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People laughed at him!

A young boy, who was just 12 years old, wanted to start his own magazine. When he said that, people laughed at him. 15 years later, in the year 1984, he was publishing a hundred of them. And he had built one of the first Technology Publishing empires.

He was interested in Technology, Science and Computing and he found that these three areas were converging.

7 years after he founded his publishing company, he sold it to Pearsons. Then he moved to United States and started his new company Business 2.0 and reached a market cap of $ 2 Billion at one point.

He founded a non-profit in the year 1996 to “foster the spread of great ideas”.

There was another company which was started in 1984 which was holding conferences dedicated to 3 things. And our young boy attended one of the conferences in 1998 and fell in love with it.

Eventually he bought that company in 2001. But the remarkable turn around came in 2006 when he distributed the talks [in the conferences] online for free. That was a revolution.

I am sure you have guessed it by now.

The company he acquired is TED [that stands for Technology, Entertainment & Design] and the young boy is none other than Chris Anderson. https://www.ted.com/

So, what dreams are you chasing? Did people laugh at you? Are you passionate about it? For all you know you may be creating a revolution in the years to come.

Don’t underestimate yourself. If you are passionate about it and if few people have found use for what you have created, you are on your way to success.

Happy creating!

Happy Starting-up!

Happy Selling!

#startupstories #startup #story

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My role model & other anecdotes….

There was a senior colleague who commanded respect from clients, principals, resellers and us colleagues. He was there in office every single day before office started for business. He was truly professional, knowledgeable, kept up his promises, always busy, added value to clients as well as partners, a crisis manager, a great people manager and had coffee & biscuits with us every evening after work. The evenings were interesting too.

One day I was preparing a proposal and he advised me to work on the proposals after office hours and not during productive sales time. From then on, all through the day, I was in front of customers talking about a new product or the upcoming workshops or just building relationship or talking about how technology is changing businesses and even lives. I normally simplify technology. It’s quite simple. I don’t get something if it is too complex. So, I question, read, inquire, find out the truth and understand it in detail. And then I simplify it and fine tune it according to the client I meet.

I think I built good relationships over the years with my clients and prospects. Some of them won’t buy anything related to technology without checking with me even if it is something that I don’t sell. Those were the zen moments in Account Management.

My role model has changed with time. Today it is Gary Vaynerchuk. He posted recently where in he taught how to tell a story. He says, if you are a real estate agent, tell me about the town and not just the house you want to sell. If you are passionate about Sales, tell me why you love it, your most interesting clients, biggest challenges etc. In essence, he says, don’t talk about the product / service that you are selling. Instead share the interesting anecdotes around your business. People would love to hear that. The rest will follow soon. Idea is to make things interesting.

Here is the image he had shared:

Happy StoryTelling!!

Happy Selling!!

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15 Tips for Winning a Sale!

How many times have you been so close to closing a sale but lost it in the end? I have been there many a times. But I didn’t lose the lesson. Let me sum up my learning and guide you to make a successful closing.

1. Ask for the order:

If your prospect keeps postponing the order without any real reason then they are trying to avoid you. You need to have the courage to ask them for the order and hear their real objections.

2. Qualify, Qualify, Qualify:

In the prospecting stage, we all make this mistake. In order to have as many prospects as possible in our pipeline, we try to qualify in a hurry and let some prospects into the pipeline but in reality they aren’t ready yet or do not have the need or money or both.

3. Probe, Probe, Probe:

Ask as many questions as possible during the sales process. Questions only lead you to find the real objections, find the real needs, know the budgets, get to know the decision makers and buyer’s perspective of your brand / product / company.

4. Face the objections and solve them:

Unless you face the objections and solve them you will lose it to your competitor. If there are no objections, then it means there is no need or you simply haven’t sold enough.

5. Assume you have won the order and talk about the next steps:

When you reach the closing stage in the sales process, ask them if they would need the delivery in a week or can they afford to wait for a fortnight. Would they prefer to get their people trained at their office or at your office?

6. Nurture the prospect:

Create the need if there is no need in the first place. Make them want it. Keep feeding them. Grow the relationship. Become the only face to remember for their needs.

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

7. Figure out the reasons why they will not buy:

Early in the Sales Process, write down the reasons the prospect may have for not doing business with you or for not buying now. Try to address those. If it’s not possible to address them, drop it and move on to the next prospect.

8. Read the buying signals:

Have you implemented this for any other customer in our Industry?

