Posted on Leave a comment

My worst experience with a Prospect!

My worst ever experience with a prospect.

Like everybody else, I too write about only my good experiences. But the truth is that the bad experiences teach us what they don’t teach at Harvard or IIM. But still we don’t talk about it. Though the bad experiences are more in number comparatively, I still write about only the good experiences since I want to be seen as a hugely successful person on the Planet. Who doesn’t want to be? Right? 🙂

A friend of mine called me up few years ago and asked for my help. He said that they were having some trouble with their existing system. Their system was not capturing all the information required & so, he sought my help.

I suggested a CRM product [that we sell & implement] and told my friend that it can be addressed efficiently in this product.

Since he was my best friend, I gave him the solution upfront. I said that this issue can be addressed by creating a new pipeline.

He spoke about their process. I didn’t write down anything. Nor was I recording the call. After the call, I documented the whole thing. Then, I sent him a detailed email with my understanding. He accepted that my understanding was right.

He asked me for a proposal and a demo. I usually qualify a prospect before moving them to the next stage. But here I moved a prospect to the last step in the process – the proposal stage, without any qualification.

I submitted a proposal. Then, scheduled a demo. My friend and his colleague participated. The demo was so detailed, my friend said it was as good as a training / workshop. That was the last I heard from him. Post the demo, there was no response at all. End of that demo, he said that the product was good & solved their issues. So, where was the problem?

Till date, I have no clue.

If there was an issue with budget, he would have told me that prior to the demo itself.

This was a worst experience & one of its kind.

I wasted a lot of time on it. More than time & effort, I divulged too much information for nothing in return.

Normally, I turn all the prospects into my best friends before I do business with them.

But if my friends ask for help, I drop my usual process. I don’t do any prospecting. I don’t qualify them. I don’t check if they have the money, authority & need. I take everything for granted.

Learning:

  1. Never get overwhelmed / carried away just because the buyer is your friend.
  2. Follow your Sales Process always. Stick to your process. Don’t ever deviate from it for anybody or anything.

Happy Selling!!

#b2bsales #kkrocks #entrepreneurship

Posted on Leave a comment

Some quick tips for using LinkedIn well!

I am not a LinkedIn expert. But from following people who are experts, I understand that these are the steps to do well on LinkedIn:

  1. Be sociable.
  2. Build trust.
  3. Ask, how can I help you?
  4. Sell, only when the buyer reaches out to you.
  5. Be consistent on value addition on the platform.
  6. Share your comments on other people’s posts.
  7. Never give up.
  8. Send love to trolls.
  9. Follow the leaders.
  10. Have passion in your trade/profession.

#HappySelling #b2bsales #kkrocks

Posted on Leave a comment

How to become a consultant?

In my first job, I used to sell two or more competing products in any category [MS Office Vs Lotus Smartsuite, MS Exchange Vs Lotus Domino [notes], MS SQL Vs Oracle WG / Ent, Scala Vs Oracle Apps etc].

In such a scenario, I was more successful, when I probed deeper & then suggested a suitable solution than just quoting for the product the prospect asked for.

When I probed, I became a consultant & was treated differently. And I controlled the deal.

So, what questions should you ask:

  1. What makes you look for such a solution?
  2. Why are you having this need?
  3. What’s the problem?
  4. How are you solving it currently?
  5. Why would you go for product X?
  6. What are the other cheaper alternatives?
  7. Can you not live with the problem?
  8. What’s the cost of not solving the problem?
  9. How long do you think you can avoid solving the problem.
  10. Have you done your research on us?

And talk prospects out of the deal than into it. That way, your conversion rates will be much higher and you will be saving lot of time by qualifying the prospects. Those that qualify will have lots of respect for you and will close for sure.

Those that don’t qualify too will have respect for you and will get in touch with you in future.

Happy Selling!!

#happyselling #b2b #b2bsales #sales

Posted on Leave a comment

What makes a content, good?

I understand the difficulties involved in creating good content.

Here are some tips for creating good content – be it a blog post / a podcast / a video:

  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 reading, listening or watching.
  10. Ask for feedback.

Happy Selling!!

#b2b #b2c #sales #content #storytelling

Posted on Leave a comment

#tech in #sales

Young couple. Jus’ married. That was their first movie together [b’cos it was an arranged marriage]. They went to the theater early, to beat the crowd. Stood in the queue & asked for corner seats when they reached the counter.

Not anymore. You can book seats of your liking online. Thanks to #technology.

You make your own pizza online & get it delivered in flat 30 minutes. You use their kitchen as if it is your own.

You assemble your own computer online. Dell revolutionized this concept long long ago. #directmarketing

In future, you will make your own coffee in your coffeemaker @ your home. You are already doing that. Aren’t you? What’s the difference, you ask. I hear that.

You will start brewing your coffee @ your home just before you leave from office. It will be ready when you get home. Just the way you like it.

And the AI in your car will look at the traffic & suggest you the best route to take to get home faster, easier, in style & with comfort.

#Sales has changed as well. We have bots answering our customers & taking care of them. Whether they like it or not, we don’t care. Jus’ kidding.

We now know when our #customers are opening our #proposals, how long they looked at it, whom did they forward it to, their email ids, what will be our revenue next Qtr, what our competitors are up to, who our customers are talking to, what’s the latest news about our customers, who in my target segment are ready to buy / looking for products that I sell, what our customers are talking about, what our customers are saying about us etc. We know much.

