Monday, December 19, 2011

What If Meetings Were Fun AND Productive?

After the amazing success I've had with my "WhiteBoarding For The Sales Engineer" class I've been looking at extensions to the methodology. As research for putting the class together I've been reading many of the books out there about using pictures, graphics and visualization.

I've always been puzzled by the way the worldwide educational system values words over pictures from the age of about 8 upwards. My wife teaches at an elementary school (Kindergarten through 11 years old). If I walk into one of the K-classes and ask how many kids can draw, almost all of them put their hands up. If I ask the same question of 5th grade (the 11 year-olds) less than half of them put their hands up. By the time we're 16-17 only 10% of students will self-identify as a "drawer". Which is strange - I don't know about you, but I learnt to read by identifying words with pictures. Chemistry was made easier by understanding the Periodic Table drawing, Geology was made easier by remember the strata/layers of rock etc.. where do we lose this ability to visually represent life?

I think it's because expectations are too high. The most common objection to using a whiteboard in my classes is "I'm not an artist/I can't write neatly". Yet once we get halfway through the class, most people are coming up with creative representations of products/architectures/problems and so on - using a variety of interesting, and simple, icons and constructs. I'm now looking at how we, as Presales Engineers, can apply all these techniques to a variety of internal and external meetings - not just when you are explicitly selling something. So stay tuned. It's fun and colorful!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Frictionless Sales Call

The December MTS Edge Newsletter will go out on Tuesday December 6th. Most of the content has been posted onto the Mastering Technical Sales website this weekend.

December Features:

The Frictionless Sales Call. I've met with a number of senior level Presales leaders over the past few weeks to look at 2012 requirements. One very consistent comment is that they believe 75% of their teams still don't have a good grasp of the basics when in front of the customer - particularly for demos and for asking questions. That's where the concept of a frictionless sales call comes in. Th eonly thing you want to stick in your custmers brain is your message - yet SE's spend a lot of time creating districtaions and "noise" that prevent the message sticking. To apply physics - th eharder you have to push your message, the more friction is generated, whiich causes heat - and eventually something catches fire - hopefully NOT your deal! The article lists a number of crimes to avoid when demo-ing or asking discovery questions.

The Seven Deadly Sins Of Presale Leaders. Continuing the theme of crime and other bad things - I list out 7 sins that I "created" during a workshop with a large group of first-line presales managers.

Ask John - Making Introductions. I've been called every title under the sun (and a few more) by salespeople over the years. If part of your credibility hinges on your technical qualifications and experience then the proper introduction becomes an important start to a sales call (particularly for a webcast).

Blah, Blah, Blah is Decembers SE Book Of The Month - and it's an absolute contender to get into the Books Of The Year list - if you read Dan Roam's Back Of The Napkin then you'll love this follow-up ; which explains what to do when words don't work!

And finally - a reminder that I've recently revised my highly successful "White Boarding For Sales Engineers" class and updated it for the 2012 sales kickoff season. Email me if you are interested.