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February 2010

What Is Sales 2.0 and Why Should You Care? Part II

Yesterday we defined Sales 2.0 as the use of better, technology-enabled sales practices to improve speed, collaboration, accountability, and customer engagement. We reviewed how gains in speed can be realized through better processes and better use of technology. As a result, salespeople will be able to spend more time with customers. We also talked about how more effective sales team collaboration can lead to higher levels of productivity.

In response to yesterday’s post, I received insightful comments that I’d like to share:

One CEO of a $50 million technology company told me over breakfast that

Sales 2.0 is a drive toward “ruthless efficiency.”

A sales manager called and cautioned me to remind people that people come first, process second, and technology third. Dave Brock left a great comment about collaboration: “Effective collaboration is about alignment of goals and objectives.” I agree that technology is only a tool that needs to be in synch with processes, align with a goal, and be part of a strategy.

Here are the two other characteristics of Sales 2.0:

3. Sales 2.0 is about accountability.

Feb26_1

There are many different stakeholders involved in the sales process – salespeople, sales managers, marketing managers, sales operations managers, and customers. All these stakeholders are preoccupied with one vital subject: value. Customers demand value in exchange for their money. Sales managers demand value from their salespeople. Salespeople demand value in return for sales closed. The company demands value from the sales and marketing teams. The sales operations manager demands value from every Sales 2.0 tool.

The good news is that Sales 2.0 solutions bring more science into the sales office, which allows companies to create a culture of value measurement. Companies that quickly and accurately measure the value that their sales and marketing teams create can hold sales and marketing accountable for their actions and results. Measurement enables accountability. Accountability ensures a level playing field.

For example, lead scoring will hold salespeople more accountable when it comes to prioritizing their time investments. Marketing analytics will show how many leads marketing campaigns create, and sales analytics will show how many leads are converted into opportunities and how many opportunities will turn into sales.

Another example is sales forecasting. Sales forecasting tools such as Right90 help sales managers push forecasting accuracy to more than 95 percent, which in turn will improve inventory management and cash flow.

With the right set of Sales 2.0 tools, sales managers will make fewer decisions based on hunches and more decisions based on science.

A worthwhile book on the subject: Sales and Marketing the Six Sigma Way by Michael Webb.

4. Sales 2.0 is about customer engagement.

Feb26_2 In the old model of selling, it was customary for salespeople to cold call and interrupt prospects at the salesperson’s convenience. In the world of Sales 2.0, salespeople can choose to engage only those prospects who have a documented interest, meaning they’ve left their digital footprints on your company’s Website. How does it work? Check out the solutions offered by companies such as Genius.com, LeadForce1, and Marketo.

New Sales 2.0 technologies allow salespeople to engage prospects as they share information across social-media sites. Salespeople know that it is easier to reach prospects via Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn than by conventional email.

Marketo also allows salespeople to tune in to the key moments and behaviors that really matter to sales and get Facebook-style “status updates” from the contacts they follow. Sales 2.0 solutions allow salespeople to connect with prospects and customers across multiple communication platforms while improving the targeting and timing of each engagement. Companies that are still wired to the old selling model will have to pay the heavy price of lost productivity, since they are wasting their salespeople’s time, as well as their prospects’ time. These companies are destined to become victims of change.

Sales 2.0 delivers bottom-line results

Jim Dickie, partner of CSO Insights, recently presented the 2010 Sales Performance Optimization Survey results. The study showed that companies who integrate Sales 2.0 into their sales organizations overachieve. More salespeople make quota, a higher percentage of salespeople achieve their company’s plan, and a higher percentage of salespeople win more business than they forecast.

Feb26_3
This survey suggests that we can divide companies into a pyramid composed of three types of Sales 2.0 stages:

Bottom tier: companies destined to become a victim of change – shrinking sales and productivity levels

Middle tier: Technologically enhanced companies – steady productivity levels but stagnant sales

Top tier: Technologically advanced companies – 15 percent productivity gains and double-digit sales increases

To learn more about how America’s high-growth companies have deployed Sales 2.0 processes and technologies, sign up for the upcoming Sales 2.0 Conference on March 7-8 in San Francisco. 

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What Is Sales 2.0 and Why Should You Care? Part I

Last week I read a blog post that boldly stated, “I don’t think that Sales 2.0 is about sales at all.”

Although the author has a lot of sales experience, he hasn’t formed a clear idea about what Sales 2.0 is and what it is not. Sales 2.0 isn’t a buzzword; it’s a professional discipline. It’s not a passing fad, but a massive shift in the sales culture. It’s not about sales or marketing tools, but about a business transformation that delivers better results.

As the old ways of selling are fading away, we need to educate salespeople and sales managers of the increased risk of becoming a victim of change. Sales 2.0 will play a vital role in the future of selling. I want to reassure those who have gone through the Dale Carnegie training and have followed Tom Hopkins, Dr. Denis Waitley, and Zig Ziglar that the core messages of that training are still valid and vital to winning. At the core of selling is the ability to create, expand, and enhance relationships, face-to-face and online.

The good news is that Sales 2.0 will not make B2B salespeople obsolete. It will make them a lot more productive and effective.

Sales 2.0 is the use of better sales practices enabled by technology to improve speed, collaboration, accountability, and customer engagement.

Let’s explore these attributes and examine the new possibilities for salespeople to excel with Sales 2.0 processes and technologies.

1. Sales 2.0 is about speed.

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Last night I had the pleasure of interviewing Harvey Mackay in NYC (soon to appear on SellingPower.com/video). Harvey told me that during every sales meeting, he takes off his watch and holds it up and says, “We one have one competitor, and this is it: time. Every day we are given 24 hours, and we have to choose how we use it. Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.”

In the world of sports, the fastest runner wins. In the world of business, it’s no different. Getting more done in less time is a huge competitive advantage. Smart sales managers continually ask themselves, “How can we increase pipeline velocity? How can we speed up the sales process? How can we close more sales in fewer calls?”

