The Sales Janitor

30_janitor“The Sales Janitor” an excerpt from the BUT I HATE SALES©  Training & Speaker Series for Non-Sales Professionals

If you’re not in sales or new to the profession, it can be a bit overwhelming when you see great sales and business development professionals in action. Most often, they’re engaged with multiple buying influencers (evaluators, executive decision makers, technical influencers, coaches, etc…) in multiple deals at a time. In addition, most qualified prospects and sales professionals are just finishing or just beginning a deal and mentally, have to be in the beginning, middle, and end of several sales cycles… at the same time. Unfortunately, the negative residue and mess left after recently completed business deals or bad buying experiences can hang around in the minds and business units of  qualified prospects. Result: the atmosphere in key interactions can stink and result in degrading the likelihood that a win-win business deal can be consummated. What’s needed? A Sales Janitor.

The Sales Janitor

A Sales Janitor is a cleanup professional and fixer of OTHER PEOPLE’S MESSES. Sometimes you’ve got to clean up a mess you didn’t create before being able to do your best work. The Sales Janitor is acutely aware of what I call “The Pinocchio Tax” ©: a subjective penalty paid by both a prospect and sales person due to a previously bad buying experience where lies or a misrepresentation of the truth have resulted in a potential or actual loss. However, the Sales Janitor knows that if he can do something for the prospect not necessarily associated with the sale of his company’s products or services, the rewards may be: easier access to buying influencers and decision-makers; achieving consultant vs. peddler status; and the establishment of competitive immunity at the beginning of the deal vs. brutal negotiations at the end of a deal. So what does a Sales Janitor actually do?

Sales Janitor Responsibilities

1. Includes Prospect/Buyer History in your qualification and discovery process. Ask 3 questions: “Can you tell me about your experience purchasing these kinds of solutions in the past?; Is there any previous issue, incident, business unit, or individual we’ll be working with that is, or has been impacting your business?” And you can ask your coach/sponsor “Who has a vested interested in seeing that this project or deal does not succeed?”

2. Networks Relentlessly. You don’t have to have the answers, but you may know who does. Take authentic interest in people. In our profession, we interact with lots of people and may know experts in other companies in various field that we can introduce to prospective buyers across the breadth of their business that can do the fixing for us!

3. Prepares Joint Working Plans that include the prospects buying process and procedures. This will accelerate the speed of trust, and introduce predictably in the sales process after the cleaning up job. Result: Sales Janitors can ask for what they want and have the moral leverage to get it.

4. Lets It Go.  One major difference between a sales pro and a rookie or non-sales professional is the length of time it takes to emotionally let go of the memories of a good deal gone bad. We’ve all asked the question: “So now, how do I explain this to my boss?” I highly recommend the truth. S**t happens. Deal with it, and move on. But most importantly, don’t leverage your previous negative experiences in future opportunities. Start with a fresh attitude with no baggage and watch your bank account increase.

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd

The Pinocchio Tax – Selling After A Lying Experience

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Pinocchio (pi-noh-kee-oh) – The hero of Carlo Collodi’s children’s story, The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883), a wooden puppet who comes to life as a boy and whose nose grows longer whenever he tells a lie. – Dictionary.com

A Pinocchio Tax is a subjective penalty paid by both a prospect and sales person due to a previously bad buying experience where lies or a misrepresentation of the truth have resulted in a potential or actual loss.

The prospective buyer’s Pinocchio Tax payment is often manifested in the enablement of a new, but flawed and elongated buying process. In some companies, an abdication of leadership is the result as key buying decisions become delegated to committees who are given influence without authority. This new, dysfunctional buying posture ensures that the best offerings, products, services, and personnel available withdraw from competitive consideration. Dysfunctional sales organizations love these buyers as they have no intention of actually supporting them for the long-term. Given limited time and resources, only desperate sales professionals and bad business managers can give meaningful time and energy interacting with these entities.

