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Aug 16 19

Going In Circles

by David Brock

I had been working intensely doing some analysis for a client. My head was beginning to spin, and I needed a break. As fortune would have it, at just that moment, some poor SDR decided to call (or at least their power dialers decided to call).

Normally, I don’t answer these calls, but I needed a break……

“May I speak to the person in charge of …….” said the SDR.

“I suppose that would be me, I’m CEO of the company,” I replied.

The SDR sounded a little disappointed, he really wanted to talk to someone in our IT department, but he settled for me.

“I’d like to talk to you about your problems with [insert whatever you want],” said the SDR.

“Well, we really don’t have any problems or concerns with that area. It’s relatively unimportant to us and our business,” I replied.

“It’s really important that we talk to you about this, could I arrange a meeting for one of our people to discuss this with you?” responded the SDR.

“I said, that’s not really an issue or priority for us right now, thank you though,” I said.

“We think it’s important that you address this issue, can I arrange a meeting” insisted the SDR.

“I’m confused, we are knowledgeable about this area, it’s not a problem or concern. Do you know something about our operations that should cause me to be concerned?” At this point, I realized the SDR only was trying to get a meeting, but in my boredom, I was being a little sadistic in testing him.

“No, we don’t know that you have any problems or issues with this, but we’d really like to talk to you about it, anyway. When would it be convenient to meet?”

“Why do you want to waste your people’s time, not to mention mine on something that doesn’t seem to be an issue for us and in which I have no interest?” I asked (Yeah, I’m really being a jerk, but the SDR should be able to address these basic objections.)

“It’s really important for us to talk about this issue with you, when would it be convenient to meet?” insisted the SDR. I do have to give him credit for persistence, even if his listening and probing skills were seriously deficient. He probably was making a manger proud that he was staying on script.

“I’m confused,” I said (I really wasn’t), “Why should either of us invest time in talking about something that’s not a problem to us and in which we have no interest. What am I missing, why should I be concerned about this issue? Why should I meet?”

“Well that’s what we want to talk about in our meeting!”

“So you must know something about us and why it’s important to meet. What is it? What are we doing wrong, why is it so urgent to meet?” I replied.

“We don’t know that you have any problems or anything about your business. We just think this is an important issue for us to talk to you about, when can we meet?” replied the SDR.

Round and round and round…

I had enough of a break and had had my fun. I needed to get back to work.

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Aug 14 19

Customers Feel Value

by David Brock

Scott Gillum and I were having one of our usual conversations, the marketing vs. sales conversation. As usual, I thought, Scott is a wickedly smart marketing professional. Somehow those words seem like an oxymoron, but in his case it’s pure truth.

During our conversation, Scott said something that stopped me for a few minutes, “Customers feel value.”

I don’t know it Scott intended it that way, but I felt it at the moment he said it.

And I think the ability for the customers to feel value is probably the ultimate manifestation of value creation.

Think to situations where you have been involved in a major B2B purchase. Probably, the differences in products or solutions was minimal. Any one would have achieve your goals.

Then you reflect on your experience with the sales people. In reality they probably weren’t that different. They did similar things, if they were good, they focused on you and what you were trying to achieve. They may have articulated a value proposition. They may have presented a quantified business case. They each may have brought you insights, they may have helped you think about your business differently.

They were creating value. They were doing the things they should do as great sales professionals.

But the person who stood out, probably the person you bought from was the person that made you feel value.

There was a connection at an emotional level, you felt the sales person “got you,” understood what you faced, not only empathized, but genuinely cared.

When the customer feels value they feel caring. They know they are important to the sales person–not as a vehicle to a transaction or a commission check. But they are important to the sales person as human beings, as individuals, as people. The sales person cares for them.

Each of us has had a buying experience where we have encountered a sales person that is different, a sales person that cares, and through that caring makes us feel value.

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Aug 13 19

The “One Thing”

by David Brock

Sales people and managers struggle with achieving their goals. We have to do everything–prospect, work the deals in our pipelines, do increasing amounts of reporting, and on and on.

When we struggle to achieve our goals, the answers, perhaps disguised as coaching, are to “Do More!” Usually, that means do more of everything; prospecting working the deals in our pipelines, and more reporting.

Sometimes it’s “Do more of this one thing….” These days, it’s usually more prospecting, as if that’s the only answer to fixing a lean pipeline.

Now here’s where it starts to get confusing, hang in there.

We know we have to do the whole job. We have to constantly prospect, we have to work the deals in our pipelines, we even have to do the reporting (though we should minimize the time we spend doing that). We have to balance our activities across everything we need to do to produce results this month, this quarter, this year, as well as laying the groundwork for next year.

But what happens when we are struggling and our managers ask us to do more, realistically we can’t and shouldn’t do more of everything. We shouldn’t even do two or three things.

We have to focus on the “One Thing.” It’s the thing that has the greatest impact in getting us back on course.

But that “One Thing,” is different for each sales person. For one, it may be increasing win rates. For another, it may be increasing average deal size, for another it may be driving stronger account plans/execution, for another it may be more prospecting. (I do know the “One Thing,” is never more reporting, despite what your manager may tell you.)

The magic about choosing the right “One Thing,” is that it ripples through and impacts all the other things you have to do as a sales person. For example, increasing win rates reduces the number of qualified opportunities you need to have a healthy pipeline, which, in turn, reduces the amount of prospecting to maintain a healthy pipeline.

Think of the “One Thing” like the pins in a bowling alley. If you aim for one of the side pins in the back row, you will knock down a few, if you’re lucky (I always get gutter balls when I do that). Aim for the headpin, you have the possibility (probability) of knocking down all the pins.

As you look at closing the gap in your performance (or your people’s) take the time to figure out the “One Thing,” that provides the greatest performance leverage. Focus on that, everything else will come into alignment.

But…… (You know there had to be a but).

At some point the “One Thing” changes. You’ve done all you can with that one thing, you have to look to the next leverage point. For example, if you are focusing on improving your win rate, at some point it may be very difficult or time consuming to improve it much more (at least for the time being), then you look to the next leverage point. It could be increasing your average deal size, or maybe decreasing the sales cycle, or maybe better account planning/development, or more prospecting.

And these new “One Things,” impact each of the others.

High performance selling is really about identifying leverage points. We have to do the whole job, but as we look to improve, we need to identify the “One Thing,” that ripples through to everything else.

We’ve developed the Sales Execution Framework as a tool for managers and sales people to help identify their “One Things.” Email me for a copy!

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