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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rainmaker #5 - Start With An Offer

Definition - A Rainmaker creates a significant amount of new business for a company.The Sales Lab Rainmaker Series is one rainmaker technique for technologists during the first 300 seconds (five minutes) of the monthly Capital Technology Management Hub Meeting. This is the handout for our May meeting.
Listening to a line of people introduce themselves with a name, a precious title, a company, a catchy slogan, like “We put an 'X' through Excellence!” I realized I just wanted the offer. 

What can you do for me? That is more important than anything else. 
When you decide to attend an event, your next thought should be, what can I bring? What can I offer? 
If you can't think of something, don't cancel. Resolve to attend twenty meetings every month, so the only option is to develop something to offer. Then you can go more easily, more often.

If the offer is more important than the name, title, company, and catchy slogan “Fred the Electrician, Let Us Remove Your Shorts,” why not go with the offer first? 

Or by itself? 
What is your offer? Commenting below will help us all get ready! It payz to advertize (here)!

Reserve your place for the next Capital Technology Management Hub Event, How To Implement Security In An Open World, May 10,

The previous Rainmakers:
Rainmaker #3 Process to Purchase
Rainmaker # 2 The Nametag
Rainmaker #1 Gifts
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Observing A Sale

I was talking with n00b, who had just entered the sales game. He was telling me his offering. John, who invests in several local companies walked over.

Me: Hey John, do you ever need inverted frammis services?

John: We are looking to recruit someone for that right now.

n00b: (we don't do recruiting..we provide services)

Me: That's great! n00b here knows a lot of people in that space!

John: n00b, I'd like to talk with you. Here's my card. Call me next week.


My interpretation
Congratulations to everybody for getting into position.

I put the subject on the table. Crude but effective.

John responded, blending my opening term to what he thought he wanted.

n00b didn't seem to recognize the opportunity. This is why you go to meet 'n greets.

What's next?
n00b and John meet. John will keep adjusting his requirement to try to match n00b's capabilities. After all, he is successful...creates advantage from what is available. It would help (a lot) if he decides he likes n00b.

There are good reasons for buying a service rather than recruiting a body. Less risk, not enough work for a full time body, specialists wither without technical nourishment.

In the end, it doesn't matter what you think you are offering. What matters is what the customer finally buys.


Monday, April 11, 2011


Sales Professional Wanted! Must be able to fill out timely sales reports accurately! (actual recruiting ad)

Increasingly we can amass formidable data on anything we want. Damn little is worth the effort involved to capture it. When I set up a new analytic, it usually falls into one of two categories, “Ooops, not useful,' or more rarely, “Needs refinement,” before “Ooops, not useful.” Breakaway ratios are infrequent and fleeting.

Reminds me of the fruit vendor who explained his business model, “I buy for one dollar, sell for two, take my ten percent and go home.” He ended up with six stores and a fleet of trucks.

It's easy to spend important work time collecting, transmitting and looking at data that doesn't move you forward. That's even easier when it keeps you from doing something scary, like going out and making a new customer. And even easiest when your boss encourages timely reporting instead of work.

Infoporn is spending time gazing at seductive pictures when we could be doing work.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rainmaker #4 – Time, Talent, and Treasure – The Winner's Lemonade

Each month we present a 300 second program about practical leadership ideas at the beginning of the Capital Technology Managers Hub monthly meeting in McLean, VA.

Here's the handout for the session about winners adapting to circumstances:

Rainmaker #4
Time, Talent, and Treasure – The Winner's Lemonade

Time: everyone gets 24 hours each day – can't save it; can't increase it – use it or lose it.

Talent: unfocused exceptional talent is useless; even minimal focused talent is awesome.

Treasure: at the moment – what you've got is what you've got – make good use of it.

Get a bunch of lemons and a winner makes lemonade, then opens a stand to sell it.

Tom Sawyer needed to whitewash a fence and, as a junior grifter, had no favors to call in for help. Yet all the kids were painting the fence and they paid him with their treasures to do so.

Jethro Gibbs (NCIS) leads a team of misfits and has no formal training in investigation or leadership – but - he and the team catch the bad guys every week.

Peter Drucker says the single most important thing in business is a satisfied customer and that results (i.e., satisfied customers) only exist outside the organization – inside there are only costs.

Winners take actionable steps to achieve results; non-winners tell stories about why they can't. Aren't you a winner?

Please share your comments at 
- 30 -

To hear more, come join us at the April 12th CTMH meeting on How Google Apps Ecosystem Disrupts Traditional Enterprise Platforms.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No Solution In The Negative

Reading Pen Nerds and Finding Better Tools, where Anil Dash asked “Okay, pen nerds, is there a disposable ballpoint that's as satisfying to write with as a felt-tip, but not smeary?” which generated a pile of good responses, many I want to try, varsity pen nerd, I.

One that did not fit was, “Ballpoints are by definition unsatisfying.” Just stopped the flow. Stuck out like a sore whatever.

Criticism is not saying, “I don't like whatever.” Good criticism means establishing a context or explaining more fully, increasing total value of the subject. Any fool can blow a whistle to stop play.

I recently wrote about a first time, new type of event. It wasn't perfect. It wasn't established. It needs more time, but a lot of the central ideas are more than valid.

I got a lot of complaint from my friends saying I didn't talk about what should have been done better. I thought a long time before I wrote anything. I don't want tiny fires blown out.

Here are some earlier thoughts, From WordPictures – Phrases That Lit The Bulb:

There is no solution in the negative.
Dick Davies

Managers who focus on failure become experts on failure.
Dr. W. Edwards Deming

There is something that is much more scarce, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognize ability.
Robert Half

When I am teaching, I never say never and I don’t say don’t, if I can help it. I try to put everything in positive, constructive terms. ...when you are hitting a golf shot, a negative thought is pure poison.
Harvey Penick's Little Red Book

Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible. (p468)
Sheanna, Reflections on the New Order, Sandworms of Dune

Will you throw a little gasoline on this fire?
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Friday, April 1, 2011

Selling is Asynchronous

Kunal and Jennifer both said that selling was discouraging. They work and they work and they don't get immediate feedback. Eventually the sales come in, but a long time after they were working on it.

Sometimes they didn't do anything, and had no knowledge just before it came in.

Selling, like email, is asynchronous. You have to do your piece, as well as you can, as often as you can, as continually as you can.

When the customer is ready, they buy.

The stories I hear of what an internal champion has to do to complete the sale are often truly heroic. Often the whole culture of a customer company has to be changed before they can buy something significant.

The owner of a technology company told me he had to fire his COO before he could bring me on. I had thought the COO was my champion.

To be successful selling, we have to build a work system where we have a high rate of production and constantly improve our product without necessarily getting immediate external feedback.

How might you do that?