Archive - June 2017

What is Value and What does it mean to Your Customer?

What is Value and What does it mean to Your Customer?


What is value?

When I ask that question to a group of people, I get lots of different answers. Most of the people in the room tell me things like “We give great customer service,” “We give people a very competitive price,” “We have knowledge that others don’t,” “We’ve been in the industry for a long time” or “We’ve always been rated No. 1 or No. 2 in our industry.”

It’s disturbing to me when a salesperson says to a prospect: “We work with lots of clients like you” or “We’ve worked in your industry for a long time and we’re specialists in that industry, so we know what you need.”

That is extremely presumptuous. And I think when you say that to someone, you are immediately putting him in the category of “there’s nothing special about you and your business is just like everyone else’s.”

The fact is that maybe that is true, but as soon as you make someone feel that way, it changes the consultation and immediately turns you into just another sales person.

There is actually only one answer to the question “What value do you bring?” The answer is very simple: It depends. It depends on the perception of value from the person you are speaking to. This is why features and benefits selling doesn’t work anymore: because the benefit of a particular feature that you have may have nothing to do with what your prospect believes the benefit or value is to them. The receiver of the benefit will perceive its value and decide if it’s a benefit or not.

How do you get value? How do you understand what is valuable to another person?

You have to ask them some really good questions. For example, you might ask:

  • What is your biggest challenge when it comes to ________?
  • If you have success with a new product or service in that area, what would that success look like?
  • What would be the advantage if you could utilize a product or service that would allow you to ________?

No. 1, the questions that we ask allow people to talk about what they deem most important to them. No. 2, once they are telling you the points of importance, you can then give them a customized solution that is based upon what they said they wanted.

So, what have you done here? Well, not only have you truly listened to the prospects issues and concerns, but you have come up with a solution based on those particular needs as they see them, not you. So when someone asks what your value is or what makes you better then the next guy, don’t answer that question until you fully understand what they want. And even if you do understand, don’t answer it anyway. The information they tell you will deem much more valuable if they have told it to you and then, from that information, you come up with a forgone conclusion.

In the Spirit of Father’s Day: The Power of Networking I learned from my dad

The Power of Networking I learned from my dad


When I was a college kid, I worked in my dad’s office in the summer and holiday breaks. Often he would take me with him out of the office and to an account visit. One of his responsibilities was visiting his accounts and a responsibility he took very seriously. One day I remember distinctly was walking up to a big silver building. The vast size, the shine, it looked like a character out of star wars. As if that wasn’t intimidating enough, we walked inside a large lobby and when we walked across the marble floors, every step echoed like an old catholic cathedral.


In the midst of all of this larger then life atmosphere, my dad walked over to a large desk in the back of the lobby and with a big smile, greeted Pete, the security guard who was seated there. “Hey Pete, How are you?” “Hey Frank, great and you?”.


“I’m doing well. So how was the wedding? Your little girl. Must have been tough, huh?” “ It really was Frank, you’ll be there some day”.

“Yep, you’re right. Not looking forward to that”

“It’s tough, really is. So who are you here to see?”


My dad told him and we went up.


We arrived at the 4th floor and an older woman was sitting at a circular desk. “Hi Frank!” “Hello Cecelia, how’s that new puppy, is she tearing up the house??” “Oh yes Frank, but we love her anyway! Who are you here to see today?” She asked and we went into a man’s office named Tony.


This kind of conversation, back and forth small talk went on with Tony as well but with Tony there was business to discuss and they did just that. After about 45 minutes we left Tony’s office and stopped by several other offices to “just say hello” before we left.

When we got down stairs after shaking a few more hands and kissing a few babies we finally got into our car and drove away from the big shiny building. “Dad, honestly we could have wasted a lot less time if we just went to Tony’s office and didn’t do so much “chit chat”.

“Wasted time?! Greta Ann (yep that’s my real name) have you not learned anything about how business works? What are they teaching you in school?

“Yes Dad, and I understand how important it is to build a relationship with Tony or the guy who will be making the decision on your work, but we spent time with a security guard, a receptionist and the mailroom clerk. You aren’t going to get much business from them.” -It is amazing how smart you are in college…


He began to explain to me the importance of not only building relationships with your clients but all the people around your clients. I asked if that was because if one of them left their job, you would potentially know their replacement. He said yes but explained there is much more to it then that.


He told me that Pete, the security guard called my dad’s office to let him know a competitor came into the building to see one of the project managers. I asked him if he asked Pete to do that. He explained that he would never do that but Pete felt a connection with him and just wanted him to know.


Cecelia let him know one day that it was Dale, the executive directors, birthday and he was able to stop by with a congratulations note (no email back then).


As a teenager, I was pretty sure I knew everything, after all, I was in college and my dad didn’t even go to college. Being business smart is all of the little things you don’t learn in college. It is the caring, the asking and the listening. Being a real person. Slowing down to smell the roses, or talk to Sam in the mail room or Suzie, the cafeteria lady.


Want more like this? Click HERE

Top 5 Sales Leaders Blunders

Top 5 Sales Leaders Blunders


  • Hiring from a resume alone. We are all impressed by a resume but does it really mean what it says? In the world of sales if someone has sold before, even for a competitor, that doesn’t mean they were good and doesn’t mean they aren’t going to bring bad habits to you.

resume liar


  • Being inconsistent in managing. Once we make the ‘rules’ and allow them to be broken or even ‘bent’, we are setting a president of inconsistency. We teach people how to treat us and once we allow bending we will always allow it.

