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We’ve searched high and low for the best sales professionals around to bring you their top tips for success. (Including using Spiro’s sales automation CRM!) Sales professionals are social people by nature, so it makes sense that the best of them would want to share some of their juicy secrets (Unless you’re a sales robot, hell bent on taking over the world one day).

This week we spoke to Mike Ice, Regional Vice President of Cloud Sherpas.  He’s one of the top technology consulting sales professionals in New England, consistently bringing in 150% of his quota over his career. I sat down with Mike and asked him what his top three tips for success and reaching his quota are.  I figured, if we can get sales insights from Taylor Swift, we might as well go straight to the source!

The Best Sales Guys Are Not “Sales Guys”

Mike’s first words of wisdom came as a bit of a shock to me – the best sales guys are NOT sales guys.  What does that even mean?  If you were to ask someone on the street to picture a salesperson in their head, more often than not the image would be of the stereotypical shady used car salesman – slicked back hair, terrible suit from the 80’s, and a beach house in Idaho to sell you.

Mike stressed one of the best tools he’s employed over the years is to keep an honest dialogue with potential customers.  If you can convey honesty and sell a partnership rather than just a product or a service, it will go a long way with building a relationship, making the sale, and getting closer to reaching your quota.

The Best Sales Professionals Have Conviction

One big point of contention for Mike is when people are not prepared for their meetings.  To illustrate his point, he painted a picture of two salesmen – Voltaire and Tony.  Voltaire comes to a prospective client with a fresh notebook, ready to take notes – the pages are blank and ready to be filled with every possible whim and need of the customer.  Tony comes to the same client with a notebook, and upon opening we see that is filled to the brim with scribbles and notes about the customer.  Who’s ahead in this scenario?

Tony, according to Mike.  As mentioned before, honesty gets you ahead – but with that honesty comes the ability to openly tell a client what you think is best for them.  You know your product/service – how should they be implementing it?  If you can demonstrate your knowledge of the product, as well as do your due diligence on the client, you can quickly establish yourself as a trusted thought leader, not just another guy making a pitch.

Sales Professionals Know When To Say No

It’s pretty easy to say yes to everything (at least Hollywood thinks so).  Why should you ever say no to a potential customer?  More sales, more money, more smiles, am I right?  Obviously the goal is to make more sales – but yes can come at a cost.  Mike recalls a specific time where a company he was working for was in a transition phase – and there were many deals on the table that were guaranteed wins but not the kind of work his new company was looking for.  It’s tough to say no, but sometimes it is necessary to keep the ship moving forward.

In Conclusion

If I could give my conversation with Mike an overarching theme, it would be honesty – being honest about your intentions, with the customer, and with yourself when a deal isn’t the best fit and you know it.  Here’s to hoping that these tips are helpful to you as you pursue your own sales goals.

Photos courtesy of Flickr user MikeP.

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About the Author Justin Kao

Justin is the VP of Growth and Cofounder of Spiro Technologies. He has an extensive background in enterprise consulting, business systems architecture, and sales processes. He's a lover of peaty single malt scotches, fall, and indie rock. If you ask nicely, he'll sing a song or two at your wedding.

5 Comments

  • Nice article, Justin. I learned very early in my sales career that preparation is 90% of success, so it always made sense for me to find out as much as possible about my client/prospect long before the days of LinkedIn. Nowadays there’s no excuse for winging it.
    PS Can you recommend a peaty single malt alternative to Lagavulin and Laphraoig?

    • Justin Kao says:

      Thanks for the kind comment! As for peaty single malts, general rule of thumb is sticking to the Islay distilleries. I’ve also enjoyed some nice Japanese whiskeys recently, especially Hakushu 12 year.

  • Sylvia says:

    Thank you I always felt the honesty in sales can go a long ways; some delaers do you want you to be a sales robot which is not right to me “everyone running around with a made up sales pitch….consumers want honesty and situation resolve with professionalism…Thank you

  • Mohamed Jameel says:

    100% correct. But also don’t be disappointed when customers turn you down because they are in price competitive market. If you cannot convince a customer that you want to add value, then they are at loss. Business is about a decent profit and for mutual benefit. Prices can always be beaten. After sales service is vital in building long lasting relationships. Honesty, consistency, is something every sales person can achieve. It builds networks. A salesman can sell any product, but it also depends on management back-up. Poor management can turn a good salesman into demotivated failure.

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