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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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Humour in Sales!

Babies start laughing in 6 weeks after they are born. In 6 months, they look at you and laugh. As they grow up, children laugh 200 – 300 times a day.

As adults, we laugh about 15 – 20 times a day [Do we?] or we have stopped laughing completely. That is the reason for all the stress and related disorders.

We should learn to look at our daily life with humour.

I was in a sales situation. Once, I had an appointment to meet the Head of Networking & System Support [NSS] team of an MNC IT Services company in Chennai. He was responsible for all the software purchases.

During this meeting, I was supposed to talk to him about a Data Modelling Software called ERwin [from a company called LogicWorks] and another product called BPwin.

I always learnt technically about the product, I mean, as much technical knowledge as required to sell.

So, there I was, waiting in the reception and I was called in.

I was expecting to meet only the head where as I was in for a shock when he had two people with him. And as if that wasn’t sufficient, he called four others into his cabin. They all literally surrounded me. I started sweating, first a little, then profusely.

The fun starts here now. I explained the product to the best of my abilities. These software developers, I am not sure if they were very angry that day, started asking several questions that were very technical and something that only Logic Works Product Manager can answer.

In Sales, none can make us feel awkward. 🙂

And if they try, we always have our weapon, a standard statement: “Sure, that seems to be a very good question, I will check with my tech team and get back to you”.

They finally released me from imprisonment.

Phew!

What a call, man!

Well, the story goes like this: I managed to answer all their questions in due course and sold them a couple of licenses of both the products.

But, for a long time, I used to think of this sales situation and laugh.

I should thank those software developers for asking me those tough questions. They had so much confidence in my technical prowess that even I didn’t have.

Did I make you laugh?

Think of such things in your day to day life. You will find plenty of things to laugh about. Share those stories with friends and colleagues.

Keep Laughing!!

Happy Selling!!

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Building trust is essential!

When I started my career, I used to cold call, collect business cards, build a database in MS Access, send mass mails [through post & not email], meet customers without any appointment [most of the time], keep all the information about the customer & his organization in my head [partly the reason for my hair fall, trust me.] [I have now started regrowing my hair, thanks to CRM]. My MS Access db those days had just the name, designation, company, address & phone numbers. Email was added much later, maybe after 1996.

Whomever we networked with or found from the market, we called them #leads [without the #]. We didn’t care whether they had any #opportunity or not.

Any company in our market was called the “Known Universe”.

Cut to 2020.

We have LinkedIn. We can do all the research here.

I received an interesting email day before. It read like this:


Hey Kannan,

I got to know about you while researching on LinkedIn today.

I want to connect with you regarding  your IT Infrastructure, Migration services, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning,……

Let me know your availability for this week or next week. I want to have a detailed discussion with you.

The next morning, another email from the same sender:


Good Morning! Have you given any thought to my last email?

I appreciate your quick response.

And yet another email, from the same sender, today. You get it. Right?

With or without LinkedIn this cannot happen. I mean you cannot bombard & force anyone to buy.

Whatever we did before #LinkedIn applies now as well.

a. We need to build trust.
b. We need to prospect.
c. We need to identify problems/painpoints/needs.

Those things have not changed.

You can’t email someone & ask for an order. No, it doesn’t happen that way. Unless you are selling personal protective equipments in a pandemic. Unless you are running a school – offine or online.

Everyone else should build trust first.

Once trust is built, you can ask for permission to send some literature & if the customer grants you that then it means that you have made the first sale.

Next step is to tell them about your work in their industry.

And then allow them time to collect their thoughts.

If they have any need, they will definitely consider you.

Takeaway:

  1. Build trust first.
  2. Generate leads.
  3. Qualify them. Convert them to Prospects.
  4. Don’t pitch. Use stories instead to generate interest.
  5. Match the buyer’s journey. Don’t ever use kids gloves. Your buyers are mature & aware.
  6. They buy.

“Sales” per se does not happen in the above process. Yet you sell. You focus on the relationship. Rest will fall in place.

Happy Selling!!

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Don’t stop dreaming!

Looking at me sending proposals or some documents to customers all the time, my son, who was 5 years old then, came up with his own imagination. He used to use his building blocks and make a laptop and work on it. Then use another piece of building block as a mobile phone and call his friends and ask “squeaky, I had sent you a document, have you received it?” and say “oh, you didn’t receive it, I will send it to you again”. And he used to call his other friends – rabbit, tiger etc and repeat the same story. By the way, squeaky was a squirrel and he was his best friend.