Savvy sales operations managers look for technologies that are designed to increase the speed of inside sales. Here is one example: ConnectAndSell, an application that allows salespeople to select prospects from their Salesforce.com database and upload, let’s say, a list of 300 prospects that they want to call. On a typical day, a good salesperson may dial 100-140 numbers and have conversations with eight people. While the old process is based on consecutive dialing, ConnectAndSell technology is based on simultaneous dialing. Instead of dialing 30 numbers sequentially, the service dials these numbers simultaneously. The instant the prospect answers the phone, you will see his or her name on your Salesforce.com screen, and you begin the conversation. (There is no call delay to startle the prospect). The moment you talk, the dialing stops. You complete the call and hang up and complete the call record, and the simultaneous dialing starts again. The result: You can speak with eight prospects in an hour. (I have done it, and it works). Your productivity goes up 500 percent and your pipeline accelerates.

There are dozens of Sales 2.0 technologies that are designed to speed up the sales process. For example, Big Machines allows you to configure a complex quote and proposal within minutes, giving you back several hours. Inside View ' allows you to get greater company insight, as well as social information about your prospect. Again, salespeople spend less time searching and more time selling. Solutions like Marketo allow sales and marketing managers work in synch around lead management saving precious management time. Right90 accelerates forecasting and Xactly.com gives managers time and money back by eliminating compensation disputes and costly sales compensation mistakes. Kadient helps companies drive a consistent and proven process across the sales organization to accelerate sales.

2. Sales 2.0 is about collaboration.

Feb25_2 There are three areas of collaboration. First, prospects collaborate and share information online through social media. Second, salespeople collaborate with one another(SAVO, Streetsmarts, iCentera, Kadient, Chatter) Third, salespeople collaborate with customers online and offline (Webex, GotToMeetings, On24 UnisFair).

The Internet allows all stakeholders in sales to collaborate more effectively, bridge distances, and cut travel costs.

Sales 2.0 innovations allow companies to harvest the collective intelligence of their sales teams and help the average sales performer deploy the most effective strategies and tactics used by top performers. For example, eight months ago, Polycom launched a new sales process that drives repeatability across its team of 700 salespeople. The solution: Kadient’s Sales Playbook.

I predict a tremendous surge in sales-collaboration technologies and processes in the next three years. Cisco has launched a game-changing collaboration solution called Cisco TelePresence, which allows people to meet around a virtual table and is many steps above video conferencing.



Feb25_4For anyone who wants to help promote collaboration within his or her company, read this great new book by former Harvard and INSEAD professor Morten Hansen, entitled Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results.

 

 

UPDATE: To learn more about how Sales 2.0 processes and technologies can help accelerate your sales, join me at the upcoming Sales 2.0 Conference on March 7-8 in San Francisco.

 

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ABC’s of Sales Leadership

Alertness means vigilance, promptness, and attention to details.

Boldness is the willingness to act with audacity.

Courage inspires confidence in followers.

Decisiveness is the ability to make prompt decisions.

Dependability is to do what you promised and planned to do.

Endurance is the capacity to continue and complete a task.

Enthusiasm is to inject positive emotions into the task at hand.

Failure is a lesson not to be repeated, but learned from.

Generosity is the art of letting your heart speak at the right moment.

Humility is lack of arrogance and boastful pride.

Humor is the capacity to look beyond the seriousness of life.

Initiative is to act decisively in the absence of a definite plan.

Integrity is absolute fidelity to the truth.

Judgment is to weigh ambiguous information and make a wise decision.

Justice is to be equitable and impartial in bestowing favors and issuing reprimands.

Knowledge is the capacity to organize information into a basis for sensible action.

Loyalty is to be faithful to the promises you made.

Motivation is the ability to induce action within yourself and others.

Negotiate is the ability to reach a satisfactory agreement that lasts.

Opportunity is to recognize a favorable situation and take action.

Persuasion is the capacity to communicate your fervent beliefs.

Renewal is the ability to regenerate, rejuvenate, and reenergize yourself, your ideas, and your action plans.

Sympathy is the capacity to share your feelings with those who encounter difficulty.

Tact is the ability to deal with people in a respectful and appropriate manner.

Unselfishness is not providing for your own comfort at the expense of others.

Virtue is to be a person who embodies good qualities and influences people on the basis of character.

Wisdom is the soundness of your thoughts, actions, and decisions.

Zeal is eagerness in pursuing your plans, your goals, and your vision.

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How to Make Social Networking Part of Your Sales Process

Social networking is no longer a social phenomenon; it has become an integral part of a company’s sales and marketing process. A study released by Wetpaint and the Altimeter Group shows that companies that most utilize social networking to generate sales grew, on average, 18 percent last year, while companies that used social networking the least declined, on average, by 6 percent.

Below are five practical tips for improving the sales process with social-networking techniques.

1. Creating trust and rapport

Imagine yourself inside the mind of your sales prospect as he or she checks your credibility using social-networking sites such as LinkedIn.. Make it easy for your prospects to learn more about you.

Action tip: You can drag and move the information categories on the left to suit your needs. For example, if you are looking for a job, move your experience and education headings up front. If you want to impress your prospects, move your summary and your recommendations to the top. Make it easy for your target visitors to quickly find what they need.

2. Prospecting

Selling has moved from a pitch model to a conversation model. Prospects are not interested in taking your calls or reading your emails. Adapt your prospecting strategy to the opportunities created by the conversation economy. Don’t cold call, social call instead.

Action tip: Start a conversation or join conversations online. How? Create a LinkedIn group and publish fresh information about your product or service. Interview existing customers on a flip phone, upload their videos on Facebook or your blog, and tweet about it. Share your product/service PPT on Slideshare.com. Follow your prospects on Twitter and monitor their tweets. Too busy to set this all up? Subscribe to Inside View to get corporate and social information about your prospects on one screen.

3. The first call

Most salespeople use social-media introductions to schedule a phone call with prospects. A sales manager of a software company recently came up with the idea to leverage social media and have the prospect make the first call to the salesperson. How? His sales team searches daily for tweets that contain the company name or product name. His salespeople find two or three relevant tweets every day. Instead of connecting with prospects directly, the sales manager has set up a network of customers who are willing to tweet on his company’s behalf.

