Archive for June, 2009

Smart and Dumb Data

22.06.2009 No comments

It is a tragedy when smart people create nothing more than smart

Years ago I worked for Honeywell making sensors used in steel production.  Our premium systems were the market leader in high speed, precise measurements.  My role at the time was manager of the “cost effective” product line.  One day, while visiting a customer using our equipment, I made a discovery: Our worst sensor was already five times faster than they needed! Their control systems connected to the sensors were so slow that any increase in data acquisition was just a waste.  Yes, at the same time,  our ‘most educated’ customers were pushing us to build faster sensors, our competitors were trying to build sensors as fast as ours, and we were proudly announcing our latest speed triumphs each year.  How could this be? Read more…

Moral Skill in Sales

04.06.2009 No comments

Barry Schwarz at TED talks

Barry Schwarz at TED talks

“Not just is it profitable, but is it right?” -Obama

I just listened to Psychologist Barry Schwartz  give a lecture on “virtue” at TED Talks.  If you have not heard of TEDTalks, they are Technology, Education, and Design talks,  a free-form gathering and speaking by some truly intelligent people.  I highly recommend it.  In this season’s speakers, Barry was a standout.  I also found his talk on moral intelligence and virtue particularly relevant to sales.

First off, we need to eliminate the “pusher” and “manipulator” salesmen as not “real” salesmen because the value of a true salesmen is that they connect need with ability to supply.  A true salesman knows that discovery is key:  “You probably did know we exist (or could do this) but….”   While this is a necessary part of selling, it is only the first, smallest, step. The real bulk of the work begins when the salesman has identified a customer with a need his company can fulfill.  After discovery, the salesman identifies an entire list of reasons why the customer will not make the obvious business engagement; They can’t decide;  the order process is too complex;  already committed to another (likely less good) supplier: we don’t trust your company;  we are scared and can’t decide…  There are also supplier side barriers that come into play:  We don’t know that they will pay; they want special treatment; we sold to them before and had a bad experience…. Read more…