Productive Insights


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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New Product Launches Need a New Product Sales Process

Here’s some timeless advice on launching new products and helping them really take off. The secret? Don’t just educate—persuade. About twenty years ago The Wall Street Journal listed, in order, these seven phases of a government program gone south.* We stick to our knitting here—which is business, not government. But we noticed then that these same phases often applied to failed new

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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. The reason manufacturing left was not a failure of politics, economics, or business expertise. It was a failure of selling. By that I mean selling that not only educates, which is what 80 percent

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Still Leveraging ADHD after All These Years

We’ve long been writing about ADHD, when managed effectively, as being an opportunity for salespeople who have it and for the companies they work for. But new questions keep coming up. For example, what can you do when your competition is your prospect’s untreated ADHD-like behavior? In our experience, ADHD can cut at least two ways for salespeople: They have

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Asking the Right Questions 2020: The Flip Side

Most of us know that better business development means asking prospects and customers the right questions. Who else should we be asking? Short answer: Ourselves. It’s early in the new year, and we all have questions about the future. But let’s try something different and focus on questions from the past—specifically, the ones that didn’t get answered last year. Questions

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Marketing Growth Opportunities Hidden in Plain Sight

Marketing-related savings in the tax laws, “business-performance DNA” that puts sales and customer service reps in the right seats, and (uh-oh) a state-specific product-packaging law that’s blindsiding companies. If at first you don’t see them, keep looking–here’s what you should see. Have you ever stared into your refrigerator, increasingly desperate to find food or drink that you know is there? Has your

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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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