A recent example: The sales manager’s company noticed that someone from Starbucks tweeted a question about the company’s service. A sales rep emailed his closest customer contact in the same city – a Microsoft exec. The Microsoft executive then tweeted back to the Starbucks executive. The next day the two executives had lunch. After lunch, the prospect called the salesperson at the original company.

4. Navigating complex corporate organization structures

The larger the company, the greater the information challenges. Let’s say you want to sell to the head of research at IBM, and you want to identify the top five decision influencers. Twitter isn’t much help. YouTube features dozens of IBM Research videos. Facebook shows that IBM Research has more than 5,000 fans. LinkedIn offers an advanced search capability that will give you access to IBM executives who work in eight research centers around the world. In this unique case, it is better to first visit the IBM Research Website, read up on IBM’s history, then click on “people,” and you will find a list of IBM’s program directors, scientists, and staff members by location.

Next, go to www.vark.com and ask a question about the org structure of IBM Research. This new social-networking site sends out messages to all your connections and friends of friends. Chances are high that you will get the answer you want within a few hours.

5. Creative social networking: sales and marketing examples

Last year, Hyatt introduced a virtual concierge service on Twitter –#HyattConcierge – on which the company’s staff answers questions 24/7. The best part: Travelers save time, instead of chasing information; the answer is waiting for you on Twitter.

In LA, a company called KogiBBQ has four trucks that serve Korean Mexican tacos day and night. The company creates high-end food at street-level prices. KogiBBQ uses Twitter to communicate the truck locations and daily specials to more than 56,000 followers in the LA area.

Don’t underestimate the power of social-networking sites compared to your own corporate Website. For example, when Solidworks, a software company, featured a video of its application on its Website, more than 100 people clicked on the video. When the same video was uploaded on YouTube, more than 56,000 people viewed the video in the first year.



For information on this month's Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston on June 28th, please visit www.sales20conf.com/boston2020/.

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A Most Memorable Close: Sales and Marketing Management

Feb19_1 Yesterday Sales & Marketing Management’s managing editor sent out this notice via the magazine’s Twitter account of 101 followers:

"Sales & Marketing Management to Discontinue"

When a 92-year old competitor disappears, it’s time to reflect

The magazine has a long history of serving the profession of selling since 1918. Here is what editor Geoff Brewer wrote in the 80th anniversary issue in October 1998:

“It’s tempting here to share our success secrets. How does any enterprise stay strong for 80 years? While there are no simple formulas, a visit to our archives reveals that the magazine has always worked hard to serve its readers. As far back as January 1920, when we were still known as Sales Management, we ran an article entitled, “When Team Work Is Wanted.” Sound familiar? A March 2, 1926, piece told “How I Find the Mainspring That Makes Salesmen Go.” Divining a technology revolution, an April 1968 feature offered comfort: “The Computer Is a Friend.” Just last month we urged managers to find their fortunes in Silicon Valley…Our February 1942 cover implored companies to produce metals, paper and rubber for the war effort. Just two years ago we ran a three-part series, which garnered a Grand Neal Award, the highest honor bestowed by the American Business Press, on the travails faced by blacks, gays, and women in sales – and how successful companies embrace diversity. Our February cover story this year explored the perils and possibilities of managing pregnant salespeople.”

SMM told great stories about great people

SMM employed great editors, smart writers, and talented designers. Every year the magazine featured the 25 Best Sales Forces and interviewed such industry icons as IBM’s Lou Gerstner, Michael Dell, and Larry Ellison. Cover stories were well researched and written, such as, “What Keeps You Up at Night? We know your 5 toughest management challenges (and how to overcome them).”

SMM has won many awards for its great design and excellent reporting.

Feb19_2
The copy price was 30 cents in 1942.

Feb19_3
The magazine covered industry giants. The cover story featuring Enron CEO Ken Lay turned out to be a notable mistake that made me more cautious of celebrities wanting to appear on Selling Power’s cover. On July 7, 2004, Lay was indicted by a grand jury on 11 counts of securities fraud.

Lessons learned from a great competitor

When I started Selling Power magazine in 1980, I admired Sales & Marketing Management magazine, envied its amazing resources, and had many cordial conversations with its editors, who held court like kings at industry trade shows. To boost our circulation, I was able to rent SMM’s mailing list. I thought that this showed a lot of class; however, when our magazine began to sell to SMM’s advertisers, we were no longer able to rent the list.

A tough competitor is like a great teacher. I was impressed with SMM’s in-depth reporting and innovative story ideas, and I learned a great deal about the magazine business by studying its sales, marketing, and event strategies. In the ’80s the magazine ran an annual conference called Power Selling. I thought about calling to argue that this could be an infringement on our Selling Power trademark but dropped the idea. I thought of the old saying, “Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.”

Our goal has always been to be the industry leader, and our circulation exceeded SMM’s in 1990. We were beginning to win more awards and were able to win more and more advertisers.

After the dot-com crash in 2001, SMM’s owners (Bill Communications) sold the magazine to VNU, which led to a changing of the guard in the editorial department. The magazine lost its edge, advertising sales declined, and so did circulation. One of SMM’s competitors approached us with an offer to buy Selling Power for a sum that made my jaw drop, but I declined. It was tempting to take the money and run, but I realized that I love what I am doing, and I didn’t want to trade money for what I love. I love selling, and I love the profession of selling. I love working with sales leaders, and I continue to learn and grow as a result of these connections.

“Print is no longer worth the ink it’s printed with”

I first heard the bold proclamation from a Silicon Valley CEO a few years ago. I still disagree. I believe that there is a fundamental difference between reading online and reading a magazine. Reading print is to the mind what exercise is to the body. It makes your mind healthier, sharper, and more focused. Print will exercise your mental muscles; it is a medium designed for reflection. The Internet is a medium designed for action. I think magazines will not disappear, just like vinyl records have not disappeared. How could we possibly stop print if there are so many VIPs with big egos who want to see their picture on the cover of a magazine? After all, being on a magazine cover is a symbol of power and prestige.

