Here’s a concept to help your business development team. Make sure your customers think like you think they think. Put simply, know your buyer’s decision process, especially their default value orientation. The tendency is to assume your customers make decisions the same way you make decisions, that they share your same value orientation. Invest time confirming that your customers think like you think they think. Learn about their default value orientation. It will save you time in the long run. 

Read more

The following is an excerpt from my book, The Human Being’s Guide to Business Growth.”

Leadership Sales Metrics

It’s probably a good guess to say that your leadership team does not have sales metrics. And if your leadership team does have sales metrics, there’s a good chance they aren’t hitting them consistently. When I ask leadership teams about metrics more often than not, I hear, “We should do more of that.” Or “I’m really bad at making time for that, but I know I need to do it.”

The reason leadership metrics are important is because of culture. As we said at the start of this chapter about culture, we know our people are going to look for gaps between what we say and what we do. Culture will eat strategy for breakfast. To unleash the hidden power of your people for growth, start with the behaviors at the top.

To do this, we have to set metrics that can be hit and make a difference. Let’s define what leadership metrics look like because they will be different than traditional sales or marketing metrics. If we know that as human beings we’re happiest when we apply our strengths to tasks, that’s where we need to start. Your leadership team needs to know, you need to know, what their perceived character strengths are. Then you need to apply those strengths to business development activities that can be measured. It sounds simple because it is, but it’s not going to happen without effort.

Read more
Sales and Marketing Consultant

Article for Insightful Accountant, February 2019

“We’ve decided to hire another firm.” Are there scarier words in a service-driven business? Especially a CPA firm where clients can take years to decide to hire you in the first place. There are multiple issues that impact client retention, but today I want to focus on one. The transitioning of a client between a senior partner and an associate.

In this article for Insightful Accountant, I discuss three ideas for improving client transitions inside your firm. The ideas are Perspective Check, Empathic not Telepathic, and Becoming the Future. Read about each one here:

Read more

Tactics for Managing Marketing and Sales Roles

We need to cover what to do with your sales and marketing staff. They are the experts in developing new business and naturally resistant to any encroachment into their turf. The day you walk in and announce that everyone sells, their eyes will roll. It’s natural. They are the professionals, no one can do what they do. In this section, we’re going to discuss how to smooth the transition from an organization with siloed sales staff to a company where everyone looks for opportunities. To start, we define marketing qualified leads (MQL) and sales qualified leads (SQL).

Leads are individuals or organizations that are in the market for, or have expressed an interest in your goods and services. We break leads down into two types, the MQL and SQL. The easiest way to understand the difference is using Figure 6.3.

qualified-lead-grid Read more

The Future of Sales


The constant news cycle centered around AI and machine learning forces leaders to consider where to apply this new knowledge and capability. Do we work strictly with existing data? What about security? Can it make my forecasts more accurate? And, if the robots are coming, when will they replace those pesky salespeople? What is the future of sales and selling? Read more

How to Become A Successful Sales Manager


Two sales managers are promoted. Both are given teams of the same size, producing similar results, and are instructed to increase results. Both managers are given the same annual budgets, the same support systems, and report to the same VP. A year in, the VP notices a small gap in performance, but both teams are doing better, the VP is happy. Two years in, that small gap has grown and one team is clearly performing better, from the lowest sales rep to the top. The VP wants to know why? What is the difference? How does one become a successful sales manager?

Without interviewing or knowing the managers in question, I will give you one difference between the two. The best way to explain it is to think of a single sales representative and their new objective. Read more

Greg Chambers’ 5 Secrets to Sales Success


One of my children is graduating from college this spring and will be starting a new job in sales. In case he decides to ask me what I think it takes to be successful in sales, I have prepared this short primer on sales success. Father to son style.  Read more

The Downward Pressure of Information on Seller Commissions


If you’re a fan of sales and selling, this New York Times article on airplane seller Steve Varsano, owner of The Jet Business, is a page turner.

Selling Airborne Opulence to the Upper Upper Upper Class

Selling airplanes has been one of my go-to analogies when describing product complexity and budget prioritization, “on one end of the decision making spectrum you have something like a tube of toothpaste, on the other end you have something like a private jet.” This article gives a glimpse into the a world where buyers have big budgets and the ability to prioritize how those dollars are spent intersecting with a product that is complex and completely customizable. A $70MM private jet. Read more

Send Me a Proposal – Working Through Price Negotiations

overcoming price objections professional services

I sit through sales presentations. Many of them. Sometimes it’s with a professional sales person in traditional selling appointments and other times it’s with senior executives and labeled business development, but in every case it’s a conversation about an exchange of dollars for products or services.

As the conversation concludes, there is a thing that happens with pricing. It’s not the early ballparking discussion that I’ve discussed here and here, but closer to the final negotiation, the “send me a proposal” part of pricing. In this article, I’m going to touch on this part of the pricing discussion which sounds something like, “You said it’s going to be around $50,000 and that sounds about right. Why don’t you put everything we’ve been talking about into a proposal and send it to me.”* Both parties are in general agreement and now it’s time get into the details before exchanging money and services.

This article is about that transition. Read more

More on How to Write a Proposal

how to write a proposal

Before you send your proposal, take one more close look. Is the only quantifiable element the cost of your solution?

In the spirit of my other thoughts on writing proposals:

Writing a Project Proposal Outline
When to Write a Project Proposal
Before you Send That Proposal. . .
Decision Making and New Business Project Proposals

I am adding one more element. Read more