Five practical steps to take to run POCs / trials efficiently

8503737177_882512214a_b
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. Amongst other things, this would have meant to divert some of my technical resources to support said POC. So, whilst starting a process with a major brand was attractive for an early stage start-up I thought it was better not to pursue and decided to close the process here.

read more

 

The parallels between selling and a dealing with a recruiter

23834617384_a2578eb733_k
It is a good looking CV. But has there been lot of questions asked before sending it?

Photo credit: Rebeca_CE

“You can find my CV attached for your consideration.”

I had just introduced a friend of mine to a recruiter as I thought the opportunity this recruiter sent me might of interest to him. Following the email intro, my friend responded and, right away, sent his CV through. I was taken aback. Why did he not ask questions before sending his CV?

I might be obsessed with asking as many questions as possible when interacting with people in a business context. But, seeing my friend sending his CV right after the introduction, I could not help to see the parallel between a recruitment process and a sales process, at least from a candidate point of view.

read more

 

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). But spilling the beans certainly applies to how we sale. And how we, sales people, love to share product knowledge when we should hold back.

read more

 

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.

read more

 

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. And many other very specific marketing analytics problems. And I knew how to solve all these issues with a great piece of tech I was selling. That weekend was to be a good one as I felt I was on my way to secure the deal.

read more

 

Why questions asked need to be qualified first and how to do so

Question, reverse questioning, sales questions, process
He knows the answer. But shouldn’t he qualify the question first?

Photo credit: personal stock

School days. Happy days. Lots of memories. The exuberance. The total lack of worries. School friends. Long school holidays spent in the South of France. The teachers I loved. Those I, well, didn’t like at all. And these happy moments when, as the teacher asked a question, I knew the answer, raised my hand and was just so eager to share my knowledge with the teacher and my class mates.

Sadly though, I came to realise that this eagerness to answer questions was a terrible habit we picked at school and that it was well worth trying to control this urge. Surprisingly (or not), when asked a question, there is a lot of value in not answering it, right away. I’ve already mentioned that one should learn to ask questions, they are very useful. So I can hear you think, dear reader. “Foul play! Unfair! Why not answer questions asked, when one asks plenty of them?” This is a good point indeed. I naturally do not mean not to answer questions at all. What I mean is one needs to understand better the real question that is being asked, not necessarily the one heard. Here are four reasons why one should do so and one framework I use:

read more

 

What to do with Linkedin profile views?

Linkedin, social selling, linkedin profile view

Like most of people on Linkedin, I check the details of the Linkedin profile views. It’s always interesting to see the variety of people curious to see more than the headline. But what do you do when people look you up on Linkedin? If the person is someone you never met, do you wonder why she or he looked up your profile? Are you feeling flattered? Well, when these is a question to be asked, I believe there is value to simply ask it. As it could lead to a conversation and, as we know, in sales, it all starts with a conversation.

read more

 

Empathy: or how to connect with people you send emails to.

Sales, empathy
Dale Carnegie. Master of cold emailing before his time?

Are you cold mailing people? Are you talking to customers on email? Are you actually writing email to your boss, wife, customers? No? Well, you can close this page, this post is not for you. If you are, read on.

Good to see you are still here. You must be using email then :). I will make it short. If you are in sales and read some of these posts, you have realised/know/experienced that all conversations should be centred on the problem of the prospect. The problem, how to address it, who is impacted by the problem, etc… should be the lynchpin of all the conversation with a prospect during the sales. It’s simply called having empathy. How many times do we receive cold email absolutely full with “I”, “we”, etc… Being pro-active and prospecting is great. But to be pro-active and to centre the conversation on the client issue, i.e. with empathy, rather than how great one company is, is even more powerful.

read more

 

Bring the future forward. Kids do it.

Bring future forward, sales questions, sales process, demo
Bring the future forward. And spend more time in the pool

The Sunday morning breakfast table was full of home made goodies: caramelised french toasts, chocolate filled brioche and pain brioche. Whilst eating these, the conversation was focused on what we would to in the afternoon after rugby training. And one option was starting to get a lot of the kids excited: going to a massive swimming pool with loads of slides and games. However, there was some work to do that hadn’t been done on Saturday. The conversation went a little bit like this:

read more

 

How to turn an interesting meeting into a productive one

Sales meeting; Interesting meeting;
This looks interesting. But beware of interesting meetings!

Photo credit: James Merhebi

Imagine this. You just walked out of a meeting with a prospect in a nice office in Central London. The conversation flew very well. Half way through the meeting, your prospect arranged for one colleague to join. She also arranged for some tea and biscuits to be brought in. A nice caring touch she didn’t have to do. And the meeting finished by the prospect saying one of these encouraging sentences:

“That was interesting. Can you send me some more information?” or “That was an interesting meeting. I will relay this internally and we need to catch-up on this.” and to finish “Very interesting. Glad we had this meeting. Let me reflect and we will synch-up shortly”.

read more