17
Dec

Yes, Your Company Is Different

Differentiation has long been a watchword in business. But recently, amid pervasive disruption and fierce competition in many markets, our clients and prospects seem to be more concerned than ever about differentiating themselves. The main worry is that they will become commoditized and fall prey to eroding margins.  Related worries are that the speed at which business is done now means

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6
Dec

Unsticking Strategy

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” –Henry Ford Some strategic issues stick around too long. Here’s how to make them useful or cut them loose. By mass-producing cars instead of strength-training horses, Henry Ford made a strategic, world-changing decision. How did he do it? What proven process did he use? Clearly, he didn’t

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6
Nov

Manufacturers and Distributors: The New Give and Take

Manufacturers and distributors are at a turning point in their relationships. The reason? Two relatively quiet but significant marketplace changes in just the past five years. A third, as we’ll see, is evolving now. Marketplace Change #1: Many distributors reduced or stopped carrying inventory of manufactured goods because the 2008 recession caught them with too much inventory and too little

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20
Oct

Find Value by Using Consultative Negotiation

You’ve heard of consultative selling? Now, meet consultative negotiation. We’ve long fielded requests to create and teach a course on negotiation. In the past we explained that the principles in FOCIS©, our popular consultative selling course, reduce requests to negotiate price and terms and strengthen your position when negotiations are required. But, in addition to sales negotiations, our clients also negotiate purchasing,

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14
Jan

Elephant in the Room or Elephant in the Corner?

Do you know-or suspect-that a single issue is holding back your company’s revenue growth? Your strategy seems to be on target, and you’ve achieved some solid success. Yet progress toward your vision for top-line growth has slowed or plateaued. Maybe it’s even backsliding. You might know what the problem is or you might just sense that “something isn’t working.” In other

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8
Oct

Goals, Symbols, and Risk

Full Disclosure: I had absolutely nothing to do with the Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup this past year. But when given the chance to have my picture taken with the Cup I jumped at it. Why? I’ve been asking myself that question, and I think there are several reasons. First, the Cup is believed to be the most famous trophy

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26
Apr

What Do You Do after You Say, ‘Hello’?

Do you earn the right to close? We find that probably 75 percent of salespeople and other business developers do not. They may think they do because they show up, ask a few questions, and make presentations as if to say, “I’m here. Isn’t that enough?” As we pointed out last month, showing up is indeed essential. But it’s not enough.

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26
Apr

Why ‘showing up’ makes a difference

Sometimes I find myself with a lump in my throat over a story I occasionally tell in our consultative selling course, FOCIS®, about a vintage United Airlines TV commercial. The commercial shows the boss, apparently an owner or CEO, talking to a room full of executives. He’s telling them about a phone call he received from a customer they all know

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2
Aug

Are Your Employees All Thumbs When It Comes to Communicating?

Generation Y and the Millennium Generation communicate quickly and often with multiple people simultaneously. They are adept at social networks, Blackberries and Instant Messaging. If you have observed your own children carrying on instant message dialogues with several recipients while they type their homework, listen to music, and talk over their shoulders to whomever else is in the room, you

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