Top 5 Tips From An IT Sales Pro

Have you ever continually run into someone and questioned, “Why do I keep running into this person?”  Without getting too philosophical, the universe has a strange way of presenting data, opportunities, and people.  But do you notice?  For many reasons, our world has sped up. We all have more important things to accomplish, our smartphones keep buzzing with new emails, the list continues.

For the past few days I had the good fortune of being surrounded by 150+ leaders of business. Full disclosure, I was there to help raise awareness for our Mobile Enterprise Management portfolio of solutions, but also I was intrigued to listen in on and engage in conversations about how organizations use technology to improve their business.

As the event unfolded, I continually came across the same gentleman.  Each time I saw him, five times over the two-day event, I would exchange pleasantries, but nothing more.   Finally, the stars aligned and I was seated next to him at dinner.  Since he is a true conversationalist, we were never really at a loss for discussion during our dinner that spanned about 2.5 hours.  My dinner partner is a CTO at a large U.S. distribution and supply company and possesses a great background in technology that he is applying to his company with great success.

Instead of diving deep into “tech speak,” the common theme he stressed was his collaborative approach to running his team.  He relied on the same open communication strategy with peers, competitors, and dinner guests – sharing ideas, revealing failures.  He stressed that he was not concerned with companies taking his ideas, but that he was rewarded with the amount of information his team and his own strategy benefited from open dialogue.

One thread we covered was his relationship with sales people.  His belief, that I’ve interpreted below, is pure common sense. It is invaluable for any marketing and sales professional, but also for makes sense for everyday engagements.

  1. Be respectful. It’s important to understand that everyone’s time is at a premium.
  2. Be patient. Allow the conversation to progress as your common purpose reveals itself.
  3. Be organic. Have a reason for calling the meeting, but don’t force the discussion.
  4. Be curious. Ask open ended questions and truly listen and interpret the responses.
  5. Be sincere. Treat the meeting as a friend, not another to-do on your list of daily activities. Also, if you don’t know an answer, say that, but make it as a takeaway to find the solution. (A customer once told me, “Jim, no is a perfectly acceptable answer.”  It’s saved me a lot of time and I felt it built me a lot of creditably with my customers.)

Of course, all of these suggestions were revealed over our lengthy dinner, but they provide a strong outline for everyday interactions, not only for conversations with customers.

So next time you are ready to meet that customer, use this commonsense approach. When the universe is presenting something to you, don’t be so quick to ignore it.
The Networking Exchange Blog Team About NEB Team