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The Upside: Killer Sales Tips

7 posts categorized "Closing"

September 26, 2010

"Don't Be That Guy" [VIDEO] | Close the Deal the RIGHT Way

Although outsiders think it’s easy, it’s not; great selling requires intellect, discipline, hard work, and a boat load of courage.
At Glance, we get your world, we have lived it, and continue to live it every day; a Sales 2.0 company built on deep Sales 1.0 experience.
I guess that’s why we didn’t have to work too hard to come up with “Steve” our fictional Salesman, or should I say semi-fictional.  Most of what you see in our latest set of “Don’t Be That Guy” video series comes directly from our own gaffs; those that at the time were painful, but now, crack us up.
So whether beginner or wily veteran, we give only this advice, learn to laugh at yourself, or at least, at Steve. Enjoy.

CLOSING... Don't be THAT guy...It’s quarter end and you’re on the phone negotiating the one deal that will put you over the top. The pressure is on, but you don’t panic. Like thousands of other sales professionals, you fire up Glance to show your final proposal, point out key incentives, and close the deal.

Check out the other videos in our "Don't Be That Guy" series (and pass on to a friend who needs a laugh today!)

April 21, 2010

Instant Messaging as a Sales Tool | Do You Use It?

Want to close a deal in 3 minutes? Try including IM in your Sales toolkit.

The other day, we closed a deal via IM. Well, in truth, SnapLogic closed the deal with us. Take a look at the IM conversation below, between Vince Ko, at SnapLogic (a data integration partner), and Glance's VP of Sales & Marketing, Tom Scontras:

Using Instant Messaging as a sales tool: the deal closed in 3 minutes! As you can see, the deal closed in 3 minutes. And both parties were doing other tasks at the time. Is this the wave of the future? 

Granted, there are downsides to doing business via chat -- IMs can easily go wrong, especially in the hands of novices; social cues and conventions can be missed. (Sound familiar? Email wasn't accepted as a Sales tool either in the "old days". Now, you can't work without it.)

Yet IM has its advantages, and here are 5 reasons we think IM can be a powerful tool for sales professionals:

  • You get quicker answers than with email or, god forbid, voicemail. A quick one sentence question, a quick two word answer, and you’re on your way.
  • You can save a transcript and check back later. It’s a great way to keep track of what was said and discussed.
  • It’s less intrusive than a phone call. A message sent via IM sits on your taskbar until you’re ready to answer it.
  • IM lets you multi-task. Tom was building reports in Salesforce at the time of the chat.
  • It takes less time than using email or your phone – IM seems to force us to be very targeted and direct with our language, thereby getting to the point more quickly.

What do you think? Is IM in your Sales toolkit?

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing

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February 13, 2010

"I have not yet begun to fight!" | What Did John Paul Jones Have in Common with Today's Elite Sales Pros?

In Portsmouth, NH, this weekend, taking a mini-break from work, we came across the "John Paul Jones House" on Middle St., where the famous Revolutionary Naval War hero lived between 1777 and 1782.

John Paul Jones is most famous for NOT giving up, even as his own ship, the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard, sank around him.

As the legend goes, after conducting sea raids on the coast of Britain, he took command in 1779 of a rebuilt French merchant ship, renamed the U.S.S.Bonhomme Richard to honor Benjamin Franklin. On September 23, 1779, Jones engaged the British frigate Serapis in the North Sea, daringly sailing in close, lashing his vessel to the British ship, and fighting the battle at point-blank range. During the fight, 2 of his cannon burst, and the British Captain asked Jones if he was ready to surrender. Replied Jones: "Sir, I have not yet begun to fight!"

The American crew finally boarded the Serapis after the British had surrendered her colors, and from the deck of the Serapis they watched the U.S.S.Bonhomme Richard sink into the North Sea, but having won the battle and captured the Serapis.

So, what did John Paul Jones have in common with elite sales pros of today?

  • He had a good team;
  • He thought highly of his abilities;
  • He took risks;
  • He assumed he would win the battle, even as his ship was sinking around him;
  • He never gave up;
  • He psyched out the competition, who must have thought he was crazy for not perceiving his own eminent defeat;
  • He inspired his team with his stated confidence in his and their abilities.

Who knows what was the key to Jones' victory....was it his belief in himself and his team, or did he intimidate the competition with his loudly proclaimed self-confidence?

Today's sales pros face similar odds: According to a recent CSO Insights report, only 52.4% of sales reps at the companies surveyed made sales quote in 2009. As a point of comparison, that number was 61.1% in 2007. So what do you do? Think like John Paul Jones....get together a good team, take risks, think positively, psych out the competition, and above all, as the ship is sinking, yell out, "I have not yet begun to sell!"

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing

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February 10, 2010

Car Sales: Old-School Pitching Makes for Negative Buying Experiences

Why is it after all these years, the majority of the car buying consumers cringe at the thought of dealing with a car salesperson?  Being in sales for 20 years myself, and now at Glance Networks, I have seen companies evolve their sales process away from the hard-sell pitch and toward a value-add conversation.  But not the car dealers.  Why not?  My own emotional response:  It is a game to see how many consumers they can take advantage of... 

