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 1979 Summer intern – market research & analysis 1980 Sales trainee 1981 Sold office products to mostly small and new accounts 1982 Sold medium-sized computers to medium-sized accounts 1983-1985 Sold large computers to large accounts 1986 PC product planning for IBM’s Business Partner channel 1987-1991 Sales manager on a large national account 1992-1994 Branch sales manager for different industries and product sets 1995-1996 Marketing strategy for global retail & consumer packaged goods industry 1997 Business development for web-hosting & web-design start-up 1998-2001 Executive involved with reengineering IBM’s global sales & mgmt processes 2002-2007 Director of sales operations for East Region of U.S. 2008-2009 Executive for integrating IBM’s sales & delivery processes for North America 2010-2012 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 Marketing Sales Other 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.