Sales Training

Falling in love with helping customers and transforming their business

To many, sales is monotonous, an endless cadence of block and tackle, kick and punt; or ruck and maul if you're into rugby. This to me is the allure of strategic selling because you can fall in love with your customers. You can fall in love with the challenge of solving complex problems that actually require collaboration.

The solution provider no longer has all the answers. The journey is mutual. 

It requires a back and forth, meeting of the minds, and brainstorming of visionary ideas.

The modern enterprise deal requires executive sponsors on both sides to get done. 

A great secret to avoiding burnout and a tenured run in complex B2B selling is to simply fall in love with helping people. Consider the sale made when the solution has been stood up and you've executed with excellence. Consider your sales process complete not at closing, not at contract signed but at phase two of the implementation. When you're live and the customer is seeing return on investment, that's when the deal is really just beginning, isn't it? 

Thinking in terms of up-sells, cross-sells and down-sells is to bleed out organic growth into something sterile. It's what you'll do as a bi-product of continuing to add value. I call this a virtuous cycle of value creation. 

Love is a very strong word but if you love what you do, you'll absolutely never work another day in your life. All the mechanics, updating of CRM, note taking, strategic thinking, planning things out, brainstorming - all these mechanics and machine constructs just melt away when your prevailing focus is to...


Does that mean simply impacting the top and bottom line or is it something more than that? Is it beautiful destruction? Is it a controlled burn to open up the possibility of recurring, scalable and predictable new streams of revenue from various new and exciting key business lines? Is it penetrating new markets or capturing market share from legacy incumbents? Perhaps you're expanding the pie...

Loving people and being gregarious is not enough. This is the folly of the relationship builder of old. We earn friends by driving new insight. We want to be stewards of transformation rather than the status quo. We gain meetings by being respectfully disruptive and we close sales because there is truly a belief that doing something in a new and innovative way can revolutionize a system, making it hyper-efficient, building a flywheel toward revenue generation. 

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” - Buckminster Fuller

Help your clients to see this and do this. Fight with all your intention to help them see the world differently and you will prevail with a much greater trusted advisor relationship than you could ever bargain for. Challenge yourself to see around corners and bring insights that you synthesize from research you yourself do. As you fall in love with helping them, they will fall in love with your personal brand and thus your organization will flourish as a subtext to your deeds, integrity, delivery and ongoing results. 

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Ralf P

7 Strategic Social Selling Hunting Skills


New business development has always required finesse and the ability to strategize, prepare and plan before making contact with the right people at the right time. The way we sell is more important that what we sell and that's because, in the minds of buyers, you're solution looks pretty much the same as your competitors. Buyers have never been busier but they have also never been more empowered with 'social buying'. Their ability to research and run a reverse auction process with the selected few is potentially very dis-empowering for sellers.

Social buying is the other side of social selling. The smart buyers do their research online before engaging with the selling organization or sales person. You only have one chance to make a first impression and this includes your online presence where you can build trust and establish your value before you ever meet with your prospective new client.  Here are 7 tips for effective modern selling.

1. Transform your LinkedIn profile to provide 'social proof' of the business value to offer and the values by which you operate. That way, when people check you out before agreeing to engaging with you or before a meeting; they'll see someone worthy of their time and trust. What do buyer's see when they look at your LinkedIn profile?... quota crushing sales predator ready to pounce or insigtful expert who can assist them?

2. Become a high value content creator and content curator to attract your prospective customers. What do buyers look for online before they would ever look for you, your company or your product? The answer to this should drive your content publishing strategy. LinkedIn Publisher is ideal if your in the B2B world and Facebook is perfect for B2C. Importantly, be where your customers are rather than expecting them to come to you on your website.

3. Hone your social listening / monitoring skills. Meet with your marketing team and ask for their active assistance in this regard. Talk with them about the types of trigger events that indicate downstream opportunity well before any feeding frenzy leads appear on your website. These could include scandals, mergers and acquisitions, new executives being appointed, changes in regulations, competitor announcements, etc.

4. Change your settings in LinkedIn to 'go dark' and be anonymous when you engage in a sting of research. But also go 'lights on' when you want your potential customers to know that you're taking the time and making the effort in doing your research to prepare and make the best use of their time.

5. Join all the dots and triangulate multiple sources to turn information into validated intelligence. Invest time on the target company's website, individual LinkedIn profiles and Twitter accounts. Analyze their connections, determine your social proximity and position for a warm introduction rather than a cold call. Most importantly, do all you can to map the power base and political structure beyond the organizational chart. The point of entry is vitally important otherwise you couldbe aligned with a losing agenda or blocked by someone without real clout.

6. Connect in context and with relevance. Never send generic connection requests so send the message from within their actual profile so you can change the automated text. Join the groups that they are part of and then read, listen and monitor. Feel free to 'like' but only weight-in when you have something worthwhile and constructive add. Think like a business person, not a sales rep, and work to become a valued hub amongst the spokes over time.

7. Engage with insight provide value. The cardinal sin of social selling is to 'connect and sell'... don't do it! Instead, always connect and engage with good manners and then send interesting articles, blog posts or other information that they will value. The time will come when you can naturally ask for a meeting or for information.

Here is an overview of strategic social selling with links to posts on the 5 pillars. I was recently ranked in the Top 50 Influencers worldwide in professional selling by Top Sales Magazine and then interviewed by Kelly Riggs for Biz Locker Room Radio where all of this is discussed.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Spreng Ben Color Key Week – The Eye Of The Tiger

Yo-yo Prospecting Destroys Sales Performance

Dan Symons is co-founding member of Sales Masterminds Australasia. Here is an article from him on the role of consistent sales inputs for those who are committed to predicable success. He highlights that horrors of the roll-a-coaster syndrome self created by most sales people. The rest here is from Dan with thanks.

We've all heard of Yo Yo Dieting. You realize you've put on more weight than you want. You starve yourself to get to your goal weight and, once there, go back to your old habits only to regain the weight. So you diet again - a cycle doomed to repeat itself.

What yo-yo'ers endeavor to do is crash-diet rather than make subtle long lasting changes to their approach to losing weight. Eating less, eating healthy, exercising more. Prevention is better than cure.

A similar thing manifests itself in business development. People are comfortable with a normal pipeline - they have work to do, things to focus on, they're busy. It's comfortable. Prospecting is a low priority...

"Why focus on the birds in the bush when you have some in your hand"

It's hard and the pay offs are often not immediate. Then, deal slippage or their pipeline dries up to create a serious hole. Panic sets in - they start the Yo Yo Prospecting cycle. Starved of business, they are forced to prospect, and quickly.

Their pipeline eventually normalizes (hopefully) and prospecting again goes on the back burner. And thus the cycle begins to repeat.

What good sales people realise is prospecting is activity you do all the time. The only thing that varies is how much you do based on your pipeline. They know their sales cycle and how far ahead they need to be initiating prospecting contacts before they have a chance of securing the business. If it takes you 6 months from initial contact to securing a new client - what chance do you have if you are sitting in a hole in your pipeline today?

You prospect to fill the gaps in your pipeline, not because you're in one! It is too late then.  Only a small change is required - set aside time each week to focus on this activity. Treat it like an appointment. Make those subtle long lasting changes today!

Dan Symons sells in the real world for his employer in New Zealand and is a founding member of Sales Masterminds Australasia. He is a trusted source of insight and advice to improve the way anyone sells. Follow his LinkedIn blog here and also on Twitter. Dan is also regularly featured on the Strategic Selling Group website created by John Smibert.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Adriano Agulló tomi yoyo