Winning and Losing to Win… Again.

IMG_0002We’re not strangers to these stories: The world-class athlete who experiences an epic defeat in the arena who is seldom heard or seen again; the business mogul who has experienced extraordinary success and is blindsided by competitive forces who has to shut down his business to retire almost broke; the company’s top sales performer with an enviable lifestyle, ideal family, luxury home and big boy toys… suddenly laid off and watching his life being transformed into an episode of Jerry Springer; or the highly respected, battle-tested military officer who was entrusted with life & death daily decisions over hundreds of men or women, who is now unable to find credible employment in the civilian world.

What’s really brutal is this: struggling and paying the price to win, overcoming adversity, tasting success, and then losing it all or becoming broke after being recognized as one the best. This painful sequence of events breaks the hearts of winners and while winning is a habit (an addiction of sorts)… so is losing. It also explains why many are tempted to comprise their moral values just to get an edge on the competition.

The habits of a winner are unlike that of the common man or woman and when a habitual winner is taken out of their game or profession… it can get ugly for everyone within their sphere of influence because they aren’t able to express their authentic best selves. Winners and high performers are like lions – instinctual hunters who when at their best are free, resent being kept, caged, domesticated, or dependent on others to be fed.

So what do you do when you’ve already experienced success, but maybe you’ve been out of the game for a while and you feel stuck? Because winners never really quit, they purpose themselves to find a new game in which to play and compete so that their instincts to win (though repressed) can be authentically expressed.

So, if you or someone you know has ever stood on a podium to receive a medal, worn a championship ring, had a trophy or plaque presented to them, coached or taught others how to win, or if you’ve ever been publicly recognized for exceptional performance and achievement, we should talk. My name is Christopher Bell, III and I’m here to tell you… It ain’t over. You CAN win… again – CONTACT ME

Win,

~Chris Bell

Do You Understand Your Position?

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The good news: You can’t lose what you never had. The bad news: The “job” was never yours in the first place.

Sometimes it’s hard to debunk long-standing institutional myths (even when the facts assault our senses) but you’ve always known that you don’t own the job right?  The job belongs to the company. Don’t believe me? Get fired or move on and “Your” so-called job will be posted on LinkedIn by next week as the words “it’s nothing personal, it’s just business” echo in your mind. (Hmm… your mortgage payment and kids education isn’t personal?) Jobs are positions that people move in, up, and out of all the time. Yes or no?

So now, you’re connecting the dots, coming out of denial, and it’s sinking in: you’ve been renting your youth; outsourcing your creativity, energy, and education; and traded time with your loved ones for a bi-weekly bank deposit, a pay stub, and the illusion of security so that someone else can live their dreams. The cold truth is, things are EXACTLY the way they should be. Those who show courage and take calculated risks that succeed, should be rewarded. Those that play scared and are committed to a pyramid (go check the company org chart) have little chance of owning the company they work for and when they can’t work… eventually they don’t get paid.

IMG_3262.JPGSince you’re probably a smart, educated, disciplined, team-player with character and personal drive, you understand the price being paid to have no leverage, no equity, and no ownership interests in that which you give your best effort and most  of your time. Still, having a job is a VERY good and necessary transitional position because you get to learn as you earn, build powerful professional networks on the company’s dime, establish expertise, and develop a practice of discipline and habit of winning in business. Even if the job is temporary in nature… it’s a great first step to taking control of your career.

The question is this: if you’re working a job today, what’s your exit strategy? Have you built and tested your “Plan B” before it’s needed?  Do you have a great idea, product, or service in mind that excites you and gives you leverage? Have you thought about launching your own business and do you look into other ways of earning money?

Contact me: Maybe… just maybe, I can help.

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd

Chris Bell 3rd: Coaching for Big Results

2013-03-29 21.57.05“My name is Joey Price and I’m the CEO of Jumpstart:HR, LLC. My company provides full-service HR support to small, emerging businesses in the United States and international firms looking to establish or grow their presence in the US.  My company helps business owners grow their firms with confidence while alleviating the sting of the inevitable burden of HR headaches.

Working with Chris Bell 3rd helped me in a lot of ways. As a leader, he helped me grow courage in weak-spot areas that existed in my mental focus. As a sales person he helped me strengthen my sales process. As a friend, we were able to connect on life issues – which helped me trust his business acumen all the more.”

My name is Chris Bell 3rd  and I love to see people win in life. As an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, I had the privilege of being a business coach and mentor for Joey Price, the CEO of Jumpstart: HR, LLC who was recently recognized in the Baltimore Business Journal Top 40, Under 40 and featured in the University of Maryland University College commercial spot (you just watched) which aired just before a Baltimore Ravens NFL preseason game a few weeks ago.

If you’ve ever thought about starting a business; if you’re new to business and want to increase sales and profitability; if you own a business and want to get “unstuck…” contact me to begin transforming your business AND your life.

