Friday, July 31, 2009

This Blog Has Moved!

Thank you for visiting Dave Brock's Blog, Making A Difference. This blog has moved and all new posts and comments are now at:

Please update your readers, RSS Feeds, and bookmarks. We don't want to lose you so please visit us at our new home.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Let's Celebrate: 200th Post!! Also, It's Moving Day!

Taking a page from some of my blogging colleagues, I wanted to celebrate and thank all my readers. This is my 200th blog post.

Before I go on, part of the celebration is to announce that we're moving. The new location and link for our blog is:

Making A Difference.

For those of you that want to see it "spelled out," the new location is:

Please update your feeds, readers, or links. I want to make sure you can continue to follow us. After this post, all my future updates will be at the new site. The new site, also has the complete archive of past posts and comments.

Reflections On Blogging:

I started actively blogging about September of 2008 and really kicked it into a higher gear in January. At the time, I was really worried that I could write anything -- at least on a regular basis -- that people would find interesting or valuable. I still am amazed when I get great comments from people who have read a post and are motivated to express their views and opinions. It is both flattering and ego building to see some of the fantastic responses.

One of the things that I have learned about blogging, is that I probably get more out of this process than you, the reader. There is so much that I get out of blogging:

    • Blogging is a terrific stress reliever. Some months ago, I was being interviewed
      and was asked, "When do you blog?" I think the reporter was looking for what
      time of day. My response was, "When I get pissed off!" I blog at other times, as
      well, but sometimes when I see something that doesn't make sense, getting it off
      my chest by writing an article is really helpful. Blogging is certainly cheaper
      than a shrink!
    • Blogging enables me to use a wide audience as a sounding
      board for new ideas that I am considering. I get such wonderful feedback---both
      positive and negative---that really helps me clarify my thinking, so that I can
      continue to build my value to you and to our clients. I can think of no other
      way to get the quality of feedback, as quickly, than through the blog.
    • Blogging has caused me to expand my horizons, in preparing new articles, I
      am really influenced by the great articles many of you write. They help me think
      about issues differently, even shifting my positions on a number of issues (God
      forbid I admit that my position may not have been an astute position.)
    • Blogging/Social Media has enabled me to "meet" such interesting people. I
      have gotten to meet, exchange ideas, and build business with people I might
      never have reached in the past. It has helped to open a whole new world of
    • Blogging builds and drives business, this shouldn't be a surprised, but people get to know me before contacting us. It makes it easier
      for us to build a great business relationship.

Thanks to all of you for your contributions and support!

Join me in our new home, keep engaging in the discussion. Remember, adjust your feeds, readers, bookmarks to our new location:

Making A Difference.

Again, here it is all "spelled out,"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Interesting Strategy: "We inspire sales people...." Didn't Inspire Me!

Yesterday, I got an intriguing tweet. It was from an individual and simply stated, "We inspire sales people. If interested let's connect." I have to admit, the pitch caught my interest. I looked at his twitter profile and saw roughly 95% of his 374 updates had one of 3 variants of the same pitch.

It got me to thinking, aren't many of our initial introductions and value propositions to prospects very similar? Too often, don't we hear: "Hi, I'm Debbie Smith from XYZ Company. We make the best widgets in the world, if you are interested let's connect."

These introductions may be true, but they are ineffective for a number of reasons. Some of these are:

1. Who is the person calling and are they credible? Why should I listen to their opinion? Sometimes, our company name is enough to get someone to listen. In the case of the guy who tweeted me, I may have been interested if I saw a number of insightful tweets, inspirational to sales. Instead, I saw 100's of the same query---with very few responses/uptakes. I have established many new relationships on Twitter with people who do provide inspirational advice on sales, leadership and business. While I haven't met them, based on what I have seen, they are credible to me.

2. These generic introductions make me feel like "To Current resident or Occupant." Particularly when I see I am one of several 100 getting the same message. Take the time to personalize the introduction if you want to produce results. If the guy had said: I liked Sales The Thinking Person's Profession and would like to share ideas. Would you be interested? (103 characters) The personalized approach and interest in me would have made me very receptive to a discussion. With very little effort, a slightly different approach would have produced profoundly different results. When we meet or call a prospect, are we saying something that personalizes the conversation, demonstrating our interest in them?

3. Tell me a little about yourself and why I should be interested in you. This is somewhat related to the credibility issue, but people buy from people. I like to know a little about the person I'm dealing with. That's part of the step we call "establishing rapport." It may be a few second, or it may be part of your twitter profile, but I respond to people.

Would you add anything more? I know I've just scratched the surface of this issue.

This tweet was a great example of what too many sales people do in introducing themselves to prospects. It doesn't take much to change our approach, but the slightest changes can produce profoundly different results.

Salespeople, Please Stop Your Pitch Long Enough For My Questions, You Might Close A Deal!

You know this story, I'm sitting at my desk, the phone rings, I answer, and an enthusiastic voice: "Good morning Dave!, I'm Roger from XXX....." The pitch begins.

This guy was selling a Sales 2.0 tool, which I actually had some interest in. I barely had the words, "tell me what you do" out of my mouth when the script started.

"Excuse me, may I ask a question," I tried to inject, but the pitch went on.

"Would you please let me ask you a question," he paused, I continue "you know if you give people a chance to ask a question, you might actually sell something."

I ask my question, the pitch started again......

"Excuse me, may I ask a question......." the pitch continued.....

"Have you ever considered listening to your customer and responding to their questions, it tends to work, I have a question, may I please ask it?" I say, a little indignantly. He pauses.... I ask my question...

The "recording" resumes.....

Once again, I say, "Please, are you hearing anything that I am saying? Would you please listen and answer my questions, I may want to buy!" I ask my question.....

You know what happened. The only way I could make it stop was to hang up.

In reflecting on the call, I struggled to ask about 4 or 5 questions. Each time I had to interrupt him---and I had to be aggressive about the interruption.

He only asked 2 questions.... I guess, "How are you today?" counts as a question.

I provided him valuable coaching advice 3 times during the call---normally I charge people for this, but I was feeling generous, plus I really wanted to learn about the product. I am serious about buying one of these tools.

Now where's the number of his competitor?