Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sales Call Debriefs

Nothing, absolutely nothing, used to upset me more than a salesrep who would rush out of a sales call and refuse to take the time to debrief. "It went great, great job. Thanks! You were great..".

Aside from not really advancing the sales opportunity along - how does that kind of feedback help you to improve as a Sales Engineer? It doesn't! Even when reps would sit down with you to debrief it was often a haphazard affair without much structure for personal feedback. So after a while I came up with the T3-B3-N3 system. It's very, very simple. Try this:

"What were the Top 3 things I said or did that you really liked and I should do again? What were the Bottom 3 things I said or did that I should never do again? And what are the Next 3 things I should consider in a similar situation that I didn't do this time?"

Be prepared - you may not always like what you hear, but it is great feedback. Once you get this feedback you need to act upon it, and not let it fall upon deaf ears. You'll also find that about 25% of reps will reciprocate and ask you the same question in reverse.

So give it a try : T3-B3-N3!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

New April Content

New content has been posted on the Mastering Technical Sales website for April. As a reminder, the electronic newsletter is released on the first Tuesday of the month (i.e tomorrow April 7th).

This month the theme is "The Power Of Three's". Over the past three weeks I have had three different articles pass through my inbox about the powerful use of three's or thirds. One dealt with framing in visuals, the second with messaging and the third with words and phrases. So I decided to put them all together into a summarized single document - in three sections of course.

The usage of triplets is nothing new, as in "blood, sweat and tears" , "wine, women and song" etc. I was just amazed by how prominent the concept is within everyday marketing.

Our one-sheet primer for April is Eye Contact - The Eyes Have It! The eyes are called the Window into the Soul for a good reason. If you fail to make eye contact with your audience (from 1 to 5,000) you will have a very tough time connecting and getting your message across. It is an essential skill for any Sales Engineer to master - for both their business and personal life.

Enjoy the piece. And should you have missed the early 2009 Talking Point about Selling In A Down Economy then make sure you download that and read it too.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My Sales Manager Hates Account Plans!!

The April "Ask John" column deals with

I am a Pre-Sales Engineering manager with a difficult situation. Our company is really embracing Solution Selling, yet my Sales Manager partner is violently opposed to any kind of formal strategic account planning - either verbal or documented. this makes life very hard for my dedicated team of SE's. How can I get him to adopt this proactive and sensible practice?

Aside from conducting some psychoanalysis I provide three strategies for dealing with this very common situation. Read the full response here

I am amazed by how often this happens. Given the situation with the Down Economy, and almost every company, whether software, hardware or services trying sell Solutions instead of Products - salesreps still refuse to conduct any kind of formal planning. And their management chain allows this to happen.

If the rep was crushing his number at way over 100% I could possibly live with it - more than likely he is doing some form of innate informal planning anyway. But for folks at 25% , give me a break and get with the plan.