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How I landed my first job…

That was 1992. Landed up in Chennai after my Engg graduation.

Took up a Scholarship exam conducted by NIIT. Those days, if you were not studying at NIIT, you were missing something.

Got 50% scholarship for 1 year course.

Paying them back with this post now. 🙂

NIIT didn’t sell software courses then. They sold dreams. You visualized your future.

Little did I know then that I was going to land my first job through them.

Also, underwent a course in Sales at NIS, National Institute of Sales, a div of NIIT then.

Loved my Sales course more. We had role plays & our tutor at times even recorded the call & played it back. Life rolled by.

One day, saw an Ad in the NIIT notice board for Mktg Exec at Sonata. My classes were between 7-9 pm & the student service center was always closed by then.

Went before 5 pm one day. Met them. They said it’s closed. First rejection.

Told them my name & that I’m doing a course at NIS as well. That’s it.

I went to my classes.

Later, after few days, they located me.

I got my first job.

Enjoyed my work so well that I could write a story now for every deal I closed, even after so many years.

Learning:

1. Branding can take you places.

2. Love your job / choose one that you love.

3. Strike while the iron is hot!

4. Marketing is nothing but weaving stories.

5. Product is a given. It’s marketing that makes all the difference.

#HappySelling

#work #job #b2b #career #dreams

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Microcall

A friend of mine called up the other day. It must have been a couple of years since we met or spoke. Yet, we spoke like as if we last met only yesterday. That’s real friendship.

The call didn’t last for more than two and a half minutes. Microcall, if you wish to call it that.

That’s when an idea struck me.

I ask customers for an hour of their time. Worst case, 30 minutes. That’s too much to ask for, I now think.

Whether it’s an Intro call or a Discovery call, it can be done in 10 minutes flat, to start with.

Ask them, “would it be a great idea to catch up for 10 minutes on Wednesday post lunch?”.

I hate wasting my time or my prospects’ time.

I tend to be specific, clear and achieve something in every interaction.

It is possible to do that in a short call/meeting as well.

Happy Calling!!

Happy Selling!!

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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

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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

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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

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How not to communicate…

Well, I am a great fan of emails. After the invention of wheels, I consider email application as the greatest invention. 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?

That sparks interest in the reader’s mind to know more about you, your company, your products etc.

I received an interesting email today from someone trying to sell me something. This was her second email. The first email from her was received by me on the 19th of last month. I am not letting you know who that is. That’s not important.

In the first email she had said that my company [with name] has been shortlisted as the “most powerful company in XYZ domain” and will be featured in their magazine and she had stated the benefits of getting published in their magazine. Then she had asked me to revert so that she can share the quote. Wow! From “Cold Call” stage to “Quotation” stage in a snap. I wish I can do that as well. Not really.

I replied to her then, asking her to remove my email id from her mailing list since it didn’t interest me. Neither did I subscribe to anything nor did I express interest on any of their services.

After a month, today I received the second email in spite of me asking her to remove my email Id. What’s more. This time it was more stronger in language.

Excerpts [if the language is not right, please excuse me, it is published here exactly as I received]:

In the rare opportunities, I have to work on client acquisition, I have not had much success reconnecting with you. It might just be that you don’t have any interest in talking with me — and that’s okay. I just need to know whether or not to keep trying.

So, to make this nice and easy for you, you can reply with a simple keystroke. Just reply with either A, B, C, D, or E and I’ll know what to do, but please do reply so that I can stop emailing you if you’re not interested.

A. Stop emailing me with attempts to connect but continue to send invites for future opportunities.

B. Don’t send me anything, remove me from your list. We don’t currently and won’t ever need your opportunity.

C. I want to talk, we need some help, but the timing isn’t right. Keep trying.

D. I would like to schedule a time to talk. We need some help. Please send your calendar link.

E. I forgot who you are. What’s this about?

 

The funny part is this: “to make this nice and easy for you…..”. In fact she wants me to make it easy for her. You can’t do prospecting over cold email and also automate it. It is so naive, unprofessional, bossy, accusing, all rolled into one.

Instead, the sender should have used a professional email marketing tool with “unsubscribe” buttons and sent an intro email with few lines and asking for permission to continue writing without any demands. Forget business.

Clients are not waiting in queue with the cheque to handover to you. Stop dreaming.

Write well.

Spark interest.

Serve without any expectation.

Build trust.

Pick up the phone and ask for an appointment.

Meet.

See if they have any problems that you can solve.

Add value.

Propose.

Negotiate.

Close.

Deliver.

Retain.

