Sales Goat

I breakfasted recently overlooking Cape Town’s semi-final venue for next year’s World Cup. The white elephant stadium looks suitably impressive. Also of note is the official utterance that it will be complete by mid-December. Lamentably, the surrounding infrastructure surely cannot boast anything like this similar tournament preceding assurance.

In the cafe, I picked up a local magazine called Sales Guru. This intrigued me as, apart from America’s Selling Power, such publications seem doomed to an ephemeral existence.

I fear the same fate awaits this endeavour as judged by the fact that none of the articles feature “real” stories, and are more geared towards the musings of various industry sages.

The accompanying blog (at my time of blogging) has 37 posts of similar disposition.

That isn’t to say some of the writing is without merit. And of course, I warmly applaud the enterprise. Yet I did yearn for more meat.

I enjoyed the reference to Keith Ferrazzi’s tips for ‘flawless follow-up‘. One of the earliest tricks I learned was that you must follow-up after a meeting as soon as possible. I fondly recall the days before ubiquitous broadband where all my team had to meet up at the end of the day in our West London office to fire off letters to people seen earlier that day by the last postbox collection. Then we’d usually head off to the pub. We definitely won deals because of this approach as it truly did leave the competition standing.  This list will make you shudder at the memory of the last time you dropped from this standard.

I also liked to see independent research on what customers want from their account management. Credited to a Mobility 2009 Conference, of the five desires tested, product/service guarantees were bottom:

85% availability
70% regular communication
69% order fulfilment
56% sales support
53% product/service guarantees

And finally, the level of frustrating surface-scratching can be seen with their 4-point plan on how to properly prepare for negotiation. It would be great as a summary box inside a description of a real-life scenario or salesteam approach:

  1. know your deal/no-deal positions
  2. have red herrings that you can give away for the other side’s easy wins
  3. leave your emotions at the door
  4. act unsure

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