TheQuoteGuys

The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective

Connect

Archive for March, 2013

Hunters; Farmers; And?

And?  In a minute, please. 

“Hunters” and “Farmers” are common designations used in the sales profession.  Other designations are used, too: “Producers”; “Rain Makers”; etc. 

We typically see titles such as “Account Executive”; “District Manager”; etc.   Question – does the business title on the card make a difference in the sales rep’s performance?  And… is there a new designation emerging?  In a minute, please. 

To me, the sales profession is a fascinating, multi-dimensional amalgamation of our business life; our family life; and our social life.  As I’ve participated in the profession over the years (decades, really; actually spanning two centuries!) I can say that the more things change, the more they stay the same; with one exception.  And… I will get to that in a minute. 

The sales function is also a key indicator of the overall health of most businesses.  Want to know an organization’s strategic perspective?  Look at their pricing practices: 

            Prince to play Ogden Theatre on May 12-13 

But note, there is one hitch: Tickets are on sale right now via axs.com and they’re $250 apiece. Some will surely complain about the high ticket price, but Prince hasn’t played a Colorado venue smaller than 18,000 capacity in some folks’ lifetime and will consider it totally worth it. 

By Ricardo Baca
The Denver Post

Want to know what level a company values their employees?  Look at the turnover rate in their sales force: 

             The beatings will continue until morale improves. 

                             Unknown Sage 

Want to know if the business is well positioned to thrive over the long haul?  Look at their top line revenue performance quarter in and quarter out: 

Oracle’s Q3 falls short, revenue misses mark… 

We’re not at all pleased with our revenue growth this quarter…What we really saw was the lack of urgency we sometimes see in the sales force as Q3 deals fall into Q4. Since we’ve been adding literally thousands of you new sales reps around the world, the problem was largely sales execution, especially with the new reps as they ran out of runway in Q3… 

                             Oracle President Safra Catz 

I’m sure some of these sales reps are “Hunters” and “Farmers”.  And… I bet more than a few are “Catchers”.  Yes “Catchers”. 

I’m seeing this new trend in the sales profession – reps who sit by hoping to “catch” a deal if one happens to fly by.  And… if it doesn’t?  Well, there’s always next quarter. 

Over the years I have had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of sales professionals.  I even spent a few years in that “ultimate sales role”.  (Well, actually it was the “almost ultimate sales role” – conceding the “ultimate” designation to TV Evangelists!)  I was a “Consultant”.  My clients hired me to do for them what they could probably have done for themselves: 

If you’re given a choice between bringing in a consultant or beer, choose the beer. 

                             Rick Levine 

And… the cumulative total of my sales consulting advice?  “Go out sell somebody something today!”  I believe what makes a sales rep special is their ability to put forth the effort day in and day out.  Making it happen vs. hoping it will happen.  It’s all of the little things that matter: 

The cumulative impact of doing 1,000 small things a little better than your competition is crushing. 

                          Harry S. Campbell 

And… recently one of my colleagues (Adam K.) paid me the ultimate compliment: 

The old guy still hunts…    

                          GAP 

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

40…

Does that number bring some special meaning to mind?  Maybe the number of Girl Scout cookies you ordered?  (Or ate over the weekend?  Egads!)  Perhaps it’s the number of wins an NBA Eastern Division team will need to make the playoffs?

Back in 2011, Jodi Sawyer, RN posted this little ditty for women on the Dr. Oz website;

 “Making 40 the new 30”

Maybe you’re turning the big 4 – 0 this year?  Maybe 2013 is your 40th high school or college reunion year?

Round numbers like 40 tend to stand out, yes?  And that’s true for me, too.  You see tomorrow is my 40th wedding anniversary.  40!  Egads!

I’ve written about my wife frequently.  It’s one of those fact-greater-than-fiction tales; high school sweethearts; eloped (she was still a teenager, Egads!); raised a family; going strong 40 years later.  Now, I know why I’m still married to her; but why she’s kept me around – well that’s quite the puzzlement.

Oh, we’ve had our ups and downs.  But here’s a little known fact:  she has never, ever, even once, raised her voice to me.  Much as I have given her good reason… Egads!  Really; never.  I on the other hand, can not count avoidance of voice-raising as one of my “features”.  I’m still trying to learn life’s key lessons from our favorite, Unknown Sage:

Pratter’s Prayer 

Lord, make my words as sweet as honey, for tomorrow I may have to eat them.

