We know you all have a good grasp of what’s really going on out there in the marketplace. So naturally, the first thing we get asked is, “what right do we have putting this information out there?” After all, sales people think they are studs and do not have to learn anything. For starters, we have been on the enterprise software selling side of the equation since 1999. All of us have been President’s Club/Inner Circle award winners in our respective partner channels (Microsoft, Oracle and SAP). So, maybe we do have something to share with you at the end of the day.
It was a complete accident that all of us have gotten involved in the enterprise software selling space. We are not sure how you got to where you are today, although we would love to hear your stories. The one driving force behind our passion for the enterprise software industry is seeing enterprise software make a difference for our customers. Oddly enough we never had adversarial relationships with our competition. Why? For starters, there is plenty of business to go around. We realized that the only way to shorten sales cycles in this space is to take on a more vertical approach. We are not suggesting abandoning your marketing strategy and going with a certain niche. No. For us, becoming an apostle to vertical markets gave us access to C-level and VP-level people, shortened our sales cycles and increased deal sizes. While we ran into dozens of opportunities on a monthly basis that had nothing to do with our chosen verticals, the discipline was to create a network where we tossed those opportunities over the fence to other really good re-sellers. A funny thing happened…they felt compelled to return the favor. And they did so…in spades.
When I personally started out in this business I made 294 cold calls in the first couple weeks and set a company record that may actually still stand today. I was 0 for 294. One of my co-workers at the time said, “Thank God! I was 0 for 172 and thought I was failing.”
So, finally I got an appointment. It’s a manufacturing company in Los Angeles. After the presentation, I had asked the decision maker “How do you feel about what you have seen so far?” He tells me, “I think I’m going to throw up.”
Another day another appointment, same thing, “How do you feel about what you have seen so far?” He tells me, “Did you know you have bad breath?”
After a few more appointments like this I got angry. Been there? I stayed in this business because I am a first born child. Only first born children have a way that when we fail, we REALLY have to fail. So, I decided to go back and see those people that gave me a hard time.
First stop was the manufacturing company. I mentioned to the guy that “I was fairly new to the industry at the time and may have stumbled over some things but did you really have to tell me you were going to throw up after the presentation?” The guy tells me he had a bad breakfast and at the time and had to use the bathroom. Two months later he bought a 22-user ERP system.
Next, I go back to the guy who tells me I had bad breath and told him, “Chris, I came here to give you a presentation. You told me I had bad breath…I did not come here to kiss you Chris. I came here to sell you software. Could you back up a little bit?” Chris told me that I really did not have bad breath. He did not want to be an operations manager; he wanted to be a dentist. I learned more about plaque in the next 45 minutes than I ever thought I cared about. One month later he bought 40-user CRM system.
It would be nice if I could tell you I sold all 294 cold calls from the beginning. Of those 294 calls, 81 scheduled appointments and 37 became customers. Those others…I learned quite a bit from them too. None of them were qualified in the first place.
The stuff we are going to share with you is not going to work for everyone. If you are a typical IBM person: 3-piece suit, 10-pound wing tips, thin tie, white shirt…this stuff does not work for those people. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the other sales methodologies out there. Our personal experience is that they were too archaic for what we were trying to accomplish this day in age.
Case in point, how about “the price goes up on Monday” close? Substitute Monday for quarter or year-end if you like. I used that close before only to have prospects call me out, “Ahhh, that’s the impending event close.” Another prospect once asked me, “Is this where you do the Ben Franklin close?”
How do they know all that???
The point is this…no matter where you find opportunities, no matter what lead gen program you go with (whether it’s us or someone else), the information we will be sharing with you is FREE. Give this some time, our suggestions WILL work for you in some way shape or form. I promise. Not one thing that we will share with you was written in an ivory tower. It was all created on the street. With that, if you like a certain methodology, DO NOT THROW IT AWAY. The only thing we are going to do for you here is give you some new options. If you are doing well with what you are using now, keep doing it. At some point you will run into a problem with a customer or prospect soon. That’s the time to try what worked for us. And in a situation that you think is hopeless, our suggestions will work and you can thank us later. All it takes is an open mind…