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The most important trait to succeed in sales, and perhaps in life

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Dec 22, 2012 1:23:00 PM

Dave Kurlan recently highlighted one of his old posts on what makes for great sales people.  Surprisingly the best sales person doesn't necessarily have the best closing skills, or prospects consistently, or even builds the best relationships.  Rather it's the person who sells consultatively - i.e. asks insightful questions.  Dave's finding, based on thousands of OMG assessments is absolutely profound, but after a while I began to think what makes someone capable of asking these such questions and why doesn't everyone do it.

Sherlock Holmes

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Topics: career advice

My career midlife crisis and getting from book smarts to street smarts

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Dec 1, 2012 5:44:00 AM

A while ago I realized that every job, for me at least, follows a similar pattern.  In the first year I subtract more value than I add as I learn the job and industry.  Those around me usually don't notice this and either give me the benefit of the doubt or feed my ego with praise.  Emotionally I'm excited by the new job and the steep learning curve.

In the second year I subtract about the same value as I add but the subtractions come in one or two colossal mistakes that nearly destroy me and a part of the firm.  If my boss has the patience to keep me around, and ideally provide some coaching, I go on to become far stronger at my job.  Emotionally the second year is the most challenging as I doubt myself almost constantly.

  

book smarts versus street smarts

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The longest lasting benefit of every job

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Nov 22, 2012 6:31:00 PM

Earlier today I received a text from a colleague, Dave, from my previous job whom I hadn't talked to in almost a year.  I was very happy to reconnect with him and am looking forward to catching up properly after tonight's Thanksgiving festivities.  His note made me reflect on what I gained from my three years at Sungard where we worked together.  Though I learned a lot of skills at Sungard - real estate finance, data center design and construction, managing and growing teams - I realized that it was my friendship with Dave that's really the longest lasting asset from that job.

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Topics: first job

Going Negative - the best sales tactic I've learned

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Nov 11, 2012 7:43:00 AM

I just finished reading Baseline Selling by Dave Kurlan, a book my sales coach Rick Roberge recommended I read.  There are several lessons the book teaches, and that Rick echoes, but one I've taken to heart is to "Go Negative" with the prospect - frequently and quickly.  This isn't called out exactly as such in the book, or even by Rick, but it's my simple way of remembering to qualify a prospect well.   

blackswan

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Topics: training

How I learned I was arrogant and how that impeded my ability to sell

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Oct 13, 2012 5:42:00 AM

I have always thought of myself as a humble person and, indeed, have never been accused of being otherwise at any place of work in my 15 year tenure.  I've even written a blog post on the importance of projecting confidence, implicitly coaching myself to do the same and stop being so docile.  But recently I realized that I was actually quite arrogant and this single weakness was probably most hampering my sales training.

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Topics: career advice, mentoring

Three great ways to get more productive

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Oct 8, 2012 5:10:00 PM

With my sales training underway, I've had to balance the homework there with my regular activities which made me re-examine how I was allocating my time.  Below are three changes I recently made to get more productive; hope they are of help to you as well.

 
 
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Secret to sales success: ask better questions

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Sep 22, 2012 4:12:00 PM

Many people think that to be good at sales you need to have “the gift of gab”, i.e. be able to talk and present well; generally be affable.  This is important but I realized a while back that even more important was the ability to be a great listener.   As my boss, Brian Halligan so succinctly put it “we have two ears and one mouth for a reason.”  However, I learned a couple weeks ago that even great listening skills is not what separates average sales people from great sales people.  The key is asking the right questions to lead the conversation where you want it to go.  And this is the skill I’ve been working on with my coach, Rick Roberge, the last couple weeks.

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Topics: training, feedback

Sales training for an engineer - lessons from a master

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Sep 1, 2012 12:44:00 PM

A few weeks ago I decided to get formal sales training as my role in Business Development calls on sales skills as often as it does marketing and product skills.  My coach, Rick Roberge, is prolific in the sales training arena and has trained several people I respect – Pete Caputa, Jeetu Mahtani and, at least implicitly, HubSpot’s own Sales SVP and Rick's son, Mark Roberge.

yoda luke
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Topics: training, feedback

When getting a promotion is a bad idea - The Peter Principle

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Jun 2, 2012 7:17:00 AM

In our careers most of us aspire to go up the corporate ladder (with varying degrees of zeal), but most wishing for greater responsibility, autonomy and visibility.  So I was surprised when in a recent discussion with my father he told me about the Peter Principle which says that everyone eventually gets promoted to their level of incompetence.  Taken to its logical conclusion it means that in steady-state every non front-line employee, i.e. every manager, is incompetent.  Great.  Glad I’m a manager.

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Topics: career path, management

When confidence trumps competence in the workplace

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Apr 30, 2012 9:00:00 AM

Ask any individual what they admire about a leader and invariably their description will include “confidence”.  People love to be around those that exude confidence.  Confidence is the trait that appears to trump all else when leaders are evaluated (and conversely, as I learned far too often during my dating years, “nice guys finish last”).  This makes sense – after all, who wants to follow, or date, someone who is unsure of themselves?  I recall a recent quote from a tech CEO where he said that he values most in candidates creativity, cleverness and confidence.

nice guys finish last
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Topics: career advice, start-up

Career Advice I Wish I Knew Earlier 

Hello.  I started this blog to distribute some of the best career advice I have been given over the many jobs I've had.  I've been fortunate to work for and with some great bosses like Francis DeSouzaNancy Kamei and Rick Roberge, and some unique companies, like The Boston Consulting Group, that invest heavily in making each employee a success even after leaving the firm.

The advice and training I received here stands in sharp contrast to my experiences with some not-so-great bosses and companies I've also worked for.  I'm continualy amazed at how valuable good advice has been in my career so I hope to pass on the good advice, and insights from mistakes I've made, via this blog. 

Thanks in advance for your comments, particularly when you can improve upon the ideas posted.

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