I do think we communicate well.  That feature seems to be working.  Maybe I somehow mastered Harlan Miller’s advice:

Often the difference between a successful marriage and a mediocre one consists of leaving three or four things a day unsaid.

Over the years like so many couples we have changed our residence; changed our lifestyles; changed our interests.  Maybe it’s been her discovery of the enjoyment from horses that has helped her keep me around?

My husband said if I don’t sell my horses, he will leave me.  Some days I miss him.

Unknown Sage

Egads!

She comes from a family of long-lasting marriages.  I knew her parents and her maternal grandparents well.  Her sisters have long and successful marriages going on; my brother, too.  My Mom and Dad would likely have enjoyed a long-lasting marriage if not for the cancer that took my Mom’s life when she was just 56.

Difficult one might ask?  Maybe.  But I’m not sure when in a relationship what the relationship is between difficulty and longevity.  Here’s one point of view:

The difficult we do immediately.  The impossible takes a little longer.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Many of you are in a long-lasting relationship, too; many have been married longer than we.  When you find that special person, it’s not difficult is it?  No, I don’t consider maintaining a lasting relationship to be difficult.  (My wife’s point of view on the other hand?  Just kidding – I hope!).

Life is difficult.  This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.  It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.  Once we know that life is difficult – then life is no longer difficult.  Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

M. Scott Peck 

So I suppose the thing that matters most is simple and obvious:

Love is a rock against the wind.

Etheridge Knight 

Happy 40th Anniversary Dear.  I love you.

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

The rest of the story…

A phrase and actually a process made famous by the late, great Paul Harvey.  Who better to draw a parallel to when I think of a structured sales process? 

Occasionally, sales reps confuse the purpose of adhering to a sales process.  They mistakenly think that using a sales process will “slow the deal down”.  In reality, your sales process speeds the deal up!  If (and only if) you’re working with a “buyer” vs. a “looker”. 

Lookers only commit to one meeting at a time; waste our time; and put us on the path to the “long lose”.  Buyers on the other hand buy according to plan.  And the “plan” works best when it is our structured sales process.  Here’s an example. 

You might remember I recently wrote about a call-in I once received (see http://thequoteguys.com/2013/02/first-in-best-dressed/  ).  Permit me to pick up where we left off: 

Carol turned to me and asked, “OK, what do you need from us?”  

We spent the rest of the morning completing the Requirements Analysis.  I suggested over the noon hour, while they grabbed lunch and caught up on emails, I drive back to my office and pick up my PC.  (I didn’t bring it with me for this Very 1st Meeting). 

We reconvened at 1 pm and reviewed my Initial Findings along with a presentation of our key product features, reports, and technical specifications for installation and interfaces.  Bill from IBM nodded his agreement that he could work with us on the technical side; Carol agreed that our payroll capabilities were “good enough”; Judy from HR suggested we do a deeper dive on HR after Finance was ready to proceed.  (The “phase 2”!) 

I asked Carol and Judy to give me an hour to prepare their Price Quote.  I also had a hard copy calendar that I circled critical milestone dates for them to meet their 5 week conversion deadline.  It was going to be a herculean effort. 

We reconvened and went through the calendar and the quote; addressed remaining questions; and I provided Bill from IBM the technical specs for installing our software.  Carol asked what else I needed, and I responded, “Just a signature on the order and a $5,000 deposit check.”  She took my quote down the hall to “his” office and returned with it signed: 

“Can I give you the check in the morning?” she asked.  “It will take a couple of hours to run the request through our parent company’s accounts payable system”. 

Good enough for me!  I headed back to the office.  I had some significant expediting to do. 

When I arrived, I had a voice mail from Carol.  My heart sagged – was this too good to be true?  Did they change their mind?  Want to slow down?  Do a competitive comparison after all?  There was no end to how fast my mind went through all of the reasons why this “blue bird” was going to turn out to be a fantasy. 

I returned Carol’s call.  She had a quick question: 

“Gary, did you say you needed a $5,000 deposit check or a $50,000 deposit check?” 

That’s when I knew I had under-valued the price of my proposal! 

Technically, NewCo was not a “1-call-close”; but it was a “1-day-close”.  I leveraged a 5-step sales process; clarified they were a “Buyer” vs. a “Looker”; and “sold fast”.  Paul Harvey might add: 

            And that; is the rest of the story.  Good Day! 

GAP 

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my web site and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.