Marketing, Sales

Selling and Marketing Services vs. Products

While a great number of companies make and sell products, the past 20 years have seen a revolution in the professional services industry.  So there is a good chance that you are responsible for selling services vs. products.  However, many of  the sales techniques used today still echo a product sell.  A great book on the subject of the difference here is called “Selling the Invisible” by Harry Beckwith.  He’s written some other great books too, but this in my opinion is his best.  Here are a couple of my favorites from this book… 

“The first step in service marketing is your service.” – In other words, do your craft with excellence before thinking up a wiz bang marketing plan.

“One Thing Experts Don’t Know…” – In most professions,  you ARE NOT selling your competence.  Your client can’t evaluate you fully.  They are not the professional – you are.  That’s why they are seeking your help in the first place.  Your competence is assumed.  What you ARE selling is a relationship.  Do you pick up the phone and respond quickly?  Are you a good listener?  Am I important to you? Do you deliver to me with excellence? etc.

Marketing, Sales

Things May Come to Those Who Wait…

But only the things left by those who HUSTLE! 

This quote sits in my office as a reminder of a person who failed many times over his life, but always worked harder than everyone else and ended up as one of our most famous Americans – Abe Lincoln. 

Imagine if you got up each morning with this at the top of your mind.  How many more calls would you make?  How many more meetings would you have?  How many extra value would you deliver to your clients? 


How much more success would you see?

Sales, Social Media

Ode to LinkedIn

LinkedIn has reached 60,000,000 members!  RT @techcrunch: LinkedIn Now 60 Million Strong –

Think about that.  60 MILLION members.  It is even more incredible when you think that these are people connecting regarding their public/professional lives vs. the private/casual users of other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. 

This service is one of the most fundamentally game-changing new tools for professionals.  What did we do without it?  

When I imagine what the first half of my career might have been like if I started out with this tool for helping and leveraging my network of relationships as I began in sales, it makes me want to cry.

But we have it now!


You Can’t Cut Your Way to a Funnel

Here is a link to today’s Harvard Business Review “Daily Stat.”  Interesting research numbers on firms and their behavior during the recession.     HBR says “Sales reps get hit with double whammy…”   The gist: 67%. That’s how many companies froze or reduced lead-generation budgets for sales reps last year, at a time when salespeople needed help the most, according to CSO Insights’ survey of more than 2,800 companies worldwide. The percentage of reps making quota in 2009 dropped to 51.8% from 58.8% a year earlier, the survey shows.


Super Bowl Sales Tips

What an awesome Super Bowl last night!  Watching it, you could not help but root for the Saints.  They were unstoppable.   Here are a few observations that struck me as relevant to sales people…

–  Focus & Common Purpose.  This was about more than any one star or any one game for these guys.  They were focused on winning the season and the championship for their city. Sean Payton kept them on task.  What’s your purpose?  Are you that focused?

Keep the Momentum.  One or two bad plays will not slow you down if you are charging fast at your goal.  You can absorb a touchdown by the other team or a penalty (or an objection / rejection) along the way as long as you have the momentum.

Celebrate the Wins.  Whether it was Drew Brees holding up his baby son and welling up, Sean Payton getting the Gatorade shower, or the party on Bourbon Street that looked more like Fat Tuesday than Sunday night – These folks know how to celebrate a win.  It’s been a long 18 months of recession.  Are you still celebrating when your team delivers?


Social Media Is for Sales People Too!

So often, Social Media is described as the domain of Marketing.  But “…While marketing owns the message, sales owns the relationship, so using social media to build deeper relationships on a customer by customer basis just seems like a pretty natural thing for the sales team…” 

That quote is from an article called “5 Ways That Sales People Can Benefit From Using Social Media,” by John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing.  The points it makes are very valuable to sales people.   If you are in sales, you need to read this.

I got this link from at tweet by Mike Stelzner.  Mike is the founder of, and a great source of information on social media (20,000+ followers on Twitter).  Thanks, Mike!


Bad Telemarketing – WOW – I Hung Up On Him!

Here is a lesson on cold-calling ripped straight from my Tuesday…

I wondered what my post would be  today – that is until I received a phone call at 1:30pm local time during a flurry of activity at my desk. 

It was a salesperson pitching a seminar where I would be guaranteed 1 of only 20 appointments that several C-level executives will have booked during their stay at a nice hotel in Arizona.    This guy was classic.  He must have been breathing through his ears, because he would not listen to me.  I said “I’m busy can you please call me at another time..” – simple, and more than an unwanted telephone caller deserves in terms of my politeness.  BUT he would not stop pitching me his service. 

As my grandmother said, you have one mouth and two ears, use them proportionately! 

These days you are fortunate to catch a prospect on the phone in person.  If they seem very busy and agree to schedule some time with you on another day –  book the meeting.  Send a calendar invite to them.  Say thank you.  And hang up.  You’ve made an advance.


Selling Services Challenge – How to Multiply Your Pipeline by 10

I’m writing this blog entry in response to a challenge from one of  my favorite sources for great marketing advice for services firms, RainToday.  The folks at RainToday write a great blog, and one to which you should subscribe:  This month they are laying down the “Selling Service Challenge.”  They are asking readers to “share your real-world B2B sales challenges or successes…”  For my topic, I’m picking a challenge and an opportunity that is guaranteed to multiply your pipeline – Getting everyone at your firm selling.

You set sales goals for your sales reps.  You work these goals with the sales team aggressively.  But, when is the last time you checked in with your non-sales staff on the topic of business development?  There are typically orders of magnitude more non-sales than sales staff in a services organization.  In my firm, for example, the ratio is 20:1.  Even a  small uptick in the effectiveness of this larger group to identify and qualify opportunities on which the sales team can then follow-up can have a substantial top-line impact. 

I recently had the pleasure of addressing a group of associates at my firm’s new employee orientation.  In this  “Sales for the Non-Sales Professional” session  we reviewed “principles of networking,” “signals to listen for while at clients,” an “elevator pitch” on my firm’s offerings, and finally a “questioning framework” they could use to guide them through some initial client conversations in the hopes of seeking out some early stage opportunities.  We were not talking about forcing non-sales folks to sell.  But we were discussing ways to stoke the sales funnel.  10 consultants walked into orientation that morning, 10 Lead-Seekers left.

At your next all hands meeting, why not have some sales training for non-sales professionals?  Multiply your “feet on the street.”  Do the math – it’s worth it!