Just concluded another sales call this morning. Seems like I'm doing more and more of this as my career progresses. There's an inherent need in any technology company to be able to communicate the vision of the company and the industry in a comprehensive and credible way that co-opts the customer into a sense of purpose. Having been the evangelist and not the closer I've had an interesting vantage point into the selling process. I was talking to Glen Springer about this process today and here is what he outlined as the successful sales genome:
- Keep your promises
- Follow up on time
- Ask open ended questions
- Ask for the order
He also said that he had heard 78% of sales people never ask for the order. That's a fairly amazing statistic given how obvious the advice is, but I believe it's likely to be true. A great sales person has a killer instinct and knows when to go in for the close. I think most people in sales are just really great at socializing and while they do perform well they never become great. Having been in and owned startups during the bubble this was especially obvious. Selling in the bubble was like bobbing for water. Anyone without hydrophobia could do it. Once the bubble burst only the great sales people survived.