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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

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Optimism can win business!!

Little bit of negativity is enough to spoil.

Imagine two glasses, half-full, one with water & another with coffee.

Take one spoon of water & mix it into coffee.

You don’t see any difference.

Keep mixing spoons of water into coffee.

At one point, you will see that the coffee has become transparent.

Now, do the reverse with two fresh glasses of water & coffee.

Take one spoon of coffee & mix it into water.

What do you see now?

You are right. You are able to see the difference immediately.

#Negativity is like that. A little bit is sufficient to spoil the show.

Whereas, #Positivity takes time to show results.

In our interactions with our Clients, we should always be optimistic even though it takes time to show results.

Every interaction can translate into Sales if we have the right attitude & perseverance. I am assuming, product fit is present & the lead is qualified.

Post qualification, optimism & energy can win you business.

Thanks to Peggy McColl for the story.

#HappySelling

#b2b #changethegame #business #optimism #entrepreneurship

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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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Startups know how to use time wisely!

3:55 pm is your appointment. Be specific. Ms.Jules has another meeting at 4 pm.

That was a scene from the movie “The Intern”.

The movie captures the #startup scene quite well.

Among all that,

  1. The #speed with which the entire team operates,
  2. The founder getting into customer service calls,
  3. The founder taking special efforts to ensure that a customer, a would-be bride, receives her dress on time in an impeccable manner,
  4. The founder visiting the warehouse and teaching the staff how to pack the stuff after ordering an item from the company herself &
  5. Congratulating someone in the team by ringing a bell when he/she achieves some milestone

are some of the great moments to learn from.

A lesson in #customerexperience #timemanagement

And if there is one difference between startups and big businesses, then this is that: Startups know how to use their time effectively and they don’t do long meetings. Decisions are taken on the fly. People are empowered to take decisions.

In contrast, when we want to reach someone in big businesses, you always hear that they are in a meeting.

Let us pledge to use #time effectively.

Happy Selling!!

#happyselling #b2b #changethegame #sales #marketing #customerservice

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How to be likable in Sales?

I like you. Those are the 3 words each one of us like to hear often.

Do you want to be successful in Life & Career? Do you want to know the science of people? Do you want to know what motivates them? Read on.

During my school days, I did not play any sport. But in the fag end of my school days, the last two years, I played Hockey & I loved it. During my college days, I played football. Loved that even more.

I had spoken in Prayer assemblies in School, acted in dramas & have spoken even extempo during college. But I was an introvert. May be, you can say fearless introvert. If there isn’t any personality type like that, let’s create one.

I chose Sales as a career because I liked it & I had dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.

I faced rejections in Sales. But I didn’t fear rejections.

I never had any fear of rejection. In Sales, what we get everyday is nothing but rejection. Yes or No?

Getting rejected is better than not participating in the game. Losing is the first step to winning. So, I lost often. But learnt in the bargain.

They say it takes 5 emails to make someone take note of you. Likewise, during those initial days of my sales career I used to think that I need to show up often in front of customers. I used to create excuses to meet. I used to do some homework before my meeting on what to say when I meet them. To be specific, I used to think, what interesting things to say during the meeting.

If I had had the training that I am receiving now, at the start of my career, I would have crushed it then.

Let me explain. I learnt quite a few things on “how to be likable” in a training by Vanessa Van Edwards.

The crux of what she said is this: If you are genuinely interested in people, they will like you back.

She said: There are 5 phrases that you can use in your everyday conversations to make people like you.

The 5th one was this: Last time we met you spoke about…..
Say for ex, you say: “Last time we met you were saying that your husband was not feeling well. How is he doing now?”

Here is the link, in case you want to know the first 4 phrases / are interested in a free training by Vanessa. I promise, you will love it. https://www.scienceofpeople.com/

My Take Away:

  1. Keep your conversations with clients interesting & great.
  2. Look for the best in people.
  3. Stay attentive & remember all the little things.
  4. Think about your clients all the time. And tell them that.
  5. Find new ideas to be interesting.
  6. Change your expectations to change your outcome.
  7. Our beliefs dictate everything we achieve.
  8. Likability creates a positive feedback loop.
  9. Be Generous when you praise.
  10. Work on liking and getting to know people.

Like & Be likable.
Happy Selling!!

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My initial days in business!

Those were the days I didn’t know where to start.

I had started my consulting business and I was struggling to get clients. I was into pure play IT Consulting. Also, I had partnered with two software product companies then. It wasn’t easy.

That was the time, I was asked by some customers if I could help them find talent. I hadn’t thought of Recruitment / Placement as a business until then. I jumped at the opportunity. Like any normal sales guy would. I was and am a die-hard optimist.

My team & I went on to build a great name for the next several years. My company Gyanagni Consulting was synonymous with QUALITY. We found only highly talented people & spoke to them about our clients first. We didn’t speak about the opportunity first. Our approach was entirely different from the rest of the market.

I am a Sales guy. So, like any typical sales guy, I sold the jobs to the job seekers but only after I sold them on the Organization. I sent them an email with the JD and a list of reasons why they should consider joining my client. I doubt anyone did that during that time and many candidates had told me that that helped them take a decision.

Similarly, at the client’s end, my team & I wrote a summary page for each candidate. The summary page would have all the details and a note on the awards, certifications, attitude etc.

Several clients had told us that the summary page was phenomenal and that helped them save time. The profiles we shared with our clients were looked at with great respect.

Take away:

  1. One leads to the other. Treat all the small opportunities that come your way with utmost attention. Who knows, what’s in store.
  2. Add value howsoever small it is.
  3. Be human.
  4. Say thank you, as often as you can.
  5. Smile always.
  6. Spread the cheer.

Happy Selling!!

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Do you want to look good or stay healthy?

They are mutually exclusive, it might seem. Let me explain why and how they are not.

But before that, let us get some facts straight. Looking good is so powerful, the “in” thing to do, to go for. I get that. Not to mention the opinions people might have about you by just looking at your looks.

When “looking good” is approached separately, it may or may not be healthy. Sometimes, you may even be pursuing something very unhealthy. If you know the science behind the fairness creams, for ex, you will know this and you will readily agree with me.

But not when looking good is approached together with staying healthy. When “staying healthy” is the goal, “looking good” happens anyway. It’s a by product. You cannot help it. Even if you don’t like it, it will happen. So, it makes sense to go for good health.

This is a Perfect Analogy for “Getting Business” and “Building Relationship”. Now, if you find & replace “looking good” and “staying healthy” with these two words, it makes perfect sense. Yes or no?

So, there you get it. You go for “building relationship” and the other naturally happens. It has to.

In the initial days of my Software Sales Career, when I was wandering the Tier 2 towns and cities in the State of Tamilnadu, India, frantically searching for customers, I found one automobile dealership that had all the required DNA to become our software reseller in that region. We eventually appointed them as our Partner for the region.

The owner had done his Engineering from IIT & PG in Management from abroad. I bet, you cannot say that when you first look at him. He had that ruffian looks. But after he starts speaking, you may have to change your opinion about him. He inspires confidence, commands respect. When you are with him, you get a feeling that you can achieve anything. Yes, any dam’n thing. What a man, he is. I am yet to see anyone who is like him. My salutes and respects to him. He continues to inspire me till date.

Take Away: Focus on building the relationship. May your interactions with your clients inspire confidence in them & command respect from them. You will get a call from them when they need your services.

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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!!