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Quick sales tips & reminders

2 Oct

There were a bunch of quick and valuable reminders and tips on the web this week on improving your sales process.

  • Making You Suprisingly Unforgettable To Your Customers – Loved this post – in these days of too many competitors and too many choices offered to our prospects, here’s some great tips make yourself unforgettable. How many of you think of Nat & Natalie Cole when you hear the word, “Unforgettable” like I do?
  • Three Tiny Changes That Drive Success – Nice reminders to help get you out of a sales rut. Don’t forget Dale Carnegie’s, “21 Days to Making it a Habit” as you try these changes. Assuming you don’t do them already!
  • Quiz: How To Bypass a Gatekeeper – Real good quiz on bypassing the Gatekeeper when you just can’t get in. Interesting decision by Geoffrey on which department you should call into to ask for the transfer. Other ways:
    – try Jigsaw for direct dial # of executive
    – try Inquisix for a referral to the executive by someone they know.

Geoffrey’s idea is manipulative but sometimes you just have to try it. But only after you can’t get an Inquisix referral or JigSaw is not coughing up the direct dial numbe

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Dig It's Great Quote of the Week

18 Sep

“You can’t have a better tomorrow if you’re thinking about yesterday.” — Charles Kettering

Quote of the Week – Great quote that should strike a chord in any sales rep, manager or business owner bemoaning their poor 2009 sales attainment. Sales people are usually very good at moving on whether the last month was a win or a dud but for anyone needing a reminder, read and internalize this quote. Now go get them!

Boston-area VC funding for startups – where is it?

9 Sep

Since many Inquisix members are also entrepreneurs and business owners (like us), perhaps you’ll find these articles as interesting as we do.  The first article caused a big commotion and discussion amongst the Boston startup crowd.  Isn’t that what good articles do?

  • Why Waltham Doesn’t Matter – Finding early stage funding is always challenging for startups and the chances of getting a, “No thanks” are close to 99%. So when a noted Boston Globe business columnist calls the VCs on the carpet, everyone in our community takes notice. I was at a TechCocktail networking event last week and the VCs I spoke to all had lots of comments and head shaking. One was upset that they weren’t mentioned with the “good guys” in Boston. So if Scott was looking to stir the pot, he accomplished it in spades!
  • Hey, Boston-area VCs, angels: Loosen up and connect with startups – To continue the commentary from Scott on Waltham VCs and lack of Series A fundings, one of the Angels that rec’d kudos from Scott is offering his suggestions. It’s one all Inquisix members believe in – the referral. “If you can’t/won’t do the deal then referral them to someone you think will.”

Follow Salesforce.com's path to the top & other thoughts

4 Sep

The blog articles I read this week worth commenting on and sharing:

  • 111 Successful Plays That Led Salesforce.com from an Idea to $1 Billion in 10 Years – The company (and the man) that made the hosted-elsewhere software applications (whether you call it SaaS, Cloud Computing, ASP, etc) a non-issue with big business. Before <a href=”http://salesforce.com”>salesforce.com</a&gt; there were too many concerns about security, up-time, bandwidth and more. After Salesforce.com paved the way, look how many sites are now in the clouds, including Google Mail, Quicken & TurboTax along with photo sharing and desktop hard-disk backups. You can put your customer data, every email, financial data and tax data all online and not think twice about it. Thanks to Marc and Salesforce.com
  • Tips From @ChrisBrogan on How to Beat Dunbar’s Number – I’ve heard (and repeated the item myself) that the limit of real social relationships is 150. Even mentioned it during the BTR show with Jon Hansen last week. A fact I had not verified before but thanks to HubSpot’s blog and a link to Wikipedia, the source of 150 can be attributed to Robin Dunbar.
  • Have you met your competitor yet? Maybe you should. – Great article about the reasons why you should meet your competitor. Back when I was at Sybase, we were taught to hate our version of the Evil Empire, Oracle. Well, we all know how that battle turned out and many of my Sybase colleagues ended up working at Oracle. They didn’t suddenly become evil although we were both more careful about sharing war stories. Similarily, I’ve always been impressed at the end of hockey games when both teams line up and shake each other’s hands. Geoffrey’s reasons for meeting your competitor:
    1) Learn more about how they sell
    2) Use that knowledge to build credibility with your customer
    3) Never know when you’ll be looking for a new job

For those of you in the US & Canada, enjoy the long weekend!

Talk Radio Podcast : Emergence of Reputation Networks : Sept 23, 2009

2 Sep

I had an amazing Blog Talk Radio with Jon Hansen of PI Window on Business last week.  We spoke over our allotted time, almost an hour, on the emergence of reputation networks such as Inquisix.  With it being so easy to make connections on the web and trade recommendations, how can people who don’t know you really trust what they read about you?

Topics we discussed included:

  • Value of References
  • Giving vs Getting
  • Political Patronage and References
  • Verifying References
  • Integrity of Referral/Reference Process
  • Does Social Media Help or Hurt
  • Extending Your Reference Base with Integrity
  • Emergence of Reputation Networks with Social/Business Networking

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/BTRPlayer.swf?displayheight=&file=http://www.blogtalkradio.com%2fJon-Hansen%2fplay_list.xml?show_id=662419&autostart=false&shuffle=false&volume=80&corner=rounded&callback=http://www.blogtalkradio.com/FlashPlayerCallback.aspx&width=215&height=108

If BTR podcast doesn’t show above, please go to Jon’s site to listen to it.