The sales professional’s Pinocchio Tax payment is evidenced in forecasted deals evaporating from pipeline reviews. The new, old rules: “It’s ok to lie to the sales person, because they lie to us.” A series of these incidences may result in a sales rep being put on a performance plan and lead to their eventual termination. At a higher level, great companies with awesome, innovative products may be forced to close their doors.

Now that we’re consciously aware of the Pinocchio Tax™ the obvious question is “So what do we do about it?”The short answer is this: Where a large, transformational enterprise opportunity exists, assume the prospect has put multiple people and processes in place to “protect” their company. Put down your briefcase and pick up a virtual bucket and a mop to become The Janitor. Inquire about the “who, what, why, and when” of the customer’s buying process to understand the prospect’s sensitivities and business proclivities. Then offer creative and thoughtful options that may clean up some of the emotional residue and issues left behind in previous bad buying experiences BEFORE going on a full-court sales press.

Becoming The Janitor often doesn’t make sense for short-term, small, transactional deals. But if you’re in the game to do big deals and build long-term collaborative mutually profitable business relationships, you can get paid BIG if you’re willing to help clean up some of the mess others have left behind. We’ll be hearing more about the “The Janitor” further along in the But I Hate Sales Speaker Series.

Win,

~Chris Bell 3rd

“No” Doesn’t Matter

(An excerpt from the BUT I HATE SALES®  Speaker Series by Christopher Bell, III)

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“No.” One word, one syllable, two letters.

So what is it about that one little word, that can cause normally confident men and women to retreat, pause, or halt their advance toward their breakthrough to a better life? What is it about “no” that causes discomfort, ushers in pause, and can kill the motivation to persevere? If you’re a non-sales professional, answers to these questions and a remedy may require you to remember when and how you initially heard the word “no.”

“No.” (One word, one syllable, two letters) is one of the first words a child ever hears, speaks, or mimics and how one initially learns “no” often determines it’s power and influence, or frames our comfort with the word.  Was “no” used as a warning or word of protection? Was “no” rationed, or unemotionally and judiciously applied in learning, education, or correction; or is the root of “no” emotionally anchored in a legacy of pain, rejection, or behavioral enforcement?

One, some, or all of the aforementioned reasons may be true for you and if you’re like most non-sales professionals… You still haven’t figured out how to deal with “no” and leverage it to your advantage the way some professional sales people have learned to do.

Want to diminish the power of “no” in your life? If you’re a non-sales professional, you may want to follow this thread on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChrisBell3rd to share experiences and to capture insights and tips on how to successfully overcome and manage the dreaded “no” in your business interactions. Until then…

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd

Radio Interview: But I Hate Sales™

Perfect World Network: Women in The Morning.

Business Matters,” host Mindy Guisewite interviews Christopher Bell III, the author and creator of the “But I Hate Sales™”  seminars and events for non-sales people. If you own a business or are in business, you don’t want to miss this one! To listen to the radio interview online or to download this episode, click here: Radio Interview

The Pinocchio Tax

 It’s no secret that the sales training industry is a billion dollar business and many of us are its beneficiaries. The question is, who’s preparing and protecting the businesses and consumers who are doing the buying? I LOVE the sales profession and enjoy working with PROFESSIONALS – people committed to a standard of excellence and ethics in the profession who will walk away from a deal when it’s not a fit. But my peers and I become infuriated when we think about the “peddlers” – the imitators and amateurs that have given our profession a bad reputation and disrupted business across the globe. Countless businesses and consumers have been harmed by the manipulative tactics of poorly trained, unethical, non-professional peddlers posing as sales professionals and the chasm of distrust that exists between sales people and their prospective buyers… couldn’t be wider than it is today. The result: everyone ends up paying a “Pinocchio Tax.”

