Slide 1 - School of Business

Perspectives on Selling
Prepared for The College of New Jersey’s School of Business
by Steven M. Schumer
Global Sales Enablement Leader, Strategic Outsourcing,
Global Technology Services, IBM Corporation
February 15, 2012
International Business Machines Corporation
 Among the top 3 information technology
companies in the world (based on revenue,
income and market cap)
 $107 billion revenue 2011
 Founded in 1911
 400,000+ employees in 170 countries
 # 1 in U.S. patents last 19 years
 # 1 company for leaders (Fortune)
 # 1 green company worldwide (Newsweek)
 # 2 best global brand (Interbrand)
 # 5 most respected company (Barron’s)
My 32 years at IBM: Selling and more
Summer intern – market research & analysis
Sales trainee
Sold office products to mostly small and new accounts
Sold medium-sized computers to medium-sized accounts
Sold large computers to large accounts
PC product planning for IBM’s Business Partner channel
Sales manager on a large national account
Branch sales manager for different industries and product sets
Marketing strategy for global retail & consumer packaged goods industry
Business development for web-hosting & web-design start-up
Executive involved with reengineering IBM’s global sales & mgmt processes
Director of sales operations for East Region of U.S.
Executive for integrating IBM’s sales & delivery processes for North America
Global sales enablement leader for strategic outsourcing transformation
Note: Grew up in NJ, entire career lived in NJ, but have worked in 12 different IBM locations:
NJ: Dayton, Piscataway, Trenton, Lawrenceville, Montvale, Edison, West Orange, Paramus, Cranford, Gillette
NY: White Plains, New York City
Selling lessons learned (1 of 2)
 Always put the client first
 Success is not when the sale is made…it is when client value is delivered
 Client relationships are critical to long-term success
 Selling is both art and science
 Many different kinds of selling, and selling styles, succeed
 Every meeting: 2-3 questions and 2-3 points to be made
 Always ask the “So what?” question
 Offer alternatives, but always give a recommendation and rationale
Selling lessons learned (2 of 2)
 Know when to walk away
 The best product and/or best price does not always win
 Never get too high or too low
 Effort vs. results: “batting average”
 Having a true passion for selling critical to maintaining the necessary “fire”
 Good sellers don’t always make good sales managers
 Selling experience – and client insight – is valuable to many different functions
within a company
 Selling skills also used internally, as well as in personal life
Top 10 qualities for selling success
 Integrity
 Client-first
 Positive attitude
 Communication skills -- especially listening
 Ability to team
 Passion
 Tenacity / competitiveness
 Resiliency
 Perspective / balance
 Work ethic
Career suggestions for college students
 Be the “master of your own destiny,” otherwise…
“If you don’t know where you’re going, others will determine it for you”
 Start early
 Learn what employers value
 Research the industry and company
 Look for something that excites you…and that you’ll enjoy
 Be honest with yourself
 Differentiate yourself by your questions and approach
 See your career as a continuing opportunity for learning and development
 Realize your ultimate success may have little to do with where you go to
school or what level degree you obtain
 Consider that your life – and happiness – is more than your career
Examples of key interview points to make
A strength of mine? I think I’ve learned the difference between effort and
execution – that giving great effort is absolutely necessary, but that it must
translate into delivering results. This hit home with me when I read a CNN Money
article where Randy MacDonald said that what it takes to lead at IBM is “a
maniacal focus on execution.”
 A weakness of mine? Sometimes I think maybe I try to do too much. For
example, during my junior year in addition to carrying a full load of courses, I also
was working part-time in sales for a medium-sized technology company. And
more, I held leadership positions in a couple of campus organizations. While I
may have over-loaded myself, I enjoyed all these activities, learned a great deal,
and now am better at multi-tasking than I was before.
 Why IBM? Because I’m passionate about selling; because I’m challenged by
the idea of applying technology to help clients solve their business problems; and
because of what I read Ginni Rometty said about her goal for IBM – “to make it
the most essential company to clients and to the world.” I’d love the opportunity to
help make that happen!
Examples of key interview questions to ask
 For recent college hires into IBM sales that have gone on to be successful,
what have you found to be key to their success? What about those who were not
successful – what were they typically lacking?
 I read on IBM’s website that the four growth plays to make the 2015 roadmap
are Cloud, Business Analytics, Smarter Planet and Growth Markets. I’m
assuming your group in involved in all four, but could you tell me which one your
group is impacting the most, and how?
 One of the things I learned during my sales internships was that selling was not
just about getting the order, but about ensuring clients got value from what we
sold. How well do you think IBM sellers are doing in delivering client value?
 What else can I do to earn a place on your team?
Example of how to not take no for an answer
Dear Mr. XXX,
Thank you for the time you spent with me last week discussing sales opportunities at XXX. I very much enjoyed
meeting you and members of your team, and what I learned that day only increased my interest in your business.
I left hoping to take another step forward together in this process. Therefore, I was understandably disappointed
to receive your letter informing me that I had not made the cut. I had wanted to reach back out to you
immediately, but decided to take some time to reflect. And after doing so, I have the following two thoughts I’d
like to share.
First, if you would be so kind, I would appreciate any further insight you could offer as to why I didn’t make the cut.
What I’m looking for is candid and constructive feedback on where and how I fell short, so that I can work to
improve and strengthen my areas of weakness. However you’d be most comfortable delivering – a short email or
perhaps a quick discussion over the phone – I’d welcome whatever you have to say. I understand this doesn’t
benefit you directly. But if you can find the few minutes this would take, I would hope you’d feel you’d be getting
something positive out of helping a young man like me learn and grow from this kind of experience.
Secondly, and related to but separate from the above request, I want to ask if there is any possibility of giving me
another shot. I’m the first to suggest I likely haven’t earned that. But in the spirit of straight-talk, I also believe I
did not put my best foot forward when we met. My interest in your company and opportunity was and remains
genuine. I thought I had invested quality time to prepare and make the most of our time together. However, your
rejection letter was a wake-up call of sorts that made me realize I could – and should -- have done more to help
convince you I had much to bring to XXX. I have great confidence that I can and will build myself a successful
sales career -- somewhere. If I’m right, it will include not accepting no for an answer. If I were one of the
salesmen on your team, I’m assuming that’s the attitude you’d want to see me demonstrate with your clients. So
I’m asking if you would consider giving me another chance. If you do, I’ll prepare as I realize I should have the
first time, and promise you’ll see a candidate that will make a much more compelling case to offer one of your
valued new hire tickets to.
I appreciate your considering both of the requests I’ve made here, and respect however you decide to address
them. Thanks again for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

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