Let’s just put it this way. I’m filled to the brim and overflowing with content and ideas. If you are a learner, you really need to come to these Gazelles Summits.

I’m thinking about doing a Memphis Debrief Session of all I learned. Interested, let me know by responding to this blog.

First up this morning, the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh:
–Just so happens that began as an entrepreur in college making and selling pizzas out of the basement of his dorm.
–Says Zappos is a service firm that happens to sell shoes, clothing, etc. 75% of their business is return business. Invest in the experience and let the customers sell.
–Not focused on maximizing efficiency, in fact do many things very inefficently. The focus on maximizing the experience to build lifelong customers.
–#1 Priority is getting the culture right.

  1. Hiring for culture. Culture trumps skills. Will fire highly skilled people who violate the core values of the firm.
  2. 5 weeks of training, including one week in warehouse doing pik and pak, no matter how senior the position being hired is.
  3. Pays a $2000 leaving bonus in the first six months of employment to insure people aren’t taking the job just to have money. None given out in 2010.
  4. Culture Book produced every year, everyone contributes
  5. Use and encourage twitter to build culture.

–If you are living the core values you are living the brand.
–What matters is alignment. Core Values create and sustain alignment. Instant Roadmap. Becomes a way of thinking.
–Spent a long time talking on Happiness Psychology. Will post in another blog next week.
–Culture doesn’t mean procedures. No scripts at Zappos.
–Build your business around what you are passionate about and would do for 10+ years even if you only made a dime.
–Was inspired to sign up to take a tour of Zappos HQ in the morning.

Next up was Matt Johnson, expert on Pricing.
–Profit = Price x Volume- Costs. Volume and costs are optimized. But not Price. We a leaving a lot on the table. All of us.
–GE estimates losing $50 Billion due to discretionary pricing of poorly trained sales people on price.
–We study what we pay for. We’re sloppy about what we charge our customers. Internally we say price is important, externally we don’t act like it.
–Best idea of this presentation. We should try segmenting by how they percieve the value of our products instead of just by their value to us.
–Track what customers are WTP willing to pay for.
–Price objection is usually a smoke screen. Need to dig deeper.
–Create a pricing structure for sales people to control quoting. Salespeople will naturally say they have to have a lower price.
–Ask yourself this: Do your sales people find it easier to negotiate with their customer or with their boss?
–Transparently post gross margin results of each sales person. Poor pricers will get grief from peers.
–Price structure is a C-Level Responsibility

Next up Kevin Daum author of Roar!
–Will be working to get him to come to Memphis for Sales Summit put on by Chamber and SMS.
–Only twenty percent of sales people truly enjoy selling and most of them work for Chet Holmes ;-).
–If the sales person has to take a customer through the entire sales process from lead generation to transaction and referral, this is not scalable
–Marketing’s role is to make Sales process more efficient. More Scaleable. Marketing is an efficency tool.
–Four Types of Buyers, From Passover Questions:

  • Wise Buyer–Done all the research–guide them to buy by being logical
  • Cynical Buyer–Been burned before–Acknowledge their cynicism, open your kimono a bit, little bit of self sacrifice to build trust
  • Simple Buyer–Know what they want. You have it or not. Sell if you have it, move on if you don’t. Don’t sell them what you don’t have.
  • Disinterested Buyer–Don’t know about you and what you have. Shift them to other type.

Next Up was Tom Sant on Proposal Writing
–Get his book Persuasive Business Proposals
–Told lots of stories of truly horrendous proposal writing.
–Proposals are not : Price Quotes (Commodity), Product Specs( Transactional) or Company History (self centered)
–Sales people want to avoid proposals. (Clone them, Data dump, or self talks)
–Persuasion is the act of presenting facts and opinion so that the customer says yes.
–Five Keys to Better Proposals:

  1. Only quote to qualified buyers, real opportunities that you can win.
  2. No canned proposals–specific to specific situation
  3. NOSE Order: Needs first (customer’s pain), Outcomes second (potential gain), Solution third (How gained or delivered, Evidence last(proof you can do it).
  4. Show the money–Value recieved not just price
  5. KISS–Keep it Simple and Short.

–Lots more good stuff, but get the book or call me for more.

Verne closed the show:
–When the sun comes up you better be learning.
–Question customers regularly just to talk. Not to sell. Both good and bad customers. C-Level should call five a week and share what they learn.

  • How are you doing?
  • What’s going on in your neighborhood or industry?
  • What do you hear about our competitors?
  • How are we doing?

No such thing and B2B or B2C. It’s all P2P People to People. It all applies.

I’m sure I’ll have more to blog about tomorrow. Worn out. Feels good to learn this way. Join me at the next summit in the fall. In Orlando. We all need to have regular learning weeks like this.