Today’s guest blogger is Jouni Riuttanen, VP sales at FinderBase.com.
I wrote about sales vs. games vs. sports in my previous entry and emphasized the importance of winning in sales. Winning is a key thing is sales, but even more important things do exist.
The most important thing is love.
You will gain happiness by doing things that you love most. But sometimes people do things that makes them unhappy because they think that they have to do it. I like sales, but I love my family. It is quite difficult to combine these two, since I just can’t be with my family and meet my customers at the same time.
Before one should go and do everything to win in sales, one should think is the sales the most important thing in life. This is also a thing to remember in games and sports. Typically you also need some luck to win in sales, games or sports, but you will end up feeling unlucky if you lose the things that you love most.
Remember, do it with love.
Today’s guest blogger is Jouni Riuttanen, VP sales at FinderBase.com.
Sales has some similarities with games and sports. If a person is successful in any of these, the person is likely to have some competitive spirit.
I think the biggest difference between sports and sales is the importance of winning. In sports you can still make your way up to the podium if you are the second best. You can enjoy playing games even without winning. Is sales, only winning is important. If you don’t win the deal, you might end up getting nothing. There are no silver or bronze medals, only a gold medal.
One of the most important similarities between sports, games and sales is the team and playing as a team. A good sales team must have different skills and a salesperson also might need some support from a marketing person. It also helps to have good engineers to design competitive products. Playing together enables full potential of individuals and increases chances of winning. And winning is all that counts is sales.
Cooperation on the business-to-business difficult because different stakeholders have different agendas that they follow.
Best cooperation is such that it fully supports the core business functions of all the stakeholders.
We are aiming just that with our new cooperative campaign targeted to businesses:
Kierrätyskeskus + FinderBase
We will create you a free account on FinderBase.com
. Your lost&found property is photographed and added to the service in cooperation. You will hold the items and the valuables are delivered to the authorities.
- The happy customer finds their item in the Internet and collects it from you. The person getting the item will show their id.
- Kierrätyskeskus collects the remaining items after 3 months and recycles them to reuse.
If you had a business, would you cooperate with us?
Now that I begin the final 30-day countdown of my project, it’s a good time to return to the topic of sales. I’ve never actually wanted to be a salesman. But I’ve wanted to learn about salesmanship and it seems I constantly end up giving sales speeches anyway. The single most useful thing I’ve learned from all sales training it is this:
Always start a meeting with the following steps.
- Small talk. Just something to avoid an awkward silence. I’m not particularly good at this but it helps if you think of a topic or two in advance.
- Available time. No matter what you’ve agreed previously, recheck the available time. After the schedule has been confirmed, neither party should be in a hurry.
- Target. Every meeting must have a target. Preferably one simple understandable target that can be mutually agreed upon.
- Agenda. To get to the target there has to be an agenda. This can be a written agenda or just a verbal agreement on how to proceed to the target.
To remember this, there is a good mnemonic from the initials: SATA. Following these steps is not only useful in a sales meeting but in all other meetings as well. If you’re attending a corporate meeting, it never hurts to ask these questions. If you’re invited, you have the right to know why you are there.
People’s minds are cluttered with marketing information. Where ever you go, you are pushed to think, want, buy now, act now and whatever the marketer has decided you should do.
This makes people wary.
But there are delighting examples of people who can detect sincerity in what companies do. With FinderBase our service offering sounds so amazing that people stop to think about our business model. It is unheard of that a company could be doing something useful for others without trying to benefit.
The basic message is the key.
Reflecting our ideas today, we got quite a valuable piece of advice which applies quite well to almost anything:
Forget the bells and whistles and tell the people the message that they can understand.
If your business idea is new and revolutionary don’t market it as such. Tell the story so that they can relate to.
If you’re the first person to develop an automobile, don’t sell it as a horseless carriage. Sell it as a carriage where the horses are optional. It’s not like people would get rid of their horses overnight, is it?
I have been the CEO of a company called Selki Fabrik for over a year now. I still consider this position to be my day job although I’ve never gotten paid for doing it.
The contrast between this project and my day job is enormous. In my project, things seem to proceed like magic and in my day job I have a list of miscellaneous tasks that feel unapproachable. Ihmeparantaja Iiro saw my concern for this and offered to help.
Our biggest concern in the company has been getting the products sold. Iiro suggested that he could go and sell everything we had in stock. This sounded like a good idea, so we went along. However, the stuff needed to be finished. While finishing the products, we ended up discussing the true meaning of our actions. Why does the company do what it does?
Within minutes Ihmeparantaja Iiro had identified the strategic flaws we weren’t brave enough to say out loud ourselves.
Although Iiro does not use the professional terminology, he was able to point out that:
- We are lacking strategic vision
- We are fiddling with details that are not important to our business
- We are too emotional about sunk costs
- We are product-oriented not people-oriented
Selling the few products to make some money is definitely not the strategy we should pursue even though someone would do it for us for free. So we decided not to. What we did decide is that we will have an answer to all the painful questions by the end of the week.
Suddenly I’m confident that Selki Fabrik has a bright future in front of it.
Allow me to generalize a bit
The Finnish people are probably one of the best R&D people in the world. We are persistent, trustworthy and loyal.
The American people are probably the best salesmen in the world. They are extrovert and audacious.
The Finnish mentality creates a number of technology startups every year. With a few years of government subsidized R&D we usually have a product at hand. Then we start selling our products.
The American mentality creates startups with a dream. They decide what they want to do and then sell their idea to investors to make it happen:
The startup: We can generate a million per year cash flow with this new solution.
The investor: But it will take you years to develop that technology and it is very risky and could cost millions.
The startup: Don’t worry, we’ve found a Finnish company that will do it for $10,000.
Don’t be the engineer. Be the salesman.
Yesterday, I talked with a person who professionally buys items to be sold on her shop. Much of this business is about optimization of both the collection and the volumes to maximize sales. However, she gave one advice that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
If you get the chills on any product, just buy them
I will argue that is an important lesson in whatever we do. Trust your gut. If it works for objects it sure works for services and even people. The gut feeling is so primitive that it is impossible to analytically to determine all the factors that affect it.
But does it work?
In a 1994 study about surgeon’s gut feeling before an operation it was discovered that the surgeon’s instinct was a good indicator of the patient’s future. One could argue that the gut feeling is a crucial part of the doctor’s skills. Even so, the feeling is produced in a complex social event that has more variables than can be measured.
How could it be used?
When you get an idea and your gut tells you it’s a good one, just trust your gut. Or can you remember an event in your life when your gut feeling was wrong about something?