Posted on Leave a comment

New Sales Playbook post Covid-19!!

Covid-19 has altered the business landscape. Forever.

Sales playbook that we used so far does not work anymore.

Post Covid-19, I don’t think we are going to return to the previous style of functioning.

Right now, customers expect us to #bemorehuman.

Some food for thought:

  1. Do we care for our customers? Genuinely?
  2. Do we understand their feelings?
  3. Are we treating them like humans?
  4. Are we helping them solve some real problems?
  5. Are we making them feel special?
  6. How are our products going to help them during this pandemic specifically?
  7. Or, are we selling our product like we used to, by talking about our “product” & the “benefits”?
  8. Are we making the right connection between the buyer & our brand during this pandemic?
  9. If yes, what are we doing to achieve that?
  10. Are we helping them smile during these difficult times.

If the answer is a resounding “YES” to at least 7 / 10 questions above, we will sail through this period safely.

If not, it is time for us to take a re-look at our Strategies. Did I say “strategies”? I am sorry. That’s not the word right now.

….re-look at the way we connect with the buyers – would be more appropriate.

#HappyConnecting!!

#HappySelling!!

#covid19 #sales #business #newsalesplaybook #care4customers

Posted on Leave a comment

Create a fast paced business climate!

I had just then begun to settle down in Mumbai. I started liking the place & the food. I fell in love with the business climate more than anything else.

What were the reasons for the fast pace in business?

In one word: Prospecting.

A forced one, that is. Due to lack of time.

You had no time to waste. Hence you did tight prospecting.

Customers didn’t have any time to waste too. He was crystal clear on his needs, budgets etc.

They meant business.

Is it possible to create the same climate anywhere else?

Definitely.

To recreate that fast pace:

1. Do prospecting well.

2. Value your time & prospects’ time.

3. Keep yourself extremely busy.

4. Squeeze more into your calendar & just get it done.

5. Plan the logistics & the route. Start early.

6. Keep the meeting agenda clear & concise.

7. Work like there’s no tomorrow.

8. Keep yourself fit.

9. Some rock music [like another one bites the dust / those were the best days of my life by Bryan Adams] will help you get into the groove.

10. There’s an opportunity around every corner. It won’t come to you. You have to GO GET IT.

You can say I was plain lucky or the stars were in my favour. Within days of my moving to Mumbai, I closed a big ticket ERP sale @ Johnson Controls.

“Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.” – Jack Canfield

Happy Selling!!

#happyselling #setthepace #gogetit

Posted on Leave a comment

LinkedIn Tip: How to network!

If you want to connect with someone you don’t know, here is a tip:

First follow them. They will get a notification that you followed them. They will look at your profile and if they are interested, they will follow you back.

If they follow you back, you know they are interested.

Now, you can send them an invite to connect.

They will not say “I don’t know”, instead they’ll accept your invitation to connect.

I used to see a veteran walking his dog every morning in our neighborhood. First, I saw him. He saw me. Then I smiled at him. He smiled back. This happened for several days. Then we started saying “Hello, Good Morning”.

We then became friends and spoke to each other. He eventually became someone whom I trusted and consulted for advice. He treated me like his son. I treated him like my dad.

He and his wife even visited our home and invited us for their younger son’s wedding.

Learning:

  1. It is possible to get to know & network with anyone. Did I say anyone?
  2. You can sell to complete strangers [who else will you sell to], but make them your friends first.
  3. Sale happens when there is an exchange of value & reward. Prior to that become likeable.
  4. People buy from people. They know. And like.
  5. Whatever we did offline to crack into an Account applies on LinkedIn as well.

Happy Selling!!

#b2b #changethegame #sales #marketing #likeable #network #linkedin #tip

Posted on Leave a comment

Add Value, not Tax!

Once, I was pretty late into an Account. The deal was almost signed when I entered.

Can’t change it.

But I did the unusual.

I didn’t walk away.

Instead, kept in touch. Shared some interesting anecdotes from other customers.

Over time, I became the most trusted advisor.

The customer wouldn’t buy anything without consulting me.

He called me one day & reminded me about what I had told him months before about how a particular solution can save them money & time. I had almost forgotten about it.

The rest is history.

I closed that deal.

I even sat in discussion with their ISP, negotiated a good deal for them.

Implemented the solution. Customer realized ROI in no time.

It was a feather in the cap for him internally.

My learning:

1. Never underestimate the potential of any customer.

2. Just because you lost a deal, it doesn’t mean you will not win any future deals.

3. You can’t win without playing the game.

4. If you add value, you will win.

5. Show up everyday, deal or no deal.

6. Keep rocking, be energetic, smile always. They will like you if you do.

#HappySelling

#b2b #changethegame #scienceofsales #prospecting #sales #underdog #marketing #ABM #rapport

Posted on Leave a comment

Track your competition!

Those were the days I was hungry for leads.

I used to trouble my tech support guys for leads.

Not a good lead source, you say. Hang on.

One such day, my tech support guy said “go to xyz [name of a place]” unable to bear my pestering.

Not knowing where to go, I knocked on all doors & accidentally found a training institute & met few people. Left my cards with every other department where I couldn’t meet anyone.

Two days later, the unimaginable happened.

I got a call.

Rest is history.

That turned out to be a very big order for many software for multi location.

My colleague had been in touch with his ex-colleague & friend. He casually heard him say that he had been to that place but didn’t tell him the client name.

I found it out.

Later, I asked my colleague how did he get that lead. That’s when he told me about his conversation with his ex-colleague.

This story helps me work with optimism till date.

