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Success Is Often Mostly About Context

This post and podcast are drawn from Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer – Sell Like a Superstar on sale globally May 15th.

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

Duct Tape Selling

Image credit: Ellen Jantsch

On a cold January morning in 2007, a hidden video camera captured thousands of commuters simply walking past violinist Joshua Bell as he played some of the most complex music ever written, on an extremely valuable Stradivarius violin. Most didn’t seem to notice the difference between Bell’s virtuosity and the skill of an everyday subway musician.

Just days before, and then again after this experiment, Bell performed to sold-out theaters filled with ticket holders willing to pay top dollar and ready to deliver thunderous standing ovations.

In the context of the subway station, ordinary people did not recognize Bell’s genius.

We don’t live in a vacuum. Every idea we have, song we hear, or sales pitch we connect with is filtered through a number of elements, including our mood, the environment, and our unique understanding of the world and our place in it. All of these factors affect the value and importance we place on what we believe in, what we deem worthy of our time, and what we buy.

In the same vein, while sales people’s mastery, skill, or point of view may be important and well thought-out, the context in which their ideas, introductions, and pitches are delivered is equally—or sometimes more— important.

In many ways Duct Tape Selling is about changing the context of how you, as a salesperson, are received and perceived.

So let me ask you this: Are you ready to hone your virtuosity as a sales- person and put it on display in the places where people willingly pay a premium to engage such work or are you content to hang around in the subway hoping for the scraps of interested passersby?

Change Your Context, Change Your Results

In Duct Tape Selling I show you, first, how to reframe your own mindset about what it means to sell in the world today. From there, we look at how to vastly alter the way prospects, customers, and competitors view your professional brand. To accomplish this, you need to think of yourself as a guide in the customer’s buying process rather than an information source, re- search data point, transaction catalyst, or whatever other trendy term people have assigned to the act of selling.

Duct Tape Selling shows you how to change the context of selling by teaching you how to:

  • Ask what you can give your clients instead of asking what they can give you
  • Form and lead an industry group instead of mindlessly joining every one you find
  • Make education-rich sales pitches to rooms packed with engaged potential clients instead of cold-calling prospects
  • Get yourself invited to speak in front of audiences instead of simply attending events
  • Earn the trust to be introduced to referral prospects instead of given leads?Interview industry luminaries instead of simply downloading their podcasts
  • Build a strategic-partner network instead of waiting around to be asked to partner
  • Write for respected industry publications instead of just putting them in your RSS reader

When you reframe any relationship, you often change the way you are heard, received, and perceived. In sales, by reframing the selling process as a journey that you and the client are on together—and that you are guiding him through—you can become a valuable and necessary part of your client’s team.

5 Key Ingredients In an Integrated Selling World

The term “integrated marketing” has been with us for many years. I’ve written about it in the classic sense and about how it’s evolved in the digital age as I believe integration is the key to consistency, momentum and systems thinking – all good things.

integrated selling

photo credit: fdecomite via photopin cc

While integration is a concept that is often applied broadly to a companies’ strategic approach, I believe it can and should be applied specifically to the more individual process of sales and selling.

On the organizational level sales and marketing must be fully integrated and the individual salesperson must become adept at using an “integrated selling” approach.

While terms like integrated marketing and integrated selling are often so abused they come to have mixed or confused meaning, the real power of this view is that it allows you to focus on making the sales experience a personalized extension of the marketing experience in a way that benefits the customer – and that’s what is so lacking in the traditional marketing and sales funnel world.

Today the term “social selling” is all the rage, but simply bolting on more tools or looking at social media as some new extension or tactic is as misguided in sales as it was several years ago in marketing. (I can picture the social selling experts lining up as I write this.) It’s all just fodder for creating the best possible customer integrated experience.

Below are five key ingredients to an integrated selling approach

Define ideal leads

Today salespeople must get very good at defining and attracting leads that are ideal or perfectly suited to receive the value of the products and services that offer. This is not a market or even a segment, this is a prospect with the right characteristics, behavior and needs and this may differ from salesperson to salesperson.

