Archive for July, 2010

The numbers in selling just do not work

Sudokusolve chances
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I am reading a very good book on learning about your customer before you ever talk to them (Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling) . This is in part based on what is also in People Buy You. Customers buy a solution to a problem they have. Your job as a sales person is to learn beforehand what problems appear to be occurring, so you can speak about their company and not yours.  Doing anything less, means you are doomed to the losing sales numbers game.

The sales numbers game, if you do not know.(Where trickle down is not pretty).

  • Corporate sets a target of 10% more sales this quarter ( We never know where this comes from)
  • Each sales guy realizes with  his  10% closing rate, that a 10% increase is multiplied by ten. thus he needs 10 times f2f presentations.
  • Inside sales realizes that with a 5 % response rate to prospecting, their outbound calls have to increase by twenty times – and there is no more staff.
  • The entire department is already busy – they are not sitting around

This is a losing game, because it does not address the huge losses embedded into most sales systems.  Sharon Drew Morgen, Mitch Gooze and Michael Webb all are up in arms about the tremendous wastage in sales, where such low rates are common.  A few process trainers have ideas about bumping up the percentages a bit with different behaviours.  But that is just icing a flawed cake

No one in senior management recognizes that this is a much bigger issue (yet fairly logical to address).  If you present a solution that solves a real customer problem, that he can recognize easily,  your sales cycle shortens.  You need to start to remove the obstacles to selling that you have created yourself.

In using our sales and marketing framework Rocket Builders find big self made linked obstacles/inefficiencies  in many places in companies, such as:

  • product management
  • marketing management
  • channel management
  • executive management but
  • rarely in sales management

The blind spot is that if an executive does not know what they do not know, where would they find out? In your company, do not be content with accepting long sales cycles and a decreasing return based on using the numbers game.  You have created these yourself and you must find the root causes (Its your job as CEO) . If you are on a Board of Directors, you should be asking lots of tough questions. Do not know the questions to ask? Give me a call!

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Part 2 in learning about selling

I recently did a short list for someone new to selling
which has generated quite a bit of comments, traffic and a few meetings. Now I am being asked for whats next?
So next up is Snap Selling by Jill Konrath which is very current
Jill then recommends Sharon Drew Morgen as someone with tremendous insight
(I concur)
The books above talk from the sales side (because that is how you sell books  in this space, people really do not buy as many marketing books)  but the authors  at least understand the disconnect between marketing and sales, and give the sales group something to do about it. When you really hook sales and marketing well together, the system works like a fine machine. At Rocket Builders we have made that happen using what we call a sales and marketing framework.  Wrto marketing, we have  yet to write the book about the framework that is needed that addresses sales effectiveness.
After the books above then you start to get into the sales efficiency stuff – how to be efficient with lead gen, being better at SEO , sales behaviours, sales processes , sales management, and so on.  There are many books – some great ones, plus lots of trainers and courses , a few of which are current and terrific.
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Mojo. How to get it, how to keep it, how to get it back if you lose it. Marshall Goldsmith

Marshall Goldsmith (20 March 1949) is an Ameri...
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Mojo. How to get it, how to keep it, how to get it back if you lose it. Marshall Goldsmith. 2009. ISBN 978140132327.  Thank you MaryEllen for recommending this author. Famous as the coaches coach, Goldsmith certainly deserves the title.  I found this little book to be chock full of extremely useful immediately  applicable insights. His writing style is simple, concise and direct – yet he comes across as just so Da,,,mn useful.  For me the lighthouse point was his comment that there really is no use for you in getting upset at people being who they are. They can not help it.  Once you realize this you can forgive them for being who they are. And move on to change what you can.  Good read, great book, terrific summer recharger.  check out more including the smartphone app at

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The New Polymath. Profiles in compound-technology innovations. Vinnie Mirchandani

The New Polymath. Profiles in compound-technology innovations. Vinnie Mirchandani. 2010. ISBN 9780470618301. You can imagine that  on my desk I have several (today 21) books to choose from to read. I was really peeved  when I picked up Vinnies book when it first arrived for a quick scan. I could not put it down. But I had tons of work to do on other projects! But this book is too important to not read immediately. If you work in Tech and intend to do well , you must read this book . One reviewer called it a fire hose of information on what is here and what is coming. Plus it is just a delightful read. His interviews and examples are concise and relevant.  this is an author who has really done his homework. I can not imagine how hard he worked on this book.  Run out, buy it and read it this summer. He has two blogs, and They are both great.

