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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

John Henley

John Henley

Recent Posts by John Henley:

Seems Like Everyone is Under Investigation


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


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

Selling to Learn: New Knowledge Makes You More Competitive


When you first start out in sales, you spend a lot of time learning to sell. After you have been in sales for a long time, you need to flip that and focus on selling to learn. I encourage you to be on the lookout for ways to learn. All the time.

John Wooden once said, "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." In the fast-paced, always-changing world we live in today, you need to take this seriously. 

Topics: Sales

Is Your Hunger Greater Than Your Fear?


If you are in sales, you have to learn to effectively battle your fears. Fear of a big client leaving. Fear of a big deal falling through. Fear of your company making a change. Fear of the marketplace changing. Fear of the new boss.  

Topics: Sales

Improve Your Sales with Hot Coals


It's time to pull out the fire pit and get those spring fires burning. You need the right wood to keep a strong fire burning, just like you need the right talent to improve your sales.

Every client I am working with is telling me the changes in business are creating a need for a new breed of salesperson. In this good business climate, there is opportunity everywhere, but taking advantage of that opportunity requires stronger talent than in the very recent past.

This has everyone looking for great new sales talent to bring into their organization, and this pursuit of talent has leaders evaluating their current culture. You need the right culture to attract top talent.

Adopt a Slinky Style of Management to Drive Sales

slinky style of management

Have you played with a slinky recently? Probably not. But you remember how it moves down a staircase. Play that video in your head, and as you do that, think about how adopt a slinky style of sales management.

How March Madness Can Help You Improve Sales Performance


It’s March, and basketball madness is upon us. Three of the key elements in basketball are the goal you are shooting at, the equipment you use (basketball, shoes, etc.) and the plays you run. Sales is no different. You need goals, equipment, and plays.

I was performing a sales diagnostic with a client recently and thought of this comparison as I was evaluating their sales performance. That’s when the connection between March Madness and sales hit me.

Topics: sales playbook

Sales Truth: You Need to Slow it Down, to Rev It Up!


Can you remember the last time you went on a boat ride? A lot of us have some great memories out on the water. And we all know that when the boat leaves the harbor it must go slowly at first so it doesn't run into anything. This is a necessary step so it can speed up later. I really enjoy the part when the boat gets moving faster, but I understand that you need to take it slowly at first.  

Topics: Sales

The Job of the Salesperson is to Help Prospects Navigate Their Buying Journey



You may have heard it said that the best way to approach selling is to make buying easier for the buyer. That saying has been around a long time. But a new twist on that is the notion of helping buyers navigate their journey. The journey in B2B buying has greatly changed over the last several years.  

Smart salespeople think about the “things” along the buyer journey—and consider how they can help the buyer navigate that journey.  

Topics: Sales Buyer's Journey

A Datapoint is Not an Insight


There has been a lot written over the last few years about a new approach to selling. This approach has some characteristics that have been used in selling for years—relationships and asking great questions are examples. But this new popular approach has a few differences. For example, instead of approaching a customer to do a needs analysis starting from scratch, the salesperson is told to share an interesting insight and then use that to challenge a prospect with tough questions to get a provocative conversation going.

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales