The Salesperson’s Compass Rose
Most know me as the former basketball star from the powerhouse that is The Collegiate School. Joking of course, but in truth - Basketball taught me some great lessons that I still apply to my sales career. We ran a very simple flex offense and every time it broke down, I knew we needed to take the ball out to the top, calibrate our court locations, and restart. I like to call this "Finding North." In fact, it is this technique of finding north that later led me to develop "The Salesperson's Compass Rose."
SALESPERSON'S COMPASS ROSE: If you don't believe what you are selling is a must have for your prospect, then you shouldn't be selling it
More on the Compass Rose later.
After my (not even close to a) Hall of Fame basketball career I began a (actually quite impressive) sales career. I've learned a ton and improved every step of the way. I became really good at problem solving by defining problems and sourcing workable solutions, even if it didn't benefit me directly, I helped companies grow.
While working as a salesperson for a leading mobile eCommerce Vendor, I learned a lot about prospecting into the eCommerce space. Our biggest challenge was finding those ‘below the radar’ Online Retailers ("etailers") and their key decision-makers. Additionally, we wanted to know if their online storefront was optimized for Mobile Devices or not. I’ll never forget the day we found the solution.
We were 20 minutes into our weekly team call, discussing ongoing sales challenges, when I gave a demo of etailinsights. The team was incredibly excited especially our CEO.
“You cured our pain!” he said.
Utilizing etailinsights over the next few months saved time, found more online retail prospects, and engaged key decision-makers for our sales team. Our annual subscription to etailinsights was a game changer, and once I had quality prospects, I quickly designed a winning recipe to engage Online Retailers. Here is the recipe I used, or "The 5 P's” as I like to call it…
The 5 P's: A 5-Step Recipe for Successful Prospect Calls with Online Retailers
1. Prepare – Review the etailer’s etailinsights profile. Click "Prepare for Call” and read the Industry Intelligence to learn their key challenges and opportunities. Take the time required to truly understand the prospect so you come to the table with an informed and confident approach.
2. Provide Value – Pushing product lingo on a prospect can be a real turn off. Start the conversation by providing something of value to them.
3. Personalize – Building personal relationships is key to establishing trust. Be prepared to share something personal about yourself and learn something personal about your prospect. LinkedIn is a great resource to learn more about your prospect ahead of time, remember... they are a Person not just a Title.
4. Persistence – You have done all the hard work already, you've finally gotten an etailer on the phone, don't give up! Use pleasant persistence and respectfully ask for their business. Expect them to say no, but don't give up, follow up with more open-ended questions. It is YOUR job to help an Online Retailer, even if they don't know it, and if you fail then you are failing them. Remember, the Salesperson's Compass Rose: If you don't believe your offering is a must have for a retailer, then you shouldn't be selling it to them.
5. Patience – Be patient when learning about the prospect’s business model; understanding their challenges can help reveal a need for your service. After an Online Retail Executive speaks, I always like to pause for a 2-Mississippi-count before I offer a response. This lets them know I am listening and they are heard.
My Own Compass Rose
Once I began using etailinsights, I immediately had a resource that provided structure for our sales process and valuable data we could harness quickly. The product opened doors for meetings and opportunities we otherwise would have missed. I added my 5-Step Recipe. We saw our sales skyrocket. I loved etailinsights, it truly cured our pain and helped grow our business.
But, I began to question my own Compass Rose. Was my offering truly a must have for retailers? I realized I'd lost direction and needed to find my new North. Everyday I used etailinsights and thought to myself: "Man if only I could sell etailinsights instead!" I believed in its value; I had seen it work first-hand; and I loved using it every day.
And then it happened. I resigned. I'm told my former company asked etailinsights to lock my account, thus informing Darren that I was "on the market." He emailed me and I immediately took a meeting with him.
In October 2013, I came on board with etailinsights. Fast-forward nearly two years, and here I am the VP of Strategy and Sales. It's fun to apply what I learned as a platform user when I was on the client-side, and help etailinsights' new and current clients successfully use our solution to increase their sales. It is incredibly rewarding. I have no doubt about my Compass Rose anymore. In fact, two of my top reps are also former users of etailinsights (Matt Palombo and Samantha Oylear).
Here at etailinsights we have one rule: “The Client Comes First.” With that in mind, our product has improved and evolved during my time here, and so have the internal workings of the company. My colleagues and I have been empowered to learn from clients, put forth new ideas, and own the growth process. Technology Spy and List Genius are examples of two etailinsights features I brought to market. It is a great feeling to work for an organization that values innovation and rewards employees for our clients' successes.
North is looking up.