Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coffee is NOT for Closers

It's a bit tragic that so many young people in sales both glorify and are hypnotized by two fictional films in which the professional salesperson is chronicled:

1.) Glengarry Glen Ross
2.) Boiler Room

Both films are entertaining; the former a mega successful long-running play on Broadway. (The film version only managed to secure Kevin Spacey, Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin and Alan Arkin to tow the films line). Maybe the greatest ensemble cast ever assembled.

The problem with both films is they champion acts of brutal dishonestly and bullying. They hammer the importance of "closing" business or, more specifically, aggressively if not sadistically closing their clients. It's everything that everybody hates about salesman. And I'm telling you from A TON of personal experience, young people in sales eat it up. Thankfully, they practice none of it because it requires a maniacal personality and brashness they don't posses. That and it's insanely unprofessional and it doesn't work.

Professional buyers eat these people alive..the ones that are actually still alive, that is.

I don't know a single person in sales who comes close to conducting themselves in the manner above described. If they did, they would be crucified. Even introverted buyers will shut down any conversation that has even a whiff of these tactics.

Buyers close deals, not sellers.

Whatdya Do?

Marketing is what I do, in more flavors than I can count. Selling is marketing except the word carries baggage but I do plently of direct selling as part of my marketing. I don't do either if I don't believe or understand the value or think either is marginal in any way.

My career has been equally divied up among start ups, self employment and working as an employee for Fortune 2000 companies.

Though much of what I do is as an independent, I frequently partner with a specific organization. I've spent an aggregate 15 years with the Principal of this company working directly for or with. Much of what I've learned originated from him and he alone represents the Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory Services.

All but not limited to:

Professional Search/Recruitment
New Client Development
Marketing and Advertising Copy
Creative- Generic and Specific
Professional Representation/Agency
Mergers and Acquisition Advisory Services

Friday, November 13, 2009

Don't Do it

I've advised more than a few people on why it's a very bad idea to start a cold call with your name and the company you're calling from.


In every instance, if you pick up a ringing telephone and the caller IMMEDIATELY tells you their name and where they're calling you from, what follows will not be good. The call is coming from:

1.) A hospital
2.) A cop
3.) A lawyer
4.) The IRS
5.) A bearer of other bad news

9 times out of 10,it's a salesperson. And you want NO PART of that call. Let me tell you something...neither do your busy prospects...but you CONTINUE to telemarket this way. The horror.

But you say: "It's company policy!!" or "We'll lose branding or name recognition if we don't say our Company Name!" or " It's the law on a telephone solicitations .." That "branding" one kills me...c'mon, you really believe that?

I say: "Ratfarts...don't do it"

You say: "..well, then, tough guy...what do you say?."

I'll give you this. If you start that call by giving your proverbial name, rank and serial're toast.

What you do say, well, get me in your grill and I'll tell you.

Where you at?

Remember...seriously, if you can. Don't end sentences with a preposition like I just did in the title above.

Craig Hodges
Dover, NH
603-343-4573 (office)
603-205-6983 (cell)



Where ya been?

If you really want to rip the covers off here, most of these listed companies I've done some type of business development for which I was paid. My efforts for the majority of these organizations was as a vendor/independent contractor.

I've also done short and longer term gigs for numerous smaller companies you've never heard they don't get their names in bright lights.

Dell Computers
GE Capital
Harris Semiconductor
Progress Software
Robert Half
Sherwin Williams
Texas Instruments
Time Warner

How Much??.

Client: So..I hear you're a house painter?
Me: Yup...Indeed.
Client: Well...I own a house.
Me: Man...that is tremendous. I like Shelter...think it's important.
Client: And it needs to be painted!!
Me: You don't say?
Client: How much would you charge me to paint my house?
Me: I don't know...I need to see the house.
Client: Ah...yeah...I guess that makes sense.
Me: It really does..

I hate when I ask somebody what something costs and they can't give me a direct answer...HATE IT. And salesreps are always told by their "senior mentors" to "never give price until you can sell value first". That's garbage.

But sometimes the above dialog is a reality.

We have NO idea where you are as an organization looking to develop new business. Or if you're looking to acquire a company or are thinking about shopping yours, the number of "unknowns" is innumerable. Talking about price and rates before a detailed discussion (and signed NDA's) is stupidity.

What does your Target Account List look like? Why are these companies on your Target List? (We'd LOVE to break into General Electric!!..they spend ALOT on what we provide!!.) What worked in previous marketing and sales campaigns? What do prospective clients tell you WHEN THEY CHOOSE A COMPETITOR over you? Tell me a little about your vendor partners. Have you thought about acquiring a company (and their customers) as opposed to slower, organic new client growth?

I could could type another 30 questions, easy...I think you get it.



I charge NOTHING when working as a Recruiter. The company that ends up hiring you pays.

I charge between $500 and $1,200 a day as a Contractor. New Customer Acquistion programs lives in the $500 a day neighborhood; Mergers and Acquisitions experience and expertise is in the McMansion part of town. Performance guarantees/bonuses, Upside Agreements,expenses,agreed-upon success benchmarks, yada, yada. We'll mutually agree upon that stuff...or we won't.

We need to "see the house". With your help and heavy early-stage involvement, we'll agree on numbers where everybody is happy.