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November 24, 2009

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The 10 Commandments of Sales

I  was having one of those unsure moments the other day, and found  myself in that one and only place where you can can go for guidance and direction, a place which is visited by millions seeking help, the place of light, wanting to repent, looking for the answers that no one seemingly can provide, that’s right...I was at Barnes and Noble.

Specifically, I found myself in the isle which contained “Sales and Marketing Guidance”.  I spent the better part of an hour browsing the labels of literally hundreds of books:“Sales Closing for Dummies”, “How I raised myself from Failure to Success in Selling”, “Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager” et al.  It wasn’t until I actually opened a book and began the forward, which started with the words: “With more then a decade of Sales Success...”  did I realize that I must be a fool.  

As I drove home I thought about my two decades of selling Enterprise Software, and now here at Glance Networks, and wondered if asked, what omnipresent knowledge would I divulge?  With that...my 10 Sales Commandments, from yours truly:  

  1. No means no: If asked for concessions, or about features, or about anything to which you know the answer is no, then that’s the answer; “sorry no”.
  2. Less is More: The Japanese culture says that the quietest man is the wisest.  Think about this the next time you are in a meeting of any sort.
  3. Question Questions: There’s more to every question than meets the eye: never answer a question at face value. Always clarify the question, no matter how simple: “hmm, interesting, why do you ask?”, learn this technique and see your conversations change.
  4. Call BS: if you think clients are “full of it”; call them out early and often, it may be hard at first, but it will save you from chasing bogus deals. 
  5. Deal with Power: do what you need to, be courteous to evaluators, but make it clear to them that nothing can happen until executives meet and agree.  If they say no, then there is no deal in the first place, and if there is, you’re not getting it!
  6. Go GQ (or Vogue): Stay in shape, wear a nice watch and own several pair of expensive shoes.  No one, including IT guys, wants to do business with a slob.
  7. Lose the PowerPoint: if you know your stuff, grab a whiteboard and a marker; roll up your sleeves and engage in a valuable give and take conversation. Or an online interactive demo. This will go miles beyond every cookie cutter Sales Team that follows  your pitch.
  8. Get Over Yourself: if there is a deal on the table (especially these days), don’t bicker with the client, and more importantly don’t bicker internally; get over yourselves and just get the deal done. If you don’t, your competitor will.
  9. Get Personal: It’s impossible to completely understand your customer if you are only meeting in a cube, office or conference room. People get personal with Sales Professionals that they trust and are going to do business with. Get them out for dinner lunch, coffee, or whatever you can.  If they refuse, be worried. 
  10. Don’t Be Yourself: If you are an abrasive person, or shy person, or overly aggressive, or have bad breath, or love to wear too much cologne; or hate to close, or can't demo, or you shake hands like a dead fish, are unorganized, perpetually late...whatever your weaknesses; identify them, own up, and then commit yourself to correcting them.
-- Tom Scontras, VP Sales and Marketing

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