The Internet will continue to displace the printing, music, and television industries. Our future is in creating value for our customers through online media, blogs, video, and live and virtual conferences.

www.sellingpower.com

www.sellingpower.com/video

http://salesstrategizer.com (Our first iPhone application)

Of course, we will continue to print Selling Power magazine as long as our subscribers want us to serve their needs. We are sad to see SMM cease to exist, and we salute all its editors, writers, graphic artists, and salespeople who have steadily contributed to our great profession.

To all customers of Sales & Marketing Management: We would like to invite you to subscribe to Selling Power.

We want to earn your trust with every issue. We’ve served the sales profession for the past 30 years, and I believe that the best is yet to come.

Just call 1-800-752-7355, and we will be delighted to start your one-year print subscription for only $12 or a Digital subscription for $9. Or you may order online:
Print subscription
Digital subscription

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Will Your Company Miss the Transition into a Technologically Advanced Business?

Every industry is going through a massive transition. What drives most transitions is a wave of rapid technological changes. These changes either impact a company’s business model or its sales process.

Last week I had a discussion with Jeff Hayzlett, CMO of Kodak, who will share his company’s botched transition into the digital world and the lessons learned at the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on March 8–9.

The three stages of business-model effectiveness

We can divide businesses in any industry according to their ability to align their business model and processes with emerging technological innovations:
a) The victims of change (e.g., Kodak, the newspaper and magazine industries, Onyx)
b) The technologically enhanced businesses (e.g., Blockbuster, Best Buy, SAP)
c) The technologically advanced businesses (e.g., Netflix, Amazon, Salesforce.com)

Kodak, a victim of change, lost 120,000 employees

Kodak is a classic example of a company that became a victim of change. In 1988, it employed 145,300 people and made a profit of $1.17 billion on $13.3 billion in revenue. By the end of 2009, the payroll slumped to 24,400 employees, revenues were $7.6 billion, and the company posted a loss of $874 million. For years the company was in denial and ignored steadily shrinking film sales. Internal discussions focused on when film was going to be replaced by digital production, but the company was reluctant to let go of the film business, just as newspapers don’t want to abandon print.

Refining the old business process only accelerates its decline

While a technologically advanced business such as Amazon enhances customer value by taking time-consuming steps out of the buying process, victims of change focus on refining the established business model by refining existing processes. When George Eastman invented the camera, he created an ad with the memorable headline, “You press the button, we do the rest.”

Kodak

The ad was a little misleading, since it didn’t describe the steps in the process Kodak customers had to go through before they could enjoy seeing their pictures.

The victim-of-change process:
1. Go to store; buy film.
2. Go home and insert film into camera.
3. Take pictures until film roll is done (24 or 36 pictures).
4. Go to store and get film developed.
5. Go home and wait.
6. Go to store and pick up developed slides (or prints).
7. Go home and review and sort slides (or prints).
8. Insert slides into slide projector, and set up projection screen.
9. Gather family members together, and project and review slides.
10. Store slides, projector, and screen.
11. Go to store; buy more film.

While Kodak continued to improve film quality and photo-finishing quality, competitors focused on improving their business model and delivered greater customer value.

The technologically advanced process:
1. Take picture.
2. Email from mobile phone or post on Facebook.

The lesson: If you continue to improve what's becoming obsolete, you will become a high-quality victim of change.

The insight: To survive and grow, we need to align our business with the fundamental transitions in the technology marketplace.


The technologically enhanced business vs. the technologically advanced business
In June 2002, Netflix stock traded at $6.99. This month, its share price was more than $62. The company realized that DVD sales and rentals would decline, and people would want to browse titles online instead of driving to a video rental store and searching for titles. In essence, Netflix realized the advantage of Web 2.0 and offered DVDs delivered by mail, as well as video downloads online.

Blockbuster ignored the trend and was reluctant to change from the well-established, in-store sales model (1.0). In April 2002, Blockbuster’s shares traded at $28.60. This month, one share was worth 38 cents.

Another way to compare 1.0 to 2.0 is to analyze the productivity per employee. Last year, Blockbuster’s 30,144 employees created $4.4 billion in sales, which translates into $146,000 per employee. Netflix sales were $1.7 billion. With a payroll of only 1,644 people, that translates into a record-breaking $1 million in sales per employee. Netflix shares traded at $62 this month, and the market cap was $3.32 billion. Blockbuster’s declining fortunes are reflected in the extremely low market cap of only $73.7 million.

The lesson: Companies become successful by creating customer value. What customers perceive as valuable today will inevitably shrink in value tomorrow. The more successful you are with a business model or sales process, the harder it is to adapt when your company is misaligned with the changes that take place in the field of technology.

The insight: Money can buy you the best technology, but it won’t enhance your business unless you adapt your business model and move up to Sales 2.0 so you become a technologically advanced business.

UPDATE: To learn more about how Sales 2.0 processes and technologies can help accelerate your sales, join me at the upcoming Sales 2.0 Conference on March 7-8 in San Francisco.


Tomorrow: What is Sales 2.0, and why should I care?

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How David Sandler Created His “Magnificent Obsession,” and the “Killer Instinct” for Selling - Part II

Yesterday I shared the story how David Sandler got a motivational boost from Earl Nightingale’s recording The Strangest Secret. Earl’s words were strong enough to start the Sandler Training Company, which delivers training in 12 world languages. Here is the second part of the interview of the legendary sales training pioneer. In a time where technology training drives out effective selling skills training, programs like Sandler Training are more important than ever. This interview took place in 1980 during a time when many people thought that Sandler’s approach was over the top.

Q: What have you learned from your failures?

Sandler: I think you have to look at failing as a positive experience. When you go on a sales call, expect nos. If you expect to get yeses, you can't handle the nos. Every disappointment and failure I've ever gone through scared me. While you're going through those moments, you can't say, "Oh, this is a blessing." But you don't give up; you must go through it and make something happen in the process.