Takeaways:

  1. Follow your competitors, if you cannot be there before they do.
  2. Be optimistic.
  3. Ask your colleagues, if you are stuck somewhere.
  4. Be at the right place at the right time. If you cannot be early, that is.
  5. Highlight your strengths.
  6. Allow the buyer to contact you & help them make it their decision to choose you. This is very important.

#HappySelling

#b2b #changethegame #sales #marketing #leads #business #leadgeneration #competition

Posted on Leave a comment

Copy the kids!

“Get up, Son!” called out a mom.

“It is getting late for School, Son”, she said.

You have to take bath, say your prayers, eat breakfast. Get up!

I don’t like to go to School, mom.

Why dear?

Nobody likes me there. My teachers don’t like me. Students don’t like me too.

I understand son. But then you have to go to School.

When you are the Principal, everyone will be waiting for your orders and hence you cannot bunk school.

I can hear you say “that was a good one”.

It is essential for us adults to copy the kids. Kids have abundant energy and drive. Why shouldn’t we have them too?

It’s in our minds.

Let’s get back to our childhood.

And get back our phenomenal energy & drive.

Happy Kidding!

Happy Selling!!

#sales #b2b #marketing #leadershiplessons

Posted on Leave a comment

Rediscovering the “Art” of Prospecting!

John Barrows & M. Jeffrey Hoffman conducted the webinar “John Barrows Goes Back to School: Rediscovering the “Art” of #Prospecting” yesterday or today [depending on where you live :)].

I enjoyed it thoroughly. What an energy & insight. Learnt about “Why you? Why you now?” technique to turn cold calls and cold emails to hot ones. How to get them to call you back?

It is important to connect with the C level but start from bottom. Bottom-up approach. That Fedex story is going to stay with me forever.

My takeaways:

1. Fake it to yourself until you actually make it.

2. Connecting with the non-buyer first to learn something that you can use when you have the live conversation with the buyer.

3. Prefer live conversations with a non-buyer over email interaction with a buyer. [more relevant now, when all of us are getting thousands of emails]

4. Look for triggers while prospecting.

5. Energy and enthusiasm are important in Sales.

6. Keep yourself busy always.

7. Do not jump on the inbound leads at once. Give it some time before you do that.

8. Do not use all that you have learnt in an MBA when you interact with the C Level.

9. Have the maturity to walk out of a deal early if there is no fit.

10. During discovery & prospecting call, disqualify more than you qualify.

#Happyselling #b2b #sales #salesprocess #changethegame

Posted on Leave a comment

Networking in Sales!

That was Year 1996.

I had just then started selling to Corporate. Until then, I was selling to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Selling to corporate called for lot more skills than selling to entrepreneurs & small businesses.

Networking skill is one of them.

We didn’t have #LinkedIn then.

I was hanging out where my clients met.

Road shows, seminars, conferences, product launches, workshops and any event where the corporate was in full attendance.

In most cases, the event would be conducted by our Principals – Microsoft, Oracle, IBM etc. We used to get a stall outside the hall to showcase our solutions.

Do you know how and when I met my clients?

During tea breaks and lunch time.

I sacrificed my lunch to go around and meet people. When they were having their lunch.

It used to pay off.

I would introduce myself. Exchange business cards. Would ask them if they are looking for some help.

I then promise to visit them soon and talk further. They’ll agree.

If there were 2000 people in attendance, I would have met at least 40 customers. That was just 2%.

But I have 40 contacts now.

I would start my outreach immediately after the event.

I provided value to my prospects before they bought anything. And I provided more value after the sale.

Coming back to networking, I networked not just with prospects and customers but also with competitors, partners and principals. Literally, anyone in the Eco-system.

I would know about the purchase of Air Conditioners by my prospect through the AC vendors, even though I was selling only Software.

All those strategies apply these days as well. On LinkedIn as well as otherwise also.

Stay tuned for more stories.

Happy Selling!!

#sales #customers #prospects #networking #skills

Posted on Leave a comment

Dine with your customers!

There used to be light rain almost every day in the afternoons in Singapore. The already clean roads get washed up yet again. Smell of the earth would be evident all around. It makes you feel energetic and more productive.

One such afternoon, I was learning how to hold the chop sticks. From one of my customers. I was a Vegetarian then [Vegan now] but that was a Chinese restaurant that considers small fish as Vegetarian. I had to explain several times to the bearer both symbolically [in sign language] and verbally saying “no small fish”.

My guest taught me how to hold the chop sticks and I really learnt it. You won’t believe, I was picking up rice with the chop sticks. It surely helps to eat less quantity in one mouthful and chew it well. May be, a lesson in Sales as well: Take up only what you can chew. And chew it well.

What happens when you dine together? You get to know the person personally. You get to know their interests, likes, dislikes, passion, hobbies etc. You build a strong trust based relationship. You don’t go with an agenda. You go with the flow. Eventually, you build a great relationship.

That was not the first time or the last time I dined with Customers. Even in India, I have dined with Customers. That’s a secret recipe for a great relationship. Customers want to deal with someone who is as much human as themselves.

In the last few years, I have built a style that I follow, when I dine with customers & prospects. I narrate stories from my life and what I learnt from it. That sets up the conversation. I don’t intend to close or anything. But I have probably created a strong emotional buy-in in the minds of my customers.

I am sure you have stories like these as well from your Sales experience.

I think, majority of us in Sales, that includes me, do not stay in touch with customers with whom we had built a great relationship.

Take away: List down some of your old customers and get back in touch this week. You may be in for a surprise.

Happy Selling!!