Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – From Stories to Sales: Leveraging Narrative Power with Jeff Clair – E75

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – From Stories to Sales: Leveraging Narrative Power with Jeff Clair – E75

Join hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey on “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales” for a captivating conversation with special guest Jeff Clair, a fractional VP of sales and the brain behind ClairVoyant Consulting LLC. In this episode, Jeff shares his invaluable insights on the power of storytelling in sales, offering practical tips for salespeople to engage and connect with their prospects effectively. Whether you’re a seasoned sales professional or new to the field, this discussion is packed with advice to elevate your sales approach through compelling storytelling.

Key Topics Discussed

  1. The Art of Storytelling in Sales: Jeff emphasizes the importance of storytelling as a memorable and impactful way to communicate with prospects.
  2. Remembering and Crafting Stories: Insights into how salespeople can remember and craft stories that resonate with their audience, making the prospect the story’s hero.
  3. The Role of Salespeople as Guides: Drawing parallels from popular movies, Jeff illustrates how salespeople should position themselves as guides in their storytelling, akin to characters like Yoda in “Star Wars.”
  4. Practicing Storytelling: The significance of practicing storytelling within sales teams, including role-playing exercises to refine this skill.
  5. Connecting Stories to the Buyer’s Journey: Jeff connects the dots on how storytelling fits into the buyer’s journey, providing a framework for new and seasoned sales professionals to enhance their sales strategies.
  6. Role-Playing and Feedback: An exploration of effective training techniques, including role-playing, to help salespeople become more engaging and confident storytellers.

Key Quotes

Jeff Clair:

“People tend not to remember the facts, but they remember stories…great storytellers infuse different senses, which is really great.”

Kevin Lawson:

“Practice makes easy. Not practice makes perfect…there’s always room for improvement.”

Sean O’Shaughnessey:

“Practice allows you to figure out how to do it better…those people in small organizations tend not to practice enough.”

Additional Resources

  • The Story Brand by Donald Miller: Recommended reading for salespeople and marketing professionals to master the art of storytelling in business.

Summary

This insightful episode of “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales” dives deep into the transformative role of storytelling in the sales process. With his rich experience in sales leadership, Jeff Clair shares why stories captivate, how to craft them effectively, and the importance of salespeople seeing themselves as guides for their prospects. Through role-playing and practice, Jeff underscores the significance of confidence and personalization in storytelling, ensuring that each story resonates deeply with the intended audience. This discussion is a must-listen for anyone looking to harness the power of storytelling to not just sell but to connect and inspire action.

Elevate your sales game with the art of storytelling. Download this episode now and transform how you engage with your prospects.

King of Spades: Pre-Call Strategic Planning: Prepare in Advance to Present a United Front With Management During Sales Calls

King of Spades: Pre-Call Strategic Planning: Prepare in Advance to Present a United Front With Management During Sales Calls

Harmonizing Sales and Management: A Prelude to Success

The intricate dance of a joint sales call, where the sales team and top management come together, can be likened to a finely tuned orchestra. Each member plays a distinct part, but harmony is only achieved when everyone is attuned to the same melody. As such, aligning the sales strategy with the expectations of top management is not just beneficial—it’s essential. Dissonance here can lead to a muddled message, undercutting the credibility your team brings to the table. Pre-call discussions are vital, ensuring that the sales narrative is cohesive and that everyone is equipped to sing from the same hymn sheet.

A pivotal aspect of preparing for a joint sales call is delineating the roles and responsibilities of each participant. This orchestration involves deciding who will spearhead the conversation, manage specific inquiries, and at what juncture management should step in to underscore critical points or provide reassurance. Will management act as a deal closer, an influencer, or a validator? Clarifying these roles in advance prevents the awkwardness and missteps derailing a call. It’s about creating a seamless interaction where each participant knows their cue, ensuring the call progresses with the grace and precision of a well-rehearsed performance.

Setting the Stage: Defining Meeting Objectives

Identifying the objectives of the call is like setting the destination for a journey. It guides the direction of the conversation, providing a roadmap for all involved. These objectives could be as varied as addressing client-specific concerns, advancing the sales process, or finalizing a deal. By establishing these goals upfront, you ensure that the call doesn’t devolve into a meandering dialogue but remains a focused and purposeful exchange.

Preparing an agenda for the call is analogous to writing a script for a play. It outlines the act sequence, prioritizing key discussion points and time-management effectively. This agenda should not be rigid but adaptable, allowing room to navigate unforeseen queries or shifts in discussion. Sharing this agenda with the client beforehand exhibits professionalism and enables them to prepare, setting the stage for a more engaged and productive interaction.

