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Become a Leader!

What are the sure shot ways to get known as a #leader in your #career?

It’s nothing less than what we guys in #Sales do, to get the clients attention. Some interesting #analogies here. #Lessons from Sales.

  1. #Volunteer: I know you have a #KRA to achieve. But what will show you as a leader is the amount of contribution you do towards organization’s goals even if it is not directly linked to your KRA.
    • In Sales: At times, we do some good things for the clients that may not be related to what we sell. Call it genuine interest in helping clients.
  2. Publish Papers: Write Industry #BestPractices, #ApproachPapers, how you solved a particular nagging problem with your creativity, you get the idea.
    • In Sales: We write White Papers that are completely unbiased & may not narrow down to what we sell. This improves our credibility.
  3. Do what others don’t do: Stop cribbing, stop talking bad about anyone, stick to your goals, keep up your deadlines, have no excuses.
    • In Sales: We don’t do anti-marketing. We have conviction in what we sell. We solve problems. We deliver. On time. We keep up our words.
  4. Connect with your peers across the globe & learn from them.
    • Sales: We learn from our competition & from our clients.
  5. Work with others. Don’t go solo.
    • Sales: It takes the whole company to sell.

#HappySelling!!

#HappyLeading!!

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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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What’s your Social Selling Index [SSI]?

Before I get to that, in today’s world, you exist only if you are in #Instagram, #LinkedIn, #Facebook etc. Right / Wrong?

Couple of things to do:

  1. Post regularly on your subject matter.
  2. Share other people’s insightful posts. [like this one :)]
  3. Like & Share valuable comments on other’s posts. [I encourage you to start with my post :)]
  4. Be resourceful.
  5. Have a social media playbook.
  6. Have social media goals.
  7. Create a content calendar.
  8. Be creative.
  9. Be helpful.
  10. Stay on course.

LinkedIn Social Selling Index is a measure of how effective you are in:

a) establishing your personal brand

b) finding the right people

c) engaging with insights

d) building relationships

B2B buyers like to deal with Sales professionals who have been referred by someone they know or trust. So, it is important to connect with people in your industry and build trust and confidence. They may be referring you to someone they know who might fit your buyer persona.

Here’s my SSI in this pdf. I dropped from a score of 78 to 72 now. This is computed daily.

You can find yours here: https://www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi

HappySocialSelling!!

HappySelling!!

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What makes a good speech?

My son came up to me & asked me what makes a good speech. He had just finished his elocution @ school.

My thoughts went back to my college days.

That was an Independence Day in India but we had some special classes. Our class was the only one that was present that day in college. Our Principal asked us to join the Flag Hoisting. We did. He gave a speech & asked one student & one staff member to also speak. None came forward.

Yes, you guessed it right. It was ‘yours truly’ who had the courage to go on stage, extempore. I spoke something relevant. Then I got stuck somewhere. Then somehow managed & concluded it. Later my friend told me that our I year English teacher liked it very much [since she had clapped vigorously after my talk].

In the later years, I learnt about “pauses” during speech to drive home the point. It was supposed to be effective, I learnt.

In our Sales presentations, it is extremely difficult to keep the audience interested till the end.

I learnt to:

  1. Be objective.
  2. Keep it short & to the point.
  3. Stay on course.
  4. Narrate stories.
  5. Use humour.
  6. Engage audience. Connect with them.
  7. Be human. Some errors are fine. In fact, they are actually needed.
  8. Deliver tons of value.
  9. Give a reward to the audience at the end, for listening.
  10. Ask for feedback.

I did a presentation to GM Finance of a manufacturing company on data warehousing solutions long ago. I spoke the Finance language. End of Period reporting. Shortfalls. Budgets. Year-to-date. Month-to-date. Drill down. Roll up. Collate reports from various divisions. What the top management wants to see. Dashboard. KPIs. Etc etc.

He was mighty impressed. He asked me if I had a finance background. I told him, I didn’t. He was surprised.

Speak their language. Win their hearts.

HappySelling!!

salespresentations #storytelling #publicspeaking

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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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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

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Conversation Starters!

How are you?

That’s weird & not what you should be asking your prospects or customers.

It doesn’t mean anything. Certainly not a conversation starter.

For you to have a fruitful discussion over phone or in person, you need to engage your customer in a way that sparks his or her interest.

If you understand their business & the person, you will readily have a range of things to speak about.

Some ideas:

  1. Innovations in their domain
  2. Pet projects they are working on
  3. What they truly care about
  4. Ask, what they are working on right now, in a non-intrusive way
  5. Milestones reached by them
  6. Their Products/Services
  7. Their People
  8. Their Work culture
  9. Their CEO
  10. Their campaigns & all the noise they are making in the marketplace

You got it.

It’s out and out their Story, their Show and your love for their Company.

Get them talking.

You shouldn’t be talking.

You just listen. And. Take. Notes. In your Mind.

#HappySelling

#b2b #sales #enterprisesales #business #changethegame #conversationstarter #engage #people #customers #prospects

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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