13 things Michael Scott can teach you about sales
Everyone's favorite paper supply office manager is known for his insightful wisdom, so we thought we'd apply some of Michael Scott's quips to B2B sales.
1: Learn how to leverage the power of PowerPoint
According to a survey by Selling Power, 76% of B2B sales professionals need presentations to perform their jobs. Unfortunately, many sales reps stick with basic PowerPoint skills and never learn how to create truly impactful, impressive presentations for their buyers.
It's time to learn how to transform those boring PowerPoint presentations into rich media experiences (preferably before someone asks you to discuss PowerPoint in front of the whole office staff). Your buyers will thank you.
2: Be wary of the “too good to be true” sales lead
Before you spend all your time pursuing the golden deal that has everything (interested buying team, limitless budget, accelerated timeline, etc.), take a page from Michael Scott’s book and treat that deal with a bit of “stitiousness.” Don’t ignore it, but don’t put all your sales eggs in one basket either.
3: Bigger doesn’t always mean better for B2B sales
The bigger the deal, the more buying team members, requirements to consider and obstacles to overcome. Just because a single deal will allow you to hit your quota doesn’t mean that it’s worth the effort (assuming it closes at all).
Find out what deal size is ideal for your organization and focus your efforts on those.
4: You should always plan your pitch
No buyer wants to listen to you ramble on and on about your products or services. Plan your messaging around your buyer’s needs.
If it’s something your buyer isn’t interested in hearing, it’s probably not something you need to say, so skip the “improversation.”
5: When you still haven’t made your quota, stay optimistic
As the year-end sales quota pressure starts mounting, it’s important to keep your cool. A sales rep who is pushy and desperate is not going to engage with buyers effectively. Instead, try to stay optimistic and try new strategies to win more deals.
6: The right questions can make a big difference
Asking questions can really move deals forward and increase buyer engagement, but you have to ask the right questions in the right way. From asking questions with power to learning how to really drill down, practicing the art of asking questions will help any rep deal with the “Toby” in their pipeline.
7: Learn from your A sellers
Every sales team has star performers and sales reps who… struggle. Wherever you are in the sales performance spectrum, always be aware of what strategies are working for the other reps on your team. By “swallowing their ideas” you’ll improve your own selling performance.
8: Make it all about your buyer
Your buyers don’t care about how awesome your company is. They care about how your company can help them.
Make your buyers feel appreciated and respected by making any presentations, meetings, calls, emails, etc. all about their needs.
9: Plan out your opportunities
Sales reps all know the drill: make phone calls, follow up with buyers and win deals. Easy peasy, right? Not always.
In a much more real sense, reps have no idea what to do each day to have the biggest impact on deals. The answer is to plan. Assess your pipeline opportunities on a regular basis to decide which deals are most worth pursuing first.
10: Confidence matters in sales
Confident sales reps win more deals than sales reps who are timid. Before you go into a meeting or sales call, give yourself a minute to pump yourself up so that you come across to your buyers as confident and fierce as Beyoncé.
Nobody says no to Beyoncé.
11: A little research goes a long way
Okay, so maybe Wikipedia isn't the best place to research your buyer, but Michael Scott clearly recognized the value of having the best possible information.
Before you go into a sales call or meeting, do some quick digging into your buyer's industry, environment and core business issues. A tool like InsideView can even collect all that data for you automatically.
12: Build relationships with your buyers
According to SAP, buyers rate trust as the single most important factor when purchasing products or services, ahead of experience and cost.
Instead of limiting your conversations to your products and services, build a relationship with your buyer by getting to know them.
13: It's okay to get upset about lost deals
We've all been there. You put hours of effort into nurturing a prospect, and then you get the "we've decided to choose another vendor" message. It sucks.
Take a minute to let it out, vent your emotions. Feeling better? Good. Now you can move on to other buyers that are really interested in your company.
Take these sales lessons to heart, but most of all, remember this great Michael Scott advice: