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Using Images & Metaphors in Sales!

What you stand to lose by not using metaphors in your communication?

Before I get to that, let me talk about what happens in a typical sales process.

We generate leads, qualify them, nurture them & when the timing is right, we take them through the sales process. We expect to move that prospect from stage 1 to final stage of the sales process by qualifying them at every stage & by generating sufficient interest on our products. Most of us tend to forget the buying process of the client or do not think about aligning with the prospects’ buying process. Deals fall apart. If we are lucky, accidentally everything falls in place and we win the order.

To create an emotional bonding with our products just like how a magnet attracts iron, we need to use some techniques. Branding is one. One of the tools of branding is communication. And metaphors are an important part of communication.

If you look at any High Value Sales, you can’t miss the images. Without images, Sale does not happen. Think of a home – a villa or an apartment. Ask the sellers/builders to try to sell without using any image. They cannot.

  1. Their print ads consist of images.
  2. Their TV ads consist of pictures/video of their beautiful properties.
  3. Their websites host videos too.
  4. Their brochures are full of beautiful pictures.
  5. Apple understands this well & they use stunning images.

For those of us who sell high value items that are not tangible, like for example, Software Services / SaaS, we can either show some images from our previous work / show some end user screens from our SaaS product. Alternatively, you can use word imagery, in other words “metaphors” to create images in the minds of our customers.

For example, if you are selling holiday resorts, you may want to say this to your prospective customers: “Leave your jewels in your bank lockers; we will give you stars to admire.” That’s a metaphor your customers & prospects will remember whenever they see you.

Happy Selling!

#b2bsales #metaphors #kkrocks

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How to write good emails?

I am a great fan of emails. Even after whatsapp, messenger, skype etc, email still holds its place in this era of instant communication.

But do we really know how to write an email?

How to write an email that sparks interest in the reader’s mind to know more about you, your company, your products etc.

Some pointers towards that end:

  1. Write well.
  2. Spark interest.
  3. Serve without any expectation.
  4. Build trust.
  5. Create a nudge / interest in knowing what would come in the next email.

Happy Selling !!

#b2bsales #emailwriting #marketing

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Unscrupulous practices & useless contracts!

That was one of the big IT Companies in India. People there had devised unscrupulous & unfair trade practices.

This story dates back to 2003-04 times. That was the time I had just started my business. I was into pure play IT Consulting. But it didn’t take off. Some clients asked me if I can help them find people. That’s how I got into the recruitment business. I wanted to create a niche for myself and focused on few areas – like Technical Architects, Business Analysts, Technical Writers, Testing Professionals etc.

When I was searching for Technical Writers, I accidentally found a lead. As the story goes, I eventually worked with that client.

I started working on their Technical Writer position. I found a candidate, shared the CV with them but they didn’t shortlist her. I had to convince them to shortlist her. They shortlisted & then interviewed the candidate & found her fit for the role. I signed a contract with the client. My contact was a Project Manager and his boss, who was the Practice Manager, signed the contract.

I rolled out an offer to the candidate & the candidate started work. It was a contract position. When it was time for billing, after one month, the HR people called me up and asked me to route the transaction through another vendor. I refused. I was stubborn. I am a rebel.

The practice manager called me up and asked me to kindly agree to what the HR says. He said, “Kannan, it’s a small world, why do you want to create enemies?”. So, I agreed & routed the transaction through another vendor.

After 3 months, they hired her directly and I didn’t get any conversion fee.

HR said, they will offer me an opportunity to work with them directly, in future. And they did. What I didn’t know at that time was this: There was an understanding between HR & the vendors. You won’t be successful here if you too didn’t have an “understanding”. Whatever you infer from this is entirely up to your imagination. 🙂

They wanted resources on contract & asked us to submit the profiles online. But some vendors got heads-up & they finalized on the resources before they opened it up on the portal for other vendors. The rest of us spent valuable time & effort on it only to see the positions getting closed after few days without any updates on our candidates. This went on for several months with no results whatsoever.

I walked out & blacklisted that client.

This was the same client who later had asked another vendor [a friend of mine] to mark up 5% on the salary they pay to their candidates. The justification given by the client was that the vendor does no value addition whatsoever. I asked my friend to ask that client to share their client contracts and tell them that they can deduct 10% from the sale value and pay the balance to them. After all, all of us are only in recruitment business. What value addition does that client do to their clients? Nothing.

Learning:

  1. If some sales situations are not profitable / sustainable, then we should walk out of that situation at the earliest.
  2. If a client abuses a seller then that’s not a healthy relationship.
  3. Not all that glitters is gold.
  4. There is more power in doing business in a no-nonsense manner, even if it means doing less sales.

Happy Selling!!

#b2bsales #entrepreneurship #kkrocks

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My worst experience with a Prospect!

My worst ever experience with a prospect.

Like everybody else, I too write about only my good experiences. But the truth is that the bad experiences teach us what they don’t teach at Harvard or IIM. But still we don’t talk about it. Though the bad experiences are more in number comparatively, I still write about only the good experiences since I want to be seen as a hugely successful person on the Planet. Who doesn’t want to be? Right? 🙂

A friend of mine called me up few years ago and asked for my help. He said that they were having some trouble with their existing system. Their system was not capturing all the information required & so, he sought my help.

I suggested a CRM product [that we sell & implement] and told my friend that it can be addressed efficiently in this product.

