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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=sales advice'>sales advice</a>
Sales Strategy
Oct 19, 2017 | Sales Reinvented Podcast lock

Listen to the full episode here.

Paul Watts: Hi, this is Paul Watts, from the Sales Reinvented Podcast. Welcome to the Best Of Series. Brought to you by the Canadian Professional Sales Association.

In today's episode we have James Muir, Deb Calvert, and Jeb Blount. We will be sharing some of our favorite does and don'ts.

First up, we have James Muir.

James Muir: Step one would be get your intent in the right place, so this is a do. So intent matters more than technique. I can teach someone a technique, but if their intention is in the wrong place customers will pick up on that and it won't work out. So, knowing is serving. So, when you get your head in the right place your execution can be horrid, but if the customer can detect that you have their best interests at heart, they'll give you a second chance to swing at the plate. Many more than a second chance, actually. So that'd be my first one.

Let's see here, a to do would be planning. Planning would be key. Sales professionals before they go into any meeting they should be asking:

Why should this client see me? What do I want the client to do? How can I provide value on this particular encounter.

They should be planning that before they ever get there, not doing it on the fly. So that they can create an inherently valuable meeting that also is productive.

Along those lines, providing value, they should provide unexpected value on every encounter. Not a lot of people know about this research but Huthwaite did some research years ago that showed that buyers are willing to play a premium when the sales professional brings them an unexpected value. So the three things that they found is if the sales person brings them either, an unanticipated solution. Or an unrecognized problem, they show them a problem they have that they didn't realize they had. Or they show them an unseen opportunity. And the common denominator among all three of those is it's just all unexpected.

So, we can take a little time to think: what's a surprise, or an unexpected value we can add to the meeting? When you do that, the customers get this aha. You can call it insight, if you want. But, when they get that aha moment it adds inherent value to the meeting and studies show that clients are willing to pay a premium when they experience that.

Paul Watts: So, what are the don'ts, James?

James Muir: Well, first off, don't push, don't manipulate. Just help facilitate decisions, right? Everything else backfires, so that'd be my number one.

Number two, don't ever email a proposal to a customer. I see that all the time. I get involved when they say, oh the customer's gone silent on me, why is that? And, I think, emailing a proposal without reviewing it with a customer just has to be the biggest crime in selling right now. So, sales people need to take their time, to be with the client, to review it with them, in person if they can. If not, at the very least, over some kind of a web session. But don't ever just email a proposal. Horrible, horrible don't.

Third, stop trying to be efficient. You'd like to think that you could mass email people or throw everyone into an auditorium and sales pitch them all at once, but the truth is that these methods don't work. We need to be present. We need to be personal, in all of our interactions with customers. And that means email, voicemail, meetings, everything. Everything should be tailored. So being efficient is not being effective. And it's a tough mindset to overcome, to think, oh, I want to email thousands of people, because maybe the law of averages, somehow will get traction. You're far better off picking your target, tailoring your message to that particular target, and then working with them. If you do that you'll get 90% plus engagement if you do it right, so that would be my don't. Stop trying to be efficient.

Paul Watts: Next, we have Deb Calvert.

Deb Calvert: Yes, now mine are probably coming from a little different point of view, because everything we do is all about connecting. So we'll call these the soft skills of selling. But, research validates these. I've been talking about these things for ten years. Differently, a little each year, but I would say the top three sales tips. The three things that every seller should be sure to do is:

 First of all tune up your listening skills. As trite as that sounds, and as simple, stupid simple as it sounds, it's not. And buyers spot a good listener versus a partial listener or a multi tasker, within about thirty second. So on the phone or in person you have the ability to connect with someone just by virtue of how well you really, truly listen. Listen for content. Listen for feelings. That's my first tip.

 My second tip is to view every buyer as an individual. Don't even use labels like prospects and buyers and whatever else your funnel says you're supposed to call people at different places. These are just people. And because we now have something like 6.4 decision makers in some of the most complex sales, don't even think of the people who make up that 6.4 as a single group. Get to the individual level. That's hard, but it's about dignifying the individuality and the needs of each person. Again, buyers really read this.

 And then the third tip around connecting, because this is where the magic really happens. Is to aim to create value in the moment, person to person. You can do this just by asking, for example, a thought provoking question. A question that causes someone to pause, reflect, think about something they haven't given due time to before. And when you create value because you've been listening so well, because you're personally interacting with an individual, that's where you differentiate yourself from every other seller out there. And those three things together, that combination, equals trust, which is cement in a business relationship.

Paul Watts: So, what are the don'ts then?

Deb Calvert: Don't sit still. And I don't mean, be busier than you are. I mean, don't be complacent. And this applies if you've already reached your quota this month, keep pushing. See how far you can go. So what if you have some kind of cap. Do it because it's the right thing to do for your customers.

 And don't sit still when it comes to your own learning. So let's call this number two. Be a life long student of selling. No matter what you think about the core skills of selling and how they may never change, there are certainly other changes, business acumen. These things like listening skills, the soft skills. There's always a place to learn and grow. And that represents a humility. If you're willing to learn and grow and you're not sitting still complacent in what you already know, you'll learn more and your buyers will see it. They will appreciate and respect that. And not only that, the law of reciprocity says, if you are open, willing, and learning, people around you, including buyers, will see that and reciprocate it. Which is great, because then we can really get in and help them.

 And the third don't: Don't over focus on the internal stuff. Not even the commission, not the contest, not the quota, not whatever your sales manager is barking about today because we need to make some sort of product sale. All those things matter and all those things will happen if you are obsessed with the customer. If you will pay attention to the needs of your customer and connect with them person to person. Let that be the end. The means to the end is being a skilled, interested, genuine salesperson who's there to help.

Paul Watts: And finally, we have Jeb Blount.

Jeb Blount: Hello gang. Dos: prospect, prospect, prospect. Don'ts: don't pitch, don't pitch, don't pitch.

Paul Watts: Fantastic. While I know as the author of Fanatical Prospecting that prospecting is a very important topic. Prospect, prospect, prospect. Don't pitch, don't push, don't sell?

Jeb Blount: Yeah, cause nobody wants to be sold. And I'll give you an idea why this is important. If you think about this commercial relationships, we go back to why do people have a bad opinion of salespeople? And they have a bad opinion of salespeople because of the way human beings work. Any buyer who goes into a conversation with a salesperson is asking a basic question: do I like you? And that's a question that our brain asks. Because as human beings, we stay away from things that cost us risk. Do I like you? Are you safe? Are you secure? Are you someone that can help me?

 Most salespeople enter the relationship pitching and there's nothing that makes a salesperson more unlikeable than pitching. So, if you think about it, sales is a language of questions. So you have to prospect to get in the door. And instead of talking at your prospect, ask them questions, get them to talk, then they'll like you, then they have a great emotional experience, then they change their opinion of you.

Paul Watts: Today's podcast was produced by Rebel Soul Media, a division of REDTV Inc. And with the help of our sponsors: the Canadian Professional Sales Association. Visit to learn about Canada's largest sales organization dedicated to advancing sales and accelerating performance. Thank you for listening and please join us on our next podcast. If you have any comments or suggestions for the show, please go to our website: Until next time, remember the ABCs of selling, always be consultative. I'm Paul Watts and you've been listening to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.


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