As I shared in my post last Monday: Stop Selling! If you’re selling you’re doing something wrong.
Whenever I share this insight, it’s always greeted with agreement…and frustration. People shrug their shoulders and ask, “I get that I shouldn’t do this, but what should I do?”
Solving The Seller’s Paradox requires that you fully and completely leave the world of the peddler. You must let go of your products and services, your features and benefits and engage – truly engage – with your prospects/customers. You must embrace a diagnostic approach.
The basis of this approach is rooted with what I call The [...] Continue Reading…
When I conduct sales training for executives and sales teams, I typically finish with the valuable thought:
“Stop Selling! If you feel like you’re selling, you’re doing something wrong.”
I call it The Seller’s Paradox.
The more your focus is on your products, services, or (dare I say) your solutions , the less likely you’ll be valued or make a sale.
The faster you try to get to the proposal/recommendation stage in your sales process, the longer and less likely you’ll be to make a sale.
The harder you work to prove your worth, the less likely it is you’ll be valued.
When you’re [...] Continue Reading…
I’m a big fan of quotes, and I’ve got a love/hate relationship with goals. So the two collided when I came across this quote from David Ogilvy: “Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark.”
My feelings with the quote hit “Perfect Storm” status when you add that I’m a hitting coach in college baseball. One that firmly believes that every one of my players needs to be able to implement the bunt flawlessly. In baseball, bunting is called small ball, and it can be quite powerful.
All you need to do is look at the San Francisco Giants who have won [...] Continue Reading…
As I’ve written before, “Brand” and “Branding” are words tossed around in a variety of ways. For small and mid-market companies, the vast majority of what’s thrown around about branding is crap.
I’d like to highlight the portion that isn’t. To begin that journey, I ask: Do you really understand what your brand is, and the power behind it?
I’m always looking for new ways to help owners and executives of growing SME’s understand that, and recently I came across a branding study designed to guage the power of a brand. I’m a big fan of Marty Neumeier, and since his [...] Continue Reading…
Welcome to 2013! Now, what are you going to do with it? As the famous quote says, time is the great equalizer.
The new year is a great time to contemplate what’s ahead, but it’s also a trap. With everything fresh a euphoric feeling of the possible sets in. But, the reality is that the actions you take, and how you take those actions will have far more impact in determining where you are at the beginning of 2014, than any vision, plan or goal.
And, the reality is that you don’t have that much time to do it. When you [...] Continue Reading…
One of my favorite movies is Glengary Glenn Ross (based on David Mamet’s play). In it, the most down-on-his-luck salesman (played by Jack Lemmon) gets up to grab a cup of coffee. The salesman visiting to share his “motivational speech” (played by Alec Baldwin) pounces on him mercilessly, shouting, “Put that coffee down! Coffee’s for closers!”
That one line captures the essence of the sales culture, both as we have come to know it and, too frequently, how we manage it. We still think of “sales” and the star salesperson as the one who “closes the deal,” and gets to “eat what [...] Continue Reading…
Walk into any bookstore, or read any sales oriented magazine and you’ll see the primary focus on strategy and skills is the ability to overcome objections. Last week, I was talking with a fellow executive that I’ve known since I began advising sales teams more than 20 years ago. I was sharing with him how the discoveries we’ve made in developing The 7 Steps to Achieving Effortless Growth have impacted the sales teams we work with.
A couple of days later, he emailed me asking how (or if) our advice has changed in terms of how salespeople overcome objections. As [...] Continue Reading…
The underlying system of sales is designed for failure. This is supported by the way companies manage, track and review their sales pipeline. Inadvertently, companies are making sales growth difficult, choppy and unsustainable as I discuss in my presentation The 7 Steps to Achieving Effortless Growth, I share that one of the primary reasons that is that the underlying system is designed for failure. Below are steps you can take to reduce false positives in your forcasts.
When the focus is on why people should buy, rather than on the barriers to buying, false positives (the belief that a prospect [...] Continue Reading…
I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek’s concept, Start with Why. I even shared his TEDx presentation on this blog. However, I feel as though it’s time to get something off my chest – Sinek is wrong.
DON’T START WITH WHY!
Instead, start with “who.”
The most powerful question every business executive can ask, every day, is “Who do we want to be a hero to?”
The companies that obsess about this question, and orient their actions to that answer, experience disproportionate rewards. Think about all the great companies in history. IBM, Apple, Starbucks, FedEx, P&G, Patagonia, Four Seasons, The Grateful Dead all [...] Continue Reading…
It’s that time of year again – my annual tribute to promotions and the holidays (with a dash of humor). Have a great Thanksgiving and make sure you take some time to consider all of the great opportunities we have.
Here’s my tribute to Thanksgiving:
I love this time of year. We’ve got the 3-F’s: friends, family & football. There’s the wine, the turkey, the stuffing, the wine. It’s great fun.
And I have a tradition at this time of year that I would like to share with you. I often write about how the old paradigms of business, sales and marketing [...] Continue Reading…
The bad news first:
Gravity is against you. The gravitational pull of commoditization is constantly working to eliminate your advantage, confuse your customers, hold your prices and profits down, and make you look, feel and sound like everybody else.
The good news?
It’s completely in your control to break free from gravity and enjoy tremendous growth, profit and lifestyle. But, it takes some work – hard work – up front.
What do you need to do?
Ensure you have a consistent message that all team members know how to align with.
Your website is well designed and fully aligned with your message.
Your LinkedIn profile, [...] Continue Reading…
There’s an interesting article in USA Today about Apple’s future. The author, Michael Wolff, cites several reasons for asserting that Apple is on the downside of maturity. I figured it’s been a while since I’ve posted insights on Apple, and there’s a lesson for small and mid-market companies, so I’d do a little prognostication.
Wolfe cites four main points for his conclusion:
Its phone market, tablet market and content-selling business — iTunes — until recently practical monopolies, have become, as if overnight, hugely competitive fields. Management, in this strictly top-down company, is suddenly in dramatic flux. And, with its great map [...] Continue Reading…
My very first post on this blog was about the challenges every business faces caused by the increased rate of commoditization. The more I work with companies, the more I realize that the issue is even more critical today.
Commoditization occurs when your customers/prospects stop listening, eliminate what you perceive makes you special and reduce you (and your competitors) to the lowest common denominator, which is typically price (or something equally arbitrary and harmful to you).
Most companies attempt to do one of three things in response. They differentiate, innovate and/or value-add. Unfortunately, all this really does is throw more noise [...] Continue Reading…
Last week I was speaking before a CEO group. The leader of the group started the meeting off with a conversation about fear. It was quite interesting to hear 12 successful business leaders talk about their relationship with fear.
As I listened I found myself thinking about how fear impacts an individual’s ability to do what they know they must do. I realized that we all deal with fear in general, and a fear of commitment specifically.
What is it that holds us back from fully and totally committing? I see this challenge every day as we work with companies and [...] Continue Reading…
I remember it like yesterday. There were 600 people in the crowd, and I was center-stage where noted sales trainer Tom Hopkins was quizzing me on closing techniques and overcoming objections. As I recited the closes word-for-word, I was well on my way to being what I thought was a champion closer.
I have to admit my ability to recite 30 closes on command gave me a lot of confidence when entering sales situations. I’d go into meetings ready for a “no.” I felt as though the prospect would have to have at least 31 ways to say no, because I [...] Continue Reading…