” Six Questions to An Expert “ by Marco Rasi.
1) Customers: run behind or anticipate their choices?
Probably the traditional answer is to anticipate their moves, also why run behind requires enormous efforts that do not always coincide with the sale or customer acquisition. But in 2013 with the available technology, CRM, networking, social networks, mobile multimedia, cloud, what is the best way for You to anticipate the customer’s choices?
A: There are a number of advanced sales technology solutions that allow salespeople to learn about the events or circumstances that trigger a purchase. Cloud applications such as DemandBase, InsideView, or IKO Systems capture the prospect’s business information, personal information and the prospect’s online conversations. The aggregate information will help salespeople understand the customer’s online journey and allow them to engage prospects early in their buying cycle.
2) What is the best advice You can give to a young man who wants to start a career as a professional seller?
A. Be curious and a fast learner. Be persistent and personable. Become an interested introvert, not an interesting extrovert. You can’t win unless you know how to help other people win.
3) If You could add a last chapter to his latest book devoted to sales techniques and tips that every seller must follow today to succeed amid economic crisis, political instability, new international realities, new big market China, Brazil, India, … what title would You choose?
A. Trust: the invisible bond between buyer and seller
The lack of trust loses far more sales than a lack of skills.
4) We are a community of sales professionals in Italy, every day in the field on all markets. We see that on sale in Italy there are many offer training, coaching, team building, but little if anything about culture (books, qualified training publications) on sales techniques, that of day by day. Why do You think in English-speaking countries there is a lot more to offer of sales culture rather than in Italy? How to recover the gap?
A. America is a young country that stands of the shoulders of giants like Leonardo Da Vinci or Galileo. Italy is an old country that has created the Medici’s and the double entry accounting system. Salespeople in Italy still rely more on interpersonal relationship skills and sales managers are making more decisions based on their hunches and not based on science. American sales managers are relying more and more on technology to make better decisions about pipeline management, territory analysis, compensation management etc. Companies like IBM, Amway, GE and Xerox have developed great sales cultures that have been shared with their European counterparts. There are over 6,000 books in the US on selling skills and over 81,000 books on management. Italian salespeople have a desire to become more professional. The three criteria for calling yourself a sales professional can be defined with three questions. 1. Do I commit to ongoing learning and studying about my profession? Do I read at least 3 books a year on that topic? 2. Do I continually seek out mentors or coaches, or the advice of my peers to insure my progress? 3. Am I willing and able to help others to win as a sales professional. If you can’t answer all three questions with an enthusiastic “yes”, you can’t call yourself a top sales professional.
5) Companies today do not want to take any risks. This leads to avoid the formation of young people for sale and seek instead professionals already experienced. They think to save money on training because the expert shouldn’t do training ….
Which is from Your point of view the best way to keep alive the culture of sales training within the company or how a professional can plan his training if company needs are ” only ” the final result of the business?
A. Ten years ago 80% of the companies that had a sales training program focused on selling skills, today it is less than 20%. 80% of a company’s training is spent on technology training and that inevitably leads to an erosion of selling skills.The best way to keep the sales culture alive is having a strong leader.
6) Social networks are opening new frontiers in business relationships, but both companies ‘s top managers that the best sellers seem to be wary of their use.
What will lead us to the sales 3.0? Market, technology, or other?
A. Social networks have been created to help people connect, to collaborate, to learn as a group, to engage in more focused and intelligent conversations at the most appropriate time. World information doubles every nine months. At the same time we see ignorance grow at the same rate of speed. Individual learning will give way to learning and co-creating as a group. We can’t do it alone. The future belongs to companies that innovate, that create social communities, that engage in social learning. Social and mobile are two powerful trends that will accelerate the pace of business. The question is no longer about “should we adopt social media?” the question is “what will happen if we don’t?” If you do not embrace social media, you don’t like change. If you don’t like change, you will son become irrelevant.
Interview by : Marco Rasi