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd

Kiss My Glass of USA: A Veteran-Owned Business With A Smart Start

1925025_276760475817597_1118171973_nHere’s a BIG shout-out and special congratulations to Chuck Davis, CEO of Kiss My Glass of USA http://kissmyglassofusa.com/ for successfully graduating from Project Opportunity – a 10-week, rigorous course prepared for US Military Veterans who are launching new businesses. Here is a PRESS RELEASE featuring the program and it’s graduates.

In addition to successfully launching his new company, Chuck Davis distinguished himself amongst his peers in the Project Opportunity course by standing up 2 new social media business platforms, authoring a summary of details he’d learned about using social media, and explaining how to apply it in his business after taking on an assignment I’d given that was detailed in a blog post I’d written entitled: “Project Opportunity US Military Veterans and Social Media”.

For going the extra mile, I had the privilege of presenting Mr. Davis with the book “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months” by Melinda Emerson… a friend and feature writer for the New York Times. In 2013, Forbes rated Melinda Emerson as the #1 Most Influential Woman in social media for small businesses.

1148967_276760529150925_157320317_nCongratulations Mr. Davis and Kiss My Glass of USA. We’re going to get the word out about you and your US Military Veteran-Owned company!

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd

Rookie Tips: Systems and Politics in Sales

stock-illustration-16835359-jumpstart-solutionExcited about your sales career? Good. You should be! However, there is no one size-fits-all reason for individual sales success, though one of several critical variables that determine successful longevity in professional sales is an incumbent’s mastery of existing systems and their ability to identify, learn, unlearn and adopt systemic sales processes that may accelerate or impede their professional success.

So, what is a “system” anyway? BusinessDictionary.com calls it: A set of detailed methods, procedures and routines created to carry out a specific activity, perform a duty, OR solve A PROBLEM.

But here are a few problems about the problem:

  • How we view the problem (is it a systemic or individual problem?)
  • The original problem has evolved (Hey, have you guys seen this?)
  • The problem has complex inter-dependencies with other problems (Too big. Not my problem.)
  • You’re in a static, inflexible system (You know our guidelines, what are you doing?)
  • You’re working with the author of the system (Since when did you become the expert?)

Confession and Embarrassment

Early in my career I was employed by a software company and was the only rep to make quota for 6 straight months. In an impromptu meeting with our team, the CEO asked “Chris how did you do it?” I explained that I’d personally and quietly made small, iterative, but continual improvements in a flawed systemic process that ALL of the reps were supposed to follow. I was young, dumb, and totally clueless as to the politics and power moves being made within hierarchies of management I’d never been exposed to at the time.

The result: I embarrassed my boss , my teammates felt as though I was a prima donna, and the author of our systemic sales processes was unintentionally discredited. When I finally achieved my annual quota I was relieved… not happy, and felt like crap. The company dismantled their original sales process and things did improve… without anyone seeking one word of advice from my naive, arrogant a**.

Lessons Learned

  • Master the systems you use and quickly discern how best to win within existing constructs.
  • Understand the difference between systemic and personal failure
  • Test the receptivity of management to new ideas and then adapt to win.
  • Nobody believes you’re an expert until you do what nobody else is doing. Be humble in your achievement.
  • Quickly give other “experts” credit and they will advocate for you when you’re not around.
  • Always be a team player. Sales is a collaborative profession and winning alone… sucks.

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd

The Obsolete Technology Sales Culture

Great, Old Players

This week I was casually listening to a “seasoned” sales executive reminisce about the “good old days”… when he knew he was top dog because he was receiving a sales order order by this new courier called Federal Express. Then I went home and as I was sitting in my basement home office, I gazed at a bookshelf containing over one hundred plus sales & business-related books I’d bought, read, or acquired in the last 12 years and then it hit me: (besides spending too much money) much of what I’ve read and the counsel proposed in many of these may be obsolete today. The game has changed and many of the best old players… couldn’t compete and win in today’s hyper-competitive technology sales arenas.

What Happened?  Nothing really. Ever since mankind stood on two legs, somebody has been selling and not many people esteemed those in the profession. In fact, I’d describe society’s perspective regarding sales people as being one of  strained tolerance. That was yesterday. Today’s prospective buyers don’t have to take it anymore. They can do a Google or Wikipedia search and at the click of a mouse secure information that used be only available via a sales rep; they’ll research their options and get referrals about how you’ve treated your customers by reading their blog posts; they’ll communicate with like-minded buyers via twitter, and before they’ve even meet a salesperson face-to-face, it’s likely they’ll read the salespersons LinkedIn profile to validate their professionalism and character thru common connections. The net: Potential customers have more leverage and there’s more transparency in the buyer-seller relationship in a game that’s been evolving for years.

Why? Frankly, potential buyers have been frustrated or angry for years and they should be! For them, today’s revenge is sweet as the tables have turned on those who for decades have advocated “anything goes” to do business. Billions of dollars have been spent teaching sales people how to close deals and build careers vs. solving real business problems, and many traditional sales tactics and strategies are adversarial or manipulative processes (and everybody knows it.) This old reality resulted in the implementation of buyers deploying defensive, dysfunctional buying processes that have made it extremely difficult for those sales professionals who are operating on a platform of integrity and presenting excellent products to be successful. In fact, I don’t know a single sales professional who during sometime in their career, hasn’t exercised their training only to reach the crossroads of a moral decision to either knowingly do the wrong deal because of their management’s quota pressure, or walk away from it with their integrity intact and a termination notice in-hand.

