In this episode, we sat down with Mike Harness, VP of Sales at G2, who shared with us his best tips, golden rule, and craziest sales experiences!
Watch the full video or read the interview below:
What’s your name and where do you work?
Hey, I’m Mike Harness, I’m the VP of Sales at G2.
What’s your biggest challenge when demoing?
It’s always the technology. Whether you’re going on-site and trying to set up a presentation and connecting in to the technology in the office or all the snafus that can go down with Zoom, I tend to always be somebody who presses the wrong button or closes the window, shuts down the Zoom. I’ve had all the follies that you can think of relative to the technology issues that you can run into.
What’s the craziest thing that happened to you during a demo?
Going through lockdown. I think we all have COVID stories. I’ve seen diapers changed on Zoom calls. I saw a parent and a kid having an argument over homework. I think there are a lot of funny stories in there.
But I think in a lot of ways it has also humanized people. You get to see people - your partners, your customers, your coworkers - they are at work but they’re also in their real life as well. I think if anything it brought us all a little bit closer together.
What’s your best sales tip?
My best sales tip: Always be prepared. Going into calls, it doesn’t matter how tenured you are as a seller and how much you know about your own company, your own product, your own solution, the folks that you’re talking to - you gotta be prepared to talk to them.
You have to learn as much as you possibly can ahead of those calls, you have to understand what their needs are, what their priorities are, what they’re trying to accomplish in terms of outcomes because at the end of the day walking into that call and being unprepared is not going to get you off on the right foot, it’s not going to create that trust with them. So always coming into talks prepared is the number one tip I can give.
What’s your sales style?
I always want myself and our people to be very upfront about what our solution does, what it doesn’t do.
The best part of selling and convincing somebody to go with your solution over something else is being honest about what we’re able to do and what we’re going to deliver for them. But also not shying away from the potential downfalls and the areas where we might not be able to produce a result that they’re looking for.
What’s your golden rule in sales?
Being honest and authentic. We’ve talked about over the years of people who put on a different personality or show a different side of themselves when they’re selling. I always encourage our folks to be the same person that you are with your friends, with your family, in front of your customers and your prospects.
Being authentic, finding that authentic connection with people - I think is what separates the really, really talented salespeople from those who occupy that stereotype of salespeople - that we’re just putting on a show.
What’s the most genius move you made to save a deal?
I don’t know about genius, but again back in my selling days, one of my top clients also happened to live pretty close by to where I lived and so I knew - just by being in the area - I knew the restaurants he frequented, I knew the bars that he would go out to, and one of the things I also knew was that he was a big fan of a certain pizza place.
One night - we were probably about 1-2 months out from the renewal of the deal, I actually saw him out - and I ordered him a pizza and had it sent to the bar of his favorite pizza place. And then I was able to walk over to him after it was delivered and ultimately we got the deal done.
So I think the moral of that story is - learning things about your customers, and being able to make that connection sometimes, it can put you over the top or give you an edge maybe over your competition.
Sell me a walnut!
Are you a person who likes to have snacks throughout the day? Are you usually pretty busy throughout your workday? So you need something you can grab and go, right? Are you more of a savory person or do you like sweets?
Ok, if you like savory or sweet, I got the perfect snack for you. It’s healthy, it’s packed with antioxidants, it’s got energy and you can carry it around—it’s a grab-and-go. So there are applications where this product can be salty or savory, there's also applications where it can be sweet, but the point is if you’re on the move, walnuts are a great option for you in terms of that snack. So if that’s something you’re interested in, I can definitely get you over some walnuts here quickly.