Productive Insights


Consultative Negotiation: Phil Krone, Tom Hazlett to speak to VIA members on April 23

Productive Strategies President Phil Krone and Senior Consultant Tom Hazlett will deliver a talk and discussion about the principles and practices of “consultative negotiations” to the Valley Industrial Association at 9 a.m. on April 23. In the 90-minute presentation and workshop, Krone and Hazlett will discuss negotiation styles, skills and principles as well as minute-to-minute, face-to-face tactics and outline the

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Discovery + Delivery = Much Better Presentations

The right discovery skills plus the right delivery skills build the confidence your sales reps need to deliver powerful presentations that persuade prospects to buy.   Prospective clients sometimes call us with a “sales presentation problem.” Translated, that means executives or managers have noticed that their salespeople don’t use the beautifully produced, loaded-with-information, and probably expensive PowerPoints that management has

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Risky Business

Why don’t we talk more about risk? It permeates business every day. But at the hundreds of meetings and events we participate in each year—both in-person and virtually—we’ve noticed that risk is rarely mentioned. Maybe risk is too much on our minds. In an increasingly uncertain world, risk is a constant companion that we just don’t pay much attention to. Maybe it’s fear

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Your Business in 2021: What are the “unknown unknowns”?

It’s time to find out. Here’s how. How do you uncover things “you don’t know you don’t know” about your company or organization? More important, how do you determine what they mean for your success now and in the future? Do you think you know all you need to know about your company? Probably not. Most business owners, presidents, CEOs, and

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From Ray Kroc to You: In Selling, Always a Need for Speed–If It’s the Right Kind

Three business-to-business sales lessons on fast from McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc: 1) Be fast to follow up on a problem, 2) Be fast to get to the decision-maker, and 3) Be fast to recognize the potential and act on it. Here’s what happened when he followed that advice himself. In 1954, before he built his empire, road-warrior-salesman Ray Kroc drove

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Virtual Selling in the ‘Now’ Normal: Win or Lose–It’s Up to You

The medium has changed but the message hasn’t: Deliver value during the sales process. That’s what top producers have always done, it’s what they still do, and it’s what you can do, too. Now, with less in-person selling, knowing just how to do it is more important than ever. Winning and losing—really? Is that the best way to play the

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Which Is the Neglected ‘Middle Child’ in the Sales Process?

There are several possibilities but only one that really qualifies. And for good reason. Twenty or so steps make up the traditional sales process. Which step do you think is the most neglected, the one that’s most underappreciated, the one suffering from the so-called middle child syndrome*? Is it cold calling, demonstration, pre-meeting preparation, proposal writing, follow-up? Several candidates are

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From Zoom to Vroom: Finding Another Gear

Six months ago, many of us were struggling with remote platforms. Now, even though we’re still learning how to handle the technology, it’s time to push forward. Sellers can use powerful new tools to grow their toplines—and that includes meeting new challenges with imagination and optimism. The new mindset in business development is to shift into a higher gear: “Virtual”

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Starving for Good News? Enjoy this Sampler!

Business is more of a struggle today than ever, but there is also more reason for hope. You just have to look for it. We’ve always had a glass half-full mentality, maybe even three quarters. That’s not surprising, of course: We teach consultative sales training and customized process development. Down-in-the-mouth just doesn’t work in selling. But how can anyone maintain

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What Are the New Rules of Selling and Business Development?

Like the new rules of hand washing, the new rules of business development aren’t really so different from the old ones—they just need to be applied differently. The good news is that not everything has changed. Here is some guidance on how to know which is which and what’s what. As restrictions on businesses are loosened or lifted, a new

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