s switching costs, and the
lower your chances of losing a high-value account.

Pete Caputa is Wrong!

Not totally wrong, but way wrong about one thing.

Now, understand that Pete Caputa has introduced me to hundreds of people that paid me money. He’s not wrong about that. And Pete Caputa thinks that Hubspot is one of the most important investments that a business can make. He’s not wrong about that.
But…
Yesterday, a mutual business acquaintance left me a voice mail message. “Rick, I’m thinking about this Inbound Networking stuff and I’m trying to decide whether I should start a new, separate blog for my Inbound Networking Group or we should follow your lead and use our own blogs.” Pete is hand picking Hubspot Partners to start and lead groups and advising each group to start a “group blog”. That’s what he’s wrong about. (I’m waiting to see if I’m struck by lightning!)
Phew! Let me explain.
In Pete’s scenario, you get 6, 10, 20 people to pay a Hubspot partner a nominal monthly fee to direct and maintain the group and the new blog and all the members of the group post to this new blog and promote it through their social media channels. At some point, someone will leave the group. What are you gonna do, remove their posts? Unpromote their posts? What if the partner gets too busy and wants to move on? Plus, isn’t it more work for no reason?
My suggestion is that you get 2-3 people and join Inbound Networkers together. Then you each invite 2-3 people and get them to invite 2-3 people and if you do the math, you’ll realize that you now have the third generation gives you a minimum of 8 people in your group and the fourth generation could give you as many as 81 people in your group. Now, what do you say to get them to join with you? You say something like, “I think that you do good work and I think that you think that I do good work. There’s a new thing called Inbound Networking that combines the effectiveness personal referrals with the impact of social media and the internet and I was wondering if you wanted to try it out together?” Now, just pretend that you got to 81 people in your group and then somebody wrote a blog post on their own blog or answered a question on LinkedIn or tweeted and event and all 81 people retweeted or otherwise promoted that one thing. And imagine if all 81 of your members did something that you thought your followers should know about and all 81 members promoted all of it. Don’t you have quite a reach? One more thing. There’s already 84 members in the Inbound Networkers Group and will eventually be 20 sub-groups. There won’t be blogs for each sub-group because each sub-group’s members will be using their own footprint to grow each other’s and find new clients. What happens when you get members of 20 groups retweeting the remarkable content that your group members are creating? You’re not wasting your time growing traffic for a new blog, you’re growing your own traffic.
If you’d like info or to join Inbound Networkers, just click the link.
Still waiting for that lightning!
BTW – If you’d like to attend an Inbound Networkers online meeting to see how it works, click that link.