And most Americans agree...in a Gallup poll taken last November, 51% of Americans believe car dealers to have "very low honesty and ethical standards".

My most recent experience was a few months ago.   I went into the process fully armed with months of research (reliability, safety, features, and price). After all my research, I selected a Honda CRV.  I drove to the dealership and expected to test drive and get a price all within an hours' worth of my time. 

I should have known better.  

I was there for FIVE hours!  (Did I mention I was 8 1/2 months pregnant?)  My frustration was boiling over as they determined I would be better off purchasing a used 07' model for the same price as an 09'.  It  was amazing to watch the tag team dance performed by the sales person and the the sales manager,  driving the point to me that this was the best deal I'd ever see, and I needed to agree NOW, as it wouldn't be offered tomorrow.

Did they know I was pregnant, not stupid?  Of course I walked away from the dealership with a very bad taste in my mouth, and NO sale. Two questions crossed my mind:  

  1. What purpose does a car salesperson serve, if they actually have no power? They seem to always have to get their sales manager involved, as he / she makes all the $$ decisions; and
  2. What was I thinking....wasting 5 hours of my Sunday afternoon at a car dealership? 

I did finally purchase a vehicle, but not without a fight. Instead of wasting my time driving from dealer to dealer, I found a way to take matters into my own hands. I went to Vehix.com for a price quote, and completed a bid request, which was sent to local dealers of my choice. They all contacted me via email and I was able to price-haggle with them by email, by stating another dealers' offer of a lower price.

I don't intend to purchase another new vehicle for many years.  When I do, I will research, test drive, but then opt to do the price haggle dance via the Internet again. Lesson learned: I don't really need a salesperson for the close anymore.

What are your thoughts? Why does the car buying process seem to stay "old school" at the dealerships? Why haven't we evolved a less painful car sales process? Anyone out there have different experiences at dearlerships?

-- Jo Klos, Senior Account Manager

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January 26, 2010

Adherence to Sales Process Drops, With Negative Results

More interesting insights from CSO Insights' Sales Performance Optimization 2009 Survey:

Sales process, sales tips, sales methodology, prospecting, qualifying, glance.net
I was surprised by the fact that 62% of all companies surveyed have a random or informal sales process! The CSO Insights Report points out that, in fact, year over year, companies using formal or dynamic processes have decreased, and that loss was converted to increases in informal processes.

Why does all this matter? Well, businesses that have implemented more formal or dynamic sales processes have:

  • higher conversion rates throughout the sales cycle,
  • better predictive ability to forecast, and
  • better ability to adapt quickly to changes in the marketplace (e.g., recessions)
Clearly, it takes much more discipline and rigor to implement and maintain formal sales processes than not (I know because I watch my friends in Sales here at Glance do the hard, sometimes tedious, work of maintaining our formal process!) But it's worth it. In difficult times, sticking to formal sales processes can give you a significant competitive edge.

A few resources on sales processes, to get you started:

And of course, my own plug: Make every conversation count, throughout your sales process -- Try Glance, the only screen-sharing tool built for sales pros, free for 7 days...

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing

December 04, 2009

Best Advice for Times Like These: Discipline and Hard Work

My father, now 82, is a retired engineer, US Navy.  He is from a generation of Americans that is difficult to find these days.  A war veteran, a husband of 55 years, and a father of 7 children. 

In his 40’s he went for a physical and found he was 210 lbs, had high blood pressure and an incredibly stressful job.  He also was married to my mother (whom I will save for another post), who could generate more Greek food from one small oven than seemed humanly possible. Doc told him that he needed to do something about the weight, particularly given the fact that his father died very young of heart disease.

I think I was 10 years old when all of this occurred, and although all of my older siblings were athletes, I don’t recall my father ever exercising. 

So, with such drastic health news, what did he do?  He bought a pair of running shoes.

He measured the circumference of our yard and did the calculations to determine that 8 times around would equal one mile.  The challenge was that halfway around was a small pond that caught run-off from the road, and drained out through a moat which ran directly across his “track”. 

Ironically, an old toy came to his rescue. We had a metal slide that we all used to play on, which after seven kids and decades of sliding, finally rusted through the joint. Possibly ahead of the recycle movement, or just because of his engineering mind, he dragged the slide to the moat, and found that it fit perfectly across as a bridge. 

And thus, it began. Every day, 8 laps around the yard.  

We lived in Maine, and in that first winter, we thought it not possible for him to continue. But in bitter weather he did -- 100 times around our basement -- that was also a mile.

In the course of the next 4 decades my father went on to run thousands of miles, won hundreds of Masters Races, at one point was nationally ranked in the top 25 -- and oh yes, he lost the weight.

So how’s this all relevant to a blog on a software company's website? It’s very relevant to the creativity, hard work and discipline that all businesses, particularly sales organizations, need to think about these days.

The US economy is not in good shape, the doctor tells us of pending doom; many salespeople feel like giving up, but I would challenge you not to.  Instead, buy a pair of running shoes, measure the circumference of your territory, find out how many laps equal a mile, and START RUNNING!   

-- Tom Scontras, VP, Sales & Marketing

November 24, 2009

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