Welcome to The Pipeline.

Going Around4

One of the most often asked questions at workshops if they should go over or around someone who is stalling or in the way of a sale. Our view is an unwavering YES. It is one thing to be told that there is no sales, and it is quite another to be blocked from getting a decision from a real decision maker, especially by someone who is unable and not empowered to make decisions. One way to avoid this trap is to approach a company through multiple contacts, using a top down, bottom up approach. But as with most things in sales it comes down to outlook, attitude and preparation. Preparation, in most cases the reps getting blocked or stalled; don’t have a plan or a list of people through the buying organization they can call in case they hit a wall. Their attitude is subservient and as a result even if they find the right people they rarely are able to establish a peer to peer relationship. While it may be accurate that people buy from people they like, they like peers more. Most importantly when it comes to going around or over someone is who you see as your customer. The reality is that the company is your client, not the individual. Further the company you are selling to is the customer of your company, pretending otherwise is folly. I always find it interesting when people rely on “champions”, the reality is today’s “champion” is tomorrow’s albatross. You can avoid this trap by selling the whole company, instead of investing your efforts and emotions in one, usually wrong, person.Sell well!

The Pipeline

How Much?!0

I was talking with a prospect today, and when all was said and done it came down to guess what? Right, the price. Having had a price in mind in advance, I was not really worried about the discussion, and going in I knew the company was notorious for beating down vendors. It seems in the 1980’s this player was a leader in their field, everyone wanted to work with them and they usually dictated the terms; and while those days have long gone the way of the Ford Pinto, the person I was negotiating with apparently still had some Cool Aide left and was heavily into it during the call.

After some to and fro we got to my walk away price, which had been adjusted with the expectation that this would be a complex project and I would need to charge fair market value. This is where got good, right after I reminded him about how we agreed that they were getting great value, they would face considerable risk if they didn’t move forward, he gives me the old stand by: “well if you can’t do it for $X,XXX, we’ll have to go with an alternative.” I told him I understood and wished him luck.

The project starts mid March at my price. SWEET!

Never surrender and

Sell well!

The Pipeline

I couldn’t do that15

I love January, one of the busiest months of the year for me, lots of workshops, people want to meet, the buzz of optimism everywhere. All this makes it a lot easier to deal with some of the nay-sayers you meet. What brought this on was the number of sales people who respond to new ideas or new techniques by saying “I could never do that”.

Cool, more for those that do take things on board and incorporate it to their routine in winning deals and making money. You can see it as you look out over the room, the go getters who consistently deliver and make money are processing and inputting; you can see them putting it together in their minds, picturing how they will apply and monetize the concepts and techniques.

Some other faces you see them searching for how they can rationalize not using the concepts and methodologies, and why it will not work for them. It is an interesting look, this look of rationalization; it is very close to the look of fear, the fear of success. I would like to help them overcome, but they push back and reject the whole thing, the concept, the application, the offer to help to implement, I guess the money that they could make.

If someone out there can help me understand, I would welcome it, as it may help some of these otherwise fine reps make some money.

Sell well!

The Pipeline

Who Cares1

Back from Vancouver, the workshops went well, despite the fact that the materials never arrived thanks to a courier company that promised they would be there before I arrive, and as it stands now things may arrive today, after I am back. Great! When I called to find out what happened, no one had a reason. Well they did, but each of the four people gave me different reasons so I am assuming that no one knows. More importantly, no one seemed to care; not so much about the inconvenience to me and my client, but about the impact on their company and their reputation. Sad, I chose to use them because they were once my client, and I try to be loyal and reciprocate and send business to those that do business with me. I will continue to reward my customers, and it seems this company will continue to miss deliveries.

Sell well!

The Pipeline

Black Monday2

Well you definitely know that the sales year has started in earnest when you have to board your first flight of the year. Like a guitar player who hasn’t played for a few weeks, you have to build up your calluses.

The packing, kissing your wife and kids good bye; finding just the right parking spot at the airport, the checking in; the security the indignity and we’re not even at the gate yet. There is still that plastic dinner to be had. Off to Vancouver, and I know it’ll be good when I get there, but it just has that unique feel of the first trip of the year.

Like the song says:
“Pick up my feet
And kick off my lethargy
Down to the gate
With the old mood upon me”

Travel and Sell well!

The Pipeline

How much is too many?23

Recently I have been getting the same question come up during workshops: “How many times should I call a new prospect before I give up?” in reality most say “before we move on”, I hear “before I give up”; this is coming up much more than in the past. The reality is that sales professionals should be reaching out more time to any given prospect than they naturally feel comfortable doing.

There have been a number of studies that show that most reps will try three times then move on. Same studies show that it takes as much as 5 to 7 touch points for potential prospects to let us in. These can be phone calls, in reality voice mail, e-mail, or in some cases fax still works.

So if you are moving on after three tries, and your competitor calls twice the following week, you just primed the pump for his success.

Believe me they wont take it personally, you are not going to upset them, there is money in being professionally persistent! Meaning don’t hound them every day for eight weeks, but six time over the course of a couple of weeks will get you more meeting, and as result more sales, more referrals, etc.

Sell well!

The Pipeline

Thank you!1

What ever happened to the thank you note?

I continue to be amazed how a simple thing like a thank you note is overlooked by sales reps and sales organizations these days.

I am currently interviewing sales people to join our organization and I am puzzled by the fact that 9 out of 10 people I interview do not follow up with a thank you note or e-mail. It kills me, I mean here they are trying to impress me, in many ways I am prospect, and they can’t take 30 seconds to bang out a thank you e-mail.

Not only that but in workshops I do, when I mention that I send a thank you to every individual I have a first appointment with, even if the meeting goes nowhere. People are floored. “Doesn’t that take a lot of time?” they ask. These are professional sales people!

Yes it takes a whole of 30 second, and on a heavy day when I may have four first appointments, I actually sacrifice a whole two minutes. When I ask how many new customers most people see in a given week, it’s never more that 5 or 6, so how much time does it take.

Better question is what kind of impression does it leave with the prospect? Everyone tells me they want to differentiate themselves from other sales people; they tell me it’s about rapport and “the relationship”. So is there an easier way than to say thank you?

By the way, those that do not send me a thank you card after an interview, don’t get a second shot.

Sell well!

The Pipeline

Back to the fray!0

It may sound strange but it was fun getting back in the game yesterday. Had a good relaxing break, and while I was not restless, itching to get back to work, there was a welcoming familiar feel to things. It also helped that there were appointments booked, and proposals that had to be readied, the phone was in full swing, twisting back and forth from desk phone to mobile. And here we are this morning, about to head into the bright sunshine to claim one little piece of the prize. Calls today, workshop tomorrow, 2008 is off and running.

Based on the first couple of days, 2008 is looking good. How is it shaping up for you? Let us know, in the mean time,

Sell Well!

Bring on 2008!1

It’s a bright sunny day here in Toronto, hopefully a good omen to everyone still closing deals today, I salute your drive and wish you success in bringing in those last deals. For those of us who have the luxury of sitting today out and kicking back, well enjoy, and we’ll see you in 2008.

Happy New Year!

Sell Well,


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