How to Sell like a Sith Lord

As a startup mentor at River City Labs, I have worked with technical founders to appreciate the "dark arts" of selling. With the anticipation of Episode VII, The Force Awakens, I wrote this fun piece about the selling skills of Senator Palpatine/Darth Sidious.  1.  "Hard to see, the dark side is" - Yoda (Episode I, The Phantom Menace) The [...]

How to Sell like a Sith Lord2016-11-17T22:13:13+10:00

How to avoid the “Poison Chalice” Sales Job

From the outside the organisation has a great brand and and displays the trappings of success. The company is keen to hire you because you are a sales gun with proven ability to meet and exceed targets. Your past sales success gives the company confidence you could be their gun. But its a trap! If [...]

How to avoid the “Poison Chalice” Sales Job2016-11-17T22:13:13+10:00

What’s in a name?

Over my career I've had various job titles in sales: Account Executive Sales Manager Account Manager Business Development Manager Business Manager Client Management The names have changed, but the role of a sales person is still the same. Peter Thiel in his book Zero to One talked about how many people disguise the fact that [...]

What’s in a name?2016-11-17T22:13:13+10:00

Put a smile on your dial

While completing my undergraduate degree in the late 1990's, I took up a door-to-door commission-sales job that was run by my surfer-entrepreneur housemate. His business offered a service to reduce the chance of someone's car being stolen by etching the registration number on each of the glass window panels of the car. This reduced the [...]

Put a smile on your dial2016-11-17T22:13:13+10:00

What Machiavelli can teach us about long sales cycles

If you are a student of politics then you would be familiar with Niccolo Machiavelli's book, The Prince. It's one of the best books on diplomacy and avoiding "rookie" political mistakes. In managing long sales cycles you should consider what strategy will help you keep the lines of communication open during the quiet periods. Every [...]

What Machiavelli can teach us about long sales cycles2016-11-17T22:13:13+10:00

Get out of the weeds!

While selling into large organisations, have you ever wondered if the person you are dealing with is wasting your time? You keep calling them and they are willing to speak and meet with you. So it must be going somewhere right? And here is my typical MBA-learnt response: It depends! A prospect can be wasting your [...]

Get out of the weeds!2016-11-17T22:13:13+10:00

“Zero to One” will challenge your thinking

“The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Copying others takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing [...]

“Zero to One” will challenge your thinking2016-11-17T22:13:13+10:00

How “Bob the Builder” can help Sales People

I'm currently reading this book by Daniel H. Pink, To Sell is Human. Pink dismisses many of the selling stereotypes that rang true 50 years ago - but are no longer relevant. He also provides some great ways to build your confidence and to avoid that "traditional hype" that does not build enduring confidence. Check out [...]

How “Bob the Builder” can help Sales People2016-11-17T22:13:14+10:00

Closing the deal

Alec Baldwin from the cult movie, "Glengarry Glen Ross." I   In my early career I did print and online advertising sales for the banking and finance industry. To meet my short-term sales targets I kept myself busy on the phone and at meetings. I needed to create artificial deadlines for customers signed regularly. The pressure [...]

Closing the deal2016-11-17T22:13:14+10:00

Signing up Big-Name Clients – the Opportunities and Pitfalls

Signing up a big-name client will give your start-up great momentum. But are you up to the challenge to secure and maintain this clients? Over the last 12 years I've had successes and failures in getting big-name clients to buy my products. Benefits of signing big-name clients: Endorsement for future customers. Nobody wants to be [...]

Signing up Big-Name Clients – the Opportunities and Pitfalls2016-11-17T22:13:14+10:00

Keeping Sales Employees Happy

"As a technical consultant-turned-entrepreneur, how can I successfully hire and on-board sales staff to grow my start-up ?" This question was recently posed to me by a start-up CEO, with a strong IT technical/consulting background who is seeking to grow his business by employing a sales person. If you are a sole operator, then consulting and selling is [...]

Keeping Sales Employees Happy2016-11-17T22:13:14+10:00

Overcoming the “Valley of Death” in Sales

Taken from "Bart the Daredevil" Simpsons Episode 8, 1990. Homer Simpson attempts to skateboard over Springfield Gorge. For a brief moment he is elated, before falling down the gorge. . Let me describe a situation I've seen countless times throughout my career. You identify the perfect organisation to sell your product. You reach out to the [...]

Overcoming the “Valley of Death” in Sales2016-11-17T22:13:14+10:00

10 before 10

Having discipline is an important aspect of sales success for the start-up CEO. About 90% of sales time is spent in follow-up. But getting on the phone to follow up it not always easy or natural. After several years I still struggle to pick up the phone and make those first morning calls. You start [...]

10 before 102016-10-02T17:59:56+10:00

The Traps of Sales Training

I have a problem with a lot of sales books and sales training courses. Especially when they are mechanical and process focussed. Sales is not a predictable science like other professions.  A + B does not always equal C. People mistakenly think you can train anyone to follow a step sales process and the customer will [...]

The Traps of Sales Training2016-11-17T22:13:14+10:00

Don’t think like an engineer!

If you have a technical background, how do you get into the "sales mindset"? I recently organised an event where a developer could demonstrate his start-up's software to representatives from various industries. At the end of the event, interest was expressed and business cards exchanged. A couple of months later, I followed up with the [...]

Don’t think like an engineer!2016-11-17T22:13:14+10:00

Hiring Sales People for your Start-up

Are you a start-up CEO looking to bring on a sales person? If so you will probably be contemplating: In lieu of a salary, should I induce a sales person with equity to work for my start-up? Could I afford to hire a sales person (without equity)? Can I find an organisation to be my [...]

Hiring Sales People for your Start-up2016-11-17T22:13:14+10:00

My “Picture of Success”

You're a start-up? My "picture of success" for a start-up business would be: A healthy and diverse client portfolio which validates your business to potential customers. Your brand is recognised as solving "something". When a problem is encountered, who are you going to call? (cue Ghostbusters theme). You can explain your offering in 30 seconds [...]

My “Picture of Success”2016-11-17T22:13:15+10:00

Introduction: About me and the reason for this blog

  I'm 39 years old and have been selling software to government and enterprise for over 12 years. Here is my LinkedIn profile. During this time I've managed to successfully launch 4 new "start-up" products while working for large organisations. These products are now turning over $1m in revenue. In all but one I have [...]

Introduction: About me and the reason for this blog2016-11-17T22:13:15+10:00
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