Stacie Chalmers and I have been having a conversation in the comments of this blog article and it got me thinking.
Sometimes the comments are more important than the original article.
Have you made any comments on blogs that you think were great or drove visitors to you?
Has anyone made any awesome comments on your blog?
Tell us about it in the comments. (Let me help you with the html. Copy the text below into your comment then replace http://www.w3.org/ with the link to the comment or blog article and W3C with awesome blog comment.)
<a href="http://www.w3.org/">W3C</a>Rick Roberge
If you haven't read yesterday's article, Life's Filters and Sales, please do and remember that this is about the sales lesson, not ethnicity, nationality or religion.
A few days ago, my friend Marshall sent me an email. The subject was "Good Question". This was the body.
A young Arab asks his father, "What is that hat you are wearing?"
The father said, "Why, it's a 'chechia' because in the desert it protects our heads from the sun."
"And what is this type of clothing that you are wearing?" asked the young man.
"It's a 'djbellah' because in the desert it is very hot and it protects the body." said the father.
The son asked, "And what about those shoes on your feet?
His father replied, "These are 'babouches", which keep us from burning our feet in the desert."
"Tell me," added the boy.
"Yes, my son?"
"Why are you living in Dearborn, Michigan and still wearing all this stuff?"
Are you still selling like it's 1999?Rick Roberge
Do you have to filter for people or do people have to filter for you?
As you may know, I think that life is funny. Sometimes it's laugh out loud funny. Sometimes it's shake your head funny. Sometimes there's a lesson. Sometimes it's just funny.
Romney's 47%? Come on, I shook my head thinking "That's gonna leave a mark."
Obama saying that he had been in 57 states during the campaign? Come on, your brain never fell asleep?
Does whether you are a Republican or a Democrat influence which of them is funnier? Do your friends have to filter their jokes for you?
Can you laugh at jokes about travelling salesmen, blondes, engineers, fat people, or short people or do people have to filter their jokes because you're easily offended?
How about religious jokes? Remember my Jewish Elbow post from a couple of weeks ago? My mother is Italian and my wife is Lithuanian and neither of them would show up empty-handed.
So, again, do I have to filter for you? Do you have friends that you can't send jokes about Democrats to because they can't see the funny because they consider it a shot against Democrats.
Does that carry over to real life?
If you talk too much on sales calls, can I tell you or do I need a filter?
If you don't ask questions, can I tell you or do I need a filter?
If you are worried about nothing, can I tell you or do I need a filter?
If you have a self-limiting belief, can I tell you or do I need a filter?
If you have bad breath, can I tell you or do I need a filter?
If I talk too much, have bad breath or do anything else that's affecting me negatively, can you tell me?
Do you want those kind of clients?
Do you want those kind of advisers?
image creditRick Roberge
Yesterday, I shared a story about a consultant who thinks that his dinosaur-style sales tactics combined with his 'I'm smarter than everybody else' attitude will get people to send him referrals. Respectfully, I'll never refer him to anybody. (You can read the story here if you haven't already.)
Today, I'd like to share a story that happens pretty often and might make you wonder whether it's helping you or hurting you.
On 5/10/13 2:13 AM, Pete wrote:
You and I corresponded a bit about a year ago on Hubspot.
I am looking for a Hubspot partner to help with Content Creation and Demand Generation programs. we are a $10M B2B company in (state redacted).
I came across some marketing content from Kuno Interactive and a few others. Any recommendations?
On 05/10/13 2:47 AM, Rick Roberge wrote:
First, thanks for asking. When I received your message, I looked back in my inbox to see what we corresponded about and couldn't help but smile at the combination of inbound attracting you and developing my reputation with you, with the sales 'reach out' that brought us closer.
Second, as you may know, I know a lot of partners, but I don't consider myself a good judge of who is good at "Content Creation and Demand Generation". However, you mentioned Kuno and I can tell you that I would trust John McTigue with my wife, my car and my money. He knows whether he's good at what you want and he's good enough and successful enough so that he'll refer you to someone that is perfect for you. I'd say, follow your gut and talk to John.
