Business Lessons from Iraq: the Consequence of Disengaging

business lessons from Iraq

image courtesy of PressTV

As of June 2014, the current situation in Iraq is spiraling out of control.  A new, spin-off terrorist faction called ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is committing atrocities and taking ground in north-central Iraq and moving southward toward Baghdad, changing the short-lived democratic face of the region and creating scenarios and military alliances of convenience that one would have thought implausible two weeks ago.  Although the region has always been unstable (and likely always will be), many analysts concur that the United States’ troop draw down to essentially zero has created a power vacuum, with current Iraqi security forces unable to defend territory and a government in disarray.

Folks, there are business lessons to be learned here. Read More…

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How to Get to First Base with the C-Suite

selling to the c-suite

image courtesy birdswatcher.com

How many people in Sales do you know that do not want to reach the decision-maker with their pitch?  The rhetorical answer is…zero, of course.  When it comes to complex sales of technology, consulting, or other high-value yet high-ticket services in a B2B setting, those decision-makers reside within the C-Suite of your target prospect organizations.  CEO, COO, CIO, CMO – depending upon the responsibility domain of whom best benefits from your stuff; your focus is at this level. But as many of you know, cracking the defenses of the executive wash room crowd is no picnic, so just how do you go about even getting to first base, much less make a sale? Read More…

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How to Double Your Sales Wins Before Your First Call

double your sales wins, sales call plan

image courtesy Wrigley Corp.

Anyone engaged in selling, be it a salesperson or a business owner that promotes her own company, wants to develop new business from new and existing clients.  Unfortunately, most sales professionals lose the sale before they even make their first sales calls, and don’t even know why, chalking it up to a numbers game they can only control by knocking on more doors.  Well people, in my brain, my closure rate is to number of calls as margin is to gross sales—I’d rather call on half the prospects to get the same numbers. Read More…

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Suspect to Prospect: The 1st Rung of the Sales Ladder

image courtesy Michael Becker, Fox Network

If the number 1 reason for missed sales is not asking for the order, then a close second has to be the mis-applied sales pitch; that is, trying to sell to non-qualified prospects.  This is particularly true for high value B2B sales, such as new technology or outsourced professional service contracts.  You just don’t have the time to gamble on sentries, tire-kickers or lonely junior execs looking for someone to talk to.  Top professionals maximize their personal and company time and resources and only present solutions to qualified, high-likelihood buyers where the deck is stacked to win. Read More…

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3 Lies You Tell Yourself About Your Customers That Cost You Sales

image courtesy "Sudden Impact", Warner Bros

In my line of work, one of the most frequent expressed needs my technology clients talk about is new business development.  Sales have stagnated or dropped, and the CEO is seeking the classic Hunter.  This makes sense.  New business development is incredibly important.  But what about old business development?  I’ve found out that many business owners are kidding themselves about the business opportunities that come from current accounts and continue to believe some whoppers about the current state of their sales, and that belief is costing them easy sales.  Read More…

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Mental Aerobics for Salespeople: Breaking Through

brain aerobics, mental conditioning

image by marin/ddparumba @ freedigitalphotos.net

Sales professionals leverage their history, training and experience in their personal selling tool kits, making them available as needed to attack any sales situation.  This is good.  But what happens when it isn’t working, when you’re in a rut, and you just can’t seem to move the needle with that target account and you’ve exhausted all of your known tactics?  It’s time to change your approach, and that’s easier said than done when years of training and success have boxed in your brain with certain “realities”.  It’s time to hit the mental gym. Read More…

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Selling Technology to the C-Suite: Making the Complex Actionable

selling technology, selling the c-suite

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick @freedigitalphotos.net

We’ve all seen sit-coms showing nerds at Star Trek or Lord of the Rings Conventions, laughing at the esoteric, inside-baseball, goofy factoids that everyone in attendance knows about and the audience doesn’t.  That super-geek behavior is what makes it funny.  They’re talking their own special language of techie pop-culture, yet it is Greek to the rest of us.  If you’re company sells technology products and services, and that is a lot of firms these days, beware your sales approach to the buyer who isn’t as up to speed on the hi-tech bells and whistles as you have become.  You might seem just as alien as the Hobbits from the TV convention, except it won’t be funny when you end up losing the sale.

This happens more often than not when well-versed sales engineers get past the high-tech user audience and need to pitch to the C-suite.  Those real decision-makers speak a language of their own, and you need to learn it if you want them to start scratching out checks. Read More…

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Navy Seal Crisis Response: 3 Steps for Your Business

 navy seals, seal training, crisis responseThe United States Navy Seal program develops warriors on the battlefield par excellence.  These are men who are the very best at dealing with crisis situations that most of us can’t begin to contemplate and handling them with crack efficiency.  Unfortunately many of us reading this, myself included, never realize that game excellence until one or more of them make headlines by making the ultimate sacrifice for their cause, their unit, and their country.

But what exactly makes these guys so exceptional at what they do, and can those skills, or variations of them, be developed in people like you and I and used in our daily routines to make us the best in our own respective career universes? Read More…

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Rolodex Rainmaking: The Real Truth

rolodex rainmaker, business development

image courtesy of cooldesign @ freedigitalphotos.net

New business development, defined as new customers that are actually buying your products and services, is the lifeblood for most businesses, at least those that are trying to grow. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs, owners and CEOs oversimplify the business development process to what sales or BD person has the biggest Rolodex. That’s a critical mistake, and many top executives fail to learn from history and make it over, and over, and over…

So just how should CEOs be looking at new business development to actually get a real and sizable return on investment? Read More…

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Making Sales a Science: Sales Analytics

sales performance measurement, sales analytics

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan @freedigitalphotos.net

The story of Moneyball, General Manager Billy Bean’s use of analytics to create a continually competitive baseball team in Oakland on a shoestring budget, is famous in business circles as an analogy to explain the fascinating use of big data to drive results. But just what do you measure when it comes to improving your sales, and how exactly do you do it? Read More…

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