Passion Makes Excellence In Sales, Too

Did you know one of the most successful songwriters and producers is Max Martin, the man behind numerous hits by Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Backstreet Boys (yes, I’m really so old…) and incredible twenty-one No 1 on the Billboard list?

What is his burning flame? What are his key success factors? If we can define them, may we translate them to a sales environment as well?

Passion in heart

Let’s give it a try.

Definition No 1. Learning the craftmanship.

Recently I read an interview with Max Martin in the swedish newspaper DI Weekend (interview is in swedish) by Jan Gradvall. Max Martin invited passionated young people to his studio to “get the right feeling” for years. The “pupil’s” work tasks included making coffee and other basic alternative boring tasks, not connected to music at all. But they consumed the atmosphere, the culture in the studio. They learned the details the hard way by just being there. Why would talented producer wannabes spend that enormous amount of time just making coffee? One reason is of course the fantastic opportunity to meet famous pop stars. Wouldn’t it feel nice serving a cup of coffee to  Bon Jovi ? But that’s not my point. To produce a song going to the top of the Billboard list, it requires craftmanship.

In sales, the craftmanship will start being a sales or marketing assistant to senior sales pros or learn from them by listening or reading their books.

Definition No 2. The fuel is Passion.

To learn to be a craftman it takes years – and blood, sweat and tears. If you like to be a famous producer, being in an environment like Max Martin Studio would be the perfect place learning perfection. To cope with daily coffee making I believe you have to have a lot passion for music. The passion is the fuel you will be putting into it, it’s your investment in your education.

What is passion in sales? Of course, it’s the love of talking to prospects and customers, but I think of it on a little higher level. It’s the every-day moments in your life. If you choose a crime novel before you go to bed in the night instead of a sales book by Dave Stein, you probably haven’t got the sales passion. But if the shoe size of your prospect’s CEO does matter to you, you’re on the right level. If you are taking classes in your spare time (instead of watching a movie or playing softball) to learn more about the prospect’s business environment, you are on track having sufficiently high content of passion in your blood.

Because there are no short cuts creating perfection. And you will need perfection to exist in a never ending increase of competition.

Take care / Stefan




Turning never closing to always closing

Hi there. How are you going? How do you feel? Wakening in the morning with a somewhat bad feeling, a kind of stress of not closing your deals as expected? You used to be the “closing machine” those days. But now, it’s seems like the “no-close-witch” has appeared and poured tons of syrup into your order book, broken all signing pens…

It’s may not be any consolations, but you’re not alone. Many sales people feel pressure making their quota and all are having times when deals aren’t closing that easy. But what makes a turn-around from a not-closing period to winning deals again?

The truth is it never turns. It’s about creating an environment where these period of Deals Sahara Desert never happen at all.


Let me explain.

A couple of weeks ago, I had lunch with a business friend when we came across this topic. I told her about my start as a salesman, driving around the surroundings trying to sell software to small and medium sized companies. It was really trying, since I sold nothing in two years and then, suddenly, I was appointed as the best Sales Rep in the country.

My friend asked me how come? What did you do to turn it around? Was it a single detail or circumstance that made the change from a non seller to a master salesman? What did you learn – tell me!

Well. The answer is pretty boring. It never turned around. Or, rather, my behavior didn’t change even if the results did.

When I started as a rookie sales rep I was full of energy which I poured into my job. I was making records of number of prospect meetings every week, I drove thousands of miles with my old car just to meet with them. I was calling hundreds of phone calls to just start new connections. I was always happy and positive, even if the prospects sometimes just hung up the phone in three seconds. It was a victory they answered after all, I thought!

And there, somewhere, is the secret. Think of it as if you pour sand into a plastic bag. You pour and pour and the bag just becoming more and more full. Nothing is really happening, until the bag breaks. Then it will flood over you, in a never ending flow of grains. Think of the grains as potential deals and every single grain as an activity on your way to close it.

Without the grains you wouldn’t be able to fill your bag or quota. So respect all those small activities, even if they don’t lead to an immediate deal. They haven’t need to lead to a hot lead either. But it may be a contact that leads to another contact that leads to a meeting. And if you listen really carefully, it may be a deal in one or two years from now.

Honestly. You can’t spend a lot time to all grains, but you can put your passion into every single activity. Since an activity may last only a few minutes, you can’t say you haven’t got time to put grains in your bag.

You don’t know what deal will mature first. That’s why you need to take control of them. That’s the reason you make those activities as well. To control no-one else will be there when it’s time for harvesting.

Actually, what you do is to check the prospect’s buying process. The single question you need to prepare (but don’t tell the prospect) is how their buying process has been proceeding since last time you talked to them. You shouldn’t ask that question, but if you listen carefully, they will probably tell you. If you are polite, they definitely will.

So many times I didn’t ever met my prospect until it was time for signing, but felt like we’ve been knowing each others for years. Try to come to that feeling with your prospect and you will become friends. And friends are doing business.

Respect the small grains, put thousands of activities in your bag of quota, and you will end up as a top sales performer.

Best Regards,