Productive Insights


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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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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