Month: March 2015

All of the account news you can use

All of the account news you can use

Information is king. This statement is especially true when it is account news. With information, you can make appropriate decisions. More than that, information on your prospect allows you to

  • respond to the events affecting your customers and prospects.
  • having background talking material during your sales calls.
  • find opportunities
  • establish financial justification for your opportunities.

There is a lot of information to gather about your accounts. You need a quick and convenient way to review the highlights of your account news so that it doesn’t overwhelm you. In order to lead you to the end goal, let’s start at the easiest beginning. Let’s assume you are looking for account news for your new prospect, General Motors.

The first and most obvious solution is to go to Google and search for General Motors. The resulting page will be at https://www.google.com/search?&rls=en&q=general+motors&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

This page will be good but not great. It has a lot of account news about the company that you may not know. However, it has little in the way of new information. If you look part way down the screen though, you will notice that there is a news section. As the last entry for that news section, it should say “More news for general motors” – go ahead and click this link (the link is: More news for general motors or https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=general+motors&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8#q=general+motors&rls=en&tbm=nws

This listing of account news is much better. The News page has even more timely information that we can use. However, it can be vastly improved. General Motors is a public company, and we can get financial information by modifying our string and inserting the stock symbol for the company. In this case the stock symbol is “GM” so let’s modify our search by just changing the above URL with “+GM” like this: https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=general+motors+GM&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8#q=general+motors+GM&rls=en&tbm=nws

Depending on your Google preferences, you may have to hit News on the menu bar immediately below the search bar.

Note that we had to make the modification twice, which is a bit inconvenient. Also, if you look at the News page, you will see a lot of analyst comments which are likely not very helpful in your sales campaigns. The fact that an analyst thinks the stock is going up or down is likely not going to help you in your sales campaign. So let’s skip to the end of all this work. Take a look at this URL: http://news.google.com/news/search?pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&hl=en&q=”general motors”+GM+-trading+-resistance+-upgrade+-downgrade+-upgraded+-downgraded&cf=all&as_qdr=w&as_drrb=q

Once again, you may have to hit the News button to see these results. Let’s spend a minute understanding what this search does to help you gather account news:

  • Give me all of the Google News for General Motors or GM (the quotes makes the two words General and Motors into one string). If the article has both GM and General Motors then it will score higher.
  • If the article contains any of the following words, score it lower:
    • trading
    • resistance
    • upgrade
    • downgrade
    • upgraded
    • downgraded

That is what the +- (or a plus followed by a minus) does. It adds a subtraction of that word to the search.

Now comes the best part. Once you have all of this setup, you don’t have to think about it again. Simply scroll to the bottom of the News search, and you should see “Stay up to date on results for” with your search string. Immediately beside that you will see a button “Create Alert”. When you go to that service, you will then set up the email destination of those alerts to you. Now your account news is emailed to you!

On the alerts service, you will see “Show options” beside the Create Alert button. In that options list, you can select how often you want alerts sent to you, the sources (I suggest that you stick to News), as well as the language and region of the world. I suggest you stay with “Only the best results” for the beginning.

For your next searches, skip all of this hard work and go straight to Google Alerts. Type in the company name (put quotes around it if it has a space in the name), the stock symbol, and “-trading -resistance -upgrade -downgrade -upgraded -downgraded” to eliminate some of the noise.

Good luck and get ready to use this account news to set traps for your competitors so that you can ELIMINATE THE COMPETITION!

Photo by Spencer E Holtaway

Why #TheDress matters (OR Why perception equals reality in sales)

Why #TheDress matters (OR Why perception equals reality in sales)

As I write this article, #TheDress has been trending on Twitter and other social media outlets for days and has gone viral. I am not going to get into a scientific discussion here on cones and rods in your eye. However, it is important to learn from this rage, especially if you earn a living in sales.

The current viral controversy is that some people observe the dress to be black and blue stripes while others see the dress to be gold and white stripes. There are scientific reasons for this confusion but the most important consideration is that everyone thinks they are correct. Think about this, if this subject had not hit Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so hard, everyone would believe that their perception of the colors of the dress was 100% of reality. If you saw a picture of #TheDress, wouldn’t you automatically assume that the color combination you perceive is reality?

Put in another way, how many images of clothes, cars, homes or stuffed animals have you questioned your perception of the color? If this is the first time that you questioned your perception, doesn’t it seem likely that this combination of colors and lighting has affected the rods and cones in your eye before?

Perception equals reality is something that salespeople have to contend with every day. It can be in your favor, and it can hurt you. Let’s give some simple examples:

  • Your product is expensive versus your product is affordable.
  • Your company gives great support versus your company gives adequate support.
  • Management needs information about the productivity of the sales force versus management is asking for so many reports the sales force doesn’t have time to sell.
  • Salespeople are essential in today’s market versus the Internet makes salespeople irrelevant.

I will be addressing that last point in a future article, but I think that almost all of us can agree that the earlier three were all a matter of perspective. The perspective of a person influences their version of reality.

Your marketing department advises you of certain facts about your product or products. You would assume that most of those facts are not interpreted as perception. We typically consider them to be speeds and feeds types of facts. Examples could be weight, torque, amount of RAM, number of CPUs, and even color. Interestingly, as we learned from #TheDress, color is not exactly a perfectly factual feature since it does require the viewer to perceive the combination of colors in a certain way.

Other facts typically are about the products ability to offer a benefit to the end customer. These are much more open to perception. You need to explain these features to the prospect, and the prospect may not take your word for the benefit. These features only have perceived benefits to certain prospects and likely have few benefits to others.

It is the job of the salesperson to understand the perception of the buyer, since the buyer’s perception is 100% of reality. A buyer that sees no value in your feature literally thinks that feature is worthless. If you continue to try to change the perception of that buyer on the value of a single feature, you are likely wasting your time. Instead, it is your job as a professional salesperson to understand the perception of the buyer and present features to that buyer that have value to that buyer.

Just like some people perceive that #TheDress is gold and white while others perceive it to be black and blue, perception is reality. It is your job as a professional salesperson to understand that perception and alter your conversation with the prospect to influence their version of reality.

 

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The Dress (viral phenomenon)” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.