This is my first blog post for NewzSocial . In this post I will be telling you a bit about myself, my style of writing, talk about some influences and then introduce my next post topic – Value Propositions. I will also end my posts with a recommendation and an “ask”.
While I will be writing about selling at NewzSocial, I will also be drawing on my sales experiences from the past 25 years. My intent is to educate and entertain anyone that cares to hear what my view is on selling and sales. I will be writing from the point of view of a sales guy and sales leader. I have been CEO of my own start-ups and angel investor in a couple others so my perspective will hopefully be balanced.
I want this blog to be real, for you to feel the pain and exhilaration, for you to see actual examples of what I am talking about. I truly believe that if you want to give sales advice, be prepared to lead by example, be specific and offer proof.
To be blunt, I see far too many posts from “researchers” and arm chair quarterbacks that have never carried a quota or made a sales call. This drives me crazy and is the underlying motivation of much of my writing. To be balanced, there are also a lot of great writers that do sell for a living and have terrific insights. You will learn who I think some of these great writers are.
I have sold multi-million dollar enterprise deals to some of the largest companies in the world; managed high volume transactional SaaS teams, developed & managed partners, sold internationally and been through a couple acquisitions. I have NOT “seen and done it all”, but I have done quite a few things. These experiences will shape my blog.
Now, let’s talk about selling.
The Challenge. Coming up on my one year anniversary with NewzSocial. We are early days here, struggling to get a very new and different product into a crowded market. Everyday I see competitors out there announcing new customers and creating buzz. How in the world am I supposed to sell our social media platform into this environment?
The Solution. It all starts with a strong value proposition. There are many definitions and posts out there on how to create a strong value proposition. A value proposition must satisfy three tests.
- Does it “resonate”? Do your prospects say to themselves “ I want that, I need that…”?
- Does it “differentiate”? If you get objections around price or have to spend a lot of time negotiating price then you are not well differentiated.
- Does it “substantiate”? Do your prospects believe you can do what you say you can do?
These three tests are the building blocks of success in sales. And yes, I have not forgotten that we need to align with our buyers, understand and be fluent in the industry issues my prospects are dealing with, know who my target audience is, understand my competition, navigate an account, leverage social media etc.
If you get objections asking how you are different from a particular competitor, or a prospect cuts you off early in the process and tells you to send a quote, you do a demo and the client goes radio silent etc. If you get these and a variety of others that I will discuss, then it is back to your value proposition. There will obviously be exceptions to this. If other reps are selling and you are not…then the problem may be you. It might be that you do not do a proper job of the needs analysis or of qualifying. We will get to those elements in due time.
My next post will explore specifics around a working value proposition. By no means is this an easy challenge. In no way will my posts do justice to the challenge sales people face every day. I will do my best though, to document what I know to see if that can help you.
Today’s Recommendation: Absolute Value: What Really Influences Customers in the Age of (nearly) Perfect Information by Itamar Simonson & Emanuel Rosen.
My Ask of you: Tell me what is the best book you have read on sales, selling, sales strategy.
Would like to thank Rain Group for their incredibly valuable insights that I used to develop many of my posts. http://www.rainsalestraining.com/blog/how-to-use-a-value-proposition/.