In salesmanship, knowledge is key, says Stephen Dykes

In salesmanship, knowledge is key, says Stephen Dykes

Stephen Dykes is the director ('Boss of Everything') at Redstripe IT systems in Wellington

Stephen Dykes is the director (“Boss of Everything”) at Redstripe IT systems in Wellington. He is 36, has a young family, a Bachelor of Technology in manufacturing and industrial technology, from Massey University. His previous job was at Tyco in Wellington as an IT helpdesk manager and system administrator. Redstripe has been operating in sales since 2004 and specialises in IT sales, service and ongoing support maintenance agreements for small to medium sized business.

When did you realise you wanted to be a salesperson?

Not sure if I ever wanted to be in sales specifically, it’s just with what we do it's part of the job.

Do you get a rush of adrenaline when you make a deal?

It’s pretty satisfying to know you have closed a deal as they more often than not take a long time to get together and signed off .

Do you find being nice to people you don’t particularly like an easy part of the job or difficult?

I really enjoy the people contact and that’s a real highlight of this work, the fact that you do deal with lots of different people from all walks of life. Someone once told me “you will only ever work long term with people you can relate to and get on with” and I think that is true.

How do you balance time spent between product knowledge training with generating leads or opportunities?

I would say a spend 30 percent of my time with up skilling in the various areas we provide support and 15 percent generating leads etc, with the remaining being more hands on work.

How do you deal with rejection?

I quite often follow up with a business we have not been successful with to see why we did not get the work, often a quick call or an email. That way I know if there is anything we could have done to make the tender more successful next time. We were unsuccessful with one of the first systems we pitched when we started the business. I had written it off but a business colleague told me to give them a call to see why, so I did and found the only reason we didn’t get the tender was because we didn’t offer finance. Thing was we did, it was just not clear so by making the call we managed to get the job and updated our tender document template.

How do you prepare for a major sales pitch?

Knowledge is key! You need to know what you are talking about, not only the product or service you are pitching but the business you are pitching to. If you don’t know how they operate it makes it very hard to offer the right solution

Have you ever been overdressed for a sales pitch?

No.With the work we are in, tidy casual is the norm. I find most people are more comfortable when they are dressed smart casual anyway.

What’s the best deal you have ever closed?

The best deal I ever closed would have been a business migration required when the business was sold off from a large energy company. We were charged with implementing all the new IT elements of the business, from imaging new PCs to a new VoIP system connecting head office to their branch office. It took six months to put together and get sign off. There was a lot of work which went into it, along with a lot of time. When we finally got the signed acceptance back I was stoked.

Do you actively use body language to influence your customers?

Probably not so much body language but I do like to do diagrams. People often understand better from a diagram how things will be. There wouldn’t be many meetings I go to where I don’t pull out a pad and do a wee scribble.

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