Apr 102017
 

My friend Chris texted me a picture of the The Boss Baby from the movie of the same name that is in cinemas right now. The baby’s line “… Cookies are for closers.” is a reference to Alec Baldwin’s character from the seminal ‘sales’ film Glengarry Glen Ross of course. In that film Alec Baldwin and a host of sales characters interact in a real-estate sales office as the company goes about countering slumping sales with, er, leads and, cough cough, some motivation.

Boss baby

So, need some sales inspiration? Need to find the tip of the spear of materialism? Need to laugh at the exaggerations, salesmanship, hyperbole or incredible lines? Here is a list, in order of release, for you salespeople and observers of salespeople.

These films should mostly focus on the ‘sale’ rather than are about salesperson’s lives and other endeavours, but included are films that at least delivered a good line or two.

Now don’t go watching these! Instead, get out there and sell something!!
1. Tin Men (1987)
2. Cadillac Man (1990)
3. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
4. Jerry Maguire (1996)
5. Boiler Room (2000)
6. The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
7. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009)
8. Love & Other Drugs (2010)
9. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
10. Unfinished Business (2015)

Let me know what I missed.

*Things That Need To Go Away: High-pressure aggressive sales (which thankfully is as obsolete as the cathode ray tube television).

Be Sociable, Share!
Mar 022016
 

You may have come across the phrase ‘sales strategy’ or ‘sales process’ on this site. Moreover, several book reviews on the website contemplate and discuss the subjects. Either way, you have seen or read about the same elsewhere.

I have come to understand that the difference between the two is not always clear however. A sales organization or department needs both complementary concepts to function or, at least, to do so well. Here are the distinctions:

Sales Strategy

  • Organizational goals and plans especially vis-a-vis customers
  • Your objective SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threats) analysis
  • Financial actuals and reality
  • Interaction with other departments
  • What is the internal and external story that aligns to, and addresses, your SWOT

Sales Process

  • How the sales strategy is executed
  • How do the junior and senior, inside and outside, farmers and hunters, pre, post-sales, sales professionals and their hierarchy do their job? Moreover, are roles and responsibilities clear to everyone?
  • The degree of autonomy and self-management versus scripted and regimented methodology
  • Which tools and skills are required and leveraged in the sales organization

*Things That Need To Go Away: Expectation of success without a sales strategy, process and consultation with sales.

sales process and strategy

Be Sociable, Share!
Jun 052013
 

How a decision is presented is detrimental in how the choices are perceived and considered. This is not anything new. Here is something more specific. According to an article in The Boston Globe people respond more favourably to a request if it is framed as securing a gain and not avoiding a loss. In sales it is more effective to keep a success in sales maintained and not as not having someone lose a job. The example given is of a charity. It is better to present a request to donate blood as a way to “prevent someone from dying” rather than as a way to “save someone’s life.”

Be Sociable, Share!
Jun 072012
 

What does your prospect think about? It depends on the customer’s role. Salespeople who target that position’s specific thoughts and concerns will be more successful. This is called role-based selling. For the purpose of this article I am skipping two crucial discussions. First, Assistants need to be marketed to as well. A salesperson must believe he or she deserves the executive’s time. After all, you are not wasting time, are you? Two, the approach to C-level and V-level roles needs to be personalized and stand out. More on those elsewhere as well as in future discussions. In the meantime, align your sales to the position’s objectives, while ensuring you are speaking correctly to the right ‘C’ (‘Chief’ title) or ‘V’ (‘Vice”-President title).

Peruse the below, but ultimately they need to tell you how to sell to them by telling you about their needs. This is why questions are important. This is why preparation in advance according to the below is important.

President or CEO

What? Grow and lead the company

Pains and Concerns:

  • Grow revenue
  • More profitability/declining profitability
  • Shareholder value
  • Happier and more productive employees
  • Company reputation and
  • Determining strategy and direction

Financial Managers (VP Of Finance, CFO, Controller, Treasurer)

What? Financial management

Pains and Concerns:

  • Knowing and measuring financial drivers,
  • Profitability,
  • Information and reports to manage events and conditions,
  • Reducing costs,
  • Return on investments and return on assets
  • Accounts reconciliation and forecasting (treasurer)
  • Business value (controller)
  • Shortening transaction times,
  • Line of business accountability
  • Closing books faster or consistently having them ‘closed,’
  • Ensuring consistency among territories, divisions and currencies,
  • Drive operational efficiencies,
  • Better, more consistent and more centralized reporting
  • Make better decisions faster and
  • Analyze and predict.

Human Resources Managers (VP Of Human Resources)

What? Manage the business’ people. A business’ most valuable asset is its people. Everything the company does or wishes to achieve is tied to its people’s skills and abilities.