So, what is this so-called “Pinocchio Tax?”  Here’s an example: “After checking customer references, an intelligent, highly-educated business executive purchases an enterprise solution for their company from a lying, manipulative peddler, who is under pressure “to close.”  (By the way, what fool would share a bad reference anyway?)  Shortly thereafter it becomes clear that there are “issues” with implementing the newly purchased solution. The result: Buyers don’t trust themselves and HATE sales because…

  • The credibility and competency (and career) of the decision-maker is brought into question.
  • Additional consulting professional services may have to be contracted to make things work and quite often higher prices are passed on to consumers to cover business losses.
  • Buyers don’t trust themselves so they form evaluation & selection committees who often don’t know as much as a single qualified subject matter expert who has abdicated the influence of their expertise, influence, and authority, for fear of failure.
  • Projects become longer, more susceptible to failure, and more expensive to manage resulting in elongated buying cycles that cause vendor sales forecasts to fluctuate wildly, seemingly without cause.
  • The best sales professionals in the business are often forced into “rebound sales & buying relationships” and are held hostage to new flawed buying processes and expectations because buyers remain traumatized by a previous buying relationship. Buyers never really give the best a fair shot at delivering their best.

In the end… this Pinocchio Tax hits most businesses, organizations, and the legitimate sales professionals who are working to improve their businesses and households. The But I Hate Sales™ seminars and products are being launched to empower businesses and consumers preparing for sales engagements. Legitimate sales professionals will be delighted because now, your buyers will know who you are and will prefer to do business with you. It’s about time.

This post was originally published from the “But I Hate Sales™ website.

Christopher Bell, III

Initiating Collaboration That Matters

Last month, I invited a few of my peers – a highly respected entrepreneur, a sales professional, and a business development expert to my office in Ellicott City, MD to participate in a Business Development Collaborative Initiative (BDCI) I started with IGLOO Software in Ontario, Canada. The purpose: to ascertain whether synergies exist amongst participants that could be leveraged for our mutual benefit.  The result: Two participating executives signed agreements and we’ll be working on driving business together.

Von Wright, MBA

A week later I was in Charlotte, NC invited to share and exchange ideas with several business executives and new MBA and PhD graduates regarding: the nuances of successfully launching and managing their own small businesses; the CB3 “But I Hate Sales™” Seminars being rolled out in September; and framing new initiatives that address the needs of the under-served.  Southern hospitality was at its best in Charlotte as I was a guest in the home of Von Wright, MBA – a highly motivated businessman (who happens to be a former Marine, former US Army Officer, an Airborne qualified logistics expert, and my Pershing Rifles fraternity brother) and his hostess wife whose awesome cooking is responsible for making me put on 5 lbs. 🙂

Lessons learned:  There’s power in transparency in YOUR personal story. While it’s necessary to use wisdom in the management or disclosure of your intellectual property, there’s no substitute for sharing and exchanging great ideas and real-world perspectives with ethical, highly motivated professionals with purpose.  Want to expand your network, be introduced into warm markets, and transform lives while being handsomely compensated? Stop trying to win alone. Take the time to share what you know and commit to “pushing up people” (a phrase made famous by the great Art Williams.)

Win,

Christopher Bell, III

Video: But I Hate Sales™ – The Beginning

Two years ago I was reading thru some of my old journal entries and one theme I’d consistently stumbled across in my professional life was that most of the people whom I knew, loved, and respected … hated sales (and avoided sales people in general.) In fact, most didn’t want to be associated with selling anything, or they were envious of sales people (“My God do you know how much money he made for one deal?”) Others were terrified at the thought of being perceived as a “salesperson.”

Then it hit me – while companies are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars annually into sales training, who is training non-sales professionals who are doing the buying? Why is selling and buying so hard? What has been the impact of this in-congruence on businesses and families? Why not change the game? So I did… and began creating the But I Hate Sales™ Series of seminars and products with the inaugural seminar taking place on Thursday September 13that the Columbia Hilton in Columbia, Maryland.  Welcome to But I Hate Sales™

Christopher Bell, III