The Old-New Reality: We all know that there always have been, and always will be deal-whores and hustlers without a moral compass. But today’s access to information and the exercise of social media for business empowers and informs potential buyers as never before to quickly ascertain who is authentic and whats hype. The winners? Sales and marketing organizations leveraging the latest tools who have established a corporate culture of selling with integrity for the purpose of developing mutually beneficial collaborative business relationships with their customers.  The result: good sales professionals will actually be able to afford to do the morally right thing. It’s about time.

Win,

-Chris

10 Tips To Transition Into Technology Sales

The Technology Sales Arena is where the elite of the sales profession compete to deliver solutions that transform and improve businesses and governments and they are commonly rewarded with six-figure annual income opportunities. Most are professionals… not peddlers. So how does one begin or transition their career into technology sales?  Here’s an update of some tips I recently discussed with a group last week, that I initially authored and posted a few years ago.

1. Avoid going in thru the front door via human resources. Traditional hiring processes are exclusionary, meaning they’re designed to keep people out. HR personnel can only say “No” they can’t say “Yes” to a potential hire. Leverage HR after you’ve connected with the hiring manager. If you can’t connect with a real decision-maker to personally present your value, then you’re not ready for a technology sales career transition. The best senior sales executives in the competitive and lucrative tech sales business are hunting for candidates with equal measures of competency, professionalism, and tenacity.

2. Talk with people in the niche you wish to work to ascertain what’s hot, relevant, and what’s keeping those in the know up at night. Read their blogs, attend their virtual webinars and follow subject matter experts on social media networks. There is a strong connection that can be developed by discussing the highlights of another person’s interests and having insight into their subject matter expertise.

3. Do your homework. Study a lot. Read trade periodicals to become familiar with the general language and buzz words of a specific technical field of interest; Download white papers and brochures; Go undercover “Geek” and attend free Meetups and conferences to become familiar with local industry influencers, experts, and icons.

4. Leverage LinkedIn and social media platforms. Follow a few companies you’d really want to work with and aggregate compelling info and job postings to understand their business priorities. If they’re publicly listed, dial into their quarterly call, and read their 10-k. These activities will detail the latest news, opportunities, wins, and concerns of the company.

5. When contacting a decision-maker ask them for their help and advice (everyone wants to help someone.) Get to know their executive assistant or secretary and ask them to setup an informal 20-minute introduction at their local coffee shop before business hours, or setup an invitation for a quick sandwich and informal lunch at a local deli.

6. To schedule a meeting you should be prepared to restate some of the quotes in public documents, discuss recent news from their press releases, or paraphrase statements made on the company’s quarterly report. Always leave the person you’re speaking with the impression you know as much or more about their company, than they do!

7. Memorize the salient points of a company’s summary product brochure or website word-for-word so that by the time you get a face-to-face meeting, the person you’re meeting can visualize you as fellow colleague or employee.

8. Success in sales is about your track record. Winners want to be around winners and winning (like losing) is a habit. Always be prepared to be your own best advocate by sharing where have you won before in life and in your career. Be quick to give kudos to those who helped you to achieve #1 status in previous endeavors. Humility and gratitude will empower you to ask: “If you were in my shoes, what would be your next best step?”

9. Present a professional business card. The best tips and insights I’ve ever heard regarding the development and use of business cards were offered by an associate of mine, Steve Fisher in a presentation he did entitled: 10 Rules for Killer Business Cards. http://www.slideshare.net/stevenfisher/10-rules-for-killer-business-cards-slideshare

10. On employee skills testing“there will never be, and there has never been a test that can prove the heart of winner”Art Williams. Don’t be intimidated by the technology verbiage, acronyms, and the “geek factor” you will undoubtedly encounter. Most disciplines and specialties are intentionally, superficially, and deceptively presented as being complex to enhance the reputations and certifications of their practitioners. The net: This stuff isn’t that hard. You’ll get training and your focus will be on solving business problems.

Win,

Christopher Bell, III

 

Unplug and Change the View

A business associate and I arrived at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship in Columbia, Maryland this morning with our coffee in-hand feeling a bit sleep deprived, (which isn’t unusual for most entrepreneurs) because we pulled an all-nighter planning, checking, and double-checking the schedule and quality of our client’s project deliverables. We both agreed: “We’re at capacity – It’s time to bring on more people… we’ve got to scale up.” 

