Monthly Archives: November 2013

War story: Persistent sales guy


Totally loved this story as a vivid illustration of a fundamental Sales principle: do the follow up. I strongly beleive that such examples are the very thing allowing us to throw away inner barriers(like this guy, who had followed up 48 times!). The story is about another one.

[ Originally translated from here (ru) ]

On my last job, we had a salesman, Vitya. He was closing just every deal, clients preffered to pay just to make him gone. Vitya had ridiculously large salary(and that’s only performance part, no base, just his fees). He tracked clients at shows, conferences, seminars, at muni, Ikea, cinemas, jets, was cold-calling, warm-calling. He appeared in person if he was tossed away on the phone, was calling if asked to be gone in person. He wasn’t reflecting, never pedaled back and was succeeding just everytime.

That was funny until that happened to me.

Currently I should transfer part of a job to an agency, they have such a wild Vitya on their side, only called Sasha. I’ve asked him to send me a contract – he brought it personally. I’ve sent him couple of questions – he offered to meet and discuss. “I don’t have time” – I say. “No worries, turn on the Skype, it will last for only half an hour”. The worst mistake was to give him my cell number. The day before yesterday he called, said we need to talk. “I can’t, I’m moving” – “No problems, I’ll get to you soon, we’ll talk and I’ll give you a hand with your stuff, give me your address”. In an hour called to check: “What’s up, have you packed everything yet? Aha, on your way? Tell me your address, I’ll help you to carry. Carried yet? Need help unpacking? Why you’re not telling me your address – I can help.”. Soon: “Where are you? Let me give you a lift to the work, I have the presentation with me”. In one more hour: “Why you’re not answering your mail? Is computer packed? Let me borrow you mine?

Yesterday he woke me up at 9:05, called back in an hour and did that again. Managed to send me 3 e-mails in between 10:00 and 13:00. First had a few sentences sharing new information, second expressed his worries about me not answering the first one, third one warned me that he’ll call if I won’t answer. Then he called. Five times.

Today I’ve turned my cell off. I should have some sleep sometimes.

Was by the office by noon, “Sasha called, call him back urgently, he suffers”. Got to HR, they say “Your cousin, Sasha just called, was asking your home address. Said just arrived from Norilsk but you haven’t met him yet, but promised. He’s at the Kazanskiy railway station, crying out loud near a taxophone.”

“My cousin is an idiot, trains from Norilsk do not arrive to Kazanskiy railway station. Lying should be pre-meditated sometimes”. Going to get some coffee at the kitchen – got called by the boss: “I’ve got called by Sasha, he’s asking if you’re alright? I told you were going to perform a parachute jump but was not sure if you did that or not”.

Checking my e-mail, got 5 letters. In first he’s interested, worried in second, angry by third, begrudging in fourth. Last one has the following: “Svetlana, I beg your appologies for the persistence. In my aspiration to move forward our common business, I might have crossed the line. I promise, I’ll be more discreet. I’m asking you last time. Please, make sure the bills will get paid. It’s very important for me. Make sure it will be payed today. I BELEIVE IN YOU! I BELIEVE”.

If his bill won’t be paid today, I swear I’ll set him on the accountant.

If you don’t know me personally, I work nine-to-five(actually eleven-to-twenty) work shifts as a programmer. I support Lead Generation activities and I tried to monetize some of that expertise at elance. If you ever tried freelancing sites, it’s a clear rip-off in beginners mode. But it depends. Today I’ve earned some experience. No money, though :)

lisLong story goes short: love your distribution channels. Need some leads – look at your competitors., for instance leaves 50-70% to their partners. I bet they’re queueing.

Video: Sales is about hustling hard

An awesome talk by Steli Efti( CEO) @ Pioneers Festival 2013.


Minimum Viable Pitch
* What do you do(no sexieness allowed here!)
* How you’ll be able to deliver(Credibility)
* Ask for close

Hi, my name is _____. I’m calling some startups in the area to find out if they are a good fit for our beta program.
What we do in a sentence is we provide companies with sales team on demand.
Does this sound generally interesting to you?

* What is your current sales process?
* Who are your cusomers? How do you get ideas?
* What’s the customer life time value?

Test Closing
* We want to start in 4 weeks – does that works for you?
* The beta program is heavily discounted, it’s going to be $X/day per salesperson
* We can only offer you 1 Salesperson to being with (that’s going to be me)
* What is the decision making process in your company? How quickly can we make a decision?

* Lead conversation towards a virtual close
* Be willing to walk away
* He followed up on an e-mail 48 times!(and the answer was: ‘Thanks for the follow up, yes!’)
* The most powerful technique: be silent and listen

Random thought: infobusiness

cat_bagInfoBusiness is an activity taking advantage of the following facts:

  • High margin: cost of copying information piece is equal to zero
  • Everyone is afraid of something: there are a number of items outstainding from the childhood on agenda of virtually every person
  • Information asynchrony: you can’t evaluate the benefit you’ll get from product before buying it

Let’s face the truth: most people don’t quite know how to help others(even themselves!). Thus they don’t have the actualy knowledge to sell. Thus bagged cats are sold :(