How NOT To Do Sales, Part 2

How not to attract attention

Do I have your attention yet?

You remember my friend ‘Amy’? Of course you do, she made her first appearance in one of our posts about clarity in communication, Are You Talking to Me?

She has such a good fund of stories that I might have to start paying her a commission!

This time around, Amy is travelling home after a few days in one of her more remote offices. Approaching a motorway service station, she remembers that she still needs to speak to a couple of people she couldn’t get hold of earlier. Read more ›

Got Those Q4 Blues?

Lord Kitchener wants to know...

How YOU doin?

Believe me, this isn’t a pick-up line but, in the immortal words of Joey Tribbiani from Friends, “How YOU doin’?”

Just so you know, I’m enquiring about the health of your sales figures. After all, we are now into the final quarter of the year – a busy time for many sales professionals.

If you’re lucky*, you’re on track to hit your targets by year end. If you’re super-lucky, you’ve already hit them! That’s a great position to be in but it does bring its own challenges. Read more ›

Value is in the Eye of the Beholder

Money from around the worldAsk any salesperson why they lost the order and you will often hear ‘price’ cited as the main reason. Research by University of Southern California, summarised in this blog post, indicate that “there is acceptable price range that the prospect is willing to pay and this can be anywhere from ten to twenty-five percent higher than the lowest proposal (depending upon industry and products being purchased).”

The summary also says that “winners were better able to prove their value as a business partner who had the expertise to solve the customer’s problem.” Read more ›

Principled Selling – a Book Review

Principled Selling coverI’ve ‘known’ David for about two or three years – I don’t keep an exact record of this sort of thing!  Note that I use ‘known’ in its modern sense. Our relationship developed through me reading and commenting on his blog, following, retweeting and DM’ing him on Twitter and through the exchange of opinions on LinkedIn.

In all that time we’ve spoken once or twice on the telephone and met face-to-face once or twice. So we’re not BFF’s but we are not total strangers. Read more ›

How To Turn Your Product Into A Commodity

Commodity ItemsBy the way, you really don’t want to do this!

The exact definition of the term commodity is specifically used to describe a class of goods for which there is demand, but which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market. The market treats commodities as equivalent, or nearly so, with no regard to who produced them.

The quickest and easiest way to get the market to treat your product like a commodity is to make price an important part of the discussion. Read more ›

Who Controls Your Prices?

Price ControlI find myself in a quandary brought about by the age-old question of discount. You know the one: Should Salespeople Have the Ability to Offer a Discount to Close a Sale?

In his blog post of the same title, Mark Hunter argues that the answer is a resounding NO, absolutely not under any conditions.

He makes some very valid points that salespeople will use any means available to them to win orders, even if you take price out of the equation. Can’t disagree with that, as you should always look to sell the value of your solution. Read more ›

Prospects and Lead Generation

Searching for SuspectsAny business will only survive, prosper and grow if it has customers. That may seem like an obvious statement but how do you find prospective customers and how do they find you?

I’m talking here about the very first steps in the sales and marketing process, that of generating a list of ‘suspects’ to be turned into prospects, leads, opportunities and, ultimately, customers. Read more ›

“Sales Must Think Like Marketing”

Sales must think and act like marketersMy initial thoughts were that this was a good message to retweet. However, the more I thought about it, the more unhappy I became with the thinking behind the message.

I’m well aware of who Jill Rowley is and of her reputation as a Social Selling evangelist/guru and one of the world’s Top 30 Social Salespeople. I follow her on Twitter, which is how this tweet appeared in my stream.

That’s how I also know that the quote is actually from John Jantsch‘s new book. He is regularly cited as a resource in the likes of Wall St. Journal, New York Times, and CNNMoney for his “practical take on small business.” He was described by Seth Godin as “the Peter Drucker of small business marketing tactics.” Read more ›

Essential Steps in Product Development

Product Development in ActionHow do you develop new products? One of the weaknesses of a significant number of UK companies is that their product development is engineering-led. By this I mean that the R&D department will put together a product and then hand it over to sales with a cheery “off you go and sell it then.”

Astonishingly, everyone (apart from the sales and marketing departments) is surprised when the new product fails to take the market by storm! Read more ›

The Place of Storytelling in Sales


Early storytelling

Passing on wisdom by telling stories

From the earliest, Man was hardwired to respond to emotion. When Ugg taught his son Ugg how to hunt Woolly Mammoth, he did so by telling him a story. He called on fear, bravery, caution and other visceral feelings to get his point across.

As sophisticated as we think we are these days, let’s not kid ourselves; we still love a good story.

Much is written about the importance of using stories as part of your sales and marketing process but not much about the mechanics. Read more ›