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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

John Henley

John Henley

Recent Posts by John Henley:

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


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


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?


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


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


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?


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

Business people.jpeg

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


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?


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