For those that know me I just returned from 60 days of paid time off at HubSpot. How did I pull that off you say? First of all, if you are looking for a job check out http://www.hubspot.com/jobs and sign up NOW! If you already work at HubSpot you know that I combined my paternity with my sabbatical and took every advantage of it. Thanks HubSpot!
Number 1: Have another Baby
I am very blessed to now have three (3) beautiful girls in my life. Sheila my wife keeps me out of trouble. Lucy my first daughter keeps my waist line under 38 inches as I burn calories chasing her all over the place. And our new addition Ella…well Ella sleeps during the day and reminds me how much I need to appreciate sleep at night.
Number 2: Take Classes at MIT Sloan without actually being a paying student
I hope I don’t get in trouble writing this but a couple of my friends just graduated from MIT Sloan this year. I thought it would be fun to get a taste of school again, i.e. classes, mingling with students over beers at the Meadhall, doing homework, and most of all pimping out my HubSpot swag. Everyone was in awe when I broke out my orange "Sprocket" notebook or HubSpot pen in class. My favorite class was “Disciplined Entrepreneur,” led by Bill Aulet, who I believe Brian and Dharmesh took back in their Sloanie days. Unfortunately I could not get an offical grade...but given that I crushed many oral presentations and no one dared challenged me, I give myself an “A+.”
Number 3: Play Golf with a former PGA Caddy
I am only allowed to share a "small" picture with a fraction of my boyz and
our Caddy, Jerry Higginbotham at the PGA National in West Palm. Jerry totally knocked off a half dozen strokes from my game when we played the Honda Classic. I heard of some amazing stories when he caddied for Mark O’Meara and Sergio Garcia. However the most memberable stories were of Tiger Woods. I cannot share these specific stories as it is "guy code" when it comes to my annual golf trip with my crew. Sorry Folks...
Number 4: Totally “Crash” a $1,000 per plate event with your Dad
If you are in Sales and you have not read you blog on how to work a room...then get too it. Like my Father, who too is a sales mercenary, I love to network at an event with A-Listers “ice cold," even when I am off the clock. The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) held their annual dinner at the Seaport hotel at $1,000 per plate. As I had nothing to do that night and the Seaport is just a $5.68 Uber ride from my Southie pad, I decided to join my Dad and network with the wealthiest of the wealthy in Beantown. I mingled with Phil Sharp, Founder of Biogen, Ellen Zane, Former Chairman of Partners Health, among others. No one asked me why I did not have a name tag and everyone I spoke too returned my follow-up email the following day putting me in their rolodex. I could easily write an e-book on "How to Hi-Jack a Conference for Free,” but I don’t have time right now. I will leave you with this tip if you do want to "Jack an Expensive Event." Send out a Tweet congratulating one of the award recipients, and they will treat you like one of their own.
Number 5: Binge Watch Silicon Valley on HBO, then try to figure out who reminds you of who at HubSpot
Every time I read a wiki post on new products, I now think of a Pied Piper moment. Every time I read information on the larger Marketing Automation companies, I think of Hooli. It is pretty accurate, and for those that have been at HubSpot during the incubator days you will totally appreciate what you did and where you are today after watching this show.
For those that have a sabbatical coming up, I hope your experience is as exciting and educational as mine. I want to Thank Dharmesh and Brian for making this possible and building such a wonderful company.
So many people today in sales hit their quota and think they are a sales ace. I think they forget that hitting your number is your job, not a “game changing” event for the state of the economy. Now as sales leaders, we should always congratulate our quota hitting sales reps, but also challenge them to raise the bar every time. But this article is not about that…it’s about taking one of the oldest sales skills in the world and teaching the Email, Facebook, Twitter, Texting, Instagram Self-ie’s, inside sales generation, who think they have it figured out for the next 20-30 years in sales.
Back in the day, the only way you could get to the decision maker would be to work the room at a conference, dinner, or charity event they were attending. Well guess what? The best practices to work a room like a sales ace, still apply in this crazy tech generation. And if you decide to be in sales for the next 20-30 years you better follow these important steps that haven’t changed since the Louisiana Purchase.
- Beat the mob: Be the first one in and the last one out. Get in early and see if their name tag is on the table. If it’s there they have not arrived yet. If you don’t see it, then they beat you to the punch bowl. No worries, 200 people are at the event and have already lined up to speak to this very important person (VIP). You still have two options, stand near the entrance or the exit. If they haven’t arrived they will hopefully come, and if they have arrived they will eventually leave.
