Friday Faves – 5.13.16

051316Baseball players are notoriously superstitious.  Wade Boggs, Hall of Famer with the Yankees and Red Sox reportedly ate chicken 90 minutes before each game.  Hitters on a hitting streak have been known to wear the same socks and underwear until the streak ends for fear of cursing it.

If you’re on a closing streak, why change things?  But, where hitters face the same pitchers over a season, sellers sell on a constantly shifting tectonic plate – market conditions.  Consistency is what we all seek – closing new business regularly, like an assembly line.  So, it’s almost an oxymoron to suggest that you regularly reassess, refine and adapt your tactics to changes in the market.  But, not to do so condemns you to the fate of the dinosaurs.  Harsh?

Certainly, there are best practices in discovery, prospecting, relationships development and perhaps time management that are foundation sales practices.  But two and two will never equal five, but everything except a few immutable laws (gravity, supply and demand, resistance and effort) are subject to external influence.

On this Friday the 13th, question your norms – hell, question everything.  The buyer’s world is in constant change.  It you don’t stay ahead of that change, you’ll be that log in the river the water flows over and around.

Who took Jobu’s rum?

Friday Faves – 5.6.16

050616Now that we’re in the 2nd month of Q2, have you revisited your territory plan for the quarter?  If not, you should.  When you do, check to see that you started everything in your plan you were supposed to.  If not, discuss it with your manager to see if the plan was too aggressive, you took your eye off it, or need some coaching on managing your time.  Also, check your progress on deals in process.  Have you touched them in an appropriate timeframe to keep them moving forward?  A territory plan that gets filed the first week of the quarter and not revisited until after the quarter ends is as helpful as sending your Mom flowers the week after Mother’s Day.  (This Sunday, BTW.)

The Power In Silence – The best ever close was a $300K deal where, after going through layers, on a transcontinental concall with the Managing Partner, I was asked what results I could deliver when.  I answered the question and SHUT UP.  There was silence, it was a bit uncomfortable, but I resisted the temptation and the MP said, “What do you need from me to make this happen?”  Closed deal – BOOM!

A Rich Source of Overlooked Leads – Years ago, a boss had a poster of a silverback gorilla glaring at you.  The caption read “Salesmanship starts when the customer says no.”  This post updates tha thought with solid strategy.

High, Wide and Deep: Better Buyer Relationships – I call this touchpoints.  Imagine a rock climber.  They want as many touchpoints on the rock as possible, for safety.  With clients, the more touchpoints you have (on both sides) the more secure the relationship.

Things That Won’t Serve You – In lieu of a spine, these will serve you well.

 

Friday Faves – 4.29.15

042916Though I spent most of this week at a conference, I did have time to read some great posts.

Sales Excuse Litmus Test and Cure – Disciplined prospecting and time management are critical skills to master.  Some good ideas for both here.

The Benefits of Virtual Mentors – Formal mentoring, a colleague, partner or just someone you trust will be honest with you (brutally, if necessary), having someone to call Bullshit on you is highly valuable.

Your Shoulds Are Really Musts – Shoulda, woulda, coulda.  Nothing worse than looking back and saying “what if?”

The Difference Between Wanting Better Results and Being Willing to Produce – Anything worth having is worth working for.,

 

Friday Faves – 4.22.16

042216On Wednesday, I thought this week would never end.  Today, I wish I had another day to tack on to a killer week.  Has that ever happened to you?  Don’t get me wrong, I am TAKING my weekend, but doesn’t it feel good when it all falls into place?  It really doesn’t – you make it happen and here are some great posts to help you make it so.

Creating a Unique Value Proposition – A good primer on crafting yours.  Without one, you compete on price alone.

What Everyone Should Know About Running Virtual Meetings – I recently presented to a company-wide sales meeting on “How NOT to Conduct an Online Meeting.”  Some overlap between them.  I’ll try to turn it into a SlideShare and post on LinkedIn.

Where Your Focus Goes – As I’ve told my teams – “Know all that is knowable, control all you can.  Then, play jazz.”

They’re Not Interested – What Now? – You own this.  Creating a compelling upfront value proposition is your cost of entry.

Playing to Win or Playing Not to Lose – No risk, no reward.

3 Things To Leave Out Of Your Prospecting Call – For those of you who, like me, still believe in using the telephone for cold calls, reminder of some basics.

 

 

Friday Faves – 4.15.16

041516Though I read a lot of posts this week, and learned from them, I didn’t find any that I felt were universal and impactful enough to share. Instead, a few words about exposure.

My Dad, a traveling salesman, would take my sister and me on trips in his territory during the summer. We were out of school and driving my mother crazy in our non air-conditioned apartment in Queens, NY, so my Mom enjoyed the trips as much as we did.

We stopped for lunch once at Carroll’s (a now-defunct precursor of McDonald’s) outside of Syracuse, NY. Taking a bite, I complained to Dad “Hey, there’s mustard on this!”  (We preferred ketchup on our burgers.)  Dad said that people in different places have different tastes and customs.  He said I didn’t have to like them all, just try them.

And we did – try everything.  Beef on Weck in Buffalo to Spiedies in Binghamton and we washed it down with soda (as we called it) or Pop as others did.  I learned a lot, and I think the exposure may parents gave us to different food, people, customs and ways of doing things not only instilled a love of learning, but a broader understanding that there are multiple solutions to the same challenge.

Later on, my parents told me that they felt exposure to different things was one of the most important things they could do for us.  Let us see and experience different things so that we would be more open and tolerant of things and people different than what was normal for us. On a recent trip to Hong Kong and Thailand, we went to a small, local Cantonese restaurant in Hong Kong to try the local stuff and my older son ordered a dish with donkey meat.  Though he didn’t recommend it, he said it’s good to try new things.  Our younger son, who works in Shanghai, has traveled extensively, experiencing the rich diversity of Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands, trying things I didn’t know existed.  Thus, we’ve successfully passed the torch.

In your sales process, do you expose yourself to new ideas/strategies/tactics?  Do you read 3-4 sales books each year?  Do you read sales blogs and enewslettters, attend webinars?  More important, do you try some of what you learn?  As I personally benefited from the exposure my parents gave me and our sons from that which my wife and I gave them, so too can you professionally benefit from exposure and trying new things.

Remember how the dinosaurs became extinct?

 

Friday Faves – 4.8.16

040816After two weeks vacation in Asia, I returned with some new perspectives on “the way” things are done.  More about that later.

Meanwhile, thanks to the incredible availability of WiFi in Thailand, I read some great posts.

The Answer Key To Winning Deals – If you can’t save me money/time/resources; make me smarter/faster/better, then why?

Stop Wasting Your Time on Work Calls – Time management is a constant improvement process, which attracted me to this.  Not sure I agree.

When Was the Last Time You Asked, “Why Are We Doing It This Way?” – Disrupters RULE!

Voice Mail As A Differentiator – You cannot study enough about voicemail.  There is NO secret sauce here.

How To Compress the Sales Cycle – We’re all interested in this.  Learned some great new techniques at a seminar, which I’ll begin sharing.