Focus on insights

If a salesperson waits to be invited to solve a problem they are essentially going to be asked to bid some work. An integrated approach calls for getting involved in a prospect’s world long before they have identified and quantified their problem. In this approach you’re job is to demonstrate your value rather than sell.

Guide the journey

Sales and marketing today is less about demand creation and conversion and more about organizing buyer behavior – buyers embark on journeys today that have no straight path or funnel. In order to guide a journey like that you have to be prepared to focus on creating awareness, educating and building trust over selling.

Personalize content

You’ve heard it a million time – content is king – but the king has been overfed and is bloated. An integrated selling approach looks for ways to filter, aggregate and personalize content to the level of the individual client or prospect. An individual salesperson may see blogging as a way to build authority but simply extracting and sharing golden nuggets from the companies’ blog, research and white papers is an equally powerful way to use content in sales.

Always be connecting

I know salespeople have been taught, measured and compensated for their ability to close, but superstar salespeople seem to close more business without the focus on selling at all. The master sales skill has always been one of connecting – connecting networks, stakeholders, opportunities, referrals and influence. The toolset available for mining and making connections gets better with each passing day.

Yes, the act of selling has changed dramatically because the act of buying has changed dramatically and business owners, marketers and salespeople alike must adapt their approach accordingly.

My friend Mark Schaefer author of Social Media Explained kindly pointed out in a review of my book Duct Tape Selling that I had indeed written one of the first books on integrated selling. So, if this post resonated – you might have a look – Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer – Sell Like a Superstar goes on sale May 15th

Duct Tape Selling Launches This Week

When my first book, Duct Tape Marketing, finally went on sale I told my readers that it felt like I’d given birth. A number of women were quick to point out that I knew not of which I spoke. I’ve been careful ever since not to make the same mistake, but certainly somewhere in nature there is an appropriate metaphor to describe a book launch. (Please feel free to suggest one.)

Just fair warning – To celebrate the occasion of the launch of Duct Tape Selling I’ll probably be extra promotional this week so hopefully you’ll allow.

Below is a very short book trailer produced by the talented folks at Simplifilm. I hope you like it and I hope you’ll share its message with others.

You can also find lots of other great information about the book and some fun stuff to share by heading over to my Duct Tape Selling Social Objects page.

In addition, I want to share the best of this week’s guest blog posts from the Duct Tape Selling Blog.

3 Simple Elements To Test To Perfect Your Twitter Messaging

When it comes to social media marketing, you can spend all your time studying up on the best methods and practices and still not feel totally confident.

Are you posting at the right times? With the right content? Could your message be connecting better

Enter testing. Read the rest . . . from the good folks at Buffer

Tips On Setting Up Your One Question Testimonial Machine

When setting up your one question testimonial, it’s easy to focus on the customers who would refer your product or service to friends and ignore the ones who wouldn’t. But this would be a big mistake. The customers who wouldn’t refer you to a friend are a great source of information to help you find out what went wrong and what you could do better. Read the rest . . . from the good folks at Wufoo

Get on the Infographics Movement

Infographics are increasingly being included in a marketers’ arsenal. Deceptively, they look like something made for pre-schoolers with its bright clip art and playful copy. Even so, infographics are increasingly being used in boardrooms, notice boards, blogs and social media. Here’s why you need to get on it too. Read the rest . . . from the good folks at Piktochart

Two Secrets to How Small Businesses Can Win More Sales

Selling at a small business isn’t easy. The bigger companies have brands that help them open new doors and win competitive sales. They have strong marketing support. And often they have deep pockets and aren’t afraid to use them. Read the rest . . . from the good folks at RainToday

Week Two Roundup from the Duct Tape Selling Blog

As part of the lead up to the launch of my new book Duct Tape Selling I asked some of the organizations behind the resources I note in the book to contribute guest blog posts. The result of that request has produced some truly awesome content. For the next few weeks I’ll be rounding up the best of the best and amplifying it here. Enjoy!