A few hours later I dragged myself home and realized that I hadn’t watched or listened to the news in a few days and when I did… I couldn’t relate to the gloom & doom, or the depressing economic forecasts that the talking heads and financial experts were broadcasting as their pronouncements were foreign to where I am today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naïve nor am I one of the bourgeoisie. I know some extraordinary people who are going through hell on a day-to-day basis looking for employment. I also know what it’s like to be suddenly laid off from a decent paying job, with 2 kids in college at the same time, and accepting a part-time job to clean toilets and mop floors in a local office building as a janitor very late at night (so I wouldn’t risk the embarrassment of being seen by my friends or neighbors with a mop and a bucket.) But that experience INSPIRED me, humbled me, and shook me out of my complacency and acceptance of the status quo.

So for my nearly-broke, unemployed, desperate compatriots out there who are trying to hold it together for their children and their families who are praying for a break… I’ve been there and hope this may help: Turn off the TV and stop paying attention to the unemployment numbers as they have nothing to do with your destiny. Control your environment, break the cycle of negative communication and start thinking BIG. Have you ever thought about launching your own small biz?  Learn new skills NOW; begin connecting with other entrepreneurs, get out of your comfort zone, build a network of potential clientele, become a student of business, and put yourself in a position to discern and take on business opportunities that may transform your life and elevate your legacy.  The net: you’re not a loser and where you are today has nothing to do with your destination. Moreover, the most important people in your life, you may not even know yet so prepare yourself and…

Persevere,

Chris Bell 3rd

Don’t Jump, It’s Temporary – A Sales Recovery Scenario

I recently received a call from a colleague whom I’ve sold with and coached regularly. He was sending me his sales plan and recent revenue numbers for us to discuss together.  With a new job and in his first quarter with a new employer, one of the best revenue producers I’d known found himself bearing witness to the atrophy of his initial revenue forecast commitment.  The Result:  embarrassment, frustration and disgust at the thought of being at the bottom of a sales leader board. (Note – this was also a déjà vu moment for me.)

After listening to 10-minutes of venting, I asked: “Are you finished yet?”  He laughed when realizing his Type-A, hyper-competitive personality was both an asset and a curse… if it wasn’t kept in check. This scenario also provoked me to spend time in introspection as I asked myself “Do I sound like that too?”

Here are the Top 5 Actions we agreed to implement to change the view from the bottom of the leader board.

 Take a humility pill: step away from the ledge, and don’t jump!  You’re good – not God.  The view from the bottom is usually temporary and in transitional scenarios such as this, finger-pointing can be dangerous and self-condemnation is premature.  Share your perspectives with a supportive manager and winners on the team to leverage their experience for guidance.

Practice a Flawless Opening:  It’s true – first impressions count.  Be prepared and be certain you have articulated or presented clear, concise, and compelling business reasons for them to remain engaged with you… again. An acceptance for a meeting invitation is nothing. The question is, are you being invited back?

Think Big, Be Big: You’ll work just as hard for a $5,000 deal as you will a $50,000 deal… and won’t achieve your quota objectives. Re-prioritize your focus to invest 80% of your the time and energy doing those things that matters most, with contacts who are ready, willing, and able to buy.  Delegate non-revenue generating activities and engage in those activities that will make a BIG difference quickly.

Network with your peers & recruit new partners:  This company’s largest previous deal came from a lead which was supplied by a partner. Replicate success and recruit other partners who have ongoing access to the hottest projects, understand the latest trends and have executive-level access to the clients you want to do business with.

 Up-sell Existing Customers & Revisit Lost Deals: The fastest path to new revenue has always been thru an existing customer. Initiate account reviews to ascertain what’s changed, discuss new capabilities and ask for referrals.

Win,

Chris Bel, III

From the Top: How Did You Do It?

As the founder of the company, over the last day or so, I received a few inquiries and notes of congratulations (and even one warning) about CB3’s transformation from “solopreneurship” but the most common question was: “How did you do it?”

Answer: “I” didn’t do it, and my experience is that few people actually make it on their own.  I’ve had access to a phenomenal supporting cast of extraordinarily talented people and professionals who have patiently and unselfishly poured themselves into my development, and whom I’ve personally won with in business.  Along the way, I’ve become humbled by their generosity, grateful for the opportunities presented, and carried by my faith.  With these assets, it’s easy to be inspired.

Win,

ChrisBell3rd

A Solopreneur Transformation

We’ve been REALLY busy.  Yes, I did say “we.” At CB3 (or for the more formally inclined, ChrisBell3rd & Company LLC) we’ve done more than just a little re-branding in the last 120 days. Here’s what I mean…

We’ve always understood that complimentary synergies exist between our executive clients, our peers in the business development technology arena, and our potential customers.  In response, CB3 has developed four new service offerings for executives of small technology companies and start-ups; Our peers are already talking aboutThe Razor’s Edge” – a digital destination where business development (sales, marketing) subject matter experts will be sharing insights to improve performance; and we’re delighted to be able to educate a community of future buyers and consumers in our upcoming “But I Hate Sales™” Seminars.  But there’s more! We now share office space in the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, which makes it immensely easier to do local business.  But MOST IMPORTANTLY,  we’ve evolved from solo-preneurship by adding a small, highly motivated TEAM of talented professionals to help optimize all business interactions (and yes… we remain on the hunt for exceptional talent.)