On a side note, talking with Jon was one of the easiest and most enjoyable online discussions I’ve had.  Jon prepared me for the call by sending me some topics to think about prior to our interview.  He was calm when we had a few technical difficulties to iron out before we went on the air.  And his engaging demeanor and conversation made the conversation lively, interesting and valuable.   I was certainly surprised to learn later that Jon’s only been a BTR host for a short time.  Jon has written a book, “Your Show Will Go Live in 5 Seconds” about his experiences as a Blog Talk Radio Host.  If  you’re thinking of becoming a BTR host or are thinking of your personal branding via Social Media, you owe it to yourself to read this book.  An excerpt is available at no charge at Jon’s site.  Not surprising, his book reads as breezy and well as listening to him online.

JonHansenBook

Salespeople – Call to action & share

1 Sep

Nigel Edelshain of Sales 2.0 was interviewed on yourBusinessChannel recently and he discussed what salespeople need to do today to win more business.  Nigel’s call to action is to “…get together and share their rolodexes….to win business and keep their jobs.”  He suggests starting online with LinkedIn, AllyForce, SalesConx or Inquisix.

http://www.youtube.com/v/5kEN_73ftZw&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0&border=1

Joanne Black adds social networking links to her site

26 Aug

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of Joanne Black and her book, “No More Cold Calling” because so much of what she writes is the foundation on what Inquisix is built upon.   When Dave and I were first sharing the referral exchange idea that became Inquisix, we were introduced to Joanne by Philippe Lavie, sales trainer from Chicago.  Joanne and I talked a few times and then agreed to meet at the first Sales 2.0 conference in San Francisco.  I had a chance to pick up Joanne’s book and read it before meeting her in Chicago.  I felt like I was in college again because when I was done reading her book, it was filled with my yellow highlighting.  I’ve now met Joanne a few times while I’m in San Francisco and her advice on building a better Inquisix has proven invaluable.

NoMoreColdCalling

Joanne has now extended her website’s offerings to include a blog, Facebook page and Twitter account.  It’s now even easier to get her good advice.

Miss Manners is never around when you need her & Tip to reconnect with customers

21 Aug

There were two articles I read recently that really resonated with me although they’re about separate topics.  Hence the long and unwieldy title. I think the first issue about saying, “No” to friend requests is a new phenomena that the rise in social networking has created.  And technology has also come in between you and your customer when you want to get your message across to one or two people.  Hmm, technology – you can use it to increase quantity at the cost of quality.  Maybe these two topics have a common link after all.

  • What’s the Right Way to Say ‘I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend’? – I’ve read and re-read this posting several times because it’s an issue that I face often. Where’s Ann Landers or Miss Manners when we need the answer to this question that only today’s times of social networks invading our personal space. Why I get business colleagues asking me to be Facebook friends I don’t know. Why I want to connect on LinkedIn with someone who openly admits to wanting to collect the largest number of connections is beyond me.
  • The talking pad – I really dislike PowerPoint presentations to get my message across to one or two people sitting with me at the table. Colleagues laugh at my laminate, as I’ll bring 2 slides printed out and laminated back-to-back as my presentation cues. Using a pad of paper or a whiteboard is just as effective. There are many & better options than flipping up the laptop and presenting. Start using them (again) and watch your conversions increase.

Inside Sales Growing at Expense of Field Sales?

12 Aug

Is Inside Sales growing at the expense of Outside Sales?

  • Some Sobering Sales Statistics – Another blog article that remarks on the trends of inside sales teams growing in importance and size while forecasts for the death of outside sales teams continue.

I’ve sold as & managed an inside sales group.  And I’ve done the same in the field so I can see both sides of this argument.  Perhaps has the market for a certain product matures overtime, the distribution of that product changes from field to inside to channel to online.  Are many big-ticket B2B products in a new market sold over the phone?  I doubt it.  But I’m sure the add-on sales of laptops once the vendor has been chosen is an easy sale over the phone or via the web.

So many professionals & businesses don’t see the end of their way of doing things.  Look at newspapers today.  Horse carriage manufacturers 100 years ago.  Is this the beginning of the end for outside sales?  Time will tell.

Better & Lighter Ways to Deliver Your Message

9 Aug

Have you seen the old Microsoft television ad of a guy walking right thru airport security with just his Windows Mobile device while the next guy struggles with laptop and projector?  And then the Windows Mobile guy just sets his phone down on the conference table and it sends the presentation to the prospect’s projector without wires?  Such a tease since it didn’t exist.  And Microsoft certainly wasn’t going to the be first one to release such a useful device.

So when I saw this posting, I was very happy.  It’s a two-fer:  projector light enough to put in your pocket and a tablet that’s smaller than a laptop but more useful then a netbook.

  • Will the Mac Tablet Look Like This? – This doesn’t have much to do with referrals but wow would I like to carry one of these instead of a Dell brick to meetings. Better yet, the advertisement on the tablet summary shows a Pico Projector that you can connect to your phone or laptop to give presentations and the projector is small enough to put in your pocket.
  • Pico