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I lost the deal!

For every success story that I report there are 99 other stories where I have miserably failed. A friend asked me to write about my failures so that we can all learn. So, here it is.

There was a logistics start-up to whom we sold over 20 licenses of a CRM App. After an year they didn’t renew it. They said they are revamping their sales & marketing and that they will come back in 6 months.

They came back to us after another year. They looked at the product again. We went through the sales process as if it was a new prospect. We didn’t rush. Nor did they. It came to the proposal stage. We submitted our proposal. They said the price was too high. We revised it. We revised it again. We revised it the fourth time.

Pause for a moment. What do you think now?

If you think I won the order, you are wrong. I lost it.

Ok, let me break the news.

Finally, on the day we were supposed to get the order, they told us that they are going with another vendor. And they said they were getting a better deal than what we had offered whereas we had finally offered them a price THEY ASKED FOR. Still we lost it.

What this prospect did was that they decided on another CRM product even before calling us. They used us to reduce the price of our competitor, the world’s #1 CRM platform. We had no clue of this till we lost it.

This is not a one-off case. Customers are getting intelligent. Truth is you can’t win all the deals. Also, not all the customers will go with the world’s #1 CRM Platform.

What we need to do is this: Qualification. During this stage the prospect should convince us why they want to buy our product.

Take Away:

  1. Don’t get carried away by what your prospect says.
  2. Qualify. Qualify. Qualify.
  3. Don’t submit your proposal without knowing who your competitors are.
  4. Walk away from the deal early if you think there is no compelling reason for the prospect to buy from you.
  5. Get the commitment of the prospect’s top management.
  6. Convince them to buy in phases. You will know if you are being used.

Happy Selling!!

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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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Sales professionals are positive thinkers!

I am passionate about Sales. I truly believe that Sales is one profession that is unlike any other. No business can survive if Sales does not perform and perform well. Come to think of it, all the sales folks across industry verticals share some common traits. They are all performers. They all think they are born to win, lead, educate, help, bring about a smile, change the way anything is done, change the world. They all generally treat people very well. They trust others. If you look closely at Sales people, they will not discourage other sales people. I answer my phone with courtesy and talk with enthusiasm to the caller and answer her questions in the most polite manner even when I know that I have no use for what she is trying to sell – be it a personal loan or a credit card or a car loan. It is a frame of mind. Positive one at that. If you are a true sales professional you will get what I am saying. That positive frame of mind is what makes us different. That’s what makes us go out in the market, do prospecting, meet clients, build relationships, build trust and finally truly help customers achieve what they want to. No pitching. No “Sales”. No hype. No “Marketing”. What I am good at is what I will do. And leave the rest to the professionals who are experts in the respective areas.

Now you know why I love Sales.

Let me tell you a story. Week after week I was projecting a very big number from one particular account in my reports. My manager asked me not to project it. But I continued projecting it. That was a time I wouldn’t listen to anyone. And speed did matter to me as well. Usain Bolt wasn’t known then, else I would have considered him my role model. In this particular account, things were moving at the speed of a tortoise. But I wasn’t ready to give up. We had a meeting with our Principals [whose products we were selling] and I continued my projections even in that meeting without naming the account since there were other competitors. So much so that the Country Manager asked for a meeting with me and my colleagues after that session. Obviously, when the number I quoted was far higher than the sum of all the other numbers quoted by all of them [present there] put together. I was confident. I was asked what was my plan, how will I make it happen, how did I break up the numbers and what are the billables. I answered them all. Our Principals promised to work with us in that account. Eventually we won that order. It was huge. One of a kind. Record breaking during those days.

The message I am carrying with me all these years is this: I am a successful sales person who strongly believes in helping customers. There is no other sure shot smart way, I can think of.

Hope I pumped up your energy levels. You have it in you. Don’t forget your past successes. There lies the recipe for your success. Feel the raw energy in your veins. I listen to peppy music. I keep a hand grip on my table and keep pressing it from time to time. More importantly I keep a list of accounts on my table that I have won so far in my career starting from my first job. That inspires me a lot than anything else. Try it out for yourself and let me know.

