Roland Tuck of IT Engine is pretty candid about his reasons for being in sales. "I would not be in sales if it wasn’t about money," he says. "But it’s not the only thing. For me I get satisfaction of having a client thanking me for selling them the right solution." Tuck has been in IT for more than 17 years, with a humble start in consumables, then sales and account management in distribution, according to his profile on the IT Engine website.
Tuck worked for this company before when it was originally part of Quay Computing, took on some BDM roles at TEAMnetwork and Techtonics, and came back to Quay after it became IT Engine, a Wellington-based IT solutions provider, where he now works in business development.
Tuck started off with a BA in Philosophy, and had a few years in hospitality before starting off as a customer services representative in commodity hardware. "I know more about printer toners, ribbons, and ink than any person should ever need to know," he says. A few times, he's considered switching careers. "I’ve been told to keep recruitment in the back of my mind for a later date," he says. But for now, he like being a closer.
What’s your best and worst experience of Cold Calling? Cold calling is a love/hate experience –most people love to hate it. To do it you have to have the right frame of mind – a Cold Call is not about selling, it’s about getting that all important first meeting. My best experience in Cold Calling was a meeting that turned into a restructure of the IT at the prospect. There is no worst: we all have experienced the call recipient who is less than pleased with receiving a cold call, and while I know they get a lot of cold calls it’s no reason to suspend good manners. What’s your most successful tip for Cold Calling? I have two. First: Write a script, read it back aloud like you are on the phone and get it mastered. Have it evolve as you start your calling program as you will get the same objections popping up and if you can deal with those objections smoothly. Second: Don’t just ask for a meeting, ASK for a meeting like this “I’ll be in your area Tuesday next week, how does 2 pm suit you” vs. “Do you have time available next week to meet?”. Don’t be afraid to ASK. What’s the most useful tip you can give to a struggling salesperson? My mottos are “It takes no skill to discount” and “Don’t be afraid to ask for the order”. If you discount to make the sale, you devalue what you are selling (and make less money, see above) and you don’t get an order if you don’t ask - if you have made a compelling sales pitch, deftly handled the objections, there’s no reason you can say “Please sign on the line”. A former boss has a great one too “Use your ears and your mouth in the proportions that God gave you.”. Wise words. What percentage do you attribute sales success to personality versus a product or company? I would estimate at least 75 percent. And that’s not blowing my own trumpet. Selling is always about people interaction, and people buy from those they trust. If you are trustworthy and can deliver then the sales process is easy –that trust can be built by delivering not only what they expect, but it exceeds that expectation. Does the pressure to hit targets stress you? I work to minimise that stress – but it comes with the job. If you are stressed and appears desperate then it comes across with clients. Like horses they can smell fair. How would you summarise salescraft to an outsider? “Creating opportunity and enabling business transformation.” How long does it take you to assess how you should approach your sales pitch? In a face-to-face interaction it happens fast with a couple of probing questions you can quickly assess the technical knowledge of a prospect or client and pitch accordingly. Have you ever put your foot in it when talking to a client? Not that I can think of. How did you get past the point of struggling to make a sale to where you are today? By focussing on the successful sales because you will get knocked back and knocked back some more. When you are knocked back you should always ask for a review meeting with the client. Do you consider yourself a persuasive person? Yes I do, I can analyse requirements with the right questions, listening to their answers, then adjust the pitch and process to persuade. Has that quality ever back-fired? Once. At a proposal review meeting with a prospective client no one was talking, so I took the lead and ran the meeting. I thought it went well, however we were unsuccessful, and I received feedback that I talked too much. I took it on the chin and moved on. How do you balance product training with lead generation? Product knowledge is important. You need those building blocks and have to be able to articulate the value of something to a prospective client. What’s the best deal you have ever closed? How does one define a best deal? A dollar value? I’ve worked mostly in the SME market so the $ values are low comparatively. I define the best deal by the client satisfaction I’ve generated. Would you encourage your offspring to go into sales? Yes, definitely. My teenage daughters are busy, at 100km/h, so sales would suit them well. What’s the best line of jargon you’ve invented? “Creating opportunity and enabling business transformation.” Has anyone ever made you feel intimidated? Not often. I’m a tall guy so I think unintentionally I’m the one doing the intimidating. How would you get over forgetting some vital information during a meeting? If no one noticed it never happened – I always work to follow-up a meeting with an email, so in that email I’d slide in anything I might have forgotten.