Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sales Poetry - Poetry as an analogy for Sales

I originally wrote this as the basis for a speech and found it again when I was recently trawling through my documents folder. I hope you enjoy it.


Poetry needs passion, so does sales.

You can write a limerick and get a laugh, you can run through a process and get a sale. But if you want to leave them wanting more, you need to approach Sales with passion. After all, it is sales that gives your company its life blood, revenue. You may as well get passionate about it. 

Consistent format 

Poetry has consistent formats eg: Haiku, Rhyme, Quatrain, Iambic pentameter and limerick. Similarly, Sales generally follow a Prospect, Qualify, Position, Align, Proof of concept, determine scope of work, Quote, Negotiate, Close. 

Explores Facts and Emotions 

Poetry explores and questions facts, assumptions and emotions:
Eg: There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses — he was worth a thousand pound
(with apologies to AB "Banjo" Paterson)

A sales person might question the truth of this and seek to understand if the owner was happy with a replacement. If not, what would the owner do in the mean time to satisfy the need for a colt. Possibly strike an agreement to outsource a colt of similar stature at 100 pounds per month for the next 6 months and if the colt from old Regret could not be found, the owner could purchase the replacement. 

Sometimes unexpected ending 

Poetry can lead you down the garden path, certain that a pot of gold awaits at the end. Then, just as you feel it in your grasp, it is snatched away. Sales are the same, but if you write the script, you can be more certain of the end. 

Sometimes inspired

Famous American poet Ruth Stone described how a poem would fly to her when she was harvesting in the fields. See I had my own experience when I was able to out manoeuvre IBM. This is also a story about flexibility in smaller companies. 

Sometimes just hard work and persistence

Sometimes a poem just flows; sometimes it’s just hard work. When it is hard work you can still get there but you need to follow a process and make sure that the deal is still worth the work. 
·         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

There are highs and lows 

Just as poetry can take you on an emotional rollercoaster, so can sales.
Month on month you can be elated at the end of the month then realise then you need to do it all over again.
The best way to avoid this is to have visibility of a pipeline.... 

Not everyone is a poet 

Just as everyone is not a poet, not everyone can sell.
The features and the benefits from which you can tell
That you understand all the tricks and avenues
It might be obvious to all, that you are clever with words
Adds up to nought when you are dealing with revenues

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Networking or Putting yourself in the way of your targets

I was recently asked by a trainer, who had just decided to start his own company, how I use networking to find business. In answer, I told him that it was about putting yourself in the way of your targets. He got it immediately.

Just in case it is not, I’ll try to make it more obvious with some examples. There are many occasions when you could be invited to an event or gathering that might turn up some good prospects. I recall one instance when I was looking to be employed by a company but wanted to impress upon the CEO that I would be able to take a different angle to most others. I started subscribing to an email specific to his industry. Very soon, I noticed a conference that was being run by a government body responsible for that industry and that he was listed as a speaker. As it was a government conference, anyone with an interest could register to attend. By the first break we had “run into each other” and he was offering me the role. He had not expected me to be there and the fact that I was showing interest beyond others proved to him that I was the right selection.

This is an especially good way to learn about an industry that you may be targeting and can give you great exposure to who is the decision maker.