Anticipating the Unexpected: Preparing for Objections

A well-prepared team is one that has anticipated potential objections and crafted compelling counterarguments. In a scenario where top management is involved, the stakes are heightened. An unconvincing response to an objection can squander the unique opportunity to leverage the authority and credibility of the management team. Thus, a thorough rehearsal of potential objections and responses is critical to ensuring that the team is ready to turn challenges into opportunities for persuasion.

In-depth knowledge of the client forms the bedrock of an effective sales strategy. Before the call, compile a comprehensive profile of the client, encompassing industry trends, historical interactions, and key decision-makers. This information equips both the sales team and management with valuable insights, enabling them to tailor their approach and contribute meaningfully to the conversation.

Actionable Strategy: The Power of a Shared Agenda

A shared agenda is the cornerstone of a successful joint sales call. It’s not just a checklist of topics but a strategic tool that aligns the team’s collective effort. Developing this agenda collaboratively ensures that it reflects the collective wisdom and insights of the group. Once finalized, circulating it among all participants solidifies understanding and buy-in, minimizing confusion and reinforcing the agreed-upon roles and strategies.

A joint sales call with management is a high-stakes, high-reward scenario. It requires meticulous planning, clear communication, and a shared vision. By harmonizing the strategies of the sales team with management expectations, defining clear roles, setting focused objectives, preparing a structured agenda, anticipating objections, and understanding the client in-depth, you set the stage for not just a successful call but a demonstration of your organization’s cohesion and competence. This level of preparation and coordination is what transforms average sales teams into exceptional ones, paving the way for sustained success and growth.

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – Special Episode: CEO Workshop – Defining Your Corporate Sales Strategy – E63

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – Special Episode: CEO Workshop – Defining Your Corporate Sales Strategy – E63

Sales Strategy Isn’t Just About Hitting Numbers: It’s Your Operational Backbone for Success

A well-defined sales strategy is indispensable for long-term business success.

Importance of Market Segmentation

Don’t fall into the trap of a one-size-fits-all approach. Market segmentation is your tool to tailor unique strategies for distinct customer profiles, ensuring maximized reach and impact.

Crafting a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

A compelling USP is your golden ticket in a saturated market. Your competitive edge makes your offer not just another option but the go-to solution for your target audience.

Sales Process Flowchart: Consistency is Key

A detailed sales process flowchart is the backbone of your sales execution. It provides a replicable structure and methodology, helping your team stay aligned and focused while enabling timely interventions to address bottlenecks.

Balance Short-term Gains and Long-term Objectives

Quick wins can boost morale but cannot derail your broader goals. CEOs must ensure alignment between immediate gains and long-term strategic objectives, further amplified when integrated with marketing initiatives.

Culture of Continuous Learning

Stagnation is your enemy. Cultivate a culture where past data serves as a scoreboard and a treasure trove of insights for future strategy adjustments.

Regular Reviews for Adaptability

The market won’t wait for you to catch up. Periodic reviews and adjustments ensure your strategy is a living, breathing entity, agile enough to adapt to market conditions and competitive pressures.

Remember, a well-defined, adaptable sales strategy is the key to corporate excellence. Take control and be the strategic architect of your company’s success.

Queen of Spades: Providing Constructive Feedback: Give Actionable Advice to Aid Improvement

Queen of Spades: Providing Constructive Feedback: Give Actionable Advice to Aid Improvement

In B2B sales, where every interaction and every closed deal matters, providing constructive feedback is not merely an addendum to the daily operations—it is a pivotal aspect of the sales narrative, a determinant of success. The intricacy of feedback, however, cannot be overstated. It is a craft that, when honed, can propel the underperforming to new heights of achievement and the proficient to unprecedented mastery.

The Anatomy of Actionable Feedback

Consider the feedback mechanism as a surgical tool—it needs to be sharp, precise and used with intention. Actionable feedback, therefore, must encompass specificity, relevance, and timeliness. Specificity eliminates the ambiguity that so often clouds the potential for improvement. It offers a clear target, a definitive aspect of the sales process that requires attention. Relevance ensures that the feedback is meaningful within the context of the salesperson’s role and objectives. Lastly, timeliness ensures that feedback is given while the sales activity is fresh, making the advice more applicable and immediate.

