John Jantsch is one of the foremost experts on marketing. He’s like the middle America Gary Vaynerchuk of small business marketing.
His latest book, Duct Tape Selling, is all about THINKING like a MARKETER and SELLING like a SUPER STAR.
What inspired you to write Duct Tape Selling?
A. Selling has changed pretty dramatically over the last few years as buyers have so many aveanues to gather information and make assessments about the products and services they wish to acquire. I wrote this book to act as road map for how you must sell today.
Why is selling so different now from the days when your father was a door to door salesman?
A. In my father’s day the buyer relied on the salesperson for basic information about products and services. Today, the Internet, other buyers and even competitors participate in providing a great deal of that information. Today’s sales professional has to help customers discover ideas and challenges they aren’t even addressing yet rather than simply showing up when they express a need.
In what ways are sales and marketing no longer differentiated?
A. There was a time when marketing owned the message and brand and sales owned the relationship. While both still have independent functions sales must get involved much earlier in the process to help personalize the message and marketing must help sales create messages and tools that help embed them deeper in a client’s world. It’s all about engagement on the most personal level possible.
Why should sales people focus on marketing strategy?
A. I’m not suggesting that sales people take over actual marketing strategy as much as adopting a marketing strategy mindset. A marketing strategy mindset gets them thinking about things like who makes and ideal client for them, how they can differentiate their sales process from others and how they can stand out by doing things like producing valuable content and creating valuable presentations.
What kinds of personal brand attributes are effective for sales professionals?
A. I suppose they are the same positive attributes you might think of when you think of any strong brand – things like – value, insight, utility and advocacy
Why doesn’t the sales process end at the closing?
A. If you are to take a long-term view you must become an advocate for your clients. In other words, you must take the view that a sale isn’t a sale until the client gets a result. This is how you build a reputation for delivering value and this is how you become a welcome guest for additional business and referrals.
How can sales pros stay connected to customers, and make referrals part of their process?
A. Obviously connecting or reconnecting to make sure the customer received the value they expected is one important way, but also continuing to filter and curate and share relevant content, making useful introductions to your strategic partners and looking for ways to find more solutions keep you top of mind without any selling needed.
What is a “sales hourglass” and how can it be used to optimize sales?
A. The sales hourglass is really just a name to identify a very useful way to think about your actual sales process. Rather than simply showing up to sell, the process suggests ways for you to first discover and collaborate with prospects in a way that helps uncover unmet needs. The process further suggests steps and behaviors to keep you always top of mind for repeat and referral business. The key is to design intentional steps and operate them in a systematic way. The hourglass shape and expanded bottom is a metaphor that puts the emphasis back on the customer experience once someone decides to buy.
How can any salesperson use this book right away to start increasing sales tomorrow?
A. My suggestion would be to read the first chapter on listening and build the system outlined there. No matter what else you do if you become a better listener you’ll add value to your clients.
What advice would you share with an aspiring sales manager?
A. In order to execute on many of the ideas in this book you may need to lead a cultural change in your organization. Take this book and start having conversations inside your organization to get the ball rolling. Consider the skills required to be a more “marketing like” sales professional. Look at getting your current team the real training they need and look to hire people who can write, speak and think big picture.
Why should entrepreneurs, not just salespeople, read this book?
A. It’s funny but even though the title suggests this is a sales book pure and simple, marketers and entrepreneurs have embraced it as the road map for a more personal way to sell. In the end, most small businesses are very sales focused, even if they don’t acknowledge this fact and this book shows them how to blend marketing and sales in a way that achieves the greatest results.