Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Speaking with Authority

Last week I presented the first in a series of InterMizzi seminars. I was coming off the back of a successful talk on Digital Signage and thought that my topic "Selling to, and for, C-Level Executives" would hold the interest of the audience. It will become obvious that even if you are an experienced presenter, there are a few rules that you must to follow.

I have presented on over 200 occasions over the last five years. This has given me a greater appreciation of the skill of some of the greatest presenters. I started this presentation with a short video of the poet Taylor Mali and his spoken word piece titled "Like you-Know" in which he questions the wisdom of the bumper sticker "...it is not enough to challenge authority, you gotta speak with it too." Then I went on to stumble over my words.

It is hard to talk with conviction and authority about something that you have never before vocalised. You can be passionate but not necessarily authoritative. So one of the rules about presenting, at least for me, is to rehearse out loud.

Go to http://www.intermizzi.com.au/ to find out more.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Five Rules for Keeping Your Sales Job in this Recession

Early this morning I sat in on a Webinar presented by Jeb Blount from SalesGravy and hosted by Landslide, a Sales CRM company.

The focus was on sales people, mostly in the US, who are worried about keeping their jobs. The five rules given are:
  • Activity is Everything
  • Don't Complain
  • Become Indispensable
  • Make No Enemies
  • Have a Backup Plan

Most of the advice is the same as the advice that you would hear for advancement in more prosperous times. The significant difference is that recession brings fear to those who thought they were on a comfortable ride, and the ride is always relative.

Whilst Australia is fearing unemployment rates of 7%, the US is predicting 10 to 12%. A recent survey in the US found that 50% are worried that they would lose their job. Clearly a large portion of them are focussing on worrying rather than doing their job.

Then I found an article "The Upside of a Down Market: 10 Reasons Why a Recession is Good for Selling" written by Victor Antonio in which he relates his time as VP of Sales in Argentina when Argentina's unemployment rate was somewhere between 20% and 25%.

So it is obvious that whilst there might be 5 rules for keeping your job in a recession, there are at least 10 reasons why a recession is good for selling.

Go to http://www.intermizzi.com.au/ to find out more.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just like a Salesman

When was the last time that you received this compliment? I'll bet that it wasn't meant as something in which you could take pride. Ironic given that we are the people charged with bringing in the revenue!

I recently gave a speech to the sales team of a large international company with a very recognisable brand. I was asked to present to their sales team of thirty and I started with the question “Who in the Sales team started their career with the goal of sales as a profession?” I was surprised that two people raised their hands. I’m usually rewarded with an audience bereft of hands. It is a sad fact that Sales is not seen as a professional career when sales can be one of the most rewarding of professions.

Studies in the USA (HR Chally Group) show that, of all employee groups, sales staff has the highest turnover. This ranges from 25-30% in a good organisation with the worst companies up to 60-70%. Another statistic from the study is that over 50% who graduate college become sales people.

So it is obvious that there is a great chance that Sales people end up being the leaders of the organisation, as long as Sales people treat their career as a profession. This means that you need to invest time in your career.

Go to http://www.intermizzi.com.au/ to find out more.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Qualification, Qualification and Qualification

This is a mantra that I've held for many years. Where Real Estate preaches Position, Position, Postion the equivalent mantra for sales must be that the three most important things to remember for sales is Qualification, Qualification and Qualification.

So what does that mean? It means that you should not spend your time with those prospects that don't need your attention right now. It will become obvious when you think about it that you can still get it all wrong if you don't have some plan for the qualification. You need to know the criteria that allows you to see if a client fits you. Then you will be able to determine if you fit the client.

And this is not to say that you ditch a prospect just because they haven't called you back as persistence is still key. I sat in on a sales teleconference yesterday where the following statistics were given:
  • 2% of sales are made on the 1st contact
  • 3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact
  • 5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact
  • 10% of sales are made on the 4th contact
  • 80% of sales are made on or after the 5th contact <<== WOW

So if you have tried at least 5 times then at least you are not selling yourself short. Just make sure that you are qualifying the opportunity on the way through.

Go to http://www.intermizzi.com.au/ to find out more.