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)

Photo credit: Birmingham Culture

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 think through other approaches I could have had. 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. And finding better ways to handle a question or specific moment in the conversation.… Read the rest

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

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. The second post will then explain how to put all the pieces altogether.Read the rest

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

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. For a business looking at building a value prop specific to a segment, a new country or a specific function (eg: HR, Ops, etc…), there is a need to talk to prospects and existing customers to understand their perspective.… Read the rest

Prospecting flow. How to avoid the death valley?

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.

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. Is there some sort of ground beyond this fact?… Read the rest

How to achieve predictable revenues – Video

Photo credit: Dave Gray

 

I am sometimes asked for some good books to read about sales. If the specific issue at hand is about prospecting, one which is worth knowing about is called “Predictable revenues” by Aaron Ross. It presents the lead generation process that has been implemented within SalesForce around 2004 and helped the company grow to $100,000Mn+. Prospecting is key for young businesses, especially as they can not rely on growing revenues from existing clients or referrals. Or for companies entering a new market. And as many other parts of a company operation, to have a process for prospecting is important (#understatement).… Read the rest

5 tips to get better at cold email

 

I am a fan of Derren Brown. For those not living in the UK, he is a rather good illusionist with a big show on BBC. One of the trick he has is to ask people on stage to think of a piece of music and, when they share it, reveal that it is the same piece he wrote on a paper. A rather baffling trick. And he shared the way he prepares for it . Essentially, he has his crew following this person throughout the day prior to the show and make sure she is exposed to a piece of music of his choosing numerous times.… Read the rest

Empathy: or how to connect with people you communicate with.

Are you cold mailing people? Are you talking to customers on email, face to face or on the phone? Are you actually communicating with 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 communicating with people 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 problems 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 process.… Read the rest

Don’t always connect to people on Linkedin? Conspire then!

Photo credit: KayVee. INC

I won’t get into the specific of LinkedIn, no need to. But love it or hate it, if you work in sales it is a pretty powerful platform. Like many thousands of people, I use it to research people before meeting them, keeping in touch or identify leads (ever looked at who follows your competitors? Try it, you will find people interested in their product and therefore in yours….). And I am sure you do to. But do you always connect with someone on Linkedin once you meet them? Personally, I don’t.

There are also people with whom I do not want to connect because they are part of my sport network and I don’t necessarily want to mix social and work.… Read the rest

I am in sales ergo I prospect

Photo credit: Macinate

Prospecting. An activity which more often than not isn’t really appreciated, both by sales people and those at the other end (maybe because they have some pre-conceived idea?). Concentrating on the negative feeling sales people have, it could be because it comes along with the fear of “rejection”. Add to this the growing belief that to prospect, i.e. to contact people from cold is “dead” as content marketing and social are the ways for organisations to generate inbound leads. I keep reading “outbound is dead”. I personally believe there is a lot of value to have both inbound marketing and outbound sales effort combined together.… Read the rest