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Now for something completely different – A river cruise in the South of France next May

Arles Amphitheatre
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Now for something completely different – A river cruise in the South of France.

My better half, the tour specialist alerted me yesterday to a great experience she found out about. A river cruise starting May 28th from Arles to Lyon which is front ended by three days in Barcelona ( May 25-28) and ends with three days in Paris (June 4-7).  You would leave Canada May 24.

This is a first class  five star, white gloves, gourmet wining, dining , touring experience.  These things are wildly popular, with small numbers on a small river boat which sell out almost a year in advance. We were lucky to get what we found.  We have a hold on  5 rooms for 5 couples and can take reservations now. When they are gone they are gone, likely in a month from now.  check out the links:
Canadian Organizer

Boat and company
The Swiss Pearl
Trip overview
Map of trip
Detailed itinerary
Videos  about the AMA cruise line

The interesting thing for us is that these are small (158 passengers) boats which tie up in the centre of town ( Behind the main cathedral). You can get out and walk the cobblestone streets, go to the market with the chef, live in the town for the day – make your own tour or take a guided one. You can pick up the local wine, bring it back and have it with your dinner of the local food.  You unpack once and the hotel follows you around the countryside. Some vessels have bikes on board that you can  use. My neighbours just returned from a Danube river cruise and they are over the moon with the service, food, staff and tours. It was easily the best holiday experience they have had.  Like I said these sell out early so if you are interested, ping me back!  I am thinking this is one way to get a start on a warmer Spring next year!

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People Buy You. The real secret to what matters most in business. Jeb Blount

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People Buy You. The real secret to what matters most in business. Jeb Blount. 2010. ISBN 9780470599112. The person behind and Sales Guy audio and video on selling, Blount knows what he is talking about. As he was looking at current thinking on sales he realized that many long held sales beliefs were myths that needed  debunking. Myths such as :

  1. Friends buy from friends
  2. People but from people they like (But they don’t buy from people they dislike)
  3. You have to sell yourself

Rather you need to:

  1. Be likable
  2. Connect
  3. Solve problems
  4. Build trust
  5. Create positive emotional experiences

His solving problems chapter is one of the better ones I have read lately.  This is a short , concise and clearly written book.  And it is true, people do buy you.  Younger folks would do well to read his section on Brand You.

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The Millenium Trilogy. Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
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The Millenium Trilogy. Stieg Larsson. 2008- 2009.  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo ISBN 9780143170098. The Girl Who Played With Fire. ISBN9780143170105. and The Girl |Who Kicked Over the Hornets Nest. ISBN 9780670069033.  Perhaps its my Swedish heritage (there is even a Nordman character in one of these books) , and my predilection to mystery novels – but I really liked these books. Good thing Canada Day was cloudy – I burnt through these guys over a three day period.  You need to read them in sequence and read all of them- it is a well planned out trilogy.  The most modern heroine, Lisbeth Salander – is the  antithesis of a cuddly girl – which makes for lots of steamy plotlines and twists. The hero Mikael Blomkvist, sleeps his way through his relationships as he plies his unique method of investigative journalism. Most of the locations are in Sweden, and I recognized a few from when I was there. The reflections on Swedish culture – which has been called very liberal are quite interesting. It does make North Americans look quite uptight all the time! Too bad the author passed away after writing these, they do make you want for more.  Each book will keep you going on a four hour plane ride!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (film)
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CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 17:  Actors Noomi Rapace ...
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