Interview With Fred Diamond: Sales, Advice and Success

Meet Fred Diamond, the Founder and Lead Consultant at Diamond Marketing. Diamond has over 19 years of marketing and business development experience and has provided International marketing leadership for companies in enterprise communications, software, hardware, e-commerce, Internet, and data storage. His marketing experience spans market planning, product marketing, communications, lead generation, and customer development.

Diamond specializes in developing marketing programs that enable customer segmentation and targeting to increase business development. His domain expertise includes all public sector markets including Federal, State & Local Government, and Education.

WashingtonExec recently spoke to Diamond about his company and personal success.

WashingtonExec: What business advice can you give to anyone who is starting a new company and wants to develop more sales/leadership skills?

Fred Diamond: The first thing they need to remember is that it’s all about sales. No customers, no business. No sales program, no customers. I remember hearing a great anecdote about Jim Koch, the founder of the company that sells Samuel Adams Beer. When he was first getting started, he received a call from one of his mentors who asked him what he had planned for the day. Koch replied that he was setting up the company’s computer system. The mentor told him to stop doing that immediately. He told him to get selling and go to as many bars as possible to get his beer added to the tap. Koch said it was the best advice he ever received.  The other thing to remember is that everyone in the company must work to eliminate any obstacles the company may face when selling. If you need a good web site that tells the story, get someone to build an effective web site. If you need a smart pricing strategy, build that strategy. Selling is hard work and anything that prohibits successful selling must be eliminated.

WashingtonExec: What’s the biggest sales mistake most that most of your clients make frequently? What do you suggest they do to change?

Fred Diamond: Most of my clients don’t make too many mistakes, however there are two common sales mistakes that we see frequently. Many smaller companies will hold on to ineffective sales people too long. They often want their people to succeed. Unfortunately, if there are only a handful of reps, you need them all to perform at a high level. A salesperson who was a strong performer at a major brand, such as Oracle or IBM, probably won’t have the same resources that he had at the smaller company and usually will not be able to replicate the same level of success. Business owners need to carefully think about who they hire and then be ready to cut loose if the hire was bad. The second thing is to realize that the first couple of sales were probably made by the business owner who tapped into prior relationships. Future sales will probably not come from people they know, so the process will be more challenging and drawn out.  The business owner needs to remember that future sales will not come the same way the first few sales did.

They also need to be truly committed to their success. I’ve had some clients that were interested in being successful and some who were even passionate. We’ve worked with some others who were hopeful. But at the end of the day, true commitment, doing what’s right even when it’s hard, is a common factor of my more successful clients.

WashingtonExec: Do you think being an excellent sales person is a natural born talent or is it something that can be learned with practice?

Fred Diamond: Excellent salespeople have burning desires to succeed and truly view themselves as professional salespeople. However, excellent sales people can improve and good sales people can become excellent with the right dedication, some good breaks and commitment to improving their careers. One of the goals of the Institute for Excellence in Sales & Business Development, for example, is to bring thought leaders to the DC region on a monthly basis to present on burning sales topics, so that sales professionals can have a place to sharpen their saws. For instance, we had the legendary sales author and speaker Neil Rackham present at a recent program. Many of the people in attendance, including some of the top sales execs in the region, said that spending a few hours with Neil gave them some great new ideas to begin deploying immediately. Getting that type of continual education is a big part of staying fresh and maintaining a level of excellence.

WashingtonExec: What book has made the biggest impact on your life?

Fred Diamond: There are two books that I’ve read over the past decade that have had a life changing impact on me. The first, Building the Rockefeller Habits, by Verne Harnish, is the best book I’ve ever read about entrepreneurial spirit and what new business owners should be thinking about when growing their business. Verne’s known as the “Growth Guy” and this book presents many things business owners need to know. The other book that literally changed my life was “Free Agent Nation” by Daniel Pink. It’s the seminal book on self-employment success and presents everything you need to know if you want to work for yourself and bring value to your clients. Many people starting out on their own seek me out for counseling and I always recommend that they purchase this book and read it immediately. Daniel’s written a few other books in the past decade, and has gotten the attention of Oprah and others. This book was tremendous and I’d love to see him re-issue with updated information.

WashingtonExec: When your career is finished, what do you want to be remembered for?

Fred Diamond: I’d like to be remembered as someone who had an impact on many other people’s success, who put others first, and who gave others energy. A good friend, spouse, and father are also important as well.




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