4 Lessons a Salesperson Can Learn from the Chicago Blackhawks


Hawks

(Disclaimer…I’m still beaming with Chicago pride at the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, so this post may be a bit over the top for any out-of-towners).

Last night was one of the best final minutes of any sporting event in recent memory.  What a great ending to a tough series!

Seems like many of the selling situations we’re in become tougher by the year as well.

So what lessons can a salesperson (or any competitor for that matter) glean from the 2013 Blackhawks?

  1. It’s not over until the buzzer. Really – until. the. buzzer.  Play through.  Whether your winning or losing, it can be taken by you or taken from you in the final minutes of the game.  The tying and winning goals were scored within 17 seconds in the last 1.5 minutes of that game.  You need to play with all you’ve got until you’ve got the ink.
  2. Listen to your coaches.  Joel Quenneville helps his players out.  He gives them credit and they help each other win.  He now has 2 Stanley Cups as a Head Coach.  He got there by supporting his players.  You need the support of a coach too.  You know what to do…Connect with a good coach in each selling situation (are those situations without an internal coach really worth your time anyway?).
  3. Don’t listen to your critics (or at least neutralize your detractors).  Chicago goalie Corey Crawford said it best when the smack talk started about some perceived weaknesses.  “I’m not really listening to it,” he said. “I have a job to do and whatever is being said is not going to affect what I am going to do on the ice.”  Good advice.
  4. Prepare.  No one cares more about your success than you do.  During the NHL lockout that threatened this season, Team Captain Jonathan Toews organized informal workouts with the team.  How often do you go the extra mile to prepare for a big sales meeting when no one is looking?

GO Hawks!

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One More Question…


One More Question...

One More Question…

I was working with a long-term client of mine recently.  After scoping a project, we were discussing and nearing terms on the price.  We agreed on the terms for the project and I went back to the office to get the final documents together, organize the team, and begin planning the kickoff.  On my drive home, My client called me.  “One more question…”  She wanted to know if we could cut the cost by 10%.  “We are really at our limit relative to costs on this project,” I said.  “And none of my competitors can give you someone with the skills of Joe [a consultant on my team] in this area.”  “Well, OK,” she said, “A girl’s gotta ask.”  I agreed, shared that although we could not reduce our price I understood her request, and we completed the contract and the project on-time and on-budget.  It was a good reminder to me that:

  1. Buyers will always ask for that one more thing (many times a reduced price)
  2. Don’t sell on price so it does not come down to price being your only concession point, and
  3. Don’t blame buyers, be surprised, or take it personally – because…”A girl’s gotta ask”

The 5 Questions Every Company Should Ask Itself (via Fast Company)


Question Mark on Road (ahead)This is a RT via @FastCompany.  If you’re not following Fast Company, you should do it right away.  It represents some of the best and brightest business thinking out there and has wonderful content.  This article is no exception, and really gets you thinking about some fundamentals about your business… ://t.co/5lCsLebn9q

*Spoiler Alert* Here are the questions.  You’ll need to read the article for the context:

  1. What is our company’s purpose on this Earth?
  2. What should we STOP doing?
  3. If we didn’t have an existing business, how could we best build a new one?
  4. Where is our petri dish?
  5. How can we make a better experiment?

The Value of “The Human Interface”


face to faceIt’s an unfortunate paradox, but one that is harder and harder to ignore.  The more energy we all pour into our computers, social media, and mobile interfaces, the less time we spend on our person-to-person, human interface.  There are many articles highlighting this dynamic – that social media is ironically making us less social human beings. A great Facebook-focused article on this topic can be found here in The Atlantic.

But you don’t need to do comprehensive research for this information, the anecdotal evidence is all around us – kids texting from across a school bus aisle, adults arguing via Facebook posts, even teens impersonating other teens using “text spoofing” and other electronic interfaces.

The Workplace version of this story took on a new reality last week.  Here is what happened, according to Tech Crunch:

While at a Python programming conference, a developer who used to work for a company called Playhaven apparently made a joke about “big” dongles and “forking someone’s repo.”

Adria Richards, a developer evangelist sitting in front of them, called them out on Twitter and in a blog post for making the conference environment unwelcoming toward women

A huge, nasty online exchange erupted on the social media universe, and ultimately, both the programmer and Adria lost their jobs.  Very serious.  Very sad.

What if instead Adria had simply turned around and told the programmer that she found his comments offensive?  It’s easy to imagine that with face-to-face communication, this conflict could have been resolved much more effectively.

So, what does this have to do with sales and marketing?  A lot, I think.

I believe that we as Sales and Marketing Professionals have also lost some practice with direct human communication.  We use voicemail, email, text, and even social media to carry out much of the communication that was once almost exclusively face-to-face with our customers.  Have there been efficiency improvements, absolutely.  But, I can’t help but wonder how much more effective some of our critical conversations would be if we delivered them on the human interface.

What Your Sales Manager Should Never Have to Manage


You

I found this awesome blog post by Anthony Iannarino @iannarino: What Your Sales Manager Should Never Have to Manage.  In his post, Anthony calls out many transactional and even strategic aspects of your sales career that should not have to be managed.  You need to power these aspects of your career (activities, beliefs, commitments, accurate CRM info, etc.).

Read his blog post and think about it: http://t.co/weQsAfXpiA.

Does You Customer NEED To Buy?


Need v Want

Picked up this tweet last week and finally read it – boy did it hit home.  Have a read…

Wanting To Buy Is Insufficient, Does Your Customer NEED To Buy? http://t.co/HEP4jIrMQD RT @davidabrock

How much time have you spent with people who honestly had the budget, authority and timetable to buy, but in the end did not actually NEED to buy your solution?  It’s very hard for them to prioritize and take action unless the want is really a NEED.

As David Brock says in his post – “No business case, No Deal.”

Don’t Tell Me You Don’t Have Time



No Time
Read a great blog post today.  Some blunt but true statements about a negative phrase that we have all repeated to ourselves on many occations…

I Don’t Have Time.

The blog post’s author, Brendan Howe, says that “One of the most important things any successful person can master is time management…If you EVER use this phrase or a variation of it, I will suggest two things about you:

  1. You are not as accountable as you should be
  2. You are bad at time management.”

Worth the read at:    http://t.co/13HAOcZr6B