Productive Insights


Put Down the Phone, Pick Up Your Sales

Will the perceived decline in the value of face-to-face communications accelerate in the new year? Worse, will it accelerate a real decline in your sales performance? Recently the Wall Street Journal reviewed the book Face to Face: The Art of Human Connection by Oscar-winning film and television producer Brian Grazer*. The review, “Put Down the Phone,” explained how the book offered guidance on dealing

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CEO Peer Groups: Your New Competitive Advantage?

Owners, presidents, CEOs, COOs, and other senior executives who participate in peer-learning groups frequently credit them with playing an important—even critical—role in achieving business goals. But they’re not for everyone. Ever since its most recent low point in 2008, the U.S. economy has been expanding along a path of successive highs and the concept of CEO peer groups has been

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Will Potential Buyers See Your Business Development Process as an Asset or Liability?

If and when you decide to sell your company, will potential buyers see your current sales and marketing processes as assets or liabilities? In other words, are they processes that new owners can rely on for growth and profit or that they have to fix? Companies and investors looking to buy other companies always do financial due diligence. Those numbers

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Ready, Set, Network!

The holidays are already on the horizon, and they offer many business and social opportunities for productive networking. Our recommended mantra—”Give Before You Get”—is in tune with the season. The question is “Just how can I do that?” To get started, let’s ask a question:  Is networking the lifeblood of selling? Many business-to-business salespeople would probably say “Yes!” We know that

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How Do the Best Decision-Makers Think?

They tend to focus on the what and why of a decision, not the how. You can help your prospects—and yourself and your team—by guiding them to see the true value in your product or service. All decision-makers have more opportunities and challenges to address than they have time, money, or other resources to address those issues. What sets great decision-makers apart (and leaders, in general)

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What Do We Do Here? Why Does It Matter?

Our presentations and courses grow out of our fundamental business development mantra: Deliver value in every interaction. They offer practical ways to change behavior, develop processes, and build relationships that bring in business for companies, professional services firms, and not-for-profit organizations. Our goals in this column each month are two. First, and essential to ensuring that you read what we have to

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Are Great Questions Really Selling’s Secret Sauce?

Maybe. But here’s the fundamental question about questions: Why are so many of us so reluctant to ask them? Well, some of us can blame well-meaning mothers and fathers. They discouraged “prying” into other people’s lives as “rude.” But even in selling, whose baseline mantra is “Ask good questions,” we’ve found that salespeople and other business developers actually resist asking questions,

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Are Your Sales and Marketing Aligned for Today’s Multi-Channel World?

Here are a few questions to ask—and what to do about the answers. Good marketing programs define the experience they want customers to have. Superior programs then align sales, customer service, digital channels (including Websites), and operations so that customers can realize that experience. That’s why owners, chief marketing officers, sales vice presidents, and general managers are asking these three

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Offshoring and the Failure of Selling

The good news is that manufacturing is returning to the U.S. The bad news is that much of it should never have left in the first place. During some 20 years as an owner of a manufacturing company and in charge of business development, I became convinced that a large portion of the manufacturing work being outsourced from the U.S. should

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Where Do You Get Your New Business?

The who, what, when, where, why, and how that you need for a banner year. “Where do you get your new business?” is a question we’re asked a lot, especially since we teach business-to-business consultative selling skills and sales process development. People expect us to have a good answer, and we do—”referrals.” Unfortunately, those same people usually aren’t satisfied with

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