What’s next?  Subscribe to this page to hear about our upcoming Razor’s Edge featured guests; watch for the posting of the new “But I Hate Sales™ ” schedule; and for the next 30 days, read the daily, public “shout-outs” of gratitude and thanks to individuals or companies who have helped to make our transition possible.

Subscribe to this Conversations page… and don’t miss out!

Win,

Christopher Bell, III

10 Tips for Rookies In Technology Sales

Congratulations on making the dive into your first job in the technology sales arena!!! Whether you’re in IT, engineering, biotechnology, or telecommunications… your personal brand and reputation will be established thru your extraordinary performance because nobody remembers “average.”

Depending upon the products, services, and sales cycles, most companies will give their new sales pros at least 90-days to score a win and/or to build a viable pipeline of qualified sales opportunities. So here are a  few  tips to consider as you  immerse yourself into the financially rewarding but pressurized world of technology sales.

1. You get a new report card. As a student, your GPA validated your performance and potential. In sales, nobody cares about potential or academic pedigree. You’re now validated by your quota achievement and W-2.

2. Know your products, but don’t aspire to be an expert – you’re in sales. Instead, study the niche marketplace you’re in and learn to present a compelling business value proposition; prepare great questions in advance of meetings, and defer to the real experts to reconcile technical viability and compatibility.

3. Don’t mistake activity for progress. Your sales activity is going to be monitored, annotated, and posted for internal viewing, but in the end it’s your sales revenue achievement that will keep you employed or viable. Learn to develop high-quality sales activity.

4. Live on the base and then save or invest your commissions. Of course, you’ll be tempted to go out and buy expensive toys and splurge on luxuries your colleagues have. Treat yourself well, but strive to enjoy a lifestyle that will accelerate your run to financial independence.

5. Work in 30-day increments. You may have a quarterly or annual quota, but it’ll be difficult to maintain consistent intensity if you focus on longer periods of time. You can do anything in 30 days. Think “one-month- at-a-time” and the year will be awesome!

6. Observe the winners but be careful and selective when adopting their methods. That which you see may only be the tip of the iceberg with the mass of real content unseen, and possibly incompatible with your personal principles.

7. Optimize your commute time – make your car a lab. Listen to podcasts, motivational CDs, books on tape, and recordings of presentations to keep your edge

8. Treat your rest as seriously as you do your work. As a new sales athlete, you will expend a significant amount of emotional and physical energy to be competitive. Rest, recover, and then compete in top form.

9. Socialize with your colleagues, but remember they’re also your competitors and may use informal “down time” to size you up and probe for your weaknesses.

10. Get your boss involved early in every legitimate opportunity and leverage her experience to drive your sales process. Once she’s invested time and you win together, you increase your value.

Win,

-Chris Bell, III 

ChrisBell3rd A Winner in $25,000 Entrepreneur’s Challenge!

In celebration of her first book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works (Adams Media, March 2010), Melinda Emerson is annoucning contest winners featuring a prize of weekly small-business coaching sessions. “The contest brought so many worthy applicants that I found it impossible to choose one winner,” describes Emerson.  “I narrowed it to two winners who agreed to share the one-on-one coaching.” Entrepreneurs Jennifer Furr, owner of PictureThatSound in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Chris Bell, owner of ChrisBell3rd & Company in Columbia, Maryland, will work with Emerson weekly and blog about their experiences.

In 2009, Jennifer Furr decided to leave her steady job in the pharmaceutical industry to pursue a dream – bringing a product to market that she couldn’t find in the retail world.

Furr founded PictureThatSound to fill an unmet need in the US memory-keeping market.  The company’s first product pairs a photo matte with a recordable device for sound.  Furr describes being pregnant with her second child and wanting to capture the ultrasound image with the heartbeat sound in her scrapbook album. “There are so many sounds that we take for granted, that we think we’ll always remember. Sometimes I close my eyes and picture a sound in my head, like my toddler’s giggle, my grandmother singing, or even my husband snoring. We provide a product that allows you to capture a photo and an audio snapshot of that memory, all in one.” Visit www.PictureThatSound.com. In June 2009, Chris Bell decided to use his creative business development and technology sales expertise to launch his consultancy, ChrisBell3rd & Company, LLC to exceed sales revenue objectives on behalf of executives, investors, and owners of small to mid-sized IT software and life sciences software companies. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be coached by Smallbizlady, and I am thrilled to have been chosen.  I know she will help me grow my business,” said Bell.

ChrisBell3rd & Company, LLC exercises proven best practices with the latest in Sales 2.0 technology to deliver customized business development and sales approaches that uniquely fit their client’s product-type, corporate culture, and revenue goals. His mantra is simple: “Nobody cares what you know, until they know that you care – all is business is personal.”   Visit http://chrisbell3rd.com

Emerson says, “These two emerging entrepreneurs are exactly the type of dedicated small-business owners that I love to coach.  I was so touched by each of their stories of starting a business.”Jennifer and Chris will receive coaching twice a month for one year and an autographed copy of Melinda Emerson’s book Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, her life planning journal, and her Audio CD: 10 Things You Must Never Forget in Business. Emerson will also coach both entrepreneurs every other week throughout the year. The winners will be required to blog twice per month about their entrepreneurial journey.

