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New Sales Playbook post Covid-19!!

Covid-19 has altered the business landscape. Forever.

Sales playbook that we used so far does not work anymore.

Post Covid-19, I don’t think we are going to return to the previous style of functioning.

Right now, customers expect us to #bemorehuman.

Some food for thought:

  1. Do we care for our customers? Genuinely?
  2. Do we understand their feelings?
  3. Are we treating them like humans?
  4. Are we helping them solve some real problems?
  5. Are we making them feel special?
  6. How are our products going to help them during this pandemic specifically?
  7. Or, are we selling our product like we used to, by talking about our “product” & the “benefits”?
  8. Are we making the right connection between the buyer & our brand during this pandemic?
  9. If yes, what are we doing to achieve that?
  10. Are we helping them smile during these difficult times.

If the answer is a resounding “YES” to at least 7 / 10 questions above, we will sail through this period safely.

If not, it is time for us to take a re-look at our Strategies. Did I say “strategies”? I am sorry. That’s not the word right now.

….re-look at the way we connect with the buyers – would be more appropriate.

#HappyConnecting!!

#HappySelling!!

#covid19 #sales #business #newsalesplaybook #care4customers

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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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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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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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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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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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Networking in Sales!

That was Year 1996.

I had just then started selling to Corporate. Until then, I was selling to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Selling to corporate called for lot more skills than selling to entrepreneurs & small businesses.

Networking skill is one of them.

We didn’t have #LinkedIn then.

I was hanging out where my clients met.

Road shows, seminars, conferences, product launches, workshops and any event where the corporate was in full attendance.

In most cases, the event would be conducted by our Principals – Microsoft, Oracle, IBM etc. We used to get a stall outside the hall to showcase our solutions.

Do you know how and when I met my clients?

During tea breaks and lunch time.

I sacrificed my lunch to go around and meet people. When they were having their lunch.

It used to pay off.

I would introduce myself. Exchange business cards. Would ask them if they are looking for some help.

I then promise to visit them soon and talk further. They’ll agree.

If there were 2000 people in attendance, I would have met at least 40 customers. That was just 2%.

But I have 40 contacts now.

I would start my outreach immediately after the event.

I provided value to my prospects before they bought anything. And I provided more value after the sale.

Coming back to networking, I networked not just with prospects and customers but also with competitors, partners and principals. Literally, anyone in the Eco-system.

I would know about the purchase of Air Conditioners by my prospect through the AC vendors, even though I was selling only Software.

All those strategies apply these days as well. On LinkedIn as well as otherwise also.

Stay tuned for more stories.

Happy Selling!!

#sales #customers #prospects #networking #skills

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How to make friends instantaneously?

My better half & I had been to a hospital recently. Ok, don’t panic. Nothing related to the pandemic. Far from it. We were waiting in the reception for some tests and watching everything roll by.

There was a tiny cafe tucked in one corner of the reception. A doctor walked up and asked for a “kashayam” and kept asking “is it ready” every now & then. “Kashayam” is nothing but a herbal drink. We Indians [that includes our Doctors too] strongly believe that our traditional herbs will help us build up our immunity.

Another doctor who just then walked in, saw this and was curious what it was. The first doctor said what it was and advised him to take it as well. The second doctor asked jokingly if he would survive taking it. He asked the cafe staff for its contents, in a typical medical style. They showed him a list on a mobile phone. Convinced, he ordered one drink for himself.

He got his drink and walked up to the reception counter and told his staff jokingly that he had not had “kashayam” after his childhood and asked the ladies there to take a photo of himself, on his mobile phone, to capture his first reactions sipping the herbal drink. They did. And he said “not bad” after tasting the drink.

He then looked at his photo, laughed & said “my face looks crumpled”. He promised to post it as his status. Then he walked up to me, a complete stranger, showed his photo on his phone & smiled. I got up and said it was looking great.

All this while, my wife and I were smiling & laughing looking at his antics. The Doctor & I became friends in a split second. He advised me to have the drink as well.

When you like someone they like you back as well. Thanks to Vanessa Van Edwards for that learning.

In #Sales, we should use #humour to make friends with our #customers and #prospects. We should do it subtly. The relationship will stay strong for the rest of our lives. I have experienced it.

How are your numbers looking up for the month? Forget the #numbers for a while, use humour and build up strong #relationships now.

Three cheers to you in advance for building up Strong Relationships!

Happy Selling!!