What’s the RoI?

Can you provide me a cost savings calculation with your solution Vs competitor’s or Vs current systems.

How long will it take for you to deliver?

9. Align with the buyer’s journey:

Understand what stage the buyer is in right now and align with the buyer accordingly. If you are behind, it will be an insult to the buyer and if you are ahead then it would mean you are jumping the gun and in a split second the buyer would have got his reasons to reject you. Now, the prospects do their homework online prior to calling you, the salesperson.

10. Be confident.

11. Be Persistent. This is the key.

12. Build Trust. No one wants to do business with someone who is not trustworthy.

13. Be Patient:

It’s a marathon and not a sprint. Sales is not a sprint but a marathon!!

14. Put their needs before yours.

We get it. You have monthly targets to meet. But that’s not the prospect’s problem. They are not there to solve your problems. On the contrary, you are there to solve their problems.

15. Help them buy. Don’t sell. Ever.

All of us like to buy. Don’t we? We think the product or service that we are buying is going to make us a super hero. It is going to make us look modern. Belong to a cult. Put us in the upper crest. Will help us reach our goals. Make us knowledgeable. Make our lives easier, comfortable and efficient. Now, help the prospect achieve his / her goals and help them buy.

Happy Selling!! [I hear you ask: doesn’t this contradict the 15th item above? :)]

 

 

 

 

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Create Content else Curate Content!!

Today Customers are better informed than the Sales people themselves. They do all the homework before calling you for a discussion.

Content is King, as they say. And Marketing is the new Sales. Though it can never replace Sales, Digital Marketing & Inbound marketing is a given. And businesses need to invest in it.

So, how to create content?

  1. Make a list of what your customers are looking for. And write about them.
  2. Problems faced by your customers and probable solutions for those problems.
  3. Reference guides in your industry – trade them in return for email ids.
  4. Best Practices – will show your thought leadership on the subject.
  5. White Papers – can be completely unbiased on any topic. Need not narrow down to only what you sell.
  6. Approach Papers – what will be your approach for any given situation.
  7. Case Studies – what did Customer A do when faced with a certain issue and how did he become successful with your product or service.
  8. eBooks – helpful resources for various tasks or problems.
  9. What to do in any situation or what not to do – if you help your customers when they are stuck, there is a good chance that they will remember you when they are looking for what you are selling.
  10. Customer speak – not just testimonials but capture in depth customer experiences.
  11. Expert Views – collect views from experts in your area of operation on a particular subject and publish them.
  12. Events – Talk about the upcoming events in your Industry or your experience in a just happened event.
  13. Podcasts – nothing like a talk show and it will be interesting if you can invite industry experts for the show.
  14. Demos – You can have a YouTube channel to give a sneak peak in to your product.
  15. User guides – Let it be easy for your customers to locate them online.
  16. Last but not the least, Curate Content: it is not that you are the only expert in your industry. There are plenty of them out there. They are creating good quality content as well. Curate them. This should add to your credibility.

Happy Creating and Curating !!

Happy Selling!

For any help in Marketing, Sales, Startup Consulting or CRM Software, please contact me at:

kannan @ zignalytics dot com

#marketing #sales #crm #startupconsulting #digitalmarketing #inboundmarketing

Keep your Content Fresh!! Always!

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Your Greatest Weakness is Your Greatest Strength!

Sales People are by far the only ones who do not stop learning. Yet they feel inadequate and identify areas of improvement. And continuously they upgrade, refine & groom themselves.

Your Greatest Weakness is Your Greatest Strength!

Identify your Greatest Weakness / your business’ Greatest Weakness and you will be on your way to achieving Great Success.

Some thoughts to help you identify your weakness:

  1. Customers are smart. If you fit the bill, you are in. Else, you are out. It’s that simple.
  2. It is all about Perception. How do customers perceive you? What you think about yourself does not matter. What matters is what other people think of you.
  3. First impressions last longer. So work harder and give a good first impression to your customers.
  4. Dressing up well to give a Professional outlook. Or having a sparkling office that readily proves your worth.
  5. Giving respect to Customers.
  6. Asking for feedback.
  7. Your knowledge on your Product or Service.
  8. Being in tune with times.
  9. Customer Experience. In every step of the buying process and beyond.
  10. Being Sincere.
  11. Showing utmost seriousness in solving customers’ problems.
  12. Ensuring that the excitement that you created around your Product / Service stays forever. Or work on that and keep the excitement on.
  13. Delight: Always having something to surprise the customers.
  14. Easily accessible, no waiting time, more parking space, to the point, forward looking, well meaning, helping & solving problems.
  15. Adding Value. Don’t you want to move up the value chain?
  16. Working with you & your business adds to the Customer’s Brand Value.
  17. Do your existing customers vouch for you?
  18. Meeting your existing customers regularly.
  19. Does your Customer Service team meet the demands of your customers and generate more business from them?
  20. Are you an early adopter of Latest Technology?