Q: How long did it take you to fine-tune your sales-training system?

Sandler: About five years. But after a few years of training salespeople, I learned that the traditional sales courses didn't work.

You can't teach a kid to ride a bike at a seminar.

It takes months of patience and practice. I can't teach anybody to master selling skills in a two-day seminar. It's impossible. Training that works takes a long time. We never know when someone is ready to learn. That's why our President's Club is like a lifetime health club, except we call it a sales club.

Q: You're saying that conventional two-day seminars can't do the job.

Sandler: After a seminar, people remember a couple of one-liners, and then they go off and do something else. They had a good time, but nothing changed.

There is a fundamental difference between knowing and owning.

Q: Are you saying that most people “metabolize” the information, but it doesn't transform them?

Sandler: Taking ownership is a long-term process. It takes time, reinforcement, and competent help, and people can't do it without ongoing support.

Q: What prompted you to apply the health-club concept to ongoing sales training?

Sandler: I recall many clients asking me to come back three or four times a year to repeat the training for them. I noticed that every time I went back, these salespeople would get better and better. So one day I came up with the idea of The President's Club in the Baltimore area. We used to meet every other Thursday night. As many as 250 people showed up. We would discuss their problems and talk about how they could do better. Over a period of time we realized that the more often they came, the greater their rate of success. That's why we expanded the concept nationwide. Today we have local trainers in over 60 cities. These trainers are responsible for delivering a minimum of 20 hours of training each month to members of The President's Club.

Q: Is membership limited to the local training center?

Sandler: No. Each member can attend any local meeting in any President's Club in the nation. When President's Club members travel out of town, they can attend our other sales meetings at no cost. They get reinforcement training wherever and whenever they need it.

Q: You've pioneered many new selling concepts. What kind of approach do you teach your members for opening a sales call?

Sandler: First, you have to establish a bond between you and the prospect.

Q: How?

Sandler: Don't carry anything on the first call. Don't take your briefcase. Dress comfortably. Just look like a professional who is financially independent and doesn't need the business. Be calm, relaxed, and just break the ice a little. Everything you do should be casual, nonthreatening, and businesslike.

Q: So you suggest a low-key approach.

Sandler: Let me give you a one-liner that sums it all up:

A sales call is like a Broadway play performed by a psychiatrist.

What I mean by that is that you've got to be an actor who can slip into many different roles, and you've got to be a psychiatrist who can see past the intellectual defenses people build around them.

Q: What role does the psychiatrist play during the opening?

Sandler: The psychiatrist begins with very nurturing questions to establish trust. People feel vulnerable and have learned not to be up front with salespeople. In general, prospects won't tell you about their real problems. Psychiatrists learn very early in their training that what the patient brings is never the real problem.

Patients can only describe symptoms; the psychiatrist must find the causes, not just relieve the symptoms. The same is true with a prospect. That's why it takes three or four questions about a specific subject before you can go past a prospect's natural defenses.

Each answer becomes a little more revealing than the previous one.

Q: What's the next step?

Sandler: Don't be in a hurry to give a presentation. Give the presentation only if the prospect qualifies. Then you need to set up a contract with the prospect, like we've discussed earlier. You want to develop an understanding between you and the prospect as to what it takes to do business. That's the difference. If you do that, your prospect will sense that there's something different about this sales call, because you are very up front.

Q. You have pioneered the selling strategy of leading a customer from wellness to sickness and back to wellness. Can you explain the essence of that technique?

Sandler: Certainly. There are five steps to the formula: well, hurt, sick, critical, and well.

As soon as you talk to a prospect, you begin by finding a hurt through “reversing questions.” Then you expand your questions to a group of pains until the prospect is “sick.” If you continue to work on that sickness with more questions, you will have a prospect on the “critical list.” Then your selling job becomes easy, because all you have to do is make the prospect well again.

It’s not easy for people to remember intellectual formulas. To help them remember, I tell them a story like this one: Let’s say you go to see your doctor for your annual physical. A complete checkup will probably cost you about $300. Your doctor will ask you to strip down in the examining room. Then he or she will come in and poke at you, hook you up to an EKG, x-ray your chest, then put you on a stress test that can kill you if you're not a runner. Your doctor feeds you chalk, punches you, and pokes you everywhere. And you're saying to yourself, "This isn't worth $300. I should be out there making calls. What am I doing here spending an hour and a half with this doctor?"

Finally, the doctor says, "Okay, the examination is over; get dressed and come into my office." In the office is a little light box with your x-ray clipped on it. It's a picture of you. The doctor looks at this picture while you're wondering how quickly you can get out of there.

You think, "Let's give him the $300 and get going." Then your doctor looks at this thing closer, turns to you, and asks, "Has anybody in your family ever had kidney problems?" You say no. The doctor looks back at that x-ray again. Now, this time he or she talks to the X-ray, saying, "Now, there is nothing real serious here. I don't think we want to worry too much about this. We can take our time on this. What are you doing tomorrow morning? I want you to go down to the hospital, because I want to check this out. I don't like what I see."

You can picture what is going through your mind at that moment. Your mind went from $300 to a blank check. That's what a good salesperson does.

Price is never an object when the prospect experiences enough pain.

That's why feature/benefit selling doesn't work. Prospects will put a price tag on features and benefits, but they don't put a price tag on wellness when they're sick. If you get a prospect who is in pain, that prospect will pay anything to get out of it.

Q: You’ve compared the job of a successful salesperson with the job of a Mafia hit man. You said that hit men concern themselves with the job to be done, not with how they feel about the job. You’ve also said that salespeople must learn how to act like trained killers. If you can't kill, you can't sell. Isn't this a bit controversial?

Sandler: Both of those are good lines. I don't understand the controversy. They are tough lines. Selling is a killer sport. It's tough. Prospects are tough.

Q: I have never heard of anyone who would consider selling as a killer sport. Can you explain your analogy?

Sandler: Just two days ago I was teaching a seminar. As I went around the room, I found a nice, young salesman, about 24 years old. He was fresh out of school. He wanted to make a contribution to the community, said he loved people and wanted to be a nice guy.

He's going to get killed, because the prospect won't be a nice guy and doesn't want to give a contribution. The prospect is going to try to get out of that salesman whatever he or she can. The prospect will take advantage of his inexperience. If that salesman's need to be liked is bigger than his need for going to the bank, he's dead, because he won't do whatever he has to do to get the order. He really has a conflict. He doesn't like to lean on people. He doesn't like to manipulate people. Doesn't like to pressure people.

I said, "Fine, you don't have to [pressure anyone]." Then I said, "You look like a football player." And he said he played football. He was a linebacker.

I said, "Now, the other team's got the ball, and the guy is coming around the end on your side and there's no block. You don't have anybody in front of you, and there's nobody in front of him. What are you going to do, hit him easy? Take your time with him? Are you going to say, ‘Pardon me, Sir, but I'm going to nail you'?

“You have to get him on the ground as quickly as you can. It doesn't mean he is a bad guy. But if it's you or him, it has to be him."

And if I'm a salesman and you're a prospect, and if it boils down to feeding my family or not feeding my family, I'm going to feed my family.

I need that same intensity on the sales call that young fellows have in football. I need that winning feeling. That's the attitude. You've got to go in there and know you're going to come out a winner.

Q: Why use the combative sports analogy at all?

Sandler: Because selling is a sport. It's a combat sport. It's confrontation.

Q: Let me take a different tack. In the history of sales training, people have always used two different languages. The first language is combative; it's the language of war and aggression. Salespeople talk about bringing in the big guns to kill the competition. They talk about conquering new territory, and they think that selling means fighting. The second language is the nurturing language in which people talk about spoon-feeding a prospect, babysitting an account, hand-holding a customer. This language suggests that selling means bonding, nurturing, and creating. Are you saying that the nurturing language is irrelevant?

Sandler: No. What I'm saying is you have all those combative instincts – the desire to win. That doesn't mean you should go in and push people around. That's old school. You can't lean on people. Common sense tells you that you can't say to another human being, "If I can show you a way to own this tonight, would you buy it?" These are obvious pressure tactics. What I am talking about is internal combativeness.

Q: How do you express internal combativeness?

Sandler: It's not going to show. When you meet me in a selling situation, you'll think I'm the nicest guy in town.

I try not to look like a salesman. Why would I want to walk into the prospect's office [as if I’m] holding up a big sign [that reads], “I am a salesman”?

Q: We've got to get back to your one-liner, "If you can't kill, you can't sell." You don't see that as overly aggressive?

Sandler: The problem you're having with me is when I say kill, you're thinking literally cutthroat. I am talking about training an attitude and developing an instinct. When you are sitting in front of a prospect, at some point in the presentation you will hear a little voice inside that says, "This is a lot of pressure; perhaps it's easier outside." Or you'll hear, "Let's get out of here; this is too much." Or, "This guy is not worth the hassle."

At this moment, if you let your killer instincts guide you, you won't give in, but forge ahead and win. The job needs to be done, that's why they pay you. Your boss is not buying your need to be liked, your boss is buying your need to go to the bank. At the same time, you need to be honest and ethical. You can't lie, you can't mislead a customer, and you can't break the law to get a sale.

Q: And you have to have a prospect in front of you with a legitimate need.

Sandler: Of course! That's why I suggest the up-front agreement with the customer long before you begin your presentation.

Q: So you are really talking about developing an internal attitude with which you don't allow yourself to feel sympathy with your customer's defenses. If the customer has a legitimate need, you better be persuasive and persistent, otherwise your competition will get the sale.

Sandler: Exactly. Sales success begins with an internal attitude. I want salespeople to generate this attitude in order to succeed. It's a gut-building technique that works.

Question to all those salespeople who have gone through the Sandler Training: What did you learn? What did you apply? What skills are you still using today?

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What Drives Change? Three Inescapable Shifts that Will Rock Your World

I just got an interesting book called Selling Change by Brett Clay.

Here is my view on change.

The first question is “what drives change?” Ideas, money and technology. The first two are obvious. Internet technology creates new ways of sharing, communicating, collaborating and conducting business. It’s almost like learning a new language that demands a lot of mental agility from those who want to speak it well.

The second question is “what are the major shifts in the world of selling?”
I see three that are inescapable.

One is the shift from the delay economy to conducting business in real time. Customers want solutions NOW. Salespeople need to have access to all the information they need to answer all customer concerns in one call – without delay.

Two is the shift from pitching prospects on our solution to co-creating the solution together with the prospects. The pitch is dead. Ditch the pitch. Technology has created the conversation driven economy.

Three, Every aspect of information technology is in transition. We are moving from servers in a box to cloud computing. Scientists are working on a technology called “suspend and resume” that will allow users make any browser the gateway to our information universe in the cloud. Instead of using a pc like a physical fortress, we will have access to our software and our files online.

Since IT is in constant transition, the economy will be in constant transition and that requires that we give up the idea of pursuing rigid goals, we have to give up rigid business models, we need to embrace new sales processes faster. The economy has become fluid and we have to transition from rigid to fluid. We need to let go of the notion that we will ever get to any fixed point in our lifetime, the best thing we can hope for is to become more agile so we can avoid becoming a victim of change and become masters at successful transitions. Change is like a wave and we need to learn how to surf it. Agility is the new ROI.

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How David Sandler Created His “Magnificent Obsession,” And The “Killer Instinct” for Selling - Part 1

Yesterday I wrote a post about Earl Nightingale’s idea that there is no success without suffering. Today I got a happy email from his widow, Diana, thanking me for sharing this historic interview with the world. Earl’s best-selling recording, The Strangest Secret, has encouraged many entrepreneurs, business owners, sales managers, and salespeople worldwide.