Today, at 12, he is using Microsoft Teams and a real Dell Latitude laptop to send, what else but, documents [homework] to his teachers and his real friends who have missed the online classes. Dream come true.

We shouldn’t stop dreaming. It is just a matter of time before it comes true. Keep dreaming all the time.

What #dreams are you chasing?

Key Takeaways:

1. Who we are, where we are doesn’t matter. What matters is our dreams.
2. We shouldn’t stop dreaming.
3. It is just a matter of time before our dream comes true.
4. We should act as if the dream has already come true.

#goals #plans #passion #business #sales #marketing

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Match the speed of your Prospect!

I was patiently waiting at a clients place to sell a particular software, let us call “Product A”. I knew before-hand that I am likely to meet a foreigner, a Brit working in India. And I was there to solve an urgent problem. That was a UK company into oil exploration & drilling on the coasts of Chennai.

What happens when you are the last to meet a customer on a given day is he/she would have already made the decision. But there is a distinct advantage when you are not the first to meet him. While I was waiting, many thoughts were flashing through my mind. Suddenly, I saw my competitor getting out after meeting, who else but, my prospect. I normally don’t see him unless he is closing a deal. I decided to roll up my sleeves and stay put there until I get that order that day.

I was called in. He was very friendly. Immediately, he handed over the server [I was a sales guy, technically incompetent, but can do a demo] to me, asked me to go ahead with the installation and demo. I have never handled a server until then. With no-help from anywhere, I went ahead and did a great demo that day. He was convinced.

All the stages of the sales process were started and completed that day. I called up my manager, took an approval to give a discount and quoted the price. Only verbal quote. And he typed the order in front of me, signed the order, got a cheque prepared since I asked for 100% advance. Can you believe this? What’s more? I came to sell one piece of software but sold him a suite of products.

Well, I won an additional order for another product that he had almost finalized with my competitor. And I picked up that order as well after a couple of days.

Take Away:

  1. Always [ALWAYS] match the speed of the customer.
  2. Don’t stick to your process.
  3. Get the problem fixed. Before your customer pays or even decides to buy from you.
  4. Ask for the order. If you don’t, how on earth do you hope to get it?

Happy Selling!

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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!!

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How not to communicate…

Well, I am a great fan of emails. After the invention of wheels, I consider email application as the greatest invention. Even after whatsapp, messenger, skype etc, email still holds its place in this era of instant communication.

But do we really know how to write an email?

That sparks interest in the reader’s mind to know more about you, your company, your products etc.

I received an interesting email today from someone trying to sell me something. This was her second email. The first email from her was received by me on the 19th of last month. I am not letting you know who that is. That’s not important.

In the first email she had said that my company [with name] has been shortlisted as the “most powerful company in XYZ domain” and will be featured in their magazine and she had stated the benefits of getting published in their magazine. Then she had asked me to revert so that she can share the quote. Wow! From “Cold Call” stage to “Quotation” stage in a snap. I wish I can do that as well. Not really.

I replied to her then, asking her to remove my email id from her mailing list since it didn’t interest me. Neither did I subscribe to anything nor did I express interest on any of their services.

After a month, today I received the second email in spite of me asking her to remove my email Id. What’s more. This time it was more stronger in language.

Excerpts [if the language is not right, please excuse me, it is published here exactly as I received]:

In the rare opportunities, I have to work on client acquisition, I have not had much success reconnecting with you. It might just be that you don’t have any interest in talking with me — and that’s okay. I just need to know whether or not to keep trying.

So, to make this nice and easy for you, you can reply with a simple keystroke. Just reply with either A, B, C, D, or E and I’ll know what to do, but please do reply so that I can stop emailing you if you’re not interested.

A. Stop emailing me with attempts to connect but continue to send invites for future opportunities.

B. Don’t send me anything, remove me from your list. We don’t currently and won’t ever need your opportunity.

C. I want to talk, we need some help, but the timing isn’t right. Keep trying.

D. I would like to schedule a time to talk. We need some help. Please send your calendar link.

E. I forgot who you are. What’s this about?

 

The funny part is this: “to make this nice and easy for you…..”. In fact she wants me to make it easy for her. You can’t do prospecting over cold email and also automate it. It is so naive, unprofessional, bossy, accusing, all rolled into one.

