Selling in a New Normal: Sales Tips from #MITsalesevent

On May 6, 2011 I had the pleasure of attending the MIT Sloan Sales Event in Boston MA. I met with dozens of seasoned sales veterans, many of whom shared nuggets I couldn’t wait to pass along to my readers:

Melinda Emerson

“Value is the currency in social media.” Don’t just tweet about what you had for breakfast, think about what your audience wants and needs to be more successful. Write a blog that provides value through great content. Engage clients to find out what they care about most. Do some research to find out where your customers are hanging out.

Vanessa Fox

“According to Forrester, customers say less than 13% of sales people understand their business issues and can articulate how to solve them.” What a tremendous opportunity for differentiation! Get familiar with the business drivers in your customer’s organizations. Develop ways to help them solve these issues and you will be important to them as a partner in their success.

David A Brock

“Sales is about creating value for your customer in every engagement.” Whether it’s social media, face to face meetings, phone conferences or written correspondence, customers want and deserve value from us. Those who get it and execute on this knowledge are bound to excel above and beyond their peers.

Nigel Edelshain

“Call low for information, call high for the sale.” The question he was answering was: “with regard to cold calling, who should you call in an organization?” Discerning the appropriate contact starts with the reason for the call. It also means considering your audience and being intentional and courteous of their time as well as their role in the organization.

Jill Konrath

“Today’s decision makers are crazy busy! There are four things they will judge your phone calls, emails and any other correspondence on: Is it simple? Is it Invaluable? Is it aligned? Is it a priority?” Busy executives will decide in 3 seconds whether or not to delete you or listen to you; 3 SECONDS! Do your homework.

Judy Garmaise

“Your initial call into an organization is likely to get ignored or forgotten until the 7th attempt statistically, so don’t give up until you’ve tried 10 times. Drop the ego and you will succeed more often. Also: 80% of sales are closed after 5 close attempts.” Persistence will set you apart from the rest. You don’t want to be naggy, but good follow up creates top mind awareness – it’s about bonding and connecting with clients. Make your follow up a brief, positive reminder. Make it fun, make it engaging. Everybody likes a positive encouraging voice.


Unfortunately, these are just the ones I managed to scribble down on paper.. but along with this handful of tips, there were hundreds of other jewels passed along at the conference by some of the best of the business world; like Gerhardt Gschwandtner of Selling Power, Jeb Blount of Sales Gravy and Wyc Grousbeck, CEO of the Boston Celtics. I only wish I could have heard them all!

Were you there as well?

What did you think of the conference?

What do you think about these tips?

How will you execute on these this week?

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  1. #1 by Chris Snell on May 9, 2011 - 3:47 pm

    Great stuff Don – thanks for sharing!

    Man, I can’t get over those stats from Judy. She is so right about persistance setting you apart from your competitors. Wishing I could have been there, buy thankful for your recap.


    • #2 by Don F Perkins on May 10, 2011 - 8:40 pm


      She shared a lot of great info. As I reflect on it, I can probably generate a few more blog posts just from her preso! Yeah, you missed out on a great day’s worth of powerful insights, but stay tuned… I’ll pen what I can!

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