Since he was my best friend, I gave him the solution upfront. I said that this issue can be addressed by creating a new pipeline.

He spoke about their process. I didn’t write down anything. Nor was I recording the call. After the call, I documented the whole thing. Then, I sent him a detailed email with my understanding. He accepted that my understanding was right.

He asked me for a proposal and a demo. I usually qualify a prospect before moving them to the next stage. But here I moved a prospect to the last step in the process – the proposal stage, without any qualification.

I submitted a proposal. Then, scheduled a demo. My friend and his colleague participated. The demo was so detailed, my friend said it was as good as a training / workshop. That was the last I heard from him. Post the demo, there was no response at all. End of that demo, he said that the product was good & solved their issues. So, where was the problem?

Till date, I have no clue.

If there was an issue with budget, he would have told me that prior to the demo itself.

This was a worst experience & one of its kind.

I wasted a lot of time on it. More than time & effort, I divulged too much information for nothing in return.

Normally, I turn all the prospects into my best friends before I do business with them.

But if my friends ask for help, I drop my usual process. I don’t do any prospecting. I don’t qualify them. I don’t check if they have the money, authority & need. I take everything for granted.

Learning:

  1. Never get overwhelmed / carried away just because the buyer is your friend.
  2. Follow your Sales Process always. Stick to your process. Don’t ever deviate from it for anybody or anything.

Happy Selling!!

#b2bsales #kkrocks #entrepreneurship

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Steve Jobs’ Pirates Metaphor!

Pirate skull emblem illustration with crossed sabers.

In Jan 1983, Steve Jobs along with Apple employees were at an off-site retreat in Carmel, California. Jobs, to motivate the developers, offered a maxim: “It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy”.

“Being a pirate meant being audacious and courageous, willing to take considerable risks for greater rewards.”

The group was in the midst of developing the Mac, the company’s hugely ambitious personal computer and the group was losing its spirit. That’s when Jobs came up with this metaphor.

Rest is history.

But like all startups, Apple also became a navy though they started off as a pirate. And that’s another story.

Happy Selling!!

#b2bsales #innovation #entrepreneurship #startups #metaphor

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No Anti-marketing please!

I saw a blog post on medium by a Marketplace software vendor. The post talked about the 5 top marketplace software. What? Yes.

I thought the author would place their own company as the 5th alternative. But to my shock, it was listed as the first option. 🙂

The author listed the other vendors. She started writing about the benefits and you start thinking, Wow, she is appreciating her competition, and that’s when she interrupts your dream and says what’s wrong with that vendor. And she does that for every other vendor.

We call this Anti-marketing.

I will never ever buy this product.

One learning: We should never try to play the role of an advisor with an ulterior motive of promoting our own product. That sucks. Instead, let us drop that “Advisor” hat, roll up our sleeves and let’s fight out our competition, head-on.

What do you say? Yes/No?

Happy Selling!!

#b2bsales #marketing #competition

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LinkedIn Char limit for Posts!

Did you know this?

Some changes in LinkedIn Posts.

It is not anymore 1300 character limit for Posts. You now have 3000 characters to play around with. What a relief. I had to express with less words so far. I had to look for words / sentence construction in such a way that I express the maximum in less words. Brevity. Not anymore. I had to change the “and” to “&” and [phew] the numbers to numerals – for example “two” to “2” etc. Sometimes, I had to forego the grammar. At times, I had to write one word sentences.

You have such a huge space now. What will you write about? Please comment.

#LongFormPosts #brevityisnotthesoulofwit 🙂

#b2bsales #happyselling

#happyselling #b2bsales #kkrocks

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Some quick tips for using LinkedIn well!

I am not a LinkedIn expert. But from following people who are experts, I understand that these are the steps to do well on LinkedIn:

  1. Be sociable.
  2. Build trust.
  3. Ask, how can I help you?
  4. Sell, only when the buyer reaches out to you.
  5. Be consistent on value addition on the platform.
  6. Share your comments on other people’s posts.
  7. Never give up.
  8. Send love to trolls.
  9. Follow the leaders.
  10. Have passion in your trade/profession.

#HappySelling #b2bsales #kkrocks

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Transcription Assistant!

It was July 2011. A marathon EGM was held at our apartment association. We were finalizing our Bye-Laws. Unfortunately, I was in the Management Committee then. I was the scribe for the meeting. What I wrote became our Bye-Laws. Jus’ kidding. But it’s true. I wrote the minutes of meeting and drafted our Bye-Laws.

Bangalore, the city I live in, is home to numerous Medical Transcription businesses. These businesses get the audio of patients’ medical records from US. They transcribe them and send it back to the clients as written documents.

It’s a major business.

I am sorry, it was.

Enter – Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant:

  • Hey Google, play my morning playlist.
  • Siri, call John.
  • Alexa, enable follow-up mode. Follow-up mode enabled. Remind me to do my laundry at 5 pm today. Ok, I will remind you at 5 pm today.

These are voice assistants.

Now, we have gone one step ahead.

We now have AI powered voice transcription assistants that will transcribe the spoken word. You can generate rich notes for meetings, interviews, lectures etc. With Otter.

Otter.ai

Zoom, Google Meet now have live otter.ai Transcription. Otter Assistant can automatically join the Zoom meetings on your calendar, transcribe the conversations and share the notes with other participants. Makes life simple.

It is a must have tool in a Sales person’s arsenal.

Happy Selling!!

#b2bsales #salesautomation #salestips