Happy Selling!!

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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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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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Great Conversations start with empathy

All of us humans have a basic need to be understood. What we stand for, why we do what we do, where are we going & what gives us satisfaction. This is the core of all human beings.

Let us think for a moment when was the last time we had a great conversation with someone. If you go deeper into that conversation you will understand that it was EMPATHY that struck a great conversation.

Even your foes will listen to you if you empathise with them. And may finally agree with you and even work with you. Who knows, you both can even become great partners.

In Sales, empathy plays a very important role.

Customers will do business only with someone who understands them completely.

It is great conversations that lead to great relationships. In Life and in Business.

So, how do we start and have great conversations?

Some thoughts:

  1. Ask open ended questions – for ex, what gives them energy and/or drive?
  2. Acknowledge their work, achievements & challenges.
  3. Admire their +ve qualities.
  4. Ask for advice.
  5. Talk about something that you learnt recently.
  6. Share interesting anecdotes. Who doesn’t like to hear stories?
  7. Talk about some challenges you faced & how you dealt with them.
  8. Keep up the momentum. No dull moments ever.
  9. Move forward: Always talk about your dreams, goals, ambitions.
  10. Deliver Juice: Some ideas that will make you both travel in the same direction together.

Happy Conversing!

Happy Selling!!

#greatconversations #sales

sales at zignalytics.com

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Sell without any fear

There was a lead that came in few months ago. As I normally do, I sent out an introductory email with details, fact sheet and other basic information about our product. No selling whatsoever. First of all, I don’t sell. I help customers solve problems.

Followed by the introductory email, I called the customer the next day. Fortunately, I got the same person on the phone to whom I had written. I introduced myself with a smile on my face. [It shows up on your voice, they say.] I thanked him for giving us an opportunity to serve his company. The conversation suddenly ended with the customer saying “currently we are not using this thing”. While I was deciphering what he had just said and hanging on the phone, the customer banged on the phone after he said what he said.

I did not call him back. But I should qualify the lead. What should I do now?  I decided to send him an email. The following was the content of the email:

Chirag,

This has reference to the call I had with you just now. You said “currently we are not using this thing” and disconnected while I was still talking to you. I am here to help you. If you are facing any issues with Pipeliner CRM, please let me know. I will be able to help you get the most out of Pipeliner CRM.

Are you the head of sales ? If not, can you please introduce me to your head of sales ?

Normally, all of us have a very bad notion of sales people. We think that they are here to defraud us. Remember, your company has Sales people too. Do you want your customers to treat you and your sales people exactly the same way you treated me? I guess not. Right?

I am the Founder and CEO of Zignalytics CRM Consulting Private Limited. I have been in business for 14 years and I have a total of 24 years of experience. I am not here to cheat anyone.

If you need any help with Pipeliner CRM, feel free to call me on my mobile no: +91-98455-57401.

Thanks and Regards,
Kannan

Well this email had a response. He apologized and said there was some issue with the telephone network. And he said they bought another product and will not be able to migrate for the next 4-5 months and promised to get back to me after 4-5 months. And asked me to share some information and I did.

Fear in Sales is something that none of us are willing to admit. But its there. And plays roadblock to our Success. We never say what we intend to. We never ask what we want to. We are there to help customers solve problems. We are not there to exploit customers. We deserve the respect from our Customers for the excellent work that we are doing in helping them solve their business problems. Why shouldn’t we be equals to our customers and prospects. We are in fact. Why should we have any fear? Challenge your fears and get ahead in life.

Robert Terson in his book “Selling Fearlessly” confronts this fear and tells you how to sell from a master salesperson’s perspective with his 43 years of experience.

Selling Fearlessly: A Master Salesman’s Secrets For The One-Call-Close Salesperson

Always remember that your role is to help customers solve problems. If you are not solving their problems somebody else will.

Happy Selling!!