Where is this sales person right now, in this process? She hasn’t even started yet. But thanks to her for teaching us how not to write emails.

 

Happy Selling !!

 

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What rules to remember when making cold calls?

Cold calling is important to ensure steady flow of leads for your business. But how & where do you start and what rules to follow during cold calls?

  1. Don’t ever think cold calling is a waste of time.
  2. Dedicate a time of the day to call.
  3. Do not talk about product features. Talk only about the benefits it brings to your customers.
  4. Don’t highlight your company’s achievements. Prospects are not interested and are least bothered.
  5. They are interested only in their situation and how your products or services are going to help them.
  6. Know what you are selling.
  7. Be confident.
  8. Empathize with your prospects.
  9. Qualify them.
  10. Without fail, fix up a follow up call or activity.

Get in touch with us, if you need any help.

#prospecting #coldcalling #sales #crm

Write to us at: sales at zignalytics.com

Happy Selling!!

 

Photo Credit: Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

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A Day in Life in the year 2020 – an imagination

A Day in Life in the year 2020 – an imagination.

Got up early today at 5 am. Then, the usual morning routine continued. Quickly, started my digital assistant ‘Google Now’ to tell me where I should focus my time today. First off, what’s the news today? How is the weather? Traffic in the route that I am likely to take today?

Can you give me a snapshot of people I am likely to meet today and also let me know what their political affiliations are? What are their food preferences? What are their priorities at work? What characteristics do they expect in a vendor? Why did they fire the last vendor they had? What are our chances of winning this deal? How should I tweak the proposal to make sure that I get the deal?

What should I eat today? I have taken too much protein this week till now. So it is essential to consult Google Now what I should eat to get a balanced diet for the week. Can you build up my menu for the day? And can you ask Roger [robot] to pick them up from the stock in kitchen and refrigerator and set my breakfast at 7:08 am at my work table at home office?

How many hours of work have I put in this week and how am I doing against my goals for the week? What are the pending tasks? Can you prepare a spreadsheet and line them up all? I have no time you see. Send it to my mobile phone when I go out for a walk.

The clock showed 6:23 am by then. Went out for a walk. Google Now sent me the report as requested. I viewed it. Took some action on it during my morning walk. Sent out mails to customers that were pending. In fact Google Now assembled the mails and asked for my approval to send out those mails. Just had to swipe and the emails were sent.

6:43 am: Returned home. Took bath. And it was 6:48 am then. Time to pray. Took 23 seconds and looked at my tablet and recited a prayer. Took a deep breath.

Asked Google Now, what dress I shall wear for the meeting. Asked, how shall my handshake be? Is there something I should carry with me for the meeting? Is the customer I am meeting this morning at 8:12 am, business like or friendly or ethical? [Mutually exclusive.:)]

Took my digital assistant’s help and got the deck ready. Checked out if the customer I am meeting is on his way to office.

7:08 am: Roger brought the breakfast to my work table. Thanked him. Quickly finished the grub and saw google now updating my weekly calorie intake and it said what I need to take still so that I can get the balanced diet for the week. It searched online for organic food vendors and it went about ordering my food for the rest of the week, of-course only after taking my approval. It was by then 7:31 am.

7:33 am: Cab arrived. Took the self driving cab to the metro station. 7:37 am. Waited for 60 secs. Took the 7:38 am train to MG Road.

Prepared for the meeting by going through the decks assembled by Google Now. Spoke to a colleague for some information.

7:59 am: Reached MG Road. Cab sent me a message that it is waiting. Took the cab to reach the client’s office. On the way went through the info sent by colleague and assembled by Google Now. Went through the report it prepared about the client and their project. Reached client’s office at 8:06 am. Too early for the meeting. All set for the meeting at 8:12 am.

8:12 am: Client side manager arrived. Shook hands as suggested by Google Now. Talked to him as suggested by Google Now. Shared docs as suggested. Spent a long time with the client. Exactly 6 minutes and 15 seconds. Had black coffee in between. Promised the client to start the project once we get an agreement. He promised to talk to his boss and send the confirmation around 10:08 am.

10:09 am: Received the order confirmation. Informed Google Now. It was the first to know this. It celebrated the order by ordering [?] a cake online for me. I asked it to deliver it at my office. And asked it to inform my team members and get ready to start working on the project.

10:30 am: Reached my office. Team members were ready to start the project. Google Now had sent me a rough draft of roles and resp of each team member. I approved it and they received it. They all agreed. 10:45 am: Project work started.

