This program features over 30 courses in topics ranging from LinkedIn, Sales, Trust, NLP, Inside Sales, Marketing, and Technical Selling. You will hone your skill sets and increase your comfort level transacting business in today’s globally competitive marketplace.
My course demystifies The Fine Art of Selling Technology, and is on September 6, at 4:00 PM Eastern. The course focuses on how to develop revenue by having ongoing, relevant conversations that everyone wants to be a part of. My course is geared towards anyone working with and for – or selling to – technical professionals and academicians, sales professionals wanting to turn on the left side of their brains, and entrepreneurs and start-ups engaged in monetizing their ventures.
It’s the course they never taught you in engineering, business or sales school.
To register for this course, CLICK HERE.
How do you find customers for your new, or existing, product or platform? For entrepreneurs, start-ups and mature businesses, it takes more than cold-calling to have customer discovery conversations which: 1) validate hypotheses you are testing regarding product/platform and market features and functionality, and 2) identify target customer segments whom you feel are the right “fit.”
Traditional sales methods have everyone running around like a chicken with its head cut off, talking to all sorts of people about all sorts of things, hoping someone buys what you are selling. That type of wasteful activity ends up making no sense at all, especially to technical entrepreneurs who are used to using credible data for decision making. If you are, essentially, “selling” your product or platform to a decision maker who is basically Yourself, be who you are: a scientist.
Even if that means becoming a sales scientist, or a sales person who uses the left side of their brain.
Unless you are selling a commodity item, please do your homework! There are a lot of us blogging about this topic, writing books, doing public speaking, and giving webinars via sales school. There’s no other way to provide relevance and value to customers or differentiate yourself from the rest of the sales folks who are blah-blah-ing their way through a sales call (if they are even lucky enough to get an appointment).
By doing your homework, you will:
1.) Understand the size and dynamics of the market places in which your customers “live.” If you “get” their context, you’ll understand how they make decisions. Make a pivot away from status quo sales thinking. Think like your customers first, then develop their business. [Read more...]
Do you spend a lot of time rattling off features and benefits to customers and colleagues, thinking they will buy what you are “selling?”
You may be wasting everyone’s time. Including your own.
Last evening, my husband and I strolled the Ann Arbor Art Fair, one of the largest juried fairs in the USA.
It puts the buyer into the seller’s process. It makes the perceiver at one with the artist’s perception.
Collaboration. Hardly a bunch of status-quo sales blah-blah-blah.
You are buying a piece of art (a painting like we did, or jewelry or whatever) that has a story attached to it. So when someone complements you on your purchase, you not only say “Thank you.”
You tell the story of the artist, their creative process, and how you came to acquire this art. You continue the art of their storytelling. You carry their art forward.
There’s an art to storytelling. And these artists have mastered that storytelling mojo, hands down. [Read more...]
The National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program (I-Corps) is not a resource for entrepreneurs to get free money to nurse their startups along the road to nowhere. Nor is it a business plan competition where there is only one winner and everyone else feels like a failure.
It’s a calling.
Being a technical entrepreneur – or any type of entrepreneur, for that matter – is not a job. It’s something you do because each morning, when you wake up, and each evening, when you go to sleep, and even when you wake up during the night… you are thinking about your idea. Not worrying about your idea. You are brainstorming because of what you did during the previous day and with whom you spoke and what you read. And how all that inspired you.
That’s entrepreneurship. It’s a passion.
I spent the last three days guest-mentoring a technical team from MIT-Harvard at the I-Corps training program hosted by the University of Michigan’s Center for Entrepreneurship. And while it’s one thing to read Steve Blank’s Four Steps to the Epiphany, and Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Generation, it’s quite another thing to see it played out among 27 academic technical teams from across the nation. [Read more...]
I am going to be a bit out-of-pocket this week and wanted to tell you what I am up to.
I am honored to be asked to participate in the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, being held at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, July 16-18 at the University of Michigan. I’m stepping in as an interim mentor/coach for an out of town team. I currently am mentoring a team from University of Michigan, as we prepare to qualify for entry into this prestigious program, next session, in October 2012.
The I-Corps program was created to “develop and nurture a national innovation ecosystem that builds upon fundamental research.” In other words, the I-Corps program focuses on eventual third-party commercialization of NSF-funded academic research projects, for the benefit of society. It gets the academic research community out of the lab and out of the building, speaking with real, live potential customers.
That’s something I wholeheartedly buy into.
Are you in a job where you feel like you are on the outside-looking in? The big kids are not letting you play in their game because they don’t understand your value. So they haven’t provided you with the secret handshake or password and you can’t get in the door. You are that odd person out, that employee with entrepreneurial mindset, in a status quo corporate infrastructure.
Are you an entrepreneur who has been entering competition after competition and speaking to any and every VC and Angel investor….without overwhelming success? Are you becoming jaded and cynical and frustrated that the big kids are not letting you play in their game because they don’t understand your value?
I’m not proposing to sell yourself out to these folks. It does make sense to understand the context of their decision making process. In order to do that, you might want to take a step back from the situation, and keep stepping back until you have a broader and deeper perspective of the situation than you’ve ever taken before. Take a 10,000 foot eagle’s eye view of the landscape before you signal defeat.
Perhaps you are too short-sighted and tactical when it comes to You.
Inclusion of You into what They have going on may involve risk. So what reward do you offer? What is the relevance of your product, platform, core competencies that provides business value? How does your inclusion in their investment portfolio, on their team, in their social media circle, enhance what is trying to be accomplished? What is your strategic value? [Read more...]
Your engineering staff is your lifeblood. Are you in sales, marketing or finance? Do you work for or sell to manufacturers, distributors, or service companies? How’s it going?
Time to take your own pulse on how you, as a salesperson, get along with your engineers. Do you view them as allies or adversaries? Do you even understand how they think? Are you, yourself, an engineer who has been forced to cross the proverbial chasm into a sales engineering function?
As a salesperson, you may either be calling on engineers as a prospect or working directly with them within your organization. The sales function is contrary to the way engineers are trained. Technical professionals are objective rather than subjective. Deductive rather than inductive. Left brain vs. right brain. Problem solvers rather than big picture thinkers. Pragmatic vs. The Next Great Thing.
Word choices have tremendous significance and specificity to engineers. Choose your words wisely. You may learn something from your engineering colleagues.
Your sales life and pipeline can be enriched by learning from your engineering staff – and vice versa. [Read more...]
In coaching and mentoring the entrepreneurial community, I’ve found that many startups are still bamboozled by what’s required for successfully negotiating business competitions. A colleague from the venture capital community recently told me that one VC firm heard over 3,000 pitches last year…and funded only 6!
There are a lot of similarities between the entrepreneurial community and the mature business community both small, mid-sized and large. What’s involved in business development is selling. For technical entrepreneurs and technically-based companies, the word S-E-L-L remains as the most dreaded four-letter word there is. Yet it’s the basis of business, no two ways about it.
Business development will never be an intellectual or academic exercise. It’s transactional.