How to Use Twitter Search to Generate Leads

How to generate leads from twitter searchSales teams are increasingly using social listening to generate leads and find business opportunities. While every social channel plays its role, Twitter is often the best vehicle for this.

Known as the ‘thought’ channel, users are much more likely to speak openly about a problem on Twitter than they would on Linkedin or Facebook. This provides a direct line into the needs, concerns and loyalties of a prospect which, when used right, can be a great foundation for connecting with them.

From the folks at Twilert - Read the rest . . .

3 Things You Can Do to Maximize Your Moments In Front of an Audience

How you perform in the fleeting moments when you have the platform to speak in front of others is pivotal to your chances of success. This is true for every industry, but for anyone in sales, it’s at the very heart of the experience. Getting on stage in front of a crowd of potential customers, contacts, and influencers is the best way to build a reputation and become a credible, respected authority. But for some, it can be a bearpit where bad first impressions are left ingrained in the minds of unforgiving audiences.

From the folks at PreziRead the rest . . .

6 Ways to Reap the Benefits of Popups Without Annoying Your Readers

Popups are one of the most controversial tactics in the online-marketing arsenal.

On the one hand, readers sometimes find them intrusive. On the other, they are incredibly effective at engaging your audience and building your (incredibly valuable) email list.

From the folks at PippityRead the rest . . .

The Not So Obvious Reason You Should Have a Podcast for Your Business

There are many blog posts out there on why you should podcast. They cover the typical reasons:

  • Brand Building
  • More time in the day for someone to listen to Audio then read a blog or watch a video
  • Higher level of engagement with your customers / audience
  • Conveys a higher level of authority then a simple blog

From the folks at LibsynRead the rest . . .

Recording High-Quality Interviews

callrecord240Online interviews with experts can captivate and inspire. Using Skype and Ecamm Call Recorder makes recording as easy as placing a phone call. With just a few quick steps, and a little practice, conducting an inspiring interview can be just as easy.

Nothing detracts from an interview quite like bad sound quality. Fortunately, it’s easy to achieve professional sound quality with just a few simple steps. Perhaps most important is keeping audio isolated. When recording a call, you’re actually recording two things: your voice, picked up by your microphone, and your guest’s voice, which gets played out of your computer’s speakers. If your microphone picks up sound from the speakers, your guest’s voice may end up getting recorded twice. During playback, this will give the guest’s voice an annoying, unprofessional echo.

From the folks that make Call RecorderRead the rest here . . .

Best Books on Sales and Selling

best sales booksI believe books are still one of the greatest values available when it comes to learning new business thinking. There’s certainly a place for courses and videos and workshops, but for about $20 and the time to read, you can gain access to another person’s ideas, systems, processes and tools that may have taken a lifetime of experience to craft.

I’ve been doing a lot of extra reading and writing around the topic of sales and selling in advance of the launch of my new book Duct Tape Selling, so I thought I would ask my followers to suggest their favorite books of all time on topic. The list below is the start of that request.

The only thing missing are your suggestions.

Feel free to vote books up and down and add your favorites to the list.

Best Books on Sales and Selling
View more lists from John Jantsch

Week One Roundup from the Duct Tape Selling Blog

As part of the lead up to the launch of my new book Duct Tape Selling I asked some of the organizations behind the resources I note in the book to contribute guest blog posts. The result of that request has produced some truly awesome content. For the next few weeks I’ll be rounding up the best of the best and amplifying it here. Enjoy!

selling has changed

Learning How to Share at Work

If busy managers could have one superpower, they’d probably wish for X-ray vision into everything that’s happening with the business and the people they manage. Some all-knowing ability would sure make the job of juggling people, projects, content, strategies, and relationships easier. From the folks at  iDoneThis

Read the rest . . .

