Part II: If You Haven’t Mastered the Complex Sale …


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Today’s post is Part II of my recent interview with Jeff Thull, author of the newly updated book, Mastering the Complex Sale.

Jill: Many people believe that selling is both an art and a
science. Your own opinion?

Jeff: As implied by the
medical analogy we use in our core program –
Diagnostic Selling – I believe a close parallel to the sales profession
exists in the medical profession. Practicing medicine is both an art and
a science, as is sales, and as are most professions.

I think what most people refer to
as the “art” of a profession is a result of years of practice and
experience in the respective profession.

Whenever you compare a
really good professional, be that an artist, a musician, a pilot, an
athlete – to someone not as good, it looks like magic, but it’s not.

are three very specific dimensions that must be in balance for a
professional to be successful. They are systems (i.e. a set process that
leads to a predictable result), skills (i.e. the knowledge and ability
needed to execute the system properly), and discipline (i.e. the
mind-set or stance and an emotional strength to execute in a quality

You are moving from science to art as you progress along
the spectrum from systems to skills to discipline. In my teen years, I
was a professional musician. I recently picked up the guitar again and
have begun practicing.

My wife Pat recently bought me a Fender
Custom Shop Stratocaster, literally the same guitar that Eric Clapton
buys from Fender. There is no doubt that if my guitar had gone to Eric,
he could do his “magic” with it, but my guitar will never see that level
of play.

If you read Eric’s biography, he speaks of having a
guitar in his hands sixteen to eighteen hours a day during his early
years. Joe Walsh of the Eagles notes that he practices six hours per
day, every day, even when on tour.

As in playing the guitar, to
me the art of sales occurs when the process and the skill become one
with you and it looks effortless. Some people will refer to this as the
process being intuitive; I don’t think so. Spectacular success is always
preceded by unspectacular preparation. Ask any Olympic medalist.

Creating a competitive edge can require a new way of thinking about the
sales process. Where does this begin?

Jeff: It falls
under the discipline component I just mentioned and it includes the
mindset of the professional … the stance they take with respect to their

The Hippocratic Oath of a
physician – “First do no harm” – is at the heart of the thinking of the
most successful sales professionals. They believe that their success
will come from making their customers successful.

They approach
their customer thinking, “How can I help them succeed?” rather than
“What can I sell them?” They think like a business person, rather than a
salesperson. They see it as a process done “with” the customer rather
than “to” the customer.

Jill: In the foreword to your book,
Wayne Hutchinson of Shell shares his experience working with your
He says that their consulting/services business went from
$150 million to $750 million in revenue in five years. During this time
they had no new solutions and reduced their sales organization from 110
account managers to 42 account managers.

Those are incredible
results and, of course, he’s giving a lot of the credit to your
Diagnostic process. Is this a level of success that the reader can

Jeff: Let me start by referring back to my answer
to your science and art question. In the book, we lay out the system, we
explain the skills, and we describe the discipline required. So the
“how to” is there.

Another important ingredient is that Shell had
a high value solution that they were not effectively connecting to
their customers’ performance and were not quantifying the value impact.

I would say, if you have a high value solution and you are not
quantifying that value, your customer will not understand the potential
of your value. So the answer is yes, the reader can expect that level of
success with the qualification that they put forth the effort.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

I believe the book Mastering the Complex Sale, 2nd Edition can be a
very valuable guide to your readers, as your books have been to them.

recently offered anyone who purchased a copy of the book, a free CD –
Three Powerful Diagnostic Questions – How to Uncover Critical
Information. I’d like to extend that offer to your readers and also
mention that we are donating the royalties from the books sold through
these promotions to Operation Smile. 

Jill: How would my
readers capitalize on that very nice offer?

Jeff: To order the
book Mastering the Complex Sale, 2nd Edition, and
receive your free CD, “Three Powerful Diagnostic Questions,” call Prime
Resource Group at 763.473-7529 or send an email copy of your receipt to [email protected] with FREE CD in the subject line.

thanks Jill, for giving me the opportunity to share my experience with
your readers.

Jill: Truly my pleasure, Jeff. Your advice is always spot on. And one more thing … Here’s the link to download Chapter One of Mastering the Complex Sale.

more information on Jeff Thull’s books, articles and audio materials,

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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