But as long as emotions & feelings are there with humans, sales cannot be on autopilot. Beyond a point, that is. You still need to sell. At every touch point.

I receive many automated emails. The senders don’t do any homework on me. Why should I then bother to reply?

Your customers have a need to feel special. And they are special, aren’t they?

We can / should use #tools & #tech [b’cos this is 2020] but it is our #humantouch that will make all the difference.

#standoutfromthecrowd

#HappySelling!!

#b2b #b2c #business #entrepreneurship #innovation

Posted on Leave a comment

Why do you find Pizza Hut next to Domino’s?

We went shopping. Our son, who is 12 years old, noticed something during the trip.

Once we got back home, he asked:

Why Domino’s & Pizza Hut are next to each other everywhere?

That’s a good observation, I told him.

This is called as #NashEquilibrium named after the mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr.

In game theory, let us say, there are two players – Alice & Bob. They choose strategies A & B respectively. Then (A, B) is a Nash Equilibrium, where the players don’t have any other better strategy other than (A,B) that maximizes their pay-off in response to the other player. [credit: Wikipedia]

NE applies to a #zero-sum game whether there are two or more players. If you add up the profits of all players & subtract their total losses then it sums up to zero.

You don’t gain by changing your strategy in response to your competitor if they also don’t change theirs. On the contrary, you stand to lose if you change your strategy. The optimum level is discovered and each party sticks to the same strategy.

This is the reason you find,

KFC next to Taco bell [& Burger King & Mc Donald’s].
Pepperfry next to Urban Ladder.
Max Fashion is followed by Reliance Trends & Pantaloons.
Petrol bunks located next to each other.
Starbucks, Costa Coffee & Barista next to Coffee day.
Restaurants are grouped together.
Jewellery shops in the same location.
Silk Saree shops all lined up together.

You may want to watch a TED-Ed video titled “Why do competitors open their stores next to one another? – Jac de Haan” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jILgxeNBK_8]

This is the reason you find Amazon’s “The Great Indian Festival” overlapping Flipkart’s “Big Billion Days”.

This is election season everywhere. Some countries have two players whereas we have multiple players, in India. 🙂

Find your Nash Equilibrium Vis-a- vis your competition!

HappySelling!!

#b2b #b2c #sales #innovation #entrepreneurship

Posted on Leave a comment

Perspective in Sales!

#Perspective roughly means “a feeling or opinion about something or someone” according to the dictionary. In other words, it’s a viewpoint or standpoint.

It has something to do with a person’s cultural background, age, qualification, experience etc.

Now, what is perspective in #sales?

It is the seller’s point of view.

According to a 2018 #CSO #Insights report, “The Growing Buyer-Seller Gap: Results of the 2018 Buyer Preferences Study,” the buyers are most likely to reward sellers who provide insights & perspective during the sales process.

“To do that sellers must understand the buyer’s business, demonstrate excellent communication skills and focus on post-sale success”, according to #MillerHeiman Group,

They say, “perspective is the best way for sellers to differentiate themselves from the competition. They further state that the ability to deliver informed insights separates top sales teams from the rest of the pack in today’s marketplace.”

Miller Heiman group further says, “Perspective could be data, insights or information that helps buyers see their challenges and solutions in a new light or causes them to think differently. It could be a case study or an innovative idea.”

They are of the opinion that “by providing buyers with the right combination of mindset, insight and experience, you can differentiate your sales organization from the competition and develop more meaningful relationships with customers.”

So, we get it. It is perspectives all the way. Conveying your perspective to the buyer, making the buyer to think differently, helping them solve their problems & helping them grow their businesses will see you through.

On the lighter side, here is an example of perspectives in life:

I drew this picture today [can’t believe, I did]. What are your thoughts?

You might imagine that this is a picture of a twenty something woman with big eyes, a bright smile & full of energy. That’s your perspective.

On the other hand, someone might look at it and say “this is someone with grace, kindness & full of love at an age where her warm smile beats the best make-up kit ever made.” So, that’s another perspective.

Coming back to Sales, offer the right perspectives & insights that benefit your buyers’ businesses.

Offer perspectives & insights. Win hearts!

#HappySelling

#b2b #b2bsales #innovation #problemsolving #elevatesalesprofession

Posted on Leave a comment

Cold call by an Edu Tech Co.,

I received a call from an education technology company recently. The lady who called said that she is calling from an xyz company. She then went on to say that we had made an inquiry regarding their coding classes. I said “we didn’t”. She insisted we did and asked me to check.

I patiently told her that we had enrolled our son into one of their programs at our apartment few years ago. Told her we didn’t like it after one or two classes and hence opted out immediately and that we had a tough time getting back the money paid. It was such a bad experience. But we never made any inquiry ever after. Told her that maybe they have the name & mobile number from that campaign.

Neither did she listen to that story, nor did she feel sorry for that bad experience. Instead, she went on saying that we had made an inquiry, but that wasn’t true. I normally encourage such cold callers. But, I had to disconnect this call since she yelled at me. Yes, she did.

I am lost. To what extent will these edutech companies go to get customers?

They are doing more damage by making such calls.

My advise to them:

  1. Teach your sales people before you teach others.
  2. Listening is an art. Learn that first.
  3. Be professional.
  4. Don’t yell at customers, even if they are wrong.
  5. Try and give a good customer experience.
  6. Turn a bad experience into a good one.
  7. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to delight your customers.

#HappySelling!!

#b2c #sales #coldcall

Posted on Leave a comment

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!!