Finally, I'm lucky enough to have Pete Caputa as one of my 'go to' people. If I don't know someone who knows something, Pete is one of a handful of people that I'll ask to point me in a direction. He's the man when it comes to knowing who the good partners are.
I've copied both Pete and John to make it easier for you to reach them.
If this doesn't help, come back to me and I'll try harder.
On 05/10/13 6:50 AM, Pete wrote:
You are funny and refreshing. I am sure you have heard that before.
I appreciate the response. Exactly what I was looking for. I am in an interesting spot. Small company, finding itself in a nice position in the emerging market for (he told me a little about his company, market, etc.).
We are seeing a great response from (prospective customers redacted) which are the early adopters. I started in November and year over year sales have effectively tripled.
So it could be a nice ride...or the window could slam shut...
I hope all is well!! If I can ever be of any assistance please let me know.
On 05/10/13 5:24 AM, John McTigue wrote:
Thanks for your support Rick. The feeling is mutual as you know, so let me know how I can help with your business development in any way.
I'm surprised that he reached out to you, but that's why they call it networking I guess.
On 05/10/13 8:30 AM, Rick Roberge wrote:
(Redacted). He may have seen me as connected and impartial and not afraid to ruffle a few feathers. It was an easy endorsement to give and I believe on the money.
So, that was the present, but check out how it started.
On 07/29/12 4:45 AM, Rick Roberge wrote:
I noticed that you visited my profile. What brought you by?
On 07/30/12 10:34 AM, Pete wrote:
Thanks for the note. I've been in software for the past 17 years or so (yikes!) starting out in Product Marketing but then migrating to Sales/Sales Management for the last 10+ years.
I noticed Hubspot about 2 years ago and I thought it was a good answer for what seemed to me to be the biggest hurdle to revenue growth in prior situations, which was "ok, now that the sales team is operating more efficiently and effectively, we need more leads!".
I ended up reselling Hubspot to an small biz in my area (redacted area) and helping them to implement it into their marketinng and sales process and have offered it as part of a sales consulting offering that I have offered in the past. I'm working full time now for a small systems integrator so I haven't been doing that as much lately.
I noticed your comments on a recent posting to the Hubspot Partners forum and got a kick out of them. So I clicked through to your profile.
I'm going to leave conclusions and lessons to you guys and the comments and if you want to talk to me, do it.Rick Roberge
As you may know, I have a link on my sidebar that will allow anyone to schedule a call with me. Most of the people that use it want to talk about a blog post that I wrote, get some free coaching, or talk about sales or how to sell better. Once upon a time, someone didn't fill in the agenda field and when I inquired as to the agenda, it became apparent that he was scheduling a sales call for himself. The call didn't happen and he went away.
Last week, somebody scheduled a call and used 501 words in the agenda to tell me how wonderful he was and propose, "I am contacting you to enquire if you are at the very least open to the notion of a 'partnership' as a sales/networker/'eyes-&-ears-to-the ground' person like yourself and cut you in on the budget."
I replied, "Thank you for the invitation, but I am not at all "open to the notion of a 'partnership' as a sales/networker/'eyes-&-ears-to-the ground' person". So, I have cancelled our call." and figured that we were done.
A while later, I noticed that he had looked at my LinkedIn profile after I had cancelled the call and that made me curious. So, I wrote, "When I cancelled the call that you scheduled, I figured that you'd go away thinking 'typical US toad'. But, then I noticed that you looked at my profile on LinkedIn and was curious as to why you didn't do that before you scheduled the call. It also makes me wonder how you found me and my calendar. Can you converse without pitching?"
He replied with another 269 words where he explained that he couldn't understand why I preferred inbound to outbound, nor what I offerred on my calls, "chit chat, consolation, the weather forecast?"
Enough, I actually received another thousand words from him spread over three emails which ended with him threatening me with his lawyer and him telling me to "go away and play".
