By Phil Gibbs on April 18, 2011
Presentation by Marc Fortune at E|SPACES on April 14, 2011
Guest Blog–Notes and Comments–by Jim Fuller
TOP 10 LIST:
- A mission statement becomes the philosophical definition of what your core values are. It says to your employees, investors, and customers, this is the conceptual rock we are going to build our future enterprise on, and becomes an essential first step for sales.
- A good name will give you an advantage. Marc Fortune is a good name. The point I took away is you don’t have a lot of control over what your parents name you, but you do have control over what you name your company. That one decision may well give you a permanent advantage or disadvantage, so choose it well and carefully.
- Branding and marketing are critical to sales. Branding defines who you are, sets the tone for your company, establishes your stature and creditability, and creates an image and positive feel before the sales ever begin. I’ve never thought about it that way, but branding and marketing are as important to sales as clearing and plowing the land is to sowing the seeds for a farmer. I guess to put it another way, selling without branding is like proposing marriage without dating or romance. Marc also made an excellent point when he said we are also in the business of branding ourselves. He has worked hard to establish a personal brand of honesty, integrity, high energy, strong work ethic, and getting things done. Each of us has a personal brand. We need to pay attention to what it is and what we want it to be.
- Whatever it is you do, you’ve got to be able to say it in a clear, precise, and succinct statement, and it has to become something you say naturally and often. You need to say it at networking events, business meetings, and during business and personal introductions. Call it your elevator speech, call it whatever you want, but the core thing you do must be said in a clear, brief statement. It is the beginning of all sales.
- Everyone in your company is in sales. Marc never said it exactly like that, but from the way he described his companies, he got everyone involved in sales. That rings true with every successful company I’ve ever known. The voice of your receptionist is a powerful sales tool; it becomes the voice of your company. The CEO, who often takes an attitude that he/she is in executive management and someone else is in charge of sales, is actually the company’s top sales person and often the face of the company. Go to the Apple store and there will be sales reps all over the store, but the top salesman is Steve Jobs. It was clear Marc immediately assumed the role of top salesman in any company he led.
- If you don’t track it or record it, it won’t change or improve. Again, Marc didn’t say that exactly that way, but what he did say was in the last two months he had made respectively 31 and 28 face-to-face sales calls, which means he tracked and recorded exactly what he did. It is a firm rule of business, especially in sales, if you don’t track or record it, it won’t change or improve.
- Networking is absolutely critical to sales and growing your business. Putting yourself out there into situations where your potential clients are (fishing where the fish are, as Marc put it) should become a regular, routine part of your sales life. It’s too easy to become isolated or hyper-focused on the operations of the business, and as Marc commented, someone will say one day, “I thought you moved out of town.”
- Don’t be afraid to screw up, but don’t hesitate to apologize and make corrections when you do. Mistakes are going to happen. They are a powerful tool that can protect current sales and lead to future sales if you can say, “I made a mistake, but this is the correction we’ve made, and we are determined it won’t happen again.”
- Ask for help! It’s one of the most effective tools you have if used well. Asking for leads, referrals, introductions at networking events, or help with your sales connections should become something you do naturally and often. My added thought would be that asking for help and asking for referrals usually only works if you are equally willing to give help, make introductions, and make referrals, which Marc exercises as well as anyone I know.
- If you are the little guy (or gal), you are the CEO, COO, CFO, CIO (and you probably carry out the trash sometimes, too). Taking those hats off and putting on your Director of Sales and Marketing hat may well be what you are most reluctant to do, but is the most important thing you do for the future growth and success of your company. Marc models that mindset and behavior as well as any CEO I’ve ever known.
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