The Competitive Advantage

June 25, 2024

“You’re failing in sales because of the front door.”

My wife and I spent a week at the beach last month and made friends with a couple sitting under the umbrella next to us. We got to know Bill and Nina over a few days and found out that Nina was a former pharmaceutical sales manager… so she and I really hit it off.

During one of our ‘sales discussions,’ she told me about a former sales rep that reported to her who had all of the tools, skills, and personality to be wildly successful… but wasn’t. And as Nina told this rep, “You’re failing because of the front door.”

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May 15, 2024

Buyers Don’t Care About Your ‘Sense of Urgency.’

See if any of these sound familiar…

  • “I met a potential buyer at a conference last week and we had a really good conversation. So, I can’t understand why isn’t he interested in buying from me today.”
  • “The perfect sales prospect downloaded a white paper off of our website yesterday, but she said she doesn’t want a capabilities presentation from us.”
  • “I’ve been connected with this prospect on LinkedIn for a month, but they’re showing no interest in becoming a client.”
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May 8, 2024

“It’s always feast-or-famine around here!“

If ‘feast-or-famine’ is not the top complaint I hear from business owners, it’s certainly in the top three. And to be honest, it’s their own fault!

Think about it… when you’re busy (the feast), you focus on your clients’ projects. But when they slow down (the famine), it’s only then that you decide to spend some effort on sales and marketing. When that has an impact, business picks up (the next feast)… until it doesn’t any more (the next famine).

And so it goes… an endless cycle of revenue ups and downs, which makes your business difficult to manage and extremely stressful.

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April 30, 2024

Bad Salespeople? Maybe You Should Blame the Sales Manager.

It seems like every couple of years, I need to rant about how bad selling is in our industry. I was hoping it would improve over time, but that just ain’t happening.

Here are three real sales stories – all targeted at me – that happened in just the last two weeks:

#1) I attended IIeX a couple of weeks ago, and as I was walking by an exhibitor’s booth, one of the sales reps in the booth literally stepped out in front of me, waved his arms over his head and yelled “Stop!” Really?!

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April 22, 2024

Stop Relying on Others for Your Success… Take Charge of Your Business

Creating a Revenue Growth Plan for Independent Consultants and Small Businesses

It’s an interesting dilemma. Most people become independent consultants, or start small shops, so they can focus on research and on doing great work for their clients. They certainly didn’t start their businesses so they could spend their time doing sales and marketing.

And yet—as small-business owners—they absolutely have to do that. If they don’t, who will?

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March 19, 2024

What are your buyers buying? Hint: NOT what you’re selling!

I think most people with sales responsibility – full-time salespeople and seller-doers – understand that being successful at selling is essentially about being successful at solving your clients’ problems. And they’d be right.

But here’s the rub… too many salespeople think that what they sell IS the solution to their clients’ problems. And when that’s their mindset – especially for seller-doers at research agencies – they spend all of their time talking to potential buyers about their methodologies, or their cool technology, or the new industry pro they just hired. And that’s understandable… It’s where they’re most comfortable and what they know.

But it’s wrong!

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March 5, 2024

Pigeonholed by Clients? Here’s How to Break Free!

A while back, I was asked by one of my clients to talk to some of their clients. They wanted to get unfiltered feedback about how they were doing and those companies’ perception of them. I was happy to do it.

Now, all of these companies were good, fairly long-standing clients, so we expected pretty positive feedback. What we didn’t expect was the ‘pigeonhole’ conversations.

While I talked with only a dozen companies, three of them (again, good, long-standing clients) said that they would be interested in learning what else my client could do for them.

What?! My client had a good, ongoing relationship with these three companies, had been working with them for a couple of years, and yet, was providing only one service, when they could’ve been providing others?

How does this happen? And how can you change it?

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January 31, 2024

Talkin’ Business at the Bar

3 Business Owners Agree on Their Top Sales & Marketing Challenges

Last week, while attending the CEO Summit in Florida (btw, great job Insights Association!), I had the chance one evening to talk a little business at the bar with three business owners. They each owned a research agency and had between 10 and 50 employees. As the evening wore on, two really interesting topics bubbled to the surface:

  • Differentiating their firm
  • Getting PMs to have ‘sales conversations’

It was fascinating.

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