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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

John Henley

John Henley

Recent Posts by John Henley:

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

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

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

It Pays to be Smart: Finding a Valid Business Reason to Connect

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I love when I hear a story and it stops me in my tracks. I love it even more when the story is about a salesperson that did something really smart! 

That happened to me recently. I was facilitating a workshop and one of the managers shared a great story of a salesperson who created a very strong Valid Business Reason to get the attention of an important prospect. 

Topics: Sales

The 10,000 Foot View Provides New Insights

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On my final approach into the Atlanta airport recently, I noticed how interesting the view was from 10,000 feet. The planes moving about, the cars arriving, the Porsche Experience Center, and all the surrounding hotels (the new Renaissance Atlanta Gateway is pretty cool by the way). So much to observe.  

This made me think about how the 10,000-ft. view is often more interesting and illuminating than the proverbial 30,000-ft. view. This is true when looking at a sales organization as well. The 30,000-ft. view that you tend to take with something like a SWOT analysis or other strategic exercises is good, but the 10,000-ft. view might be more appropriate.

Topics: sales strategy Sales

Are You Missing Important Coaching Moments?

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I love this African Proverb, “If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.” Every time you find yourself tempted to push everyone on your team aside because you can “move faster” on your own, stop and ask if the speed you are gaining is worth it. You can definitely walk faster on your own, but you can walk much further if you allow others on your team to develop and grow as opportunities come along. Instead of thinking about how to get the work done through your people—think about how to get your people done through the work.

Topics: Sales

Seems Like Everyone is Under Investigation

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If you are paying attention to the news, you may have noticed that lots of people are under investigation from both sides of the political spectrum. The dictionary definition of investigation is “a formal inquiry or systematic study.”

While running a workshop last week, I was reminded of the power of a salesperson when they slip into investigation mode. That systematic process is the key to building trust and demonstrating value in the early stages of a relationship.

No matter what you are selling, you should go far beyond just needs analysis or selling features and benefits of your product or service. You want to have a business conversation, looking for a desired business result that you can help them accelerate. 

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

Don’t Jump to the Finish Line When Hiring

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When you have openings on your staff, it's easy to get enamored with a candidate and jump to the finish line. That will always cost you in the long run. Every organization I know takes longer than they should to remove non-performing salespeople. It's just a fact. So you need to hire tough, so you can manage easy. If you hire easy, then you have to manage tough (threaten, push, and poke to get them to do what they should be doing).

Topics: hiring salespeople