Pains and Concerns:

  • Business and society, and employees, constantly change.
  • Doing more with the same or less,
  • Improving productivity,
  • Delivering and tracking education that is related to work,
  • Budgeting for, finding, hiring and calculating the cost and return on employees,
  • Enabling employee self-service for faster and more efficient control and removing bottlenecks and
  • Local currency and regulations.

Manufacturing Management (VP Of Manufacturing, Chief Operating Officer)

What? Producing timely goods at the lowest cost

Concerns:

  • Manufacturing on demand with the shortest possible lead time,
  • Manufacturing to order,
  • Forecasting demand,
  • Customizing and configuring to order,
  • Collaborate and communicate with supply chain including suppliers, sub-contractors and distributors including view into demand and inventory via EDI or the web,
  • Track costs,
  • Operational justification to understand where cutting cost won’t impact operations
  • Analyze efficiencies,
  • Predict inventory cycle and
  • Eliminate waste.

Sales and Marketing (VP Of Sales, VP Of Marketing, CMO)

What? Increasing sales, improving top and bottom-line and tracking to forecast

Concerns:

  • Knowing the customers,
  • Sales growth,
  • Customer satisfaction/customer turnover
  • Margin growth and maintenance,
  • Forecast accuracy and visibility,
  • Company profitability,
  • Monitoring sales channels and trend analysis,
  • New customer acquisition
  • Company image
  • Productivity of sales and marketing staff,
  • Effectiveness of marketing programs and motions,
  • Positioning products, services or people
  • Efficiency of different types of marketing (such as promotions, web, channels, viral, etc.),
  • Campaign budgets and ROI (Return On Investment),
  • Anticipating trends and consumption,
  • Lead management and visibility into each representative’s achievements and pipeline.
  • See http://www.alighaemi.com/wp/?p=846 for different types of marketing.

Information Technology (VP of IT, CTO, CIO)

What? Lead the company’s information technology

Pains and Concerns:

  • Running the company’s information technology
  • Which hardware, software and service
  • Enabling productivity
  • Interoperability among internal and external customers
  • Flexible systems that can scale up or down with the business
  • Saving the company money
  • Eliminating disparate systems

Be Sociable, Share!
Jun 052012
 

I firmly ‘believe’ that having belief is one of the keys to success. This is not some spiritual intangible. It is an imperative. Wayne Gretzky, a Canadian hockey player, is often quoted as saying, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” It is as simple as that. Believing is about doing. Time and time again when a salespersons is convinced that an effort is futile it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Successful salespeople know that when all hope is lost the worst possible thing to (not) do is to give up. One last e-mail beseeching customers, one more call exploring alternatives, one strategic question to a prospect may turn things around.

One needs belief however. The belief that something may happen. Ironically, it is the more experienced and tenured salespeople that often fall victim to a lack of belief. They internalize the mistakes, failures and objections and project them into various current situations. It should be the opposite. The more pertinent question invoking belief is ‘have I sold before?” or ‘have I interviewed for such a job successfully before?’ or ‘Did I win in a similar situation in the last year?’… then why not again?

Your believing not only determines what you do, but it also determines that you do it. Moreover, it is the duty of the management and company to give, instill and maintain that belief. Salespeople are humans. They need support as much as anybody.

 

Be Sociable, Share!
Jun 042012
 

People in sales and marketing might occasionally forget or possibly not be able to say what they know as succinctly as ‘fear sells,’ but unfortunately fear does sell. Think about the nightly news where the leading stories are negative items designed to instill worry, catastrophe, disaster or concern into the minds of the viewers “if it bleeds, it leads.” Think about salespeople scaring you that should you not buy X you will lose your health/pay more later/fall behind, etc.

For instance, a security alarm company will never approach homeowners with information such as “99% of houses in your area were not burglarized.” Rather, the message will go something like this: “a house down your street was burglarized. You could be next!” Cue homeowner to order security monitoring for the house.

Another related psychological imperative is the need to avoid pain. People are compelled by the need to avoid pain more instantly over seeking or finding pleasure. Think about it. Does someone want to avoid or escape a predicament first or seek a new pleasure? Pain Avoidance is a prime technique for making pressing sales and accelerating sales velocity. This instinct is inherent in our genes.

In sales the formula for success is quantifying the pain and problem and demonstrating to the customer that the solution being offered costs less than the problem it displaces.

Similarly, the sales collateral, proposals and discussions should be fashioned in the same way.