Melinda Emerson “Smallbizlady” is a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach. Her areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. Melinda is a well-known expert in achieving bottom line results and has helped many entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses.  Melinda hosts #Smallbizchat, a weekly talk show on Twitter for emerging business owners. Melinda publishes a blog about running a profitable small business www.succeedasyourownboss.com.  Her first book Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to Start a Business That Works” was released March 2010 from Adams Media.  For more information, please visit www.becomeyourownbossbook.com

National Sales Network (NSN) Event – Guest Speakers: Mark Hill & Chris Bell III

Come join members of the National Sales Network (NSN) to secure great-career changing tips from guest speakers and Mark A. Hill, and Chris Bell, III accomplished technology sales professionals as they share unique insights about the technology sales arena and how you can make a personally and professionally rewarding transition into the technology sales arena.

Radio Interview: Building a Career in Technical Sales

A few months ago I authored an article entitled ” 9 Tips to Transition into the Technology Sales Arena” .

If you’re new to technology sales, looking for a career change, or a soon-to-be graduating college student, take a little down-time and grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage and then listen to this radio interview facilitated by Tai Goodwin, Career Makeover Coach and expert which features me and my colleague Mark Hill, Executive Director of Minorities in Technology Sales (MiTS) as we address these questions:

  • What trends are you seeing in technical sales careers?
  • What makes technical sales careers appealing?
  • What kind of people do well in this field?
  • What skills and experience are needed to transition into a technical sales career?
  • What professional organizations are out there for people to connect with?
  • What 3 or 4 pieces of advice have helped you build your own career?
  • How can someone go about making a transition into a technical sales career?
  • Where are the most opportunities for professionals interested in growing their career?
  • What advice do you have for anyone just getting started building their career?

To listen to this informative interview, click here : http://tobtr.com/s/940148 and then…

Win,

Christopher Bell, III

Going Solo?

Although I do my own writing and blogging, I felt it was time to offer my readership access to diverse perspectives which may enhance their own businesses and careers. As such, I’m pleased to post my first GUEST ARTICLE: How to Succeed in the Age of Going Solo by Richard Greenwald. For those of us who are new to running a small consultancy or for those who are thinking about launching out on their own, this article offers some great tips.

Dr. Greenwald is a professor and dean of the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies at Drew University in Madison, N.J. He can be reached at reports@wsj.com

Win,

Chris Bell

The Cost of Obsolete Sales Management Tactics

All of my company’s clients are owners, investors, and sales executives in small, growing technology companies. One of the more exciting benefits of my work is that on a daily basis, I’m ushered into the presence of their genius, vision, and levels of energy that can fuel and inspire all but the dead. While personalities and corporate cultures differ, most of the executives and sales leaders I encounter share a genuine passion for the pursuit of excellence coupled with sincere care and respect for their colleagues, employees, customers, vendors, and suppliers. Just as importantly, this attitude is infectious and permeates the can-do positive disposition in their sales and marketing organizations which support the monetary lifeline for the company’s growth and survival.

However, nothing is 100%. I’ve also spoken with and met a few owners and sales executives who after being frustrated with sub-standard sales performance results, adopted a corporate culture that’s fueled by old-school fear and intimidation and it works!  (It just doesn’t work that long.) All people are drawn to that which increases them, and move away from that which they believe diminishes their value.

Do you remember when your last salesperson quit? Now add on 3 months.  A sales reps letter of resignation is generally an official belated expression of a decision they made months ago. So now you’re looking at: a limited pipeline in a barely-worked open territory, a sales forecast short on revenue, personal time you’ve got to commit for new-hire interviews, and still more time necessary to have a new rep appropriately trained and oriented in the new territory before they can generate new revenue.  Now you are in deep @#%^!!!

Lesson: old-school, macho, profane, hair-on-fire, sleazy, peddler intimidation tactics are obsolete in good technology sales organizations. Even in this climate of fiscal restraint and high unemployment, good business development specialists and sales professionals simply won�t be treated like commodities without penalty.

The net: If you’re an investor, business owner, sales executive, or even an account manager and want to know how to stop the madness while also increasing your sales revenue production, contact me to setup a brief, confidential appointment. I promise it’ll be time well-spent.

Win,

Christopher Bell, III

Outsourced Sales Professionals (OSPs) – A Competitive Advantage?

iStock_000005540740XSmallWhat recession? In the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, my recent (though brief) experience is that the volume of high-quality business development and technology sales opportunities exceeds the number of Outsourced Sales Professionals (OSPs) that are available to service those companies and opportunities. For OSPs with a solid-value proposition and a track record for performance, business is really good right now. Why?