- DON’T BE FLUFFY: CEO’s want honest and direct. They are not there to make new friends. If you want them to invest in you or your company – get to the point. Tell them what you want.
- Walk-up with Confidence: Ok…I get it! You are very nervous. However, if you start walking around the room 75 times you will look like a stalker to others, and that will make things even more uncomfortable for you. Just go up and talk to people. They are most likely feeling the same way.
- Research, research, and then research again: Do your Homework prior to the event on older events. Current events are boring and they just flat out stink for conversation sake…it’s the same thing on CNN, Fox, Twitter, or wherever you like to get your news. Read up on past business events that were incredibly innovative or better yet business leaders from books or older articles. News stories about what someone did in business years ago is much more interesting than what is going on today.
- Finally, I know you want a drink, but the big names rarely hang out at the bar – that’s where the drunks hang. Get a drink and get back out there, and always keep a hand ready for shaking hands and handing out your business cards. You just never know when the right person will choose to call or email you the next day. Yeah, it does happen, but only if you stay long enough and make yourself memorable. BTW – I mean memorable for how interesting you are not by making a fool of yourself. The only calls you get then are from human resources.
Now that you have mastered these skills get out of the office and take down some deals.
Always on the arm. So Lefty says in Donnie Brasco. If you are a "good" sales rep, you may be making over $200,000 plus per year in this economy. So if that is the case and you work a 40 hour work week with 2 weeks vacation...then you hourly rate is $100 per hour.
Very simple math if you think about it. So why are you paying for those drinks? In other words, why waste time on the deals that don't close? Why not bring up the competition early in the sales process? Isn't it going to come up anyway? Why not tell them what the competition offers is a "nice to have" and NOT a "need to have?" Challenge them, their business, their strategy. They will appreciate that you did the research AND always bring the objections up early...with technology today, your prospect will find out anyways. Be transparent and don't waste time. The shortest distance to getting a sale is getting the prospect to say "no" as soon as possible. So again, why are you paying for those drinks?
Get the objections up front. Stop wasting time, and stop paying for your drinks. Get to the point sooner and someone else will be paying for those drinks. Trust me, in every Pacino movie - notice that he does not move fast...but yet again, he does not have to move for anyone.
The title on your business card might say, "account manager" or "business development." Whatever your business card says, you might think you are a salesman, but you are not. Here are three (3) reasons why you are not a salesman.
Reason # 1 - You are reading this blog article. Unless you are a friend of mine and I pushed this article down your throat, a salesman does not read blogs. Bloggers read them.
Reason # 2 - You listen to your boss. Salesman have 1 boss and that is themself. Maybe under extreme circumstances the boss may be a wife or significant other. I get it. A true salesman runs his or her business their way. Their boss works for them. If they need something, their boss gets it done. If their boss is weak, then the salesman figures it out how to get it done.
Reason # 3 - You get a salary. A true salesman prefers straight commission. A true salesman does not ask for a salary bump. Raises are for executives, managers, admin people. If you are a true salesman and you receive a salary, then it is just monopoly money. If anything, salesman get a larger piece of each deal they bring in, if and only if they work for a smart company that compensates them properly.
RISKS BABY! Time to take risks! Go BIG or go home! Do you think this way? People always criticize the best sales people who go for it all. I say...if you can't go big, make like a tree and leave.
Start at the top. HEY everyone's information is public today. I could log onto twitter and tell you what Michael Dell is thinking right now. Take that information and aim high. Don't squirm...pikers squirm. Challenge them...tell them they don't know it all. They will appreciate it. And if all else fails...challenge your manager to pick up their smartphone for a change and close the deal for you. Are they a leader? Or should they go home and get their shine box!?
My “short” Definition of Leadership: Been there done that, never satisfied and always want more.
My “short” Definition of Management: Never been on the street, but brought in to fulfill needs of a higher source. In other words, “now go get your shine box!”
A leader will take his or her team to the next level and put the team first. A manager is a puppet who will control or manipulate the team to achieve their goal – however will not help them in getting to the next level nor is there in the trenches with the team. Leaders do what is best for the team and take the fall when the team does not succeed. Managers do what is best for the higher source first, then them, and blame the people around them when the results are not there.
The best leaders I worked with were sales professionals first and managers second. Like I said, the leaders that I have worked for in the past put the team first and always took responsibility when the going got tough. The leaders that I have worked for always found the best characteristics in me and taught me how to use my strengths to my advantage. I admired this leadership style the most because it led to the ability to always win and never lose. You need to understand that losing is a habit. Well, winning is too and if your leaders can convince you that losing is unacceptable – someone will be shining your shoes for a change.
