Archives For let’s get real

Photo taken by David Stelzl

For some reason, discussing money is the major hurdle.  Yesterday I had several sales calls with potential buyers.  One example stands out… We had discussed the need, talked about options, come to a conclusion on next steps, and even picked dates to begin.  My prospect then said, “Send me a proposal with some options and pricing.”

I was tempted to agree, but then that little voice reminded me of Mahan Kalsa’s book, Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play (which I highly recommend). Why would we wait for the proposal to agree on options and pricing.  Paper doesn’t sell, I do.  We have verbal agreement on the vision, but no specifics.  Why waste time and possibly ruin the opportunity by putting the wrong thing down on paper?

Instead I simply said, “Let’s review some options right now and make sure we are in agreement on how to proceed.”  I verbally gave him my interpretation of what we were planning to do, offered a couple of options, restated the value, and then offered a fixed fee.  I then said, “How does that sound to you?”  He said, “That sounds great.”  Now I can write the proposal, which is now really an agreement, with confidence.  I converted it to a PDF, attached it to an email, and wrote, “Here is exactly what we agreed to.”  The likelihood of closing this kind of agreement is much higher than the elusive agreements made in most sales meetings.  Meetings end without any real commitment, and the request for proposal is often just a polite way of ending the meeting.  There is no agreement, and there are no specifics from which to craft the proposal.  In the end, this type of proposal goes nowhere, leaving the sales person to forecast at 50%.  In other words, I have no idea…

© 2011, David Stelzl

Our last session in the Making Money with Security Class (Online) is tomorrow.  I’ve had some great interaction with attendees over email and some phone this week, and value the questions and ideas that will improve both of us.  Yesterday  I was asked, “What should I be reading?”  Here is a short list of some of my favorite books:

First, before I mention a single book, every sales person should be reading The Wall Street Journal!  Not the whole thing, but anything having to do with technology.  Referencing this paper in a sales meeting with a relevant comment (don’t just do this to show off), can’t hurt.  Every “executive level” client subscribes so every rep should read.  Second, turn off your television – what a waste of time this is.  Rent an occasional movie with great content, and use your spare time to read great books and talk to great people.  Here’s the list…(of course it’s incomplete…but this is what is sitting on the self next to me)

Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath – The Heath brothers do an excellent job of explaining what makes a message stick.  If we could just apply a small portion of these ideas to our presentations I would be a lot happier sitting through sales calls!

Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play, Mahan Khalsa –  I have listened to this in audio-book format dozens of times!  Normally, once through is enough for me, but Khalsa’s advise on how to answer executives, determine budgets, and move through “sales politics” is unparalleled.

Solution Selling, Michael Bosworth – this book is older, and I’m not sure I really like the 9 box matrix Bosworth takes us through.  However, the ideas behind his questioning and discovery process are right on, and his treatment of Negotiations should be required reading for all sales reps!

E-Myth, Michael Gerber – if you sell to small business, Gerber’s book is a must!  Again, I did this on audio book, and that is what I recommend.  The way Gerber pronounces “pies”, as he weaves his story of Sarah building her pie business is like listening to old time radio.  But the concepts are what make this book a winner.  Talk to any small business owner and start sharing Gerber’s truths, and they will be offering you a job.  This comes from personal experience with client of mine who has done this.  Business owners constantly wish he would come work in their company at a strategic level – what more could you ask for.

Time Traps, Todd Duncan – for the rep who does not have time to wade through Stephen Covey, this is the book.  Short, simple, but very practical.  My favorite part of this books explains that most reps spend about 90 minutes each day actually selling.  What if they doubled that!

Consultative Selling, Mack Hanan – An old standby for anyone creating value.  I had the opportunity to dine with Mack in NYC a few years ago!  The author has a great deal of wisdom when it comes to demonstrating justifaction.

Personal Branding, Peter Montoya – There is no better book on personal branding, and personal branding is key to changing the way people perceive you.  If you want to know how famous people become famous, Peter explains it.  If you do nothing to change your personal brand, expect to be treated accordingly.

Good to Great, Jim Collins – there is no excuse for not reading this book!  Every executive has read it, so you should too.

Permission Marketing, Seth Godin – Did I say Marketing is key?  I did!  Seth Godin has a lot of wisdom in this area, and seems to understand the steps we need to take in order to get past the noise.  Thousands like you are calling on the same executives every week.  How will you get permission to continue calling on them?

The New Rules of Marketing, David Meerman Scott – Yes, there are new rules.  Scott has forever changed my view of marketing and social media. Every rep should take this book to heart and get moving on their marketing program.  Waiting on your marketing department will kill your business.

The Ultimate Sales Machine, Chet Holmes – for his treatment of educational marketing.    He has some older ideas that are easily replaced with Scott’s book, but still worth reading to understand how he gains permission, building on Godin’s ideas.

PS. By all means, do read The House & the Cloud

© 2010, David Stelzl