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When little gadgets like the iPad command greater attention than just about anything you sell, the technology business is in trouble.  That is, unless you have something greater than the product to vend.  It was bad enough that half the emails I was receiving said they were sent from the iphone (which we Verizon customers still don’t have), but now the other half are coming from the iPad!  Where are we headed?  I’m changing my signature to read, sent from my MacBook Pro, which supports more apps, has a bigger screen, and consumes more power! (Right about now I am loving the fact that I upgraded from Microsoft Windows earlier this year.)

The real issue of course, is that the product can’t be the center of attention.  If you you work for Apple, perhaps your real value is innovation.  If you are a reseller it must be intellectual capital.  If you work for just about any product company, you had better have some niche, or you’ll be what Geoffrey Moore once called the Chimps, always trying to steal market share from the Gorilla.  Or, perhaps you’ll learn the same lesson we all need to learn…that the message, the marketing, and the intellectual capital are more valuable than just about any product.  Certainly in the long run this is true.

© David Stelzl, 2010



Whether it\’s LPI, Zenith, Nable, or one of the many platforms available out there, it\’s really your technical knowhow and your ability to lower the impact and likelihood issues your client may face.  Yesterday was just one more example of total incompetence with the big players.  Heading out on a four day trip, I opened up my laptop in the airport in hopes of getting some work done between flights.  All of the sudden my wireless broadband card will not connect.

Verizon tests my connection and says everything is ok on their side and then actually takes a proactive step and gets Dell on the line (something I never expected).  Then after the usual computer troubleshooting 101 drills, the Dell tech decides we need to reinstall my entire system from the disks sent with the laptop.  That\’s right, not reinstall the driver for this wireless card, but actually rebuild the entire system.  I\’ve already told him I am sitting in the airport, but he actually asks if I have the disks and can save my data to a thumb drive!  How hard is it to beat this kind of competition?


October 20, 2008 — Leave a comment

For months now I have fought the urge to start my blog – but when I received a call from the Amazing Window sales person yesterday, I knew this couldn’t wait any longer.  He started out by acknowledging that if I needed windows, I would have already called him, but since I had not, I must not really have a need.  However, if I would just let him come over and get an estimate, he would keep my information on file until such a time as I needed to replace these windows I am currently using.

If you’ve ever attended one of my workshops you know that I love these inbound sales calls.  Many of my stories and examples of how not to sell come from dinner time interruptions read from poorly written scripts.  But somehow this one was different.  I politely explained that this was not a good time; I was in the middle of some preparation for an event I will be speaking at this Friday in Orlando.  It was only at this point in the call that I heard him reading from a script.  His reply, “I understand you are not looking for windows, do you have a brick house or wooden structure?”   Again I tried to politely end the discussion only to be asked again, “Are your windows hard to maintain, or is the lack of energy efficiency the problem (of course I never said I had a problem)?”  At this point I was struck by this man’s tenacity.  He was not going to let me go.  I said, “Your really not letting me end this call are you?”  “I hate to be rude and just hang up on you….”  But he kept on going, “How many windows do you have in this house.”  Finally I did hang up, but somehow I wish I had stayed with him a little longer. 

In my workshops I frequently meet sales reps who are trying to get back to profitability.  They look back and recall years of success, living off of the memories of the late 90’s; a time when they commanded large commissions from global accounts in all areas of high-tech selling.  They’re gone now, something has changed.  Two things I learned from this call, first, if he had memorized his script and perfected the ability to sound less scripted, he would have held my attention longer.  The stiffness of his presentation was a turn-off.  On the other hand, he was tenacious.  He knew that as long as we stayed on the phone there was a chance that I’d give him enough information to create something for  the future.  Sales takes work and it takes tenacity.  It takes being willing to have people reject you without taking it personally.  I am sure this guy made many calls yesterday; that’s his job.  And I am also sure most of them were rejections.  But he held to his script (even if it was too rigid for me), without letting on that he had been rejected all day, and I was just one more.  Success in this market is going to take that kind of drive.  Looking on past success should be brief and motivating to move on to today – make today a success simply by learning from yesterday, setting your course, driving forward, and making course corrections along the way.  Daydreaming never produces anything.