The Constructive Nature of the SBI Framework

Employing the SBI (Situation-Behavior-Impact) framework can transcend the traditional feedback loop, turning it into a structured and insightful dialogue. In this framework, feedback begins by identifying the Situation—when and where the behavior occurred. It then delineates the Behavior—what the salesperson did or failed to do—and concludes with the Impact—how their behavior affected the outcome. By breaking down feedback into these components, sales leaders provide a narrative that is both comprehensive and understandable, leading the salesperson down a path of self-awareness and professional growth.

Timing: The Keystone of Feedback

Timing in feedback delivery is like the placement of a keystone in an arch; it holds everything together. If the feedback is delayed, its relevance diminishes. If too prompt, it risks seeming reactive or insubstantial. In the dynamic environment of sales, the immediacy of feedback is essential for critical missteps, while a more nuanced and developmental feedback approach can be reserved for scheduled reviews. This strategic cadence allows the salesperson to process and apply the feedback in a rhythm that matches the pulsating nature of their role.

Positive Language: A Conduit for Receptive Feedback

The language chosen to convey feedback can be as important as the feedback itself. Negative language can build walls, while positive language opens doors. For example, rather than pointing out failure, focusing on future opportunities—strategies to handle challenges better—can foster a positive mindset and encourage a salesperson to adopt a proactive approach. It’s a shift from a deficit-focused critique to an improvement-centric conversation, significantly more likely to yield constructive outcomes.

Feedback and Perception: Navigating the Line Between Guidance and Discipline

To prevent feedback from being perceived as punitive, it must be disentangled from disciplinary connotations. It should be communicated as a path to improvement, not a prelude to penalty. Involving the salesperson in creating their development plan turns the process into a collaborative journey, not a top-down directive. This nurtures a culture of self-improvement and accountability, aligning personal growth with organizational objectives.

Reinforcement: The Echo of Effective Feedback

Lastly, feedback must be reinforced through appropriate rewards or consequences that resonate with the overall goals of the sales organization. Positive reinforcement bolsters morale and motivates performance, while fair consequences for continued underperformance underscore the gravity of the sales role. Both are necessary to maintain a balanced and high-performing sales ecosystem.

Implementing Feedback with Precision and Care

As a concluding action, adopt the SBI model in subsequent feedback interactions. Monitor its influence on the dialogue and the salesperson’s receptiveness. Post-evaluation, assess whether this approach has engendered a more structured conversation and if it has led to identifiable steps for performance enhancement. This methodical approach to feedback, infused with positive language and timed with strategic precision, can serve as the fulcrum for lifting sales performance from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

Nine of Spades: Addressing Salesperson Underperformance: Setting Performance Benchmarks: Define standards for success to measure against.

Nine of Spades: Addressing Salesperson Underperformance: Setting Performance Benchmarks: Define standards for success to measure against.

Understanding the Nature of Sales Benchmarks

Let’s start by grounding ourselves in the foundational premise: Sales benchmarks are not merely numerical goals but the defining coordinates of success. If you will, consider them as your organization’s North Star, guiding your sales team through the complexities of quotas, customer relationships, and revenue targets. Benchmarks transcend the limitations of raw numbers and extend into the realm of qualitative assessment—whether it’s the ability to understand customer needs or to align solutions accordingly.

To further clarify, think of benchmarks as akin to a financial portfolio’s balance of risk and return. They offer a comprehensive view of performance, much like a diversified portfolio that offers an integrated financial health assessment. Each component—be it customer retention rates, average deal sizes, or response times—contributes to this multifaceted view. Benchmarks thereby act as a composite score that tells you where you are, where you should be, and, most importantly, how to get there.

The Nuances of Crafting Benchmarks: It’s About Alignment

Creating effective benchmarks requires alignment with broader organizational goals, current market realities, and the sales team’s inherent capabilities. Striking this balance is akin to setting the interest rate in an economy. Set it too high, and you risk stalling growth; set it too low and invite complacency.

Thus, the process of setting benchmarks demands an understanding of averages and outliers. If a high percentage of your sales team consistently meets the benchmarks, they may not be challenging enough. Conversely, if only a small fraction achieves them, it could demoralize the rest and raise questions about the benchmarks’ attainability. The idea is to challenge your team just enough to stretch their capabilities while ensuring the goals are rooted in reality.

Diagnosing and Addressing Underperformance: A Structured Approach

The objective of performance benchmarks isn’t to point fingers at underperformers but to provide a structured mechanism for evaluation and growth. Having established benchmarks, the onus shifts from mere identification to a deep-rooted understanding of ‘why’ the underperformance occurred.