10:50 am: I took my digital assistant’s help to scout for new customers. Saw what my competitors are up to. Where are they focusing their energies? What is their road map? Where are they likely to be in 5 months? Have they recruited and expanded their team or not?

12:42 pm: Got back home for lunch. Finished lunch at 1:05 pm. Decided to work from home post lunch. Did prospecting. Lined up prospects for meetings and demos the following week. Kept google now informed. It celebrated the appointments and cheered me to do more. It sent me a nice book written by Chet Holmes. I decided to call it a day by 2:00 pm.

What a hectic day it was.

Accomplished much. Planned even more for the coming week. Will do as planned.

How was your week? What are your plans for the next week?

Happy Selling!!

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Sales is Tough, But YOU are Tougher.

Let us get this straight. Sales is Tough. Right? If it was easy, they wouldn’t need you. The reality is also that YOU are tougher. Else you wouldn’t have chosen Sales as your career. Well done. Now, some pointers for you to keep up the momentum and truly embrace what drives you:

  1. Do you stand for something? What’s that?
  2. What should customers remember when they think of you?
  3. What is that one thing that makes you forget everything else?
  4. What is more important to you than money?
  5. What makes you feel really accomplished? An order? An appreciation from a customer? What?
  6. How often do you make a To-do list and how often do you tick everything in it?
  7. What’s your Dream? Is your work today in that direction?
  8. What if you are the CEO of your company? What will you change today?
  9. Don’t forget the last time you were in the trenches and how you bounced back to life.
  10. “Face the brutes”: When you stop running and start facing, the hardships of life fall back. They are no match to you and your strengths.

Happy Selling !!

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Questions to ask yourself about your Sales Function

What Sales methodologies do you use ?

  1. Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff, popularly known as SPIN
  2. Keeping it Simple, being iNvaluable, Aligning your activities with your Customer’s priorities or SNAP
  3. Conceptual / Solution Selling
  4. Consultative Selling

Do you have a proven Sales process ?

The steps right from leads / cold calling / known universe to various sales stages till closure including but not limited to Prospecting, Validating, Needs assessment, Budgeting, Mapping Customers Org Structure, Demonstrating, Proposing, Closing, Following-up is a Sales Process. The question is to ask is: Is your Sales Process proven? Has it delivered the desired results quarter after quarter?

Do you need a CRM [Customer Relationship Management] Software? Why?

  1. What problems are you trying to solve using a CRM ?
  2. How are you currently handling sales ?
  3. Where and how do you find your clients ?
  4. Why should customers buy from you ?
  5. What implication will CRM have on your organizational goals ?
  6. Why is it important for your Organization to think like your customers ?
  7. Do you know the things you should keep in mind while implementing a CRM ?
  8. Why is CRM Adoption more important than anything else ?
  9. Do you know that a CRM can be used for Field Service, Channel or Partner Management or even for Product Management ?
  10. And it can be used for Banking and Financial Services Sales ? Have you heard of Vertical CRMs ?

Do you understand the power of CRM Analytics or in other words Customer Analytics?

  1. Why do you think CRM Analytics important ?
  2. Lead stage to Close – how much time did the Prospect spend at each sales stage
  3. Activities Vs Deal size – is your salesforce spending time and effort on high value deals
  4. Weighted Vs Goal, Balanced Vs Goal, Pipeline Overview & Other snapshots
  5. Forecasting, Forecasting Vs Actuals
  6. Is 20% of your prospects giving you 80% of your revenue and vice-versa ?
  7. Have you invested on Customer Analytics ?
  8. How Dashboard Creation can help you and your Top management ?
  9. What is the purpose of Campaign Analysis & Customer Segmentation ?
  10. Why should anyone undertake Trend, What-if & Pipeline Analysis ?
  11. Are you getting actionable insights from your customer data ?

Sales Training and Motivation:

  1. When was the last time your Sales Force attended a Training program?
  2. How often do you train your Sales Force?
  3. Are they equipped to take your company to the next level?
  4. Are they motivated enough?
  5. Who fixes the compensation for your Sales Force?
  6. What incentives do you give them?
  7. Do you recognize your best sales persons?
  8. What plans do you have to continuously educate your Sales Force?
  9. Is your back end team [Product Management, Delivery Teams] taking regular feedback from your Sales Force?
  10. Are you occasionally involving your Product / Delivery people  to meet prospects and customers along with your Sales Force?

I am sure these questions will help you frame fresh Sales Strategies, Process and Methodology. Spruce-up is not just desired but mandatory for growth.

Happy Selling !!

 

 

Pic Courtesy: http://www.freepik.com/free-vector/businessman-agreement-cartoon_774932.htm