One of them was David Sandler, who created a sales-training company that has grown into a network of 220 training centers in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, offering Sandler’s sales training in 12 languages. David was one of the brightest and most gifted sales trainers I’ve ever met. He shared with me how he got the courage to start his business. "Someone gave me a record by Earl Nightingale titled ‘The Strangest Secret.’ There was one message on the recording that had a life-changing impact on me. Earl Nightingale said that if you make a commitment to a given field of endeavor, and if you spend the next five years of your life with the magnificent obsession to learn all there is about that field, you can be certain [you will] become a success in that field. When I heard the recording that night, I made a commitment to go into sales training."

David has passed away, but his business model (in-person and online training with ongoing reinforcement) has survived, and his time-tested ideas have been published in a best-selling book The Sandler Rules: 49 Timeless Selling Principles and How to Apply Them by David Mattson.

Below is the first part of my interview with David Sandler.

Q: What makes your training so revolutionary?

Sandler: There is nothing wrong with the programs taught by Tom Hopkins, Zig Ziglar, or Dale Carnegie and other traditional trainers. The problem with those programs is that they're old.

Q: Can you explain this?

Sandler: Everybody knows these programs. Everybody knows the kind of questions Tom Hopkins graduates use. Don't you? Everybody knows how Dale Carnegie trainees repeat your name over and over. Thousands of people have gone through the Xerox selling skills course. Tens of thousands have seen Zig Ziglar on stage, on cable TV, and on video. The problem is these training courses have been around for so long that everyone knows your strategy the minute you start talking. So when you tell customers that [your product’s] price will go up next week, they'll tell you, "That's the `impending event' close, isn't it?" How can you win a Super Bowl if the opposing team has a copy of your playbook?

Q: How did you get into selling?

Sandler: I'm not a sales type. I didn't get into sales until I was 36 years old. When I started, they told me to be enthusiastic, jump up and down, make as many presentations as I could. One night I came home, looked into the mirror, and realized the way they asked me to sell made me feel like a clown. I realized that a sales call wasn't an adult/adult transaction, but a parent/child transaction where salespeople are expected to be subservient. I also realized that customers didn't do what they promised. Many of them lied and sometimes didn't even show up for appointments.

Q: How did you develop your own selling techniques?

Sandler: There were many experiences that led me to believe that I was doing something wrong. One particular experience was the beginning of the turnaround. I remember making cold calls one Friday afternoon and not succeeding. It was down at the shipyard on Aliceanna Street in Baltimore. As I walked up two flights of stairs, I said to myself, "If I don't make a sale here, I'll give up." The guy's name was Charlie. He was about 32 years old and weighed close to 400 pounds. He was breathing as if he had just run a five-mile race. It was painful for me to give the presentation.

When I finished, I used the traditional close: "Charlie, this is a red-letter day in your life!" He answered, "I'll take it." Since I expected him to resist, I was so surprised that I shot back, "Is that the only reason you hesitate?" Charlie laughed and said, "No, no, I want it." I got so excited that I forgot to ask for the money. I told him I would deliver the product on Monday morning and asked him to prepare a check for $600, which he promised to get ready. He said, "Fine, fine. I'm looking forward to it."

I had a great weekend. I was successful, and I was sure I was on my way to greater success. Monday morning I carried the package across the parking lot, walked upstairs, and knocked on the glass window. The receptionist was filing her nails. She asked, "Can I help you?" I said, "Of course. I'm here to see Charlie!" She gave me a puzzled look and said, "Haven't you heard? Charlie died over the weekend." True story. Now, I get back to the car, while I'm saying to myself, "There's a message in this." I was disappointed, I was mad, and I was ready to leave the profession of selling.

Q: What changed your mind?

Sandler: I thought that there must be a better way to conduct a sales call. I realized that I had nothing to lose,

so I simply starting telling my next prospect, "Look, you don't have to buy from me. I can't control your money or what you want. But we do need an understanding between us. The understanding is this: I'm going to give you a brief picture of what I have. If you have a need for it, I'll tell you how much it costs. You tell me if you have the money to pay for it. Tell me if you are the decision maker and, if so, will you make [a decision]?"

Q: You began to take charge of the sales call.

Sandler: Exactly. Setting up contracts with prospects amounts to closing up front. With the traditional way of doing presentations, the customer tends to think, "I wonder what this is going to cost. I wonder when the close will come."

Q: In other words, the customer would not pay attention to your presentation.

Sandler: When I talk to a prospect about his pain, I find out if he has the money to eliminate that pain, then I make sure he is the decision maker. That way I know I have the order before presenting my product, and I know the prospect will pay attention to my presentation.

Q: What is your school background?

Sandler: I dropped out of college after two years. I went through the Korean War; spent 30 months in the service; came back; and worked in my father's pretzel, potato chip, and cookie business.

Q: And you worked there until age 36?

Sandler: Yes, until the stockholders who had controlling interest in the company decided they could do a better job without me and let me go. Since there weren't too many openings for company presidents in the pretzel and cookie business, I decided to go into sales. I worked as a distributor for a motivation company and became their number one producer for the next three years.

Q: How did you get into sales training?

Sandler: The idea came to me after I had been in sales for about six months.

Someone gave me a record by Earl Nightingale titled ‘The Strangest Secret.’ There was one message on the recording that had a life-changing impact on me. Earl Nightingale said that if you make a commitment to a given field of endeavor, and if you spend the next five years of your life with the magnificent obsession to learn all there is about that field, you can be certain [you will] become a success in that field. When I heard the recording that night, I made a commitment to go into sales training.

And I just went out and did it. I wanted to know all there was to know. In addition, I had experienced enough failure with the traditional selling techniques.

Tomorrow: How David Sandler applied the fitness club model to sales training. Why price is never an object when the prospect experiences enough pain. How to create the winning mindset to win more business.