So, let me close with these questions.
Are your email communications too long?
Are your email communications too pitchy?
Are you easily offended when someone doesn't show you 'proper respect' and do you get defensive, offensive or both?
I truly was curious as to how this guy found my calendar. It wasn't through LinkedIn because he didn't look at my profile until after. It must have been search. So, what did he search?
I guess that my major point is, "Hey, all you inbound marketers! There's still a lot of work to do!"Rick Roberge
Today, I received an email from my friends at LinkedIn. I didn't write about the one that I received a few months ago about having an active profile, but this one was different. Yes they thanked me and made me feel all warm and fuzzy. Yes they stroked me and told me how important I was, but the thing that was different is that they want us to share our dream and how LinkedIn fits into chasing that dream.
So, let me share. I've written a lot about how important LinkedIn is to me. How I use it. I use it not only to grow my practice and network, but also to grow my clients' practices and networks. IMHO, it's the most important piece of business software that I use. It's more important than Hubspot, Salesforce.com, even Gmail and the other Google products that I use. I could replace my mail, calendar and address book programs. I wouldn't like it, but I could. How could I possibly replace LinkedIn? I could use it to start a business or start over?
So, LinkedIn has asked us how we are inspired and what we are inspired to do? I am inspired to help a few who are inspired become true sales rock stars. It's that simple and I hope that I can continue until I get another thank you from LinkedIn.
Are you inspired? Check out Step #1.Rick Roberge
I've been seeing the same primary care physician for many years. Years ago, when we were both young bucks, I would schedule an appointment when I was sick. On one of these visits, he said, "I want you to start having annual physicals so that I have a baseline. If you don't want to have an annual physical, find yourself another doctor." I scheduled my physical and that's the day that he moved from vendor to trusted adviser.
Do you do that to your prospects and clients?
Over the years, I've been in reasonably good health. I have a few numbers that we watch that have been creeping in the wrong direction as we both get older and as I've become more sedentary including my weight. So, we usually look at the numbers every three or four months. On December 31, he recommended diet and exercise to lose weight and I agreed.
I saw him April 30th and had gained 3 pounds. He looked at me with a puzzled look on his face and said, "That's the wrong direction." Duh! Then I started making all kinds of excuses and my excuses triggered a series of questions and by the time I finished with my excuses and he finished with his questions, we both had a clear picture of what the issue(s) was. (Where did he learn to do that?)
Do you let your prospects and clients talk and do you ask questions until they've totally identified the problem WITHOUT you diagnosing the problem for them?
At one point, he asked me about drinking and I told him that I have a couple of glasses of wine most days. He put a very apologetic look on his face and said, "Studies tell doctors that patients typically under report. So, when they say 2, they sometimes mean 5." Did he just call me a liar? I knew it. He knew it and now you know it, but his delivery made it impossible for me to be upset.
Can you tell your prospects and clients that you know the truth without upsetting them?
We agreed that I have two months to get my act together and I started the next day.
If you want to learn how to sell like my doctor, here's a good place to start.Rick Roberge
I just read Carole Mahoney's article "Are experts still needed in the age of the business blog?" and it made me wonder, "Are we turning into a world full of DIY-ers?" "Do we believe that we are more self-sufficient than we are?" It made me reflect back on some of the conversations that I've had recently.
Are you the best expert you know? When you are interacting with a prospect and you need a blog post, e-book, video, case study or some other example to illustrate or explain something to your prospect, do you always use your company's material or do you sometimes use other expert's material? When you write a blog post or comment on someone else's blog post, do you only link back to your material or do you reference and link to others? What message are you sending to your prospect? Do you really think that by only referencing your material, you will somehow convince the reader that you are the smartest person in the whole world? Or, are you afraid that if you reference someone else, the readers will figure out that you really don't know what you're talking about? Doesn't making it all about your expertise make it seem more sale-sy and show your prospect that you're not willing or able to offer total solutions?