In times of fiscal constraint, companies are always seeking ways to increase productivity and sales revenue while concurrently reducing their costs. A recent BusinessWeek blog post entitled “A New Wrinkle on Outsourcing” provides an interesting perspective on the use of Outsourced Sales Professionls (OSPs) in technology sales. Here’s the net: Executives and managers in the technology space are beginning to get it – OSPs can bring a level of consistency and best practices to the job that’s difficult to achieve with an in-house sales staff.

If you’re a sales executive or business owner it’s probably time to look into leveraging OSPs – your competition certainly is.

The Law of “Retraction”

Clouds of WarIn T.D. Jakes book,  How to Reposition Yourself he uses the imagery of an archer, bow, and arrow to illustrate the fact that just before the moment of release, an arrow is pulled backward (or should I say “retracted”) and lays at rest as the bowstring is pulled taught and the bow bends under stress and tension. To further paraphrase the words of this prolific author, all of this is necessary to ensure that power and long flight are enabled upon release and that sometimes the life experiences of people are quite similar. I personally call this: The Law of Retraction.

Have you ever talked to, or met with someone you’ve known for years and walked away from the dialogue blown away by their transformation or growth from what you perceived as a point of failure or tough circumstances? How did they seem to move from “zero-to-hero”? One plausible explanation is the “Law of Retraction.”

Quite often, an exceptional achievement is preceded by a circumstance or event that forces one to move backwards and wait in a state of temporary tension and stress as change for the better takes place. For some, this holding period  is a matter of days and yet for others it could be a lifetime. While the posture is uncomfortable for all, the personal pressure of life’s demands, society’s expectations for short-term gain or relief and past recollections of previous success… may seem unbearable for the one who is in a state of retraction. The result? Compromise and the trade-off of a bigger long-term gain for small, temporary relief.

It may be wise for us to get better at discerning our position and to refrain from cursing every situation that may be holding us where we are. Examine your plans and quietly test them in preparation for a well-positioned and powerful release that will take you further, faster, and far beyond what could have ever happened without… The Law of Retraction.

Win,

~Chris

Thanks for the Acknowledgements!

Many thanks for numerous shout-outs and congratulatory thanks from previous customers, old and new friends, business associates (and even a few competitors) in recognition of the inaugural launch of ChrisBell3rd & Company a few days ago. The response to our launch has FAR EXCEEDED our expectations and we look forward to helping small software companies achieve and exceed their software sales revenue goals.

We’ll see you at the top!

– Chris Bell

New Sales Outsourcing Business ChrisBell3rd & Company Launches Overcoming Daunting Challenges

Columbia, Maryland (PRWEB) October 6, 2009 — Christopher Bell III had no idea he would launch a successful small business a year ago. At that time, personal and professional tragedy hit him hard. However, starting a new venture is exactly what Bell has done with the founding of his new company, ChrisBell3rd & Company – which specializes in providing world-class outsourced sales services of IT software and life sciences software on a retainer-plus-commission basis.

According to Bell, his clients are small software companies with big sales revenue objectives who may lack in-house sales resources or the expertise necessary to aggressively prospect, compete, negotiate, and win competitive scenarios within commercial organizations and U.S. federal civilian agencies based in the local Washington, D.C./Maryland/Virginia metropolitan area, or the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.

Bell, who has more than 18 years experience as a nationally recognized leading sales revenue producer of IT and life science software, said he utilizes a variety of means to assist and find clients – including the latest marketing tools available.

“Evidence of a paradigm shift in the active use of technology by the sales profession – as in other professions – is everywhere. ChrisBell3rd landed its first client, TeraTech, Inc. in Rockville, Md. via an ad on Craig’s List,” Bell said. “Within 30 days of signing our consulting agreement, we had signed a major deal for TeraTech with a global entertainment communications company. That sales lead was generated by word-of-mouth via Twitter! What’s compelling is that one year ago, I had never even heard of Twitter.”

Despite early success, the company’s founding required unusual resolve to launch, he said.  In late 2008, he was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery and recovered after two months on disability. Forty-five days later, on Christmas Eve, a family member was found deceased of natural causes. The challenges continued just 50 days later, after he was terminated by his employer as part of the economic downturn. The decision, he said, became clear: “become a victim or a victor.” He chose the latter and a vision of opportunity was the result.

“Clearly, the velocity of technological change that is taking place today is exponential and it’s certainly not business as usual for employers with staffs of technology sales professionals,” Bell said. “While small IT software and life science software companies may be able to develop and market superior solutions to that of their larger competitors, a small company’s survival and future success in our marketplace will require different approaches and an enhanced evolving professional skill set to that of traditional sales personnel.”

ChrisBell3rd & Company is on the leading edge to help its clients reduce overhead and increase software sales revenue production. It does this by leveraging outsourced high-touch expertise to personally manage complex strategic sales processes while concurrently using virtual communications and social media tools to more cost effectively prospect, qualify, and dialogue with prospective customers in a manner that is more congruent with prospective customer’s evolving communications preferences and capabilities, said Bell.