Do you have any thoughts on this. Share your valuable thoughts with us.

Happy Selling!!

For any help in Marketing, Sales, CRM please contact:

kannan@zignalytics.com

 

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Sales is not a sprint but a marathon!!

I happened to watch a portion of a documentary on marathon running. What I learnt is that it calls for more preparation than what is required for a sprint. Endurance is key for a marathon.

While speed and agility are important for a Sprint, one should save energy and stay in the game at a consistent pace, to be successful in a Marathon. But both require stringent practice. It’s needless to state that the training is completely different for each.

What can we learn from these and apply in our day to day Sales situations?

  1. Sales is not done on a level playing field.
  2. Techniques are for short term whereas in the longer term these simply don’t work.
  3. While a good start can give us a boost and make us look confident, it is only consistent performance that is going to keep us in good stead in the long term.
  4. Practice makes us perfect. So, let’s start practicing.
  5. Each situation is different. It may be a well laid out road / a pathway / a narrow path filled with stones or thorns / an uphill or downhill and it may rain / shine. Just like running a marathon, Sales situations also call for using our judgement on the ground.
  6. We should use our limited resources in a rationale manner.
  7. Let’s be prepared for the long haul.
  8. We may have to incorporate changes [slowing down or picking up speed] as we go along.
  9. We should focus on the rhythm and keep going forward.
  10. We should have less burn out for maximum productivity.
  11. We should know the route map well and be prepared for the encounters on the way.
  12. Most importantly we should enjoy the journey.

Some portions of a marathon resembles a sprint. So, the techniques will come in handy. We must be trained to handle such sudden sprints as well. And we should respond with speed and agility when the situation demands.

So, Sales is not just a marathon but a “series of sprints” as well. Success in one sprint or couple of sprints don’t guarantee success in the marathon. Marathon is a different ball game altogether.

If we know how to enjoy it, it will be a breeze.

Happy Learning!

Happy Selling!!

Contact us at:

sales at zignalytics dot com

#sales #salestips #crm

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An Interior Designer reveals his secret!

I asked him how me manages his customer data, in the hope that I will generate interest for a CRM.

He is my friend. And it was a casual conversation. He laughed & said “we don’t have too much data to manage”.

What he said after that makes sense.

He said that he & his team complete the interior designing of a flat or a villa or an office space & hand it over to customers. We make sure that they are happy, he said. They refer customers to us & most of our business comes only through word of mouth & referral, he added.

He said, he mostly gets invited for the inauguration of the property. It is there he meets his prospective customers. Now there’s the secret sauce. Hang on for a second. He said, if those people, his customer’s friends & relatives, who come for the inaugural function, like his work, they will take his business card & call him when they have a need.

This is nothing but in-bound marketing coupled with social proof, touch & feel & non salesy approach all put together. What more can you ask for? He has all the relevant marketing strategies with right mix & proportion. It is a well oiled machinery. It will take care of itself.

He should only concentrate now on deliveries, quality, speed & customer satisfaction. Fantastic, isn’t it?

Some pointers for us, to work on:

  1. Be where our customers are.
  2. Be non-salesy.
  3. Provide social proof.
  4. Let the word of mouth spread.
  5. Provide good customer service.
  6. Create a community of happy customers.
  7. Let our customers touch & feel. Test Drive, Free Trial, Freemium, Freebies, what have you?
  8. Get referrals. No sales involved with the referred prospect. Our customers do the marketing & sales for us.
  9. Pick up the phone. Meet face to face.
  10. Be friendly. After all, we don’t live to sell or do business & make money. Only.

Happy Marketing!

Happy Selling!!

sales @ zignalytics .com

#marketing #inbound-marketing #wordofmouth #referral

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Big Potatoes rise to the Top on a rough road!

American football player Knute Rockne said this: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

When floods or Tsunamis cause a havoc, we have seen people rising to the occasion and providing help. What about the people who are affected? What do we learn from them? We will get to that in a bit.

