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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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How to become a consultant?

In my first job, I used to sell two or more competing products in any category [MS Office Vs Lotus Smartsuite, MS Exchange Vs Lotus Domino [notes], MS SQL Vs Oracle WG / Ent, Scala Vs Oracle Apps etc].

In such a scenario, I was more successful, when I probed deeper & then suggested a suitable solution than just quoting for the product the prospect asked for.

When I probed, I became a consultant & was treated differently. And I controlled the deal.

So, what questions should you ask:

  1. What makes you look for such a solution?
  2. Why are you having this need?
  3. What’s the problem?
  4. How are you solving it currently?
  5. Why would you go for product X?
  6. What are the other cheaper alternatives?
  7. Can you not live with the problem?
  8. What’s the cost of not solving the problem?
  9. How long do you think you can avoid solving the problem.
  10. Have you done your research on us?

And talk prospects out of the deal than into it. That way, your conversion rates will be much higher and you will be saving lot of time by qualifying the prospects. Those that qualify will have lots of respect for you and will close for sure.

Those that don’t qualify too will have respect for you and will get in touch with you in future.

Happy Selling!!

#happyselling #b2b #b2bsales #sales

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Perspective in Sales!

#Perspective roughly means “a feeling or opinion about something or someone” according to the dictionary. In other words, it’s a viewpoint or standpoint.

It has something to do with a person’s cultural background, age, qualification, experience etc.

Now, what is perspective in #sales?

It is the seller’s point of view.

According to a 2018 #CSO #Insights report, “The Growing Buyer-Seller Gap: Results of the 2018 Buyer Preferences Study,” the buyers are most likely to reward sellers who provide insights & perspective during the sales process.

“To do that sellers must understand the buyer’s business, demonstrate excellent communication skills and focus on post-sale success”, according to #MillerHeiman Group,

They say, “perspective is the best way for sellers to differentiate themselves from the competition. They further state that the ability to deliver informed insights separates top sales teams from the rest of the pack in today’s marketplace.”

Miller Heiman group further says, “Perspective could be data, insights or information that helps buyers see their challenges and solutions in a new light or causes them to think differently. It could be a case study or an innovative idea.”

They are of the opinion that “by providing buyers with the right combination of mindset, insight and experience, you can differentiate your sales organization from the competition and develop more meaningful relationships with customers.”

So, we get it. It is perspectives all the way. Conveying your perspective to the buyer, making the buyer to think differently, helping them solve their problems & helping them grow their businesses will see you through.

On the lighter side, here is an example of perspectives in life:

I drew this picture today [can’t believe, I did]. What are your thoughts?

You might imagine that this is a picture of a twenty something woman with big eyes, a bright smile & full of energy. That’s your perspective.

On the other hand, someone might look at it and say “this is someone with grace, kindness & full of love at an age where her warm smile beats the best make-up kit ever made.” So, that’s another perspective.

Coming back to Sales, offer the right perspectives & insights that benefit your buyers’ businesses.

Offer perspectives & insights. Win hearts!

#HappySelling

#b2b #b2bsales #innovation #problemsolving #elevatesalesprofession

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Cold call by an Edu Tech Co.,

I received a call from an education technology company recently. The lady who called said that she is calling from an xyz company. She then went on to say that we had made an inquiry regarding their coding classes. I said “we didn’t”. She insisted we did and asked me to check.

I patiently told her that we had enrolled our son into one of their programs at our apartment few years ago. Told her we didn’t like it after one or two classes and hence opted out immediately and that we had a tough time getting back the money paid. It was such a bad experience. But we never made any inquiry ever after. Told her that maybe they have the name & mobile number from that campaign.

Neither did she listen to that story, nor did she feel sorry for that bad experience. Instead, she went on saying that we had made an inquiry, but that wasn’t true. I normally encourage such cold callers. But, I had to disconnect this call since she yelled at me. Yes, she did.

I am lost. To what extent will these edutech companies go to get customers?

They are doing more damage by making such calls.

My advise to them:

  1. Teach your sales people before you teach others.
  2. Listening is an art. Learn that first.
  3. Be professional.
  4. Don’t yell at customers, even if they are wrong.
  5. Try and give a good customer experience.
  6. Turn a bad experience into a good one.
  7. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to delight your customers.

#HappySelling!!

#b2c #sales #coldcall

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Developing a customer’s mind-set!

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

I started my career selling Publishing Software & High Resolution Laser Printers before moving into Enterprise Software.

Working with Printers & Publishers & also coming from a Mech Engg background, I quickly developed an eye for precision in printing.

The first line in this post is a Pangram – a sentence that contains all of the letters of the English alphabet [not Google’s parent company]. 🙂

This is to check the typeface or fonts. Initially, I used to wonder what the meaning of this sentence is.

My clients looked at the samples I gave them, with lenses kept close to their eyes.

I gave them both image & text samples.

I met clients in their shop floor where printing was on. I have seen the printing units of many newspapers / magazines / security printers / big printers / small printing shops.

At one point, I started thinking like the way they think. Call it “mirroring customer’s mind-set”.

From then on, I was forever on the “Problem solving mode”.

Some lessons learnt:

  1. Understanding market needs
  2. What’s your expertise?
  3. What’s the [one] problem that you are solving?
  4. Who is your customer?
  5. Who are his current vendors?
  6. Why should they buy from you?

I strike the best conversation with customers when they are at work but are little relaxed & are in a vacation mode.

These festive times are one such time if your clients are from the manufacturing sector.

I met a Senior editor at a magazine at a time when he was just then blessed with a baby girl. He gave me a box of sweets. That was my first meeting with him. I came back to office & shared the sweets with my colleagues.

#HappySelling!!

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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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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