Jack Malcolm

Think Like an Engineer to Improve your B2B Sales Approach

In my work, I train a lot of engineer “seller-doers” to think more like salespeople. By doing so, they become better at actively identifying opportunities for additional business within their existing clients, and become more businesslike in their approach with potential new clients. Most...

Beyond WIFM

One of the oldest ideas in selling is WIFM, or “What’s in it for me?” It’s a great reminder that you should frame your persuasive message in terms of the other person’s self-interest. WIFM is enormously useful in persuasive communication, because it puts you...

How to RULE the Sales Conversation

Here’s a news flash: we sales professionals don’t actually know everything! Sometimes it’s helpful to infuse new ideas or different perspectives from outside the sales literature and blogosphere, and in that spirit, I would like to share a framework that clinical psychologists use to...

Make Your Value Proposition Unique

I remember an old spoof from the cartoons: the character is listening to the radio and an ad comes on. Announcer: “I’m talking to YOU!” Character: “Me?” Announcer: “Yes, YOU, Elmer Snodgrass of 123 Elm Street; I’m talking to YOU!” When I was a kid,…

Breaking the Law for Principle and Profit

I’ve never been a particularly subversive individual (at least after about 6th grade) but occasionally I like to break stupid rules just because they’re stupid. That’s why I technically broke the law today by taking an Uber ride to the airport. It was amazingly fast,...

The Critical Importance of Quality Signals in Sales Presentations

When you shop for a new car, you are probably not an automotive expert who knows all about the fundamentals of a vehicle’s quality: all the hidden things such as the engine, transmission, steering and brakes. How well will the vehicle perform, how reliable...

Does Your Presentation Sound Like Voice Mail Hell?

I did not receive a newspaper this morning, which was inconvenient. But placing the call to register a complaint was worse. I knew what I wanted to hear, but I had to endure a (to my mind) convoluted series of questions and choices before...

Amp Up Your Sales by Reading this Book

I strongly recommend that anyone in B2B sales read Andy Paul’s book, Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers to Make Fast, Favorable Decisions, but you won’t find a traditional review here, the kind in which I summarize the key points in...

Sales Discovery: Why You Need to Do More Exploring and Less Searching

This morning, Mike Kunkle wrote an excellent article about sales discovery, which is something that sales professionals generally don’t do as well as they should. Mike gives solid actionable advice on how to improve the process, but there is an important distinction I would...

Pushing Only the Right Buttons

Have you ever entered an elevator, in a hurry to get to one of the higher floors, only to find that some prankster has pushed every button? How did it make you feel? Now, imagine that the roles are reversed: you are that prankster, and...

Book Recommendation: Curious, by Ian Leslie

Piggybacking off last week’s article about personal renewal and the importance of staying curious, I would like to recommend Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It. Why should a blog dedicated to persuasive communication care about a book on...

Finding a Passion for Selling

I gave a speech yesterday in Aspen about the four major lessons I have accidentally learned about selling during my career: thinking outside-in, delivering value through knowledge, the critical importance of preparation, and being real. As I worked on my remarks, however, I discovered a...

When the Heart Wins

In the balance of hearts and minds, which should win? It’s one of the oldest questions in persuasion; Aristotle drew the distinction between logos, which appeals to the mind, and pathos and ethos on the other. His contention was that ethos is the strongest...

The Greatest Salesman You Never Heard Of

When one of America’s greatest salesmen and entrepreneurs launched his career, it was announced in the press by the Boston newspaper in 1806, under the following story: “No Joke. A vessel with a cargo of 80 tons of ice has cleared out from this...

Festina Lente: Strategic Patience for Persuasive Communication

The first two articles in this series dealt with ways to benefit from exercising patience during persuasive conversations, on the time scale of seconds and minutes. Those time frames require tactical patience, and requires developing new habits, so that you can practice the skills...

Sales Moments

Last week, I attended a conference call with the top sales management of one of my clients, to discuss ways to more deeply embed the culture and practices of consultative selling techniques that we’ve introduced to their sales force, including sales call planning, questioning,...

One-Sided vs. Two-Sided Arguments

When presenting your point of view, should you adduce only the arguments in your favor, or those opposed as well? There are several good reasons for presenting a one-sided argument. The first reason is focus; it’s so hard enough to maintain attention for very long...

Helpful Help, Part 2: Humble Inquiry

In Part 1, we posed the problem of providing help to clients in such a way that they actually find it helpful, so that they act on the advice given. To do so requires that we establish a climate of equal status between the...

Helpful Help: Part 1

I’m sure you’ve had this experience: after talking to a client, you are able to tell them exactly what they need to do to improve their situation, they agree you’re right – and nothing happens after that. It may have been because there’s a difference...

What’s the Bigger Win?

Bluto: Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! Otter: Germans? Boon: Forget it, he’s rolling. In that scene from the classic management film, Animal House, Boon could have…

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