Consistency meme


  • Selling for your reps. As a sales manager we are often in that position because we were great salespeople in our own right. We miss the thrill of the sale so our salespeople get a ‘lead’ and we go in and close it. We are teaching them nothing.

excited sales meme


  • Keeping a salesperson longer then we should. When we hire often we see potential. When we do we give more time then we should. Use activities to judge if they are committed. If they work hard and doing lots of activities, they are often someone to coach. If they aren’t working hard at the very beginning, let ‘em go!



  • Not holding them accountable to their numbers. No excuses! Selling is their job! We are to coach, not coddle. Stop allowing excuses for what they didn’t do.


Are Hiring Millennial’s in Sales the Right Move?

Are Hiring Millennial’s in Sales the Right Move?


“I can’t find any good salespeople out there. I even tried to hire some young college kids and that was a mistake,” said Matt, the sales director of a ___ Business. “I hired a few of them and they just aren’t engaged, they just seem board.”


Well, they probably are board. Today this age bracket (18-35) looks at things completely different from some of us more experienced in business. Even one generation before can be a black and white difference to this generation.


According to a study from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the YEC, Millennials are highly ambitious, with a majority placing an importance on jobs with chances for career progression, personal growth, as well as freedom and flexibility. Millennials prioritize value and meaning in their work over money — if their jobs are aligned with their passion, they will go the extra mile.


We need to relook at whom we hire, how we hire and how we train these recruits. Our interaction with them will need to be interactive and fluid.

This generation has had more freedom, which they crave. If we try to put them into your corporate “box”, you will probably fail.


The Entrepreneurial Spirit  


Business leaders say they want creative thinking. Do they really? One of the challenges in hiring this young, free spirit, creative thinker is watching them do things so differently then we did. Often companies aren’t willing to make internal changes to create this type of environment because it often seems uncomfortable or even wrong. Letting go of the past and the way it used to be is a big part of getting the most out of this generation.


I have been trying to get organizations to hire salespeople that could be true “intrepreneurals” meaning an employee of the organization with a true creative entrepreneurial spirit. To get this kind of creativity and spirit it will be important to give them an environment they can thrive in.


The characteristics most associated with entrepreneurs are; self-motivated, creative, have initiative and risk-taking. They tend not to fit inside the rules and bend them often to make things happen.


Do we want these characteristics in our sales organization? You bet.




Create the Right Environment


So what do we do? Here are some changes you’ll need to make by creating an environment they can thrive in;

  • Look on Social Media for candidates. Today these candidates are looking in the non-traditional places; Linkedin, Facebook, twitter, Instagram and glassdoor.


  • Create a casual, open environment that encourages open communication and out of the box ideas. Be open to change the rules if there may be a different way of doing something.


  • Let them communicate with technology, even if you wouldn’t. This is how they really do communicate. Their first choice may be to put something in an email and not in person, let it happen.


  • Use flex-schedules. Don’t hold them to a 9-5 check into the office requirement. Give them the goal and very long leash to get there.



Make sure you are creating this environment. Today this generation checks you out in lots of different ways. One of the most popular sites is A critical consideration for candidates today since this job and company review site began.


Millennials are much more productive than they are given credit for. They know how to use technology efficiently, they are completely invested in work when it aligns with their passions, committed when their contributions and ideas are encouraged and recognized. They are also superior at communicating your brand – These make them natural recruits for top talent. There are lots of good reasons to hire them.

The 7 Critical Elements to Sales Success

The 7 Critical Elements to Sales Success


Selling is one of those things that most CEOs think if they hire their team with a good resume of experience, poof…they can sell. How’s that workin’ for ya?

That has been a badly failing method for as long as I have been in sales so lets talk about the B2B Sales Playbook of success. What does it really take?


  1. The very first thing is hiring right. Easier said then done. What criteria are we using? How are we finding our candidates? How are we interviewing? Are we using an assessment to help and if so which one? Quick tip. Look for people already on the job. Great salespeople are not out looking for work, they always have another potential job lined up because they are an asset not a liability.




  1. Train them the way you want them trained. Don’t rely on what they learned before. Teach them your method, the way you want them to sell. If they haven’t worked before, even better no bad habits. Get a true training process in place. There are a few good ones out there. (email me for more information on this).




  1. Use a repeatable and trackable sales process. The key word here is ‘repeatable’. When everyone adopts the same sales process, there is a common language that is understood, not just by sales, but by the whole organization. This is also important for managing the team and coaching the team to success.




  1. Motivation is individualized, not one size fits all. People are people and are motivated by different things. Is money a motivator? Sure but is it the only one? Don’t assume want motivates one will motivate another.




  1. Your Sales Leader is the Critical Link to Sales Success. Being a sales manager/leader is one of the hardest jobs in sales.  It is also the critical link to sales success.  Unless the sales manager has with all the tools he or she needs to easily manage the business, the whole performance of the sales organization will suffer.




  1. True and critical tracking methods. Complete integration with your CRM delivers the optimum information for you and your sales people. Without true data it becomes nearly impossible to eliminate failure and repeat success.



  1. The ability to Forecast Sales Properly. Sales forecasting for most companies leaves a lot to be desired. It is a guessing game of percentages that some piece of business will close. If you have to and actually need to forecast more closely, a process for the sales funnel needs to be adapted.




The key to all of this is your sales leader. Do you have the right one? Better find out. Here is a place you can go: There is lots of good information there.

Website Development by: