Jason Wilkinson is the head of Reality IT Solutions. As the CEO of his own company serving the IT needs of the Waikato region, Wilkinson is frequently calling on his sales skills to win new business. He believes there is a difference between being persuasive and pushy, when it comes to sales. One will get you the deal, the other one will see you walking out the door empty-handed.
What’s your best and worst experience of cold calling?
Worst: calling a company that was actually also an IT company but had bad advertising and a misleading name. Boy, was that an uncomfortable call. Best: I don’t think I have one. If I get a meeting out of the call, then that’s about as good as it gets.
What’s your most successful tip for cold calling?
Don’t give it all away. Leave them intrigued to know more. You have information to share during a face-to-face meeting, so don’t blow it all in the first call.
Is money your only motivator for being successful?
Part of it, yes. The biggest motivator is being seen upon as the best in my field, which to me is considered success.
What’s the most useful tip you can give to a struggling salesperson?
It’s mostly not the product or the service, it’s the way you come across, keep trying and put a smile on your face.
What percentage do you consider your personality contributes to your success, compared to
the product and the company?
Ninety-nine percent. The company would not survive without my personality and charm.
Most sales people have some experience of other jobs, what’s yours?
I have experience in all roles that drive an IT company, from sales/account management, to senior support roles, project management and leadership. My vast experience has been the leading contributor to ensuring my company has the right systems and processes in place to be a huge success.
Do you ever consider changing your career?
IT is my passion and I don’t foresee any change any time soon
Does the pressure to hit your monthly or quarterly targets ever make you stressed?
Targets can be stressful, yes, but never will it let me get too stressed as I know that if targets aren’t met then I need to be more innovative about the way business is done.
How would you sum up the craft of sales in one sentence to an outsider?
The craft of successful sales is to obtain full trust from the purchaser, which is easy if you’re open, honest and have nothing to hide.
How long does it take you to assess how you should approach your sales pitch?
Ten seconds from introduction. From the customer’s body language and tone of the voice it should be gaugeable which method of sales pitch is going to be carried out – if any.
Have you ever put your foot in it when talking to a client?
I try not to put foot in my mouth, but yes it happens occasionally. We’re all human right?
How did you get past the point of struggling to make a sale to where you are today?
Persistence is the key. Customers may say no initially, but revisiting and reiterating why they should buy such a product or service over and over will eventually turn a percentage of the kick-backs into movements forward. Also being innovative about the solution delivered to a customer can make that struggling point in hindsight seem like an easy feat.
Do you consider yourself a persuasive person?
I believe I can be persuasive, but not pushy… Pushy loses customers.
Has that quality ever reflected on you in a negative way?
No I don’t see myself as the over-pushy used-car salesman type, so I don’t believe it’s ever reflected in a negative way at all.
How do you balance time spent between product knowledge training with generating leads
With forced time-outs in my busy schedule. I make myself get that time to keep up- to-date with the latest products and training.
What’s the best deal you have ever closed?
The best deal I’ve ever closed is not that of a monetary value, but of client satisfaction that ended up getting a word-of-mouth referral to additional business.
Would you encourage your offspring to go into sales?
No, I’d rather my kids follow their own path in life.
What’s the best line of jargon you’ve invented?
I try to translate the jargon into plain English as best I can for my customers without confusing them any further. A lot of the people I talk to are really not IT savvy at all and have lost the conversation before it even started, so sometimes for my own humour it’s amusing to just throw the odd ‘flux capacitor’ into the conversation.
Has anyone ever made you feel intimidated?
As a professional in the IT industry it’s my job to make sure that customers are getting the best possible products and service available. I’m open to constructive criticism and possible improvements that can be made, and yes unfortunately on occasion there’s also the intimidating type – whether it be customers, suppliers or other IT professionals. Some things just need to be taken with a grain of salt and left
How would you get over forgetting some vital information during a meeting?
Be honest right at the start of the meeting that the information had been left. Either rush back to the office and get it, get the receptionist to drop it off to you, or include it in meeting minutes in a follow-up email post-meeting.