Robert H. Schuller explains a true story from a village called Idaho in his book “Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do!”

Story now: Idaho has potato farmers. As you may know, potatoes are priced according to their sizes. The big potatoes are priced high, then the medium ones & the smaller ones are priced low. They are first sorted, bagged and only then loaded on to trucks.

Farmers spent a lot of time and effort in grading the potatoes those days. But not one farmer.

People asked him how does he manage it. He said he took the roughest road to the town. And naturally, the big potatoes rise to the top, medium potatoes land in the middle & the small ones fall to the bottom.

Schuller says this is not only true to potatoes but a law of life. If you are tough, you will rise to the top.

The rough road has to end at some point. And it will.

Coming back to the lessons from a natural disaster, people get really tough. They are forced to become tough to sail through. Their mindset is tough. How shall I explain? They think they can achieve anything. Nothing is an obstacle for them. And their bodies naturally adapt.

Sales is tough. Get tough to sail through.

Some ideas to get tough, from Robert Schuller:

  1. Dare to dream.
  2. Commit yourself to it.
  3. Dare to try and to take risk.
  4. Failure is an event and not a person.
  5. Never quit. Never ever.
  6. Hold on for a little more time.
  7. Inspire others.
  8. Beginning is half done.
  9. Pay the price. Full price.
  10. Practice Possibility Thinking: Never reject an idea / a possibility because –
    • you see something wrong
    • you won’t get the credit
    • it’s impossible
    • your mind is already made up
    • it’s illegal
    • you don’t have the money, manpower, muscle, or time to achieve it
    • it will create conflict
    • it’s not your way of doing things
    • it might fail
    • it’s sure to succeed [What? yes some people are so humble that they don’t want to succeed]

Get Tough!

Happy Selling!!

#salestips #successtips

sales @ zignalytics dot com

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Where do you get ideas, ask my friends!

It makes me think. Where do I really get ideas to write?

It’s a beautiful rainy day. Sitting by the side of the window in our beautiful office, my thoughts are flowing and my fingers are typing them as they flow. It’s 10 past 6 in the evening.

Except for the occasional interruptions I have from the notifications on my android phone [I hate notifications], I am not disturbed at all.

I get inspired by the daily events in my life and the conversations I have with others. And the conversations I have with myself too. 🙂

The other day, a friend told me that he doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings. Wow! That’s a good behaviour. But is it possible to live like that?

Let us examine this in the Sales context.

You cannot afford to hurt customers. No matter how rude they are.

You may not agree with them all the time. But you need not express that in a way it hurts them.

The work around is to find a solution to their problems that fits them in all sense. That would make them say “Yes”.

Some thoughts around this:

  1. Proposing the right solution
  2. Increasing their productivity
  3. Cost savings
  4. Easy to switch, use & adopt
  5. Low maintenance cost
  6. Availability of resources
  7. Future road map, upgrades, new features
  8. Far easier to exit.
  9. RoI
  10. Vendor commitment [that’s your commitment]

We have got their back covered. There cannot be any more objections. The question can now only be: “How soon can you deliver/implement?” or “where should we start first?” or “what variants/options do we have?”

Look for those buying signals.

Close Deals. Win.

Happy Winning!

Happy Selling!!

sales at zignalytics.com

#sales #closing #artofdealingwithclients

 

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Freedom from Fear!

If we think deeply on what’s stopping us from realizing our goals, it is nothing but FEAR.

Fear stops us from realizing our true potential.

But fear can be good as well. It can help us address problems early and solve them. Sometimes even before we encounter them. But solving problems before we encounter is being over cautious. That’s not necessary.

More than Planning and Execution, what is important is this: Persistence. That is the single most important ingredient for Success.

Persistence can be the antidote to Fear. There’s nothing that cannot be achieved with Persistence. Simply nothing.

In Sales, we have fear of rejection and that stops us from even approaching a client. The bright side is that there are a million Opportunities worth pursuing. There is someone whose needs you readily match. Find them. Get them. In the process, you will lose many opportunities, but that’s fine.

Fear need not be feared but needs to be addressed and overcome.

In Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, there’s a RED hat that signifies feelings, hunches and intuition. It is important to address fears, likes, dislikes, loves, and hates.

Even to Lose a game, we need to first PLAY.

So let’s PLAY without FEAR.

Happy Playing!

Happy Selling!

sales@zignalytics.com

#sales #fear #persistence