Certus Solutions’ account director, Michael Cahir says the business of sales is a people business. Cahir worked at IBM as a Maximo Brand Manager before joining Certus and has specialised in Tivoli and other IBM solutions. Cahir works out of the Auckland office of Certus, which has centres in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland and Wellington and offers clients with IBM technology an opportunity to extract the maximum value from their investment, including Business analytics, consulting and support.
What’s your best and worst experience of cold calling?
Worst; would be getting through to someone who was just made redundant. Very bitter.
Best; was getting through to someone who was just made redundant. Got to know everything.
What’s your most successful tip for Cold Calling?
Time heals everything. You will laugh about the bad calls one day.
Is money your only motivator for being successful?
No, it’s the sense of achievement. Being part of a major decision within another organisation.
What’s the most useful tip you can give to a struggling salesperson?
Seek advice and be open to change and the need to evolve. Nothing lasts forever.
What percentage do you consider your personality contributes to your success compared to the product and the company?
Most sales people have some experience of other jobs, what’s yours?
Service delivery manager.
Do you ever consider changing your career?
Yes, all the time. I think it’s important to always review what’s best for yourself and your family.
Does the pressure to hit your monthly or quarterly targets ever make you stressed?
Yes it does but it’s a good stress and it forces you to focus on what can be achieved today versus tomorrow.
How would you sum up the craft of sales in one sentence to an outsider?
People buy from people, learn how to relate to people and it doesn’t matter what you sell.
How long does it take you to assess how you should approach your sales pitch?
It takes a while. It’s important to do your homework on the client but it does get shorter with experience.
Have you ever put your foot in it when talking to a client?
Probably. But nothing comes to mind.
How did you get past the point of struggling to make a sale to where you are today?
Through my belief that “sales” is a career, my business. We may be driven by QTRs and targets but we are building a business and a career which will take time.
Do you consider yourself a persuasive person?
Yes I do. I think everyone in sales is regardless if they believe it or not.
Has that quality ever reflected on you in a negative way?
Yes, as it can be too much for people, which is why understanding your pitch, is important.
How do you balance time spent between product knowledge training with generating leads or opportunities?
I don’t. It’s very hard. I try to understand the client needs and then the potential solution and not get caught in the trap of the other way round.
What’s the best deal you have ever closed?
The best are those that have a significant change to an organisation. Ones where people’s lives will change.
Would you encourage your offspring to go into sales?
Yes, it’s a great way to meet new people, see how other people live… and make money!
What’s the best line of jargon you’ve invented?
I am in IT; I don’t need to invent anything. The entire industry does that itself
Has anyone ever made you feel intimidated?
My wife….or at least her credit card!
How would you get over forgetting some vital information during a meeting?
We are all human and we make mistakes. Most people accept that. What they don’t accept is not following up afterwards with the information… especially if it’s vital to the client.