Too many people in sales today are afraid to say that they are a salesman. They think it hurts their creditability. Some sales people might even say that they can't achieve trusted adviser's status as a sales guy. Guess what?! Only a trusted advisor takes people's money....therefore a trusted adviser is a salesman!
I have always believed one of the many reasons that sales cycles take so long is the inability for the sales person to admit that they are on this planet to pick up the phone and just sell! Remember, recognition is always the first step to recovery my friends. Now that you have taken that BIG step to admitting the obvious we need to get down to business.
Step 1: Look into the mirror every day and tell yourself that you are the greatest sales person in the world. I know it is hard, especially if you are married, as you probably look somewhat like an 80's Sam Kinison at 5:45 AM.
Step 2: Play hard music in your car or on your iPod if you take the train. Being a Salesman is all about energy, attitude, and the will to win. So some good fist pumping rock should help. I recommend AC/DC's Highway to Hell (live version), or one of those angry Eminem songs. That seems to fire people up!
Step 3: Before you pick up that phone to make your first dial, send over an email to your wife or girlfriend with a link to a wicked expensive resort in the Caribbean. If you just got back from the Caribbean, then maybe a picture of a Louis Vuitton bag or something expensive with the subject line saying, "Sooo what do ya think?" If she thinks you are a successful enough to afford a trip or luxury purse - she too will support your efforts and help boost your confidence as a world-class salesman. (Just make sure you someday buy her one of those things or it could get ugly).
Step 4: Lastly and very important to remember. Never...ever forgot that you already performed the greatest sales trick of them all! And that's selling "you" in the interview process to get the job in the first place. You had to be good enough to make it in the front door, get a salary, commission, and even some crappy benefits. Never forget that!
Now it is time to remind everyone why you are here and why you will be staying here! I'm a salesman! I don't want medals, pat on the backs, or high fives. Just let me bring value to my customers, pay my commission on time and I will help make payroll for the rest of the firm. Give me that phone and get out of my way!
Too many people forget the purpose of networking or attending an event. Most feel it is to get leads, others would say to brand-out their firm. What the real goal should be is to make sure that everyone in that room remembers your name when they wake up the next morning. Regardless of the trade show, event, or even vacation getaway – everyone I meet WILL remember my name. That is my mission. You would think people would know that by now considering the internet. What we find most on the interenet today is all about people. Most websites, Blogs, Facebook pages, and LinkedIn Profiles are about the person...not the company.
One of my most favorite business movies is Swimming with Sharks, with Kevin Spacey. To keep a long blog short, Kevin Spacey plays Buddy Ackerman - one of the most prominent film producers today, like a Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer. Frank Whalley, plays his lonely "whipping boy" of an assistant where at the beginning of the movie he get kicked around by his boss as well as his boss's clients. Instead of being branded as this tops producer's little “whipping boy,” he re-brands himself as the reason that Buddy Ackerman can wake up in the morning. He goes around town telling people that "HE" is reason why this Top Producer is successful. "I am the reason why Buddy Ackerman is where he is today." It is what he says and how he says it that gives him a life and shows people that if it weren’t for him then Buddy's movies would flop. As a result, every movie star wants to talk to the assistant, he gets into the most exclusive clubs, and he gets the best women.
Hey teens, I know it is just a movie but regardless of your job today, brand yourself as the reason your company can make payroll for the rest and be the reason why your CEO thinks he or she is successful. Today it is about you, and never leave a room until everyone has met you. DO NOT leave that room until you feel that your conversation has impacted everyone’s life.
For those Jackie Gleason and Burt Reynolds fans, I think you know all know the answer to this question. I happen to be a Smokey and the Bandit movie fan because they were trying to bootleg my favorite beer across the Mississippi when it was illegal in the East Coast back in the 70s.
When I think of Smokey’s trying to catch the Bandit, I think of trying to catch good leads through Marketing Automation. You purchase or rent a list and email the crap out of it hoping that 1 or 2% will be silly enough to get caught like a bootlegger with no blocker. The state police or what they called in the movie “Smokey” was always trying to pull over truck drivers not paying attention to the speed limit. Sounds like someone with enough time on their hands to open up an email. The Snowman, played by Jerry Reed, was never caught because he had his own SPAM blocker known as “the Bandit” driving the Black Trans AM. Oh man, I really man…miss that car.