Examples (with ‘better’ prompting more urgent action than ‘good’):

  • Good: “you can sign our contract and get the product”  Better: “Get the papers out of your hair”
  • Good: “your solution will bear many years of results”  Better: “Your problems are about to disappear”
  • Good: “your promotion is likely” Better: “Your boss will immediately get off your back”
  • Good: “people will enjoy the new menu and word will spread” Better: “No more bad reviews or food poisoning”

However, and very importantly, a salesperson needs to 1- have asked about the pain 2- understood the imperatives (listening skills) 3- quantified the challenge and 4- has calculated a Return On Investment (ROI) aligned to the solution offered. As such, the above

Be Sociable, Share!
Aug 122011
 

Most people have a feel for the difference between sales and marketing and the demarcation points, but defining them has proven more difficult.

Here are the definitions of marketing according to the Oxford English Dictionary:

Marketing: The action of buying or selling, esp. in a market; an instance of this.
Selling: To give up or hand over (something) to another person for money (or something that is reckoned as money).

Marketing is the set of activities that turns a goods or service from an abstract concept into something desirable for the user. Marketing folk are trained to make a connection between goods or service to consumption factors a.k.a promotion.

Marketing is the support and engine for sales. All advertising, collateral, promotions or programs are aimed at creating the awareness, information and encouragements that a customer needs to make a sale happen. This tool arms the sales team to make the correct impression and create alignment between the buyer and the seller.

Marketing needs to ascertain what the company is producing is what is needed and the correct information is available to support the sale. The sales group must leverage that to influence the customer to make a favourable decision and exchange the company’s expertise into money.

Both groups, which are simply different points on the same spectrum, are tasked with explaining to the customer why the exchange of goods or services between the provider and buyer is beneficial to the latter. It is marketing’s job to correctly supply the arsenal of the sales team and provide support, while the sales group is tasked with taking correct advantage and applying and leveraging the marketing program to the fullest. It is critical that the teams support one another and provided two-way feedback.

Be Sociable, Share!
Aug 032011
 

I don’t mean to understate the value of facts, data or rationality, but when selling never forget the power of emotions.
As much as we like to think we make good choices based on regimented and thought-out reasons, emotions are a big factor in our buying decisions and often a bigger criterion than most of recognize or understand.

Think about it. We all make decisions based on how we feel about something. After all, if emotions were not a major buying factor wouldn’t everyone buy the same car with the highest price-to-feature rating based on the class of vehicle one required? Of course, we consider a car’s features, horse power and fuel efficiency, but when all is said and done, we must like the look and image of the car. Wouldn’t the market for CD cover designs diminish rapidly? After all, we would be buying the disc based on its content and its style. Many managers know, but may not openly admit, that they hired a candidate based on a ‘gut feeling.’ There are numerous examples.

What this means is we need to understand the power of emotions when selling. It follows that we need to consider the customer’s feelings. The buyer must be comfortable. They must trust. They must have that ‘gut feeling.’ This is why advanced selling is often called ‘relationship-based selling.’ This is why they say ‘you have to sell yourself.’ Give people a reason to buy from you. Give yourself some emotional appeal. Make yourself part of a story… at least until human beings evolve to more rational beings!
This is not to suggest creating and demonstrating value is meaningless. It is meant to address the need for a balanced (using that word in this context seems odd to me) approach.

Your manager or company will ultimately not care if you made the sale because the prospect felt sorry for you, laughed at your joke or counted the most number of benefits in your service versus something else.

Be Sociable, Share!
Feb 022011
 
  • Are you subscribed to your customer and resellers blogs or tweets? Do you have a Twitter account? Share your partners public thoughts with your own followers. Ask your customers and partners about their posts. Can there be a bigger compliment?
  • Do you monitor their news and websites to see what they are posting, what their news is and what they are most proud of?
  • How could you interact better with them using Social Media?
  • Here is a thought grenade: how about inviting all, a segment of, your partners, resllers and customers to an online seminar where you facilitate a public discussion on profitable strategies and what is happening in the marketplace?
Be Sociable, Share!
Apr 172010
 

Steps To Effective Listening:

1- Listen – yes, oddly enough one has to listen without prejudice or interrupting.
2- Listen For The Main Idea – what is the main and specific idea being put forth?
3- Listen For The Reason – what is the rationale and reason behind the ideas discussed or proposed? Is the premise correct and based in fact?
4- Organize – give the message conveyed an organization and order. It helps results gel and and for the listener to retain the information.
5- Ask Questions – once the speaker has ended ask questions. Be sure that your own biases have not tainted what you heard.

Taking notes is a good idea. It shows that the listener is interested. It also is a better method of keeping record than memory alone.

*Things That Need To Go Away: listening meetings where the decision has already been made and conclusion already reached.

j03992151

Be Sociable, Share!