VO Blog

Demonstrate Empathy

An Article by Stephen Zarick, CEO, VO Group, LLC www.vogroup.com www.stephenzarick.com Sales people need to learn to be “real”. – Stephen Zarick In sales we are most times calling strangers. We are attempting to engage this stranger to see if they are interested in our offering that might solve a problem for them. A few things are going to occur during this approach call. – You have to engage in a conversation – You have to explain quickly what you are offering – And then you are going to expect this stranger to tell you or to share with you that they have a “problem”… Really? Some still open the call with joking their way through a hello. Some open the call with “how was your weekend”…. really? Some might open the call with the weather, or a sporting event. STOP!!!! Who has time for this? And why would a stranger want to tell you how their weekend was? I don’t even like telling people that work with me how my weekend was…I’m busy and they really don’t care any way. If the goal of your sales call is to get a stranger to share pain with you…. why annoy them on the outset? Learn to be real. Learn to demonstrate empathy for the right reasons. How is business? How is business in this soft economy? Are you hiring or firing? Are you pulled into budget meetings every week? Not…”How are the Bengals doing?” Is the Internet affecting your business and changing processes? If you are going to get a stranger of a publicly traded company to share pain with... read more

The Digital Nomad

An Article by Stephen Zarick, CEO, VO Group, LLC www.vogroup.com, www.stephenzarick.com The Digital Nomad: One that is not physically bound to an office, a desk, a customer base. Not bound by desk, by office, by town, by customer, by industry, not even bound by country. I, Stephen Zarick, have created an environment for myself and my company that could be called The Digital Nomad environment. Our Company is VO Group, LLC. How did I get here? In the 90’s (seems so long ago) I had a networking business; we sold routers before anyone knew what a router was. We sold Voice, Data and Video Integration. Our networks kept companies and their branch offices running and connected. If the network went down…our phones rang. It did not matter what time of day or what day of the week it was…we were on-call whether we wanted to be or not. I was “bound” by my customers. I was “bound” by my office. I was BOUND. After 9/11 the telecom business as we knew it blew up. I was in a position to recreate myself and my business model. We came back out as VO Group. VO standing for Virtual Organization.  I set out to unleash myself from my desk in 2001. The has been a maturation of solutions and tools along the way to allow me to do so. The best tool to lend to this was the iPhone, but the iPhone was not released until 2007 (believe it or not). VO Group has already embraced all things cloud, all things mobile and the iPhone set us free.  The smart phone represents... read more

It’s not about US; it’s about THEM

Author: Stephen Zarick, CEO, VO Group, LLC December 15, 2014 There are some very simple people skills that we embrace to be successful in life, and in sales. If you spend all of your mouth moving time talking about YOU, then you will likely have few friends. Some might think that you are smart, but they also might just avoid you. If you are starting your sales presentations out by showing your own web page you are making a mistake. You are making a big mistake. It’s not about us; it’s about them. You might have to give a 30 second commercial on what you do, but if you have a meeting based on a prospecting team setting up the meeting they likely already know what you do, at least generally. Engage them Emotionally Then…. How you do establish credibility at the outset? How do you get the prospect to engage when they really want to hear your offering? How can you be looking at their web page, and not offend with the 20 question drill? Ask Pertinent Questions to Establish (your) Credibility How do you do this? You do NOT wing it first of all, you do your homework and prepare. You prepare a list of questions that are reflective of all your original WE statements in your old presentations. The drill is to craft 20 WE statements and then re-craft 20 engaging questions for the prospect. Then put them in order from beginning of a conversation to the end of a conversation. Take genuine interest and do not read your statements. Never read your presentation slides, be real, be natural, be interested,... read more

Intentional Sales Progression

Stephen Zarick, President, VO Group, LLC. Intentional Progression refers to a style of moving sales through your sales cycle.  In other words, this is as opposed to those that do not have any idea what their sales progression looks like. There is a phrase as well as a sales book by the same title “Hope is not a (sales) Strategy.” Let me repeat this:  HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY. Intentional Progression refers to moving your prospects through your sales steps intentionally. Stop Lying to Yourself I think one of the first steps in sales is … stop lying to yourself. Some prospects will never or should never move through your sales cycles because only you think they are qualified. Some just are not interested, the timing is wrong, they do not qualify, they should not be in your forecast, and they even told you this … yet you are still delusional about forecasting the opportunity or even making a sale.  These are actually what we call an opportunity cost. “Stop Lying to Yourself”  -Stephen Zarick Intentional Progression – Acknowledgment When you do have a qualified prospect, and the timing is good, then this style will work for you.  Whether you have competition or not, you need to keep your prospect engaged until you get a definitive NO.  Intentional Progression embraces that Hope is NOT a Strategy and that you are leaving little to chance.  You also must acknowledge that your competitor just might be smarter than you and actually has a play book that works for them.   What is your play book? A little story: When I was a younger man, I would tell my mother about a sale that I was working on….she would say, “Stephen, honey,... read more