Instead, the sender should have used a professional email marketing tool with “unsubscribe” buttons and sent an intro email with few lines and asking for permission to continue writing without any demands. Forget business.

Clients are not waiting in queue with the cheque to handover to you. Stop dreaming.

Write well.

Spark interest.

Serve without any expectation.

Build trust.

Pick up the phone and ask for an appointment.

Meet.

See if they have any problems that you can solve.

Add value.

Propose.

Negotiate.

Close.

Deliver.

Retain.

Where is this sales person right now, in this process? She hasn’t even started yet. But thanks to her for teaching us how not to write emails.

 

Happy Selling !!

 

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Your Greatest Weakness is Your Greatest Strength!

Sales People are by far the only ones who do not stop learning. Yet they feel inadequate and identify areas of improvement. And continuously they upgrade, refine & groom themselves.

Your Greatest Weakness is Your Greatest Strength!

Identify your Greatest Weakness / your business’ Greatest Weakness and you will be on your way to achieving Great Success.

Some thoughts to help you identify your weakness:

  1. Customers are smart. If you fit the bill, you are in. Else, you are out. It’s that simple.
  2. It is all about Perception. How do customers perceive you? What you think about yourself does not matter. What matters is what other people think of you.
  3. First impressions last longer. So work harder and give a good first impression to your customers.
  4. Dressing up well to give a Professional outlook. Or having a sparkling office that readily proves your worth.
  5. Giving respect to Customers.
  6. Asking for feedback.
  7. Your knowledge on your Product or Service.
  8. Being in tune with times.
  9. Customer Experience. In every step of the buying process and beyond.
  10. Being Sincere.
  11. Showing utmost seriousness in solving customers’ problems.
  12. Ensuring that the excitement that you created around your Product / Service stays forever. Or work on that and keep the excitement on.
  13. Delight: Always having something to surprise the customers.
  14. Easily accessible, no waiting time, more parking space, to the point, forward looking, well meaning, helping & solving problems.
  15. Adding Value. Don’t you want to move up the value chain?
  16. Working with you & your business adds to the Customer’s Brand Value.
  17. Do your existing customers vouch for you?
  18. Meeting your existing customers regularly.
  19. Does your Customer Service team meet the demands of your customers and generate more business from them?
  20. Are you an early adopter of Latest Technology?

Do you have any thoughts on this. Share your valuable thoughts with us.

Happy Selling!!

For any help in Marketing, Sales, CRM please contact:

kannan@zignalytics.com

 

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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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America, August, Apple, Amazon – A’s & the Aces!

You must have read the news, I am sure.

Apple became the first $ 1 Trillion company in terms of market valuation in August this year, followed by Amazon, the second $ 1 Trillion company.

What makes Apple & Amazon tick?

One thing I am sure, they are focused on Customer Experience & making lives simpler for their customers.

Daniel Martins, an independent researcher says: “It’s too high of a bar to assume that they’ll succeed at everything that they do.” “But at the same time, I think Amazon is the best combination in the world of the scale of a large company and that entrepreneurial DNA with the spirit of a startup.”

So, that’s the secret.

It is reported that Apple took long to reach there whereas Amazon sprinted to get there. Amazon took 3 months to cover the last 200 billion whereas Apple took 15 months to do the same, news agencies reported.

Apple was founded in 1976 & Amazon in 1994.

Amazon generates an annual revenue of 178 Billion & in 2018 it may make a paltry sum of 8.5 Billion as profits. It employs around 550,000 people worldwide.

While there are differences between these two Trillion Dollar Giants, the common thing is this: They both know how to market and sell.

Jeff Bezos = Bill Gates + Warren E. Buffett, in terms of Net Worth.

Between Apple and Amazon, one sells at a premium whereas the other lowers prices consistently. You know who.

Some ideas to follow:

  1. If you do Marketing right, everything will fall in place.
  2. Create great Customer Experiences.
  3. Create excitement – on your products & services – and for people to work with you
  4. Have an entrepreneurial DNA.
  5. Have the spirit of a start-up.
  6. Be agile. Respond faster.
  7. Make lives simpler, better & a lot easier.
  8. Sell your dreams. Products will follow.
  9. Create a community of believers.
  10. Last but not the least: You can even start today. And Create. [I didn’t say “Compete”, for a good reason.]

Happy Creating!

Happy Selling!!

#sales #startup #ideas #marketing #branding

Contact us at:

Sales at zignalytics .com for any help in Marketing / Sales / CRM.