The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

John Henley

John Henley

Recent Posts by John Henley:

Dealing with Price Competition


Price competition is a reality, and it can become pretty intense at times! You can’t avoid it altogether, but you can greatly minimize the haggling over price. The key to dealing with price competition is creating specific value for each of your customers.

Topics: Proposal sales strategy Sales

Great Sales Managers Understand the Power of Restricting Freedom


If you open an underwater door and let a fish out of an aquarium into the ocean, he is free. Free to swim around the sea! But if you let him out of the water completely, he is not really free. The fish needs water to live — this restriction is a good one. The fish also needs room to swim — the restriction that keeps him caged is not a good one.

Topics: Sales leadership

What Smart Sales Managers Understand About Vision


I was talking to a client last week who was feeling defeated because his team was not meeting every goal he had set out for the year. I get it, good sales leaders hate to lose and should be upset when they don’t deliver the number. But this is a very strong team, delivering strong performance. And they keep setting tough goals in lots of different areas. They have a big vision for where they are going! They aren't going to be able to hit every goal, every time.

Topics: leadership goals

Sales Management Secret: There is No Such Thing as a Fearless Leader


Here’s why. When you have a passion or burden for something, there are fears that come with it. You can only be a fearless leader if you are leading in an area that you don’t have a passion for or don’t really care that much about. So rest assured the fears are normal. The real question is, what do you do with the fears you have? I have a two-step plan that I think will help.

Topics: leadership

The Key to Improving Sales Performance


Which is more likely to drive strong sales performance: a focus on the numbers or great attention to the sales process?

I recently heard two people talking about the key to sales performance. One person started by saying that the key is to focus on sales process. Then a few minutes later, the other person described hearing a CEO of a very successful company saying he has learned that the key to driving top sales performance is to focus on the numbers. 

At first, this sounded like a conflict to me. But the more I listened, it turns out they were saying the same thing. It’s not either/or. The lesson is to focus on the numbers that are tied to the sales process. 

Topics: sales performance Sales

Increase Sales Performance by Looking Sideways


I recently attended an event sponsored by Startup Grind Asheville. Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. The speaker at this particular event was Josh Dorfman, from Venture Asheville (an initiative to support high growth business ventures).   

In response to a question, Josh gave the advice to look sideways. He was encouraging entrepreneurs to look sideways as they run hard straight ahead toward their goal (so they don’t miss an opportunity they were not really looking for). This is another way to express something I heard years ago from the consulting firm Innosight. A speaker I heard from Innosight said that the great majority of companies that successfully transitioned their business during an industry disruption did so by pursuing a path they didn’t see when they started to make their pivot. That struck me at the time. What Innosight had learned is that the plan you develop when you start in a new direction is almost certainly the wrong plan, but doing nothing is also a sure path to failure. What an interesting discovery.  

Topics: Sales

What Are the Odds? Use Inbound Marketing to Get Your Prospects to Come to You

I am one of the Managing Partners here at The Center for Sales Strategy. I shift back and forth between working in the business and working on the business. I am working in the business when I am interacting with my team members while we all strive to serve clients well. But every week, I also carve out time to step back and think about the ways to improve the business. Like any small business, one of the key things we are continually trying to do is improve sales. This is more interesting for us in some ways because our business is sales. We get hired by B2B companies and non-profits to help them improve sales. We work with some of the smartest people around because it takes a smart person to know that they will be better with outside perspective, outside help. That’s where we come in.
When it comes to improving sales, you need to think marketing as well as sales. From a marketing standpoint, we need to have clarity on the problems we solve and be good at articulating that on our website and other branding materials. If we do that well, it will lead to sales opportunities.
Topics: Inbound Marketing Sales

Plan Your 3 Words for 2016


Chris Brogan recommends an exercise at the beginning of each year that he calls “My Three Words.” He uses these three words as a way to focus his energy and effort for the coming year—a creative twist on the new year’s resolution. I have seen Chris refer to this the last few years, but this is the first year I decided to take his recommendation.  

I created a first draft and set it aside a few days and then came back to put it in final form. My three words are Think, Decide, and Appreciate. Here’s what I resolve to do.

Topics: Sales

A New Year’s Resolution That Will Increase Sales Performance


Here’s a new year’s resolution I have: I am going to try to be more demanding in 2016! Demanding about the right stuff, that is.

We can all fall into the trap of being ok with good performance (from ourselves and others)—instead of demanding great performance. An example of this for our company is in the area of insights. Many of our clients count on us for insights related to specific categories of business or overall consumer trends that impact numerous business categories. Over the last few years, we've tried to do too much. As a result, we had a lot of average content in our business category insights. This year, we are going to narrow our scope and improve our content (and design). I am going to demand it from all of us.

Topics: sales performance Sales

8 Ways to Help Your Sales Team Embrace Change


Today’s sales leaders have to be much better at managing change than at any time in the recent past. It’s part of the job now. But just because change is more common and comes faster, doesn’t mean that people are suddenly much better at handling it. It still takes a gifted leader to help salespeople respond well.

How People Experience Change

I help a lot of companies manage change and I suggest 8 action steps leaders should take to help their team embrace change. Before I get to those, some thoughts on change:

There are several “change models” out there, but one that is familiar to most is:

  • Denial
  • Resistance
  • Exploration
  • Commitment
Topics: Sales