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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

John Henley

Recent Posts by John Henley:

Removing Roadblocks to Sales Performance

removing roadblocks to sales performanceI was driving around downtown Tampa recently during a convention and found many roads blocked off as I was trying to get to my destination. I know downtown Tampa pretty well, and knew exactly where I wanted to get, which made it even more frustrating that I couldn't get to where I wanted to go. I was tempted to get out of my car and remove the roadblocks. I didn't, and ended up going in circles, not making the best use of my time.  

Topics: sales performance

Replace HR with an HF Department

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I wonder if we could all treat people better if we replaced human resources with a department focused on human flourishing (HF). People are certainly more human than they are resources, but I wonder if there is a better way to think of them than merely resources. One of the dictionary definitions of flourish is "to thrive or grow luxuriantly." Pretty cool way to think of your people.

Topics: sales management Talent salespeople sales training

Your 2018 Not To Do List

2018 not to do listIt’s February. We’re well into the New Year, and your resolutions may have already fizzled out like most people. With a new year (or a new month), comes a time for new thinking and new habits. I suggest you start with a "not to do list." You might have one thing on it or a few, but the best way to make a meaningful change this year is to determine what you won't do and to make room for what you will do.

Topics: productivity

How to Deal with Price Competition

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If you are in sales, you can’t avoid price competition altogether, but you can take steps to reduce the focus on price. You need to behave in such a way that you are working with the prospect to create specific value, using your product or service as part of the solution. The alternative is that you present general value by pitching your product or service as the solution—inviting the type of product comparisons that lead to price negotiation. 

Creating specific value for each customer BEATS presenting general product value to every prospect.

Topics: discussing price Sales

The Lesson of the Bad Apple

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If you put a bad apple in a bushel of good apples, the bad apple won’t become good. In fact, when a bad apple starts to rot, it emits a gas that can indeed start to rot the good apples. But even if the bad doesn't completely rot the good apples, it's important to lock on to the fact that the bad won't get better by being with the good.

Topics: sales performance sales management

What Trait Do Great Sales Leaders Share With Pilots?

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Pilots learn that the best way to land a plane is to look long toward the horizon, not directly beneath them. Great sales leaders do the same thing. They focus on the horizon, not just what's right in front of them.

Pilots learn that when landing, you are better off looking down the runway at the horizon than the ground rushing up underneath you. You need to balance keeping your eyes focused on the horizon, while peripherally watching your height above the runway to achieve a smooth landing. We have all felt the runway slam when a pilot gets this wrong.

Topics: sales performance

Have You Noticed? Showing Appreciation Drives Performance

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An Accenture study, written about in Forbes, found that 43% of employees who are about to quit their jobs cite lack of recognition from supervisors as the reason they would leave. Every time I read that stat I feel convicted that I don’t always show as much appreciation as I should. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the individuals on my team, it’s just that I have so many things fighting for my attention. It’s easy to miss this key leadership responsibility. Many times managers don’t think about showing appreciation until it’s too late—until someone on their team leaves for another opportunity.  

Topics: sales performance sales culture salespeople

How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle

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I have been doing sales training and consulting for nearly 20 years and I always get a chuckle when salespeople tell me they need to find ways to close business in two calls. When I hear this today, I wonder where these people are living. Do they live on the same planet as I do? It’s not about the number of calls—it’s about the length of the sales cycle. And the sales cycle doesn’t start until the buyer is ready for it to start.

Topics: inbound marketing sales cycle prospecting

Are You a Salesperson or a Business Person?

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There are so many areas in life where balance is important. I believe a political view too far to the right or too far to the left is not healthy, and a workout routine that is exclusively power lifting will not make you as healthy as a more diverse exercise routine.  

This is true in the sales profession as well. Great salespeople are generally hard workers and focused on the job at hand. But if you spend all your time focused on selling and not on understanding the greater business climate, you will not be as effective in your selling or as helpful to your clients.

Topics: successful sales meetings Sales salespeople

The 8 Essentials to a High Performing B2B Sales Organization

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There is a lot to get right if you are trying to build a high performing sales organization. That's because sales organizations are complex systems, like the nervous system. The nervous system contains a network of specialized cells called neurons. Nerve impulses have a domino effect. Each neuron receives an impulse and must pass it on to the next neuron and make sure the correct impulse continues on its path. If something goes wrong in this process, you have problems.  

In a sales organization, there is the same domino effect. If you don't get all 8 essentials right, you will have problems.  

Topics: Management sales performance sales management Sales