Is it a lack of training? Is it a mismatch between talents and tasks? Or perhaps it’s a more systemic issue related to product-market fit? Each diagnosis demands its unique course of action, requiring leaders to blend empathy with decisiveness. As you identify these pain points, you’re not merely putting a spotlight on them; you’re transforming them into actionable insights. Provide the necessary tools, training, or environmental changes, and monitor the impact on performance against the set benchmarks. In this way, underperformance becomes not a point of failure but an opportunity for both personal and organizational growth.

Benchmarks: Your Compass in the World of Sales

To CEOs, Sales Managers, and leaders in the trenches, understand that performance benchmarks are not just numbers on a performance review sheet but the milestones on your roadmap to success. They offer a dynamic, multi-dimensional gauge by which to measure, evaluate, and, most crucially, enhance performance.

Just as a ship’s captain would be rudderless without a compass, your sales team would navigate in the dark without well-defined benchmarks. These are not mere numbers but signposts in your journey toward sales excellence. They offer a vision of what could be and a measurement of what is. Establishing and adhering to these benchmarks provides direction, clarity, and a lens through which to transform challenges into growth opportunities.

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – Understanding and Adapting to the Buyer’s Journey for Sales Success – Episode 33

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – Understanding and Adapting to the Buyer’s Journey for Sales Success – Episode 33

In this thought-provoking podcast, hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey dive into the challenges salespeople face when their sales process doesn’t align with the buyer’s journey. Using the example of a beer industry manufacturer, they explore the difficulties encountered when dealing with prospects who are only interested in the price and user count and how this can lead to feeling like a commodity. This insightful discussion underscores the importance of adapting to the buyer’s journey to sell more effectively.

As the conversation continues, Sean and Kevin emphasize the need to understand the buyer’s process, from recognizing the signs of a good prospect to determining the right time to buy. They highlight the importance of asking the right questions, listening to the buyer, and identifying their current position in the evaluation process. The hosts also discuss the concept of commercial teaching, which involves meeting prospects at their level of knowledge about the industry, solution, or product.

In addition, the duo addresses the challenge of long sales cycles and the factors that contribute to them, such as not understanding where the buyer is in their journey or not setting up for success earlier in the sales process. They encourage salespeople to be self-reflective and analyze their pipelines, identifying deals that may be stuck or taking longer than expected due to a lack of alignment with the buyer’s journey.

Furthermore, Kevin and Sean touch upon the importance of knowing the buyer persona, recognizing that different people within an organization have different perspectives and needs. By understanding the type of person you’re speaking with, salespeople can connect more quickly and effectively.

The podcast concludes with a challenge for salespeople to be introspective and consider how they can better align their sales process with the buyer’s journey for improved results.

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – The Power of Service: How Giving Back Can Drive Sales Success featuring Jim Hardwick, Chief Community Officer of Sales Xceleration – Episode 31

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – The Power of Service: How Giving Back Can Drive Sales Success featuring Jim Hardwick, Chief Community Officer of Sales Xceleration – Episode 31

In this inspiring episode of “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales,” the hosts, Sean and Kevin, welcome Jim Hardwick, Chief Community Officer for Sales Xceleration and Fractional VP of Sales.

As a seasoned sales professional with 36 years of experience in healthcare, Jim shares his journey from climbing the corporate ladder to finding purpose and joy in his current role. He attributes his newfound happiness to a paradigm shift towards serving others, a realization sparked by a life-changing trip to Kenya, where he and his wife started a dental clinic.

Discussing the importance of servant leadership in building better sales organizations, Jim emphasizes the impact of serving clients, employees, and the community. He believes that when business owners and sales leaders focus on understanding and helping their employees achieve their goals and aspirations, the entire organization benefits. This approach creates a positive work environment that fosters employee loyalty and drives business growth.

Moreover, Jim stresses the significance of actively listening to employees, valuing their input, and being open to change. Servant leadership, according to Jim, extends beyond grand gestures; it encompasses small acts of kindness and attentiveness, creating a ripple effect that ultimately comes back to the giver tenfold.

In this engaging conversation, Jim Hardwick leaves the audience with the powerful message of giving freely without keeping score and embracing a mentality of service instead of taking. His uplifting stories and passion for serving others will surely inspire listeners to adopt a more intentional and compassionate approach in their personal and professional lives.

October Newsletter: Drive New Sales In Your Company

October Newsletter: Drive New Sales In Your Company

– I hope that you enjoy my October newsletter

I hope that you enjoy my October newsletter

Published: Tue, 10/11/22


Sean O’Shaughnessey
CEO and President
New Sales Expert LLC
Sean@NewSales.Expert
513.348.8700

6561 Bluegrass Way
Mason OH 45040
US


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