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There Is No Success without Suffering

EarlN Earl Nightingale, the co-founder of Nightingale-Conant Corporation, has been a pioneer in the field of success motivation. In his lifetime he has seen disappointment and hardships. His father walked out one day leaving Earl's mother with three young sons when Earl was only 11. Earl joined the Marine Corps and stood on top of the main mast of the battleship Arizona when it was bombed by the Japanese during their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Over 1,177 lives were lost and Earl was one of the 223 survivors. His most enduring success began in 1956 when he produced a spoken word vinyl record called The Strangest Secret which sold well over a million copies. This record has led more people to pursue their goals with greater zest and it inspired them to live a meaningful life. Earl’s recording is still selling today (on remastered CD) on a Website that is run by his widow.

I had the privilege of interviewing Earl in 1987 in a New York hotel suite. There are two things that stand out from the interview. One, his comment that “there is no success without suffering.” Two, at the end of the interview I asked him about a certain passage from his new book. He looked it up and began to read in his cultured and inspiring voice. Then something strange happened during this reading: he fell asleep! I waited a few minutes, wondering if I should wake him up. He looked comfortable and peaceful. I didn’t want to impose and decided to quietly pack up my notes and leave. Two years later he passed away. His clarity of thinking and his remarkable tone of voice is still with us and available to the eager student of success and motivation.

Here is an edited version of my interview:

Q: Do you think it is possible to trace the origins of your success back to specific educational experiences or books that you have read?

A: No. You know education is a like a fine painting which has thousands of little dabs of paint, none of which you are particularly aware of but which in total comprise the finished work. A person with an ongoing education has been touched and dabbed by so many great authors and great lines, great poetry, the great philosophies of the world.

Q: Do you remember when you first felt inspired by the thirst for knowledge?

A: I knew when I was 12 years old that I wanted to become a writer and that I wanted to find the secret of success which spelled the difference between men and women who are successful in life and those who are not.

Q: At one time you sold advertising for your own radio program. How did you go about doing that?

A: Well, I started calling on the agencies in Chicago and telling them about my program and the fact that I could sell their products for them. I was very sincere and I was very eager but I was very young and inexperienced and of course, since I didn't have a track record, no one would try my program.

Q: Do you remember what kept you going on those early sales calls?

A: Yes. I had one great thing working for me: I just wouldn't give up. I kept telling myself to stay with it. I would say to myself, "You can make this, what you are doing is right. You have a good program, you can sell products on that show, you have a good audience and you are 100% dedicated to it and it will come, just stay with it." I used to keep telling myself that even though the pickings were very slim at that time, I would ultimately succeed.

Q: When did your break come?

A: When I was 29, 1 was reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

I came across six words that made a big difference in my life, "We become what we think about."

When I saw that, I sat up. All of a sudden, all the lights went on and I said "That's it. That is what I have been reading over and over again." That is what Buddha meant when he said, "As the wheel follows the ox behind, we will become what our thoughts have made of us." I realized that every great philosopher had said much the same thing in different words. I had read "As ye believe, so shall it be done unto you." In so many different ways I had been reading that great line over and over again. It just revolutionized my life and from that time on I have had very few problems.

Q: How do you propose that we learn how to manage our own minds?

A: The first thing we have to do is to learn how to think.

We are not taught how to think in school and most people do not think very much, if at all. We are taught in school to remember things and yet the highest function a human being is capable of is to think.


Q: What are the qualities that you suggest a good salesperson should have?

A: I imagine they would be the same qualities that I would want anyone to develop in his life: integrity is the first...

Q: How do you define integrity?

A: Being absolutely true. Being truthful under all circumstances. Tell the truth and build a reputation for integrity.

Q: How about self-motivation?

A: Human beings are subject to moods. Sometimes they don't feel very good, sometimes they feel a little down. I feel down from time to time and I have to reach up and pull a book off the shelf and get myself charged up again. Fortunately, I have two great sources of motivation. One is my wife Diana who is just marvelous at that kind of thing. I just can't really stay down very long living around her. The other, of course, is my fabulous library. I have so many great thinkers, and you can't read these people without getting a little excited about everything in the world.

Q: What is your recommendation for dealing with disappointment?

A: Well, it's difficult to handle disappointment, but I think that a well-adjusted person realizes that it is part of living and to take a big deep breath and start out again. Maybe rest a little bit before you get going again.

Q: In your book, Earl Nightingale's Greatest Discovery, you write about succeeding and suffering.

A: There is no success without suffering. There is an old legend that goes, "If you succeed without suffering, it is because someone has suffered for you. If you suffer without succeeding, it is so someone may succeed after you, but

there is no success without suffering." I think that the word "suffering" was meant to mean "tremendous amount of effort and dedication."

Success is an effect and you have got to have a cause and that is the work or whatever you do to achieve that success.

Q: Can you tell me, from your own experience, in which way have you suffered and in which way that has translated into success?

A: My early years were pretty tough, as were the war years. I have done my share of suffering. I have had a number of physical problems that I have had to be overcome. I had a heart valve replaced, but long before that I had two brain tumors removed and I have had both shoulders and hips replaced because of arthritis. I am familiar with pain. We are like old friends. However, I look at it this way. We have been granted a short time and we don't understand that life is a mystery. It doesn't bother me, mysteries don't bother me. Some people can't stand mysteries, they want answers for everything. I can live with a mystery. We came from a mystery and we are going to go into a mystery and I think that is beautiful and wonderful. We know there is something there and I tend to believe that it is going to be great. I want to do the best I can with this life and then if there is another one, I will do the best I can with that one.

Q: How do you view disappointment in life?

A:

I have had a lot of disappointments, but you know they have usually led on to other successes, to additional successes.

I know that there have been times when I thought, "I'm terribly sorry that this is happening but I realize that maybe I'm being led to another slightly different direction in order to achieve these things that I want to achieve."

Q: How do you view success?

A: Success doesn't come in a big flash. It comes from a result of steady daily work over a long period of time.

Q: What is your measure of success?

A: That we be in the driver's seats of our lives.

Q: What three things do you suggest that people do to be successful?

A: First, that they find the right work. Second, do the things they most enjoy doing. Third, set exciting and worthwhile goals that will mean a great deal to you when you achieve them, whatever they happen to be.

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