Neil Rackham's Foreword from Insight Selling
By Mike Schultz

insight selling

Perhaps the most respected voice of all time in sales is SPIN Selling author Neil Rackham. John and I were honored to have him write the foreword for Insight Selling. It's a great commentary on the state of and changes occurring in the world of modern sales. We hope you find it as insightful as we did. Without further ado...


A mixed blessing of my job is that I get to review a lot of sales books. Roughly once a week I receive a manuscript from a hopeful author or publisher, asking me for comments and feedback. Of course, what they are really asking for is a rave review that will help the book sell.

Reading all these expectant winners, looking for good things to say, can be a challenging task. I'm often tempted to reply with the comment often, but wrongly, attributed to Samuel Johnson: "Your work is both good and original. Unfortunately the parts that are good are not original, and the parts that are original are not good."

On the plus side, it does mean that I see a lot of ideas before they become public and I get a good sense of current trends in sales thinking. On the downside, for every book that I can honestly endorse, I kiss a whole pondfull of literary frogs...

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5 Ways to Make It Easy to Buy from You
By Ago Cluytens

raise hands

A couple of years ago, I was involved in a major rebranding effort for a Fortune 100 financial services firm. Based on extensive research, their chief marketing officer decided their new brand positioning should be focused on "easier."

Easier to do business with. Easier to conduct banking transactions. Easier to get a mortgage, car loan, or business investment from.

Sounds great, right? Problem is they weren't easy to do business with.

I knew, because I happened to be a client of the firm. When I walked in to do a simple thing like get a new debit card, I was told the process could take up to three weeks—and I'd have to give them my old card first, meaning I'd have to spend three weeks without any access to my accounts.

Unfortunately, this situation isn't all that uncommon in business. Many firms I know make their customers—existing and new—jump through endless hoops to do business with them. Just think about your average bank. Insurance firm. Car dealership. Phone company. Utility provider...

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Is Relationship Building in Sales Dead?
By Mike Schultz

mad men martini

There's been a lot of noise the last couple years declaring relationship selling dead. "The Internet has changed everything." "Personal connections don't matter anymore." "Selling is not about relationships." "Throw out everything you thought you knew about sales, Armageddon is coming!" Blah, blah, etc.

As we've discussed before, we strongly disagree with the idea that selling is not about relationships. Relationship building is still critical to winning sales. But it has changed. We wanted to know exactly how—from the buyers' perspective.

So we studied more than 700 buyers representing $3.1 billion in annual B2B purchases across multiple industries to learn what sales winners did differently from sellers who came in second.

We found that sales winners consistently do three things: They connect, convince, and collaborate with buyers. Our research found that sales winners make strong personal connections at more than double the rate of second-place finishers. Relationship building in sales is far from dead...

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5 Appointment-Setting Tips
By Bob Croston

appointment

Breaking your way into new accounts and setting meetings is one of the most difficult tasks sellers face. But if you want to be successful in sales, you need to be able to build your own pipeline and drum up your own business.

To increase your odds of landing initial meetings, follow these five appointment-setting tips:

  1. Reach out during "off hours": Business leaders don’t punch in at nine and out at five. The gatekeepers, however, are a different story. If you're trying to get through to an insulated executive, try calling early in the morning (before 8 am), late in the evening (after 6 pm), or during lunch.

    One of my colleagues has had great success reconnecting with prospects when he sends emails first thing in the morning (4 am)! This strategy not only ensures he gets his all-important follow up done before the day gets away from him, it also gives the prospect the opportunity to respond that day—and they often do...
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The Power of Storytelling in Sales
By Mike Schultz

mesmerized

In the latter half of the 1700s, German astrologist and physician Franz Anton Mesmer treated his patients by looking deeply into their eyes and waving magnets in front of their faces. Mesmer believed barriers in our bodies disrupted the natural flow of the processes that gave us life and health. He further believed his penetrating eye gazing and object waving restored natural order inside his patients and relieved all sorts of maladies.

In fact, he is reported to have cured headaches, swooning, blindness, paralysis, and a long list of additional ailments, even hemorrhoids.

He became quite the celebrity, at one point touring major cities across Europe to demonstrate the efficacy and power of his medical advances. It is reported that as he worked with his patients, he would gain complete control not just of their actions, but of their thoughts, their perceptions of reality, and their feelings.

When he did this, the patients were said to be...Mesmerized! And thus a new word was born...

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