Selling the Appointment

"Selling the Appointment" - read a few comments from sales experts today saying that getting the appointment is everything in sales. Is it? 

Now I'm not an idiot (no matter what the comments on LinkedIn posts say) and I know that in sales you have to MEET people to sell STUFF and THINGS. 

But meet...whom? 

What I mean is this...most outbound prospecting starts with a SUPER WIDE net. Collect as many fish as you can, meet with them (or let the SDR set an appointment so the AE can meet with them) and then qualify them as a prospect and an opportunity. Move them past the opening of the funnel, through the pipeline and into the WIN column.  But the first meeting is a USUALLY a discovery meeting.

I understand that value for the sales person. It's vital to have proper discovery to ID whether or not the prospect is a real fit/opportunity.

What's the value of a discovery meeting for the prospect?

Michael Miller told me that he "bought an appointment yesterday and it looks GREAT on him!"

Hilarious!  What he meant was our customers aren't looking for appointments...they're looking for solutions to their problems. 

So what do your customers want to discover in your discovery appointment? 

And if you know, how can you deliver it if you're still figuring out if they're a fit? 

Top Ten Sales Manager Secrets! Coming Soon!

In 2017 I’ve read a lot of Top 5 & Top 10 Lists about #Sales/Sales #Managers.  Most are titled something like "Top 5 Things a Sales Manager Needs to Do" or "Top 10 Things You Need to Know As A Sales Manager." 

My biggest problem with them is that they’re always TELLING sales managers something. Color me crazy, but I think we’d learn a lot more about the "state of sales" from listening to sales managers every once and a while.

Why do I think that? Because I have very deep conversations with YOUR sales managers...daily.

They tell me a lot about what their orgs are doing right & where they need to improve.

Each one has some hard truths – call them "secrets" - they’d love to talk to senior management about.  But they don’t.

To be fair, I understand why. Because sometimes, to Executives, sales managers telling "hard truths" sounds a lot like “complaining.”

And as a rule, Executives frown on complaining – I think they teach that in business school. Like on the first day.

After they tell you where the bathrooms are.

Sales managers have told me these #secrets & lamented "Oh, if only I could say this to my boss." 

Well starting on Monday 12/4, I'm going to post the TOP 10 SALES MANAGER SECRETS that I've been told - one a day - in this format. 

Get Ready!


It's all about THIS...until it ain't

"Yes I am your trusted adviser who is building a relationship with you by offering value...but if you don't return the paperwork by EOD the price goes up 30%" Mixed messages? Or same old / same old? 

Had a conversation with Noah Goldman regarding EOQ & discounts & related rigmarole.  It reminded me of my time in copier sales, when Solution Selling was the newest way to sell.

My company crafted some amazing Solution Selling training. All reps & specialists went through it.  There were metrics to measure & KPIs to hit. There were role plays & coaching sessions & sales training re-enforcement

Every client "touch" (although we didn't call them that back in the olden days) was supposed to be about "problem resolution."  And from the 1st of the about the 15th of the month...everyone was on board.

Then things started changing.

Management stopped asking about "problem resolution" & started asking about "how many units?" 

Role plays stopped.

Coaching sessions began to start with "What's your 'blood number' this month?" 

The only KPIs anyone cared about on Friday the 29th?  "Will the customer accept delivery today?"  Then the weekend happened & everyone took a breath. 

Monday morning arrives - 7am Sales Meeting Topic? "Problem Resolution"



Sales Rep: RING RING...."Hello Derek? I'm so glad to have met you at Dreamforce...thanks for stopping by our booth. We should have a 15 minute meeting so LMNOPsoft can sell you our #Sales #Enablement #Saas #Smarketing #Platform now with #AI powered #Blockchain." 

Me: "Um, I never even went to the vendor expo and my badge was never even scanned..."

Sales Rep: "How does Tuesday look - your Account manager is free after 2pm...Devin will be happy to give you a demo!"

Me: "Wait...the meeting isn't even with you?"

Sales Rep: "So Tuesday then?" Me: "Click...Buuzzzzzz"

(Sales Rep enrolls Derek in a monster marketing email "nurture campaign" that will be immediately be sent to Derek's JUNK Folder.)

Sales Rep: "Beep boop booop beep beep beeeep boop boooop bop bop - RING RING -  Hello Mr. Speese - Robert Speese? I'm so glad to have met you at Dreamforce...thanks for stopping by our booth...."

#propsecting (?)

Let's talk about our RELATIONSHIP!

26% of B2B #sales reps changed jobs last year! I learned that last week in a Rob Jeppsen presentation at Sales Hacker, Inc.  Or did I? 

Rather than "learn" I think  I was "reminded." 

I can't throw a rock here on LinkedIn without hitting someone's post about how "sales is all about relationships." How it's all about "human interaction." About how buyers will "always need salespeople."  Really? How can our customers have "relationships" with the Merry-Go-Round of Reps we call our #B2B sales teams? 

Years ago I worked selling photo-copiers D2D - it was a geo-territory & it was SMB customers.  Every machine shop, or travel agency or dentist office in every office park I prospected in had a single thing in common.

Each receptionist had a "graveyard" of tens & sometimes hundreds of "business cards" from copier reps from ALL the manufacturers and dealers in the area.  They took my card  & pinned on the cork-board right next to all the Xerox reps that came before me.

Ooops. They had one more thing in common...they all laughed when I said "I'm really interested building a relationship and becoming a valued partner." 

20 years later...are salespeople ANY better off?  Numbers say NO.  What can we do?