Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Getting Better - Why I Write Things Down

When I’m delivering Great Demo! Workshops, I write down new ideas and thoughts to improve the Workshop – right then and there.  Why do I do this?  I do it to get better. 

Far too often, we think of a great new idea – and then later on we can’t remember what it was…!  (Has this ever happened to you?)  So I make a brief note, right away, so that the thought is captured and doesn’t get forgotten.

I find that this is key to making positive changes and improving my practice.  I set myself a personal objective to capture one or two new ideas, tips, or changes I want to make in each Great Demo! Workshop that I deliver.

- What new thing went really well that I want to repeat?
- What new idea did I encounter or learn that I want to try or develop?
- What bad thing happened that I want to avoid repeating in the future?

You might apply the same principle with your demos:  when you stumble upon something that works really well, or slam into something you never wish to repeat, or have an idea you’d like to try in the future – write it down!

[Note:  if your demos are simply running the same pathway over and over and over and over, you can ignore this suggestion – getting better will be tough!]

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Frightening Statistics on Doing Discovery

I’ve done some informal interviews with heads of sales and presales recently and uncovered the following, rather consistent statements:

- Heads of sales and presales tell me that about 10% of their teams actually do Discovery very well.  [Group 1]
- They also say that about 70% of their team THINK they do Discovery well, but actually do not (in the eyes of their senior managers).  [Group 2]
- The remaining 20% of their teams do realize that they don’t do Discovery well.  [Group 3]

This reveals an interesting and rather frightening gap that deserves additional thought – and action to address…!  Looking at these three groups again:

- Group 1:  These people are either consciously or unconsciously competent.  Their knowledge and process steps need to be captured and taught to the balance of the team.
- Group 2:  These people are unconsciously incompetent.  This is extremely dangerous – they don’t know that they aren’t doing a good job.  As a result, they don’t realize what they lack and aren’t willing to take time to learn.
- Group 3:  These people are consciously incompetent.  They recognize that they lack certain skills and knowledge and may be interested or willing to learn.

[Quiet question:  which group are you in?  (Be honest with yourself…!)]

A few ideas to close the gap:

1.  Gather your best sales and presales people together (the Group 1 folks) for a half a day or so, have them generate Discovery Documents and outline the key process steps that they follow when doing Discovery.  Distribute to the balance of the field.  Train managers and mentors to coach Discovery role-play sessions for their team members (first making sure that the managers and mentors can use the Discovery Documents and execute the process steps well before they work with their teams!).  Consider hiring a 3rd party to facilitate and teach the above (hint hint).

2.  Track closed business when Discovery was sufficient (as measured, for example, by a completed Situation Slide) vs. where Discovery was insufficient.  This will help identify who is in Groups 1, 2 and 3…  It will also underscore the importance of doing sufficient Discovery, when the numbers are compared at the end of a quarter or two!

3.  Consider using a tool like DemoCoach (http://factorlab.com/demo-coach) to develop and reinforce good habits, and to share ideas with colleagues.

4.  Read the article, “Stunningly Awful Demos – Insufficient Discovery” for more ideas on doing Discovery and on the impact of not doing it well!  www.SecondDerivative.com/Articles.html

5.  Require reasonably complete Situation Slides prior to assigning resources for any demo scheduled to run more than 6 minutes.

Some additional observations I’ve heard from senior sales and presales management:

- Doing Discovery minimizes surprises – especially negative surprises.
- Many sales and presales teams believe they have and use a consultative model – but they really don’t!
- Many people THINK they have been learned how to do Discovery, since they’ve been through one or more sales methodology training courses – but most sales methodologies only scratch the surface.  Even worse, most sales methodologies focus on qualification questions as opposed to really doing Discovery.
 One senior manager positioned a lack of sufficient Discovery beautifully.  He said, “What you don’t know will hurt you…!”
- Another head of sales commented, “In corporate America, successful sales people are promoted – and are expected to manage their teams.  In the military, those same successful soldiers are first brought back to teach the other soldiers how to win…”

How do you successfully teach and reinforce Discovery skills in your organization today?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Stunningly Awful Car Sales Demo

This is a great (sad) story, contributed by Mike Horsfall, a Great Demo! Workshop alumnus:

Recently we had a hail storm and there was so much damage to my car that the insurance company “totaled” it, thus I had to look for a replacement.

So we went to the same dealer and explained the situation, that we were looking for a newer model of the same car, we know what it is like “all the features, as they are on the web”; we just want to drive it.

So the sales person proceeded to leave us for 15 minutes while he got the demo ready and “car brought around”.  He then proceeded to:

1.     Open the hood and explain how the VVT Variable Valve Timing worked
2.     The motor mounts are now break away so in the case of a front end collision the motor would break away and drop down and to the side to not impact the passenger compartment
3.     The front quarter panels are designed to collapse and take the force of a collision so again to not impact the passenger compartment
4.     The side walls of each door are equipped with 3, yes 3, not just 2 cross bars to protect the passengers
5.     Opening the rear hatch, he explained that it was the same size as the previous model, but now the door swung up, rather than sideways as the spare tire was under the rear floor mat
6.     Now on the rear roof, you will notice that the antenna is now about 6” inches tall not the typical 24” so it provides, less air turbulence and wind noise
7.     On the passenger side you will notice a slight ridge beside the side mirror, this is to streamline the airflow and provide better flow down the side of the car and make it quieter
8.     Opening the passenger compartment you will notice that we now have intermittent wipers, with not the typical 3 setting but 4 settings to allow much more flexibility to deal with rain
9.     Did I mention that we now have 6 way driver seat adjustments

We are now 25 minutes into the demo – and I still don’t have an answer to my Critical Business Issue: “Does it have the power of my old car?”

Finally I got in the driver seat, drove off the lot, tromped on the gas pedal, came back to the dealer lot and said, “Nope I want a V6 instead of the V4, this doesn’t solve my need!”

Monday, May 4, 2015

Fewest Number of Clicks

In Great Demo! Workshops, I urge participants to reduce each pathway they demo to the fewest number of clicks.  One of the (many) reasons for this is that people have surprisingly few “active” memory slots that they can use.  Here’s an example – I believe this has happened to most of us (only once, hopefully):

You are given a list of 5 items to buy at the grocery market by your spouse, partner or better-half.  Being an intelligent human, you think, “5 items, no problem – I can remember these…” and you don’t write them down.

You get into your car to drive to the market – and the list is still present and correct in your mind.  You arrive at the market and the list is still there.  You get out of your car and walk towards the market – and the list is still fully intact.  You go through the doors into the market – and 2 of the 5 items disappear, flushed from your brain!

You wander through the market and cannot recall the missing items, but pick up a few other items that weren’t on the original list.

You arrive back home with only 3 of the original 5, plus some bottles of beer (more likely if you are male).  Your spouse/partner says, “Why’d you get beer?  Beer wasn’t on the list…”  You respond, “Beer is always on the list…”

Everyone:  have you ever had this happen to you (or similar)?

In a demo, every click and step you show is filling up your customers’ brains and the limited number of “active”, available memory slots.  The longer the pathway, the more clicks or steps, the more likely you’ll have the following results:

-  It is harder for your customers to remember what you did.
-  It makes it look too complicated.
It seems like only an expert could use your software.

Solution?  Fewest number of clicks.