“We’re adding something to this month’s sales contest,” says Alec Baldwin in David Mamet’s classic film Glengarry Glen Ross. “First prize is a Cadillac Eldorado, second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.”

The film satirizes the brutal competition and cowboy ethic that characterizes much high-value sales work. At MaRS, we’ve been working to replace the machismo with a series of carefully structured strategies designed to both increase the volume of your sales and decrease the length of your sales cycle.

Last week, MaRS Education launched its first series of Business-to-Business (B2B) Sales Workshops, including techniques to track your “sales funnel” and the stages of your leads. In the weeks to come, we’ll also focus on the art of conducting sales calls over the phone and tips for negotiations designed to push potential customers towards closing.* (footnote)

“One of the hardest parts about a sales call is directly asking for the sale. Canadians are particularly bad at being assertive in this manner”

Content is based on the activities in our Entrepreneur’s Toolkit Workbook Building an Early B2B Sales Forecast as well as a series of sales articles such as Closing a Sale. One of the most important factors in tracking sales opportunities is to collect data you can use to calculate the “opportunity value” of each of your leads. You want to make sure you’re spending your time strategically, with sales activities that yield leads, and with leads that are likely to buy.

The MaRS Stakeholder Management Chart can be used by entrepreneurs to track the various stakeholders in a sales ecosystem. They are then ranked on their eagerness to help you out. Those that stand in your way are designated as “red flags.” Certain techniques can be learned to turn those cynics into champions for your cause.

One of the hardest parts about a sales call is directly asking for the sale. Canadians are particularly bad at being assertive in this manner, and it requires practice to properly deliver a line meant to elicit a direct answer from a prospect.

Attendees will practice their “call scripts” and learn techniques of directing the conversation towards closing.  Once the lead answers with either “yes,” “no,” or “maybe,” we’ll practice writing out responses to these three options, again designed to push the lead towards closing.

According to Alec Baldwin, these are the ABC’s of sales: Always Be Closing.

The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit Workshops are open to MaRS clients only. For more information, talk to your MaRS Advisor or apply to become a MaRS client here.

(footnote) *No steak knives will be given out during these workshops.

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph Wilson

Joseph was an education advisor at MaRS Discovery District. He writes on topics of science, culture and city issues for NOW Magazine, the Globe and Mail, Spacing and Yonge Street. He is the Executive Director of the Treehouse Group, dedicated to fostering innovation by hosting cross-disciplinary events. See more…