Sales Prospecting in the Enterprise

Stephen Zarick, President, VO Group, LLC Who said cold calling is dead? Those that do not like cold calling … of course. Who said SEO and Search, eMailing, Social Media, Trade Shows, and White Paper downloads are the new sales approach? Those that sell those services … of course. Sales Prospecting is alive and well. Intentional Focused Outbound Sales Prospecting does work if it is done effectively with people that understand the task at hand. Too many companies have an outbound enterprise effort run by a marketing team that has never picked up the phone and called on behalf of their own company or their company’s solution. They treat sales prospecting like a scripted, canned, questioning call. Too many companies treat outsourced prospecting as a Marketing activity. And then they pick the wrong partner to carry out the duties. The result: Failure and an expensive experiment. When a solution sells for $50K or over, say, $200K, the prospecting effort should become a legitimate Sales effort. When you are selling to the C Suite, you cannot waste their time, you must get to the point, you must provoke them with a financial play, you must have a reason to help them, and they must hear a compelling reason to even talk to you. Scripted calls do not work in this arena. Hence, most marketing programs with a scripted caller fail and are a waste of money. TRENDS: There is a repeating pattern that we see with Marketing-oriented programs. The trend is to put something out on the internet and HOPE that you get responses. The Email Blast First, companies feel the temptation to embrace the low cost Email... read more

VO Group, A Virtual Sales Organization

Stephen Zarick, President, VO Group, LLC VO Group embraces Cloud based Collaborative tools and resources to operate as a Virtual Organization. VO Group is a Sales Development company started by Stephen Zarick. The original intent of VO Group was to create an environment for self-employed sales professionals to work and to find work in a virtual atmosphere with a virtual team. Stephen Zarick started VO Group as a single father and wanted to have a work at home model so he could embrace a family-first lifestyle. VO Group allows for self-employed sales professionals to work at home. Many of VO Group’s contractors are women who have chosen a work at home lifestyle for a variety of reasons. Some have children, some have elderly parents, some used to be road warriors, some just have situations at home that do not allow for working outside of the home. VO Group creates a collaborative virtual environment using readily available cloud and collaboration tools. VO Group embraces cloud and collaboration tools such as Google DOCs, Zoho Collaboration Suite, Box.com, GoToMeeting, 8×8 Virtual PBX, Adobe Cloud, along with other cloud solutions such as Adobe EchoSign for digital signature. Contractors are paid via online ACH using their bank’s direct deposit which has all but eliminated a paper environment for those associated with this virtual organization called VO Group. VO Group and Stephen Zarick have 100% embraced the Cloud and Collaboration tools to operate. VO Group also represents a Virtual Sales Team for its customers. VO Group’s customers do not have to hire a Full Time Employee (FTE) to do Sales Development. Many organizations have tried... read more

M2M (The Internet of Things)

Stephen Zarick, CEO, VO Group If you are involved in Mobile technologies, then you need to understand M2M. M2M will represent the largest growth sector of mobile technologies over the next decade. M2M represents a market that will approach 7 BILLION devices. And, according to Forbes.com, as of 2013, M2M is a $24B market and predicted to reach nearly $86B by 2017. M2M (a.k.a Internet of Things) is now “one of the fastest growing segments in technology.” M2M solutions can connect millions of devices via a shared network and the range of machines that can be interconnected is staggering. Devices like vending machines, heart monitors, trucks, appliances and buildings — nearly anything with sensors or software agents that can report device-specific information back to other devices or applications can be connected. Conceptually, an M2M network is simple. It uses a sensor or other type of device to monitor activity or a status change, such as inventory levels or even an increase in radiation. The captured data is sent via an IP network (e.g. LAN, WAN, hybrid) to another device or application, which in turn can analyze the event and take further action. What does all of this mean, aside from a huge, and rapidly growing market share and billions of dollars? M2M solutions can actually kick off tasks and execute complex instructions without human intervention, based on the data gathered. In short, M2M is going to be a game-changer for individuals and businesses alike. What are you doing to play in this marketplace? For further reading, please check out this post by Raj Sabhlok on Forbes.com... read more