“Today and in the future, ChrisBell3rd is well-poised to replicate its early success with other like-minded investors, business owners, and sales executives as we look forward to collaboratively adding software sales revenue to their bottom-line,” Bell said.

For more information, contact:

Christopher Bell, III
443-539-8252

9 Tips to Transition into the Technical Sales Arena

A few months ago I attended the GrowSmallBiz conference hosted by Network Solutions in Washington, DC and during one of the breaks I was speaking to a polished, intelligent, articulate, and enthusiastic professional who had years of experience selling copier products, but wanted to know how to break into the technology sales and business development field. What’s coincidental is that it was the second time in the last few weeks I’ve been asked the very same question, so I thought I’d offer a few tips for competent professionals who are honestly interested in pursuing this kind of career change:

1. Avoid going in thru front door via human resources. Traditional hiring processes are exclusionary, meaning they’re designed to keep people out. HR personnel can only say “No” they can’t say “Yes” to a potential hire. If you can’t connect with a real decision-maker to whom you would personally present your value, then you’re not ready for a technology sales career transition.

2. Talk with people in the niche you wish to work to ascertain what’s hot, relevant, and what’s keeping those in the know up at night. Read their blogs, attend their virtual webinars and follow them on social media networks. There is a strong connection that can be developed by discussing the highlights of another person’s interests.

3. Do your homework. Study – a lot. Go to the library and read the trade periodicals to become familiar with the general language and buzz words of the field you’re interested in. Download white papers and brochures.

4. Follow a few companies you’d really want to work with. If they’re publicly listed, dial into their quarterly call, and read their 10-k. These activities will detail the latest news, opportunities, wins, and concerns of the company.

5. When contacting a decision-maker or business influencer, ask them for their help and advice (everyone wants to help someone.) Get to know their executive assistant or secretary and ask them to setup an informal 20-minute introduction at their local coffee shop before business hours, or setup an invitation for a quick sandwich and informal lunch at a local deli.

6. To schedule a meeting you should be prepared to restate some of the quotes in their press releases or paraphrase statements made on the company’s quarterly report. Always leave the person you’re speaking with the impression you know as much or more about their company, than they do!

7. Memorize the salient points of a company’s summary product brochure word-for-word so that by the time you get a face-to-face meeting, the person you’re meeting already sees you as fellow colleague or employee.

8. Success in sales is about your track record. Be prepared to be your own best advocate and articulate where have you won before in life and your career, who helped you get there, and what it took for you to become #1? Ask them “If you were in my shoes, what ‘s your next best step?” Personally hand them your resume and references and then ask them for their sponsorship.

9. On employee skills testing – there will never be, and there has never been a test that can prove the heart of winner – Art Williams.

There are lots of career-changers out there who could use your help. Are there any tips you might add?

End of a Sales Era?

I was recently sitting in my basement home office, and took a quick glance at a bookshelf containing over one hundred plus sales-related books I’d bought, read, or acquired in the last 12 years and then it hit me: (besides spending too much money) much of what I’ve read and the counsel proposed in many of these books is probably obsolete today.

What Happened?  Nothing really. Ever since mankind stood on two legs, somebody has been selling, and not many people esteemed those in the profession. In fact, I’d describe society’s perspective on sales as being one of  strained tolerance. That was yesterday. Today’s prospective buyers don’t have to take it anymore. They can do a Google or Wikipedia�search and at the click of a mouse secure information that used be only available via a sales rep; they’ll research their options and get referrals about how you’ve treated your customers by reading their blog posts; they’ll communicate with like-minded buyers via twitter, and before they’ve even meet a salesperson face-to-face, it’s likely theyll read the salespersons LinkedIn profile to validate their professionalism and character thru common connections. The net: Potential customers have more leverage and there’s more transparency in the buyer-seller relationship. It’s a new game ya’ll.

Why? Frankly, potential buyers have been pissed off for years and they should be! For them, today’s revenge is sweet as the tables have turned on those who for decades have advocated anything goes to do business. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent teaching sales people how to close deals (versus helping to build careers) and many traditional sales tactics and strategies are adversarial and manipulative processes… and everybody knows it. This old reality resulted in the�implementation of buyers deploying defensive, dysfunctional buying processes that have made it extremely difficult for those sales professionals who are operating on a platform of integrity and presenting excellent products to be successful. In fact, I don’t know a single sales professional who during sometime in their career, hasn’t exercised their training only to reach the crossroads of a moral decision to either knowingly do the wrong deal because of their management’s quota pressure, or walk away from it with their integrity intact and a termination notice in-hand.

The Old-New Reality: We all know that there always have been, and always will be deal whores and hustlers without a moral compass. But today’s access to information and the exercise of social media for business empowers and informs potential buyers as never before to quickly ascertain who is authentic and whats hype. The winners? Sales and marketing organizations who have established a corporate culture of selling with integrity for the purpose of developing mutually beneficial collaborative business relationships with their customers.  The result: good sales professionals will actually be able to afford to do the morally right thing and it’s about time.