Three small, practical sales tips to start a conversation with a prospect


I recently had a phone conversation with Russell about sales tips. Russell and I interacted on Linkedin and decided to go one step beyond that pure digital exchange. We took it in the “real world”, i.e. we had a phone conversation (Russell is Toronto based, meeting-up bit challenging!). We talked sales tips, how much grafting is needed, especially for new business acquisition. Russell is now building a business in chatbot focused on the restaurant industry (early days but check it out here) and what we discussed was an episode from a “previous life” of his. He mentioned a story when he tried to approach a specific prospect (Lyft in this case).… Read the rest

How to fix a miscommunication issue (or avoid it)

miscommunication, sales, semantic, word to use, sales process
What are some words to use to make the most of this conversation?

Photo credit: Steve Edwards

Humans are very complex creatures and I have learned the hard way that a few words badly picked can lead to miscommunication. And ultimately prevent getting the desired outcome. When I realise that happened, I tend to replay the conversation ad nauseam (well, not quite, but a few times) and wish I’d say this or that instead. There is apparently a French expression, “l’esprit de l’escalier”, literally the thoughts of the stairs. Essentially, what one thinks while going down the stairs (l’escalier) replaying a conversation.… Read the rest

Good sales ops helps making sure sales data flow efficiently. And 4 data types to track

sales ops; outsourcing; research; prospection; lead generation; reply.io; prosperworks;
Sales ops helps data from your sales process to flow properly

Photo credit: Julien Chalendard

This post focuses on sales ops and how to make sure the data captured in a sales process, right from the lead gen stage, flows efficiently across the various parts of the process. And beyond avoiding data leakage, how capturing as much data early on can helps analytics even if some data pieces can be deemed not relevant initially. In this first post, I take the example of a sales ops process built around 4 services / technologies, I explain the 4 groups of data useful to capture and maintain for KPIs and reporting purposes.Read the rest

High level thoughts and a practical tool to define or refine a value proposition with outbound

prospection, lead generation, sales ops, reply.io
Joseph Priestley. A very smart chap…

Photo credit: Tim Green

Joseph Priestley was a theologian, chemist, philosopher, writer (150+ books), in short, a giant, who lived at the end of the 19th Century. Amongst other things he is known for the discovery of oxygen though other scientists have strong claims for this discovery too (like many discoveries at this time). One thing which absolutely blows my mind is the prescience of on of his quote: “The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate”. Absolutely fascinates me as this is such a salient point these days.

Communication is key in  sales process.… Read the rest

Five practical steps to take to run POCs / trials efficiently

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But do you want a trial that last 1000 days?

Photo credit: Steve Rhodes

“But Michael, you are using a competitor product. And they are a good company. So, whilst it is great you would want to do a POC with us, I am not clear on what specific issues you want to address and, assuming we can address them, what would happen afterwards. Could you help me with this?”

Michael could not help me with this. Michael was a partner for one of the major consulting firm in the world and was keen to do a POC to test the product of my start-up.… Read the rest

When talking about your product to prospects can put you in trouble…

Sales, question, questioning, process, spilling the beans
When you sale, do you spill the beans? Or do you ask question?

Photo credit: Phil

Greeks invented the democracy. And they had an interesting way of voting. They used beans. A white bean was a vote in favour of a motion, a black bean was a vote against. The vote had to be unanimous for the motion to go through. So should the jar with the bean topples and the beans fall down, revealing a black bean, it meant something had been revealed too early and the vote had to restart. Hence the expression spilling the beans…

 

Well, nearly…

This expression might not be entirely due to the Greek way of voting (it isn’t).… Read the rest

How to quantify a good prospect vs one, well, not so good?

 

Lead scoring; sales process; quantify prospect
Lead scoring. It doesn’t have to be rocket science but it helps to quantify

Photo credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

 

Can you send me some information please?

This is a standard question I hear a lot when starting an engagement with a prospect. A reasonable question and one which, when we have our happy ears on, could be seen as a positive sign. The syllogism could be “All companies who have signed wanted information at the beginning of a process. He wants information. Therefore he will sign.”

But let’s be honest. This question could also mean other things:

  • First option: “Please do go away, I am busy but I am polite so I am pretending to be interested by asking you information”.
Read the rest

Weekly round up: posts on sales process, pricing and training

 

Sales post; sales blog; sales blogs;
Some interesting reads on process, pricing and training

Photo credit: nicoleneu1

 

Here is a brief round of interesting posts I have read, found particularly good and thought they were worth sharing.

First of all, a post from David Brock about the companies that believe they have a sales process but, actually, simply don’t. What I like beyond David rather dry sense of humour (notably on things like “gurus” in Linkedin), is the probing of companies that believe they have a process when, actually, it is not being followed or need some updating. The post is here.

Secondly, a post on sales training and who should pay for it. … Read the rest

How to identify the real problems people have, not just those expressed.

problems, expressed problems, real problem, solution sale, questions, sales questions
That’s a problem we’ve all had. But what was the real impact?

Photo credit: Andreas Overland

It was Friday afternoon. It was sunny. And I was just walking out of a meeting with a prospect with a big smile on my face. The prospect I just met had shared with me all her problems. It was all there in my notes. It was covering all these important business problems. She didn’t have the analytics on her marketing effort. Her company was selling online but she wasn’t clear what was the products that had the best ratio between visits and actual transactions.… Read the rest

Prospecting flow. How to avoid the death valley?

Prospecting, Valley of death, sales process, call flow
You do not have to walk through the valley of death when prospecting or following up.

Photo credit: Pacheco

Have you seen this slide that regularly goes around on LinkedIn presenting the amount of time a sales person needs to follow-up with a prospect to get a deal and how many sales people stops too quickly.

Sales, process, statistics, follow-up
So called “incredible statistics”

You can’t have missed it. It comes back over and over again and is coming from the so-called  “National Sales Executive Association”? Well, if you didn’t know already: it is a fake. The NSEA simply doesn’t exist. But this slide seems to make the point there is value in chasing to secure a sale. … Read the rest