Structuring Your Presentation to Sell

Over 90 million people in the US watch online videos every day, and over 50% of consumers say that watching online product videos allows them to be more confident in online purchase decisions. What does that mean for business owners? As online video becomes more prevalent and relevant, so does the need for your business to start producing video. From the folks at Screenflow.

Read the rest . . .

5 Google Results That Can Ruin Your Business (And What to do About Them)

If you Google your business right now, what shows up? Your company’s website? Positive reviews? A mention in a local newspaper? OR, are the results less than stellar? From the folks at BrandYourself

Read the rest . . .

3 Tips for Building and Managing Your Twitter Community

Customers of all kinds often turn to Twitter to reach out to their favorite businesses with questions, compliments and complaints. Once your business establishes a Twitter presence, you have an opportunity – and an obligation – to market your brand to your followers. From the folks at SproutSocial

Read the rest. . .

Don’t Buy an Impression, Make One

As a former Digital Brand Manager at Pepsi, I know first hand what it’s like to win the advertising budget lottery. When we bought media around big tent poles like new product launches, Grammy’s or the Super Bowl, budgets were huge and making an impact could be guaranteed solely by the ability to buy share of voice. From the folks at RebelMouse

Read the rest here . . .

How to Get Sales and Marketing On the Same Page

The title of today’s post became one of the major sub themes of my upcoming book Duct Tape Selling. It didn’t start out that way, but in working with more and more sales departments it became clear that the move to inbound and social selling occurs much more effectively when there’s a culture of cooperation and integration within sales and marketing departments.

Sadly, this is rarely the case. In fact, I’ll be presenting my view of the sales and marketing divide – and what to do about it – in an upcoming MarketingProfs Pro Seminar.

My take is that for organizations to take full advantage of the dramatic shift in the way people and organizations buy today they must intentionally blend inbound marketing, outbound marketing and inbound selling a way that mirrors today’s customer journey.

And, it’s not enough to simply pass white papers to the sales team and say “go be social.”

inbound selling

Sales and marketing must come together at the point where awareness and messaging and the very definition of what an ideal client actually looks like initiates.

Below are five activities that I believe should be at the forefront of any attempt to more closely align sales and marketing.

Shared planning

Quite often marketing creates a plan and calls on others to deploy it. The challenge is that in most cases the marketing folks are isolated from the actual customer. Sales and marketing must come together to define the customer, create marketing strategy and map a customer journey that puts the customer first. Invite sales into the planning phase!

Shared editorial

Marketing is now in full content production mode. But I wonder if more is really better? I believe that even if sales people aren’t asked to write blog posts they can both inform the editorial make up and personalize what content is produced in ways that will make it more useful to individual prospects and clients. Marketing must take the access they generally have to data and filter content to help sales professionals spend less time researching.

Shared social

Here’s an idea that is causing loads of angst in marketing departments around the world – turns out that social media is more effective in the hands of some sales professionals than it is in the hands of some marketing professionals. While far too many marketing departments view social media as another broadcast channel, smart sales folks are finding better ways to connect, network, prospect and engage very small numbers of the right people via social media. This is a huge training opportunity.

Shared engagement

To me the item that would really bring a sales and marketing group together would be the act of jointly engaging a client or prospect. This could start with working on a proposal together, making calls together, blending lead nurturing activities and, with the inclusion of a service or account manager, might just round out the perfect way to engage today’s buyer.

Shared measurement

Here’s the real problem. Many marketing departments are measured by the number of leads they generate – no matter the relative quality. Sales is measured by the number of those leads they convert – no matter the relative quantity and quality. Suffice it to say neither is too happy.

If you want to get sales and marketing really working together set up a way to measure the true impact of effective inbound marketing and selling as a team and reward each for the vital role they play in actually creating a profitable customer.

A Bevy of Educational Opportunities

To celebrate the launch of my next book Duct Tape Selling I am presenting a series of webinar across the universe. Below you can find the list and register away if any pique your interest!