Saturday, February 11, 2017

Wisdom of Mike Weinberg

Mike Weinberg is a speaker of truths, a man unafraid to call a fig a fig and a trough a trough (ancient Greek reference...via Google search). It's Saturday night ... yes Saturday night, I am recovering from a three day bought of the flu and rather than drill more holes in my brain watching TV I pulled Mike's book from my briefcase and continued reading.

Mike's book, Sales Management Simplified, is full of reminders that the basics never go out of style, that "old school" ways taught invaluable lessons, and we who wish to be successful leaders and sellers in today's market place have to continue working at our craft.

Lately I have stressing to my team the no holds barred requirement to work our Sales Process. We do not quote projects, rather we provide solutions that enable the successful completion of Business Objectives. Problems lead to Issues, which lead to an Objective being established to remove the Issues by solving, thus eliminating, the Problems. We have to be proactive, we have to ensure we don't end up "playing catchup".

Mike's book does a terrific job in Chapter 15 of talking to both Sales Leaders and Sales People. I wish it was Monday so I could call my team members and have a Touchpoint session with them to again reinforce and check that their work is oriented toward solving Business Objectives.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

An email to my Team....

Ok - 

Sunday night sucked!  I didn’t expect Atlanta to win the Super Bowl…with the lead they had at one point I thought they might, but I never let go of the idea in the back of my head that NE was just too prepared for the game. They had too much experience as an organization to not be an immovable force.  So for three quarters I drank and yelled (in a Bar)…and for a long time I was thrilled to be in the moment of “maybe” winning.

And that Sucked!  I don’t like the feeling of MAYBE winning. I like the feeling of knowing you can win…that’s the feeling I never had for Atlanta. Until you achieve something, the conjecture that you “might” is just that…conjecture, possibility, perhaps, and so forth. New England never quit, not that ATL did (and I am not accusing them of quitting at all) - to me it is a case of NE finally played like the professionals they are – while Atlanta may have played to not lose. Again, IDK, sports metaphors are mostly CRAP anyway.  How many of you want to “take one for the team”?  That’s what I thought.

I do like knowing that we can win (stupid business decisions by the customer and cronyism aside) I like feeling that we can win, so I don’t want you/us chasing opportunity that you can MAYBE win. 

I’m going to keep pushing you to CHANGE how you look at Opportunity  - getting you to FOCUS on the OBJECTIVE your customer or opportunity is attempting to achieve. This is for both your existing clients and your new opportunities. Q&A’s can be asked that help you FULLY understand the business goals of a project. This division IS NOT solely anything other than the UC arm of a very capable System Integrator. We’re not Avaya, or Unity, or NEC, or Mitel, or whatever….Our Sales Process is one that identifies Problems, Issues, and the Business Objective that will address them. We know who the key players are and WHY they care (or don’t) about the Objective. You have to know your VALUE to an Opportunity.  When we directly apply our VALUE to a customer’s Business Objective then I know we can win…not that we MIGHT win.

Next Year’s SB is in Minnesota…Go Falcons!

Friday, February 3, 2017

New Ideas come from Old Ideas

I am a Cover Band Sales Leader - there is not a single thing unique about what I do. In fact I am certain that everything I do as a Sales Leader is learned from the best practices, writings, and recommendations of others. I believe that even my "ideas" for things I want to do are not unique to me; they have been written about and utilized for years by others. So what does this mean, aside from me potentially being a serial plagiarist??

Well, if you believe that all the sound principles of Sales Leadership have already been discussed and written about then you agree with me, but if you believe the changing landscape of B2B sales (because of the Internet) is changing the way Sales Leaders need to approach their team then you likely also agree with me. I think I am right and here's why.

The fundamentals never change. No matter how cute or innovative we may feel we are it all comes back to the basics:

  1. Identify the Opportunity
  2. Know whether you have a solution
  3. Identify the Key Players in the decision
  4. Understand each Key Players motivation
  5. Position your solution to address the Opportunity and each Key Player's motivation
Has the IoT changed this? No
Has the advent of LinkedIn for Cold Calling changed this?

I don't think so...I think that IoT, LinkedIn, and any other technology, networking, or marketing tool that is based on technology is an automation of that which already existed in analog format. 

Question - how in LinkedIn different that a Lead Sharing Group for prospecting?  Sure, the net is wider, but you still require a contact to make an introduction.

Question - when was the last time (or the first time) you made a T-visit?  What is it?  It where you "stop in" the businesses on either sales of your current sales appointment.  Think of a strip shopping center. You have an appointment with a business located in that center - your "drop in" the business on either side AFTER your appointment to introduce yourself, leave a card, and try to get the name of the person "responsible for making the decisions about (insert what you do here)".  Even better, did you ask the person you were meeting with if they KNOW their positional-peers at the businesses on either side? Maybe that business park has its own professional network group.

Question - when the person who last fixed your (insert large-home-appliance name here) did they leave you with a magnet and ask that you let your neighbors know how well they fixed your whatever? Do YOU ask for referrals?

Question - Do you know WHY your clients buy from you over and over again? Do you know WHY they only bought once? Did you know that feedback is a gift, it truly is (BSA WoodBadge)?

I have to remind myself every day to not forget the basics - I want to get immersed in the possibility of technology and a magic CRM making my day automated. The truth is technology will never ever ever replace a handshake and a conversation about what's important to you client conducted in a face to face situation. Some things that were complex have become commodities...but last I looked technology is still complex. Raising the capabilities of our technology does not make extinct the need for fundamentals. Deep Learning and Data Mining will not by themselves sell your quota this month. Only YOU can do that, and by remembers the practicing the Fundamentals you will surely outpace those who spend their day in front of their has become the Fax Machine of the 80's.

What I told my Sales Team today - My Cousin Revitalized Central Park in NYC

My mother is an unintentional revisionist historian, which means she typically gets the gist of a story correct, but sometimes flips around ...