Do you fix before you diagnose? Do you ask a lot of questions when a prospect appears on your radar or do you ask whether they have an issue and when they say, "Yes.", you say, "I can fix that." and start selling. (If you do, get yourself fixed.) Many experts are using some kind of assessment, evaluation or needs analysis to diagnose the problem(s) fully before they start prescribing, proposing or fixing their prospect's or client's problems. I was involved in a LinkedIn Group discussion this week where the person that started the discussion indicated that they weren't converting leads to sales. She wondered if she should start reading books on sales, or get some sales training. It was a pretty active discussion and I suggested that she get evaluated as a salesperson. Ends up that she's gonna buy some sales training. What a dope! (She doesn't read my blog. So there's no chance that I'll make her cry.) Imagine if one of her prospects said, "I know more than you. This will fix my issue. Do it." How does she know what training to buy if she doesn't know why she can't sell? So, here are the real questions. Do you believe that you can diagnose your prospect's issues better than they can? Do you believe that you can diagnose your own issues better than an expert can diagnose your issues? Are you a hypocrite?
Are you trainable and/or coachable? I just did an evaluation of a sales team that had an interesting result. Almost the entire team was found to be not trainable, but almost the entire team was found to be coachable. Up until a few years ago, the only suggestion for untrainable salespeople was 'take what they give you, but don't invest in them. Replace them if they don't have other redeeming qualities. They don't have the incentive to change. They'll agree that they need better results, but they won't change the things that need to be changed to get different results. They'll want suggestions. They'll want tricks, processes, methodologies, but they won't execute. However, a few years ago, OMG adjusted the evaluation to identify the one crucial element that needed to be changed in order to give a person incentive to change and often the potential for growth is 10-15x. Read about it here.Rick Roberge
A Jewish grandmother is giving directions to her grown grandson who is coming to visit with his wife.
"You come to the front door of the apartments. I am in apartment 301. There is a big panel at the front door. With your elbow, push button 301. I will buzz you in. Come inside and the elevator is on the right. Get in, and with your elbow, push 3rd Floor. When you get out, I'm on the left. With your elbow, hit my doorbell. OK?"
"Grandma, that sounds easy, but, why am I hitting all these buttons with my elbow? .........
"What . .. . .. .. You're coming empty handed?"
Sales Lesson: Even if you're invited in, bring something!
Here's my call to action.Rick Roberge
Carole Mahoney wrote a review of Sales Shift by Frank Belzer last Sunday. I commented almost immediately and subscribed to see future comments. David Weinhaus couldn't help himself and shared his thoughts. I was commenting at David when I realized that it was going to be a long comment. So, use the link above to go read her review and the comments. Then come back and finish here. I'll wait.
OK, so I started with "Here's the upside, John. Salespeople and business owners that refuse to adapt will be out of business or out of a job and those that do learn how to make the shift will be wildly successful and have a line at their (virtual) door because there are fewer choices for the buyer. How long do you think it will be before LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, even Google, etc have a "reviews" link like TripAdvisor does? Do you ever vacation at a place that gets bad reviews? Imagine a review that reads, "Information on website was OK, but when you ask a question, the salesperson won't answer unless you tell them what your goals are, what your budget is and get the decision maker on the phone. Pushy salespeople only interested in their next commission check." or "when I asked for a demo, they started trying to 'bond' with me by asking questions that weren't relevant and I wouldn't share with strangers."
Salespeople and business owners need to learn that it's critical to learn that they have a few seconds to make the first impression and it's easier to click away and hide behind a gmail address than it used to be to hang up the phone on a cold caller and that it starts with the salesperson or business owner fixing themselves.
- Are you too quick to solve problems?
- Do you think that you know the answers?
- Do your prospects move slower than you?
- Do they not want to share?
- Do they give you false information?
- Do they stall, not show up, or not follow through?
It's your fault! It's in your head. It's you, not them. You are driving them away. Save yourself a lot of grief and aggravation. Close your business. Get a job where you don't have to talk to people, or if you want to know how to change, sign up for: