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Back To Basics

Bill Moore
The Grayson Group

If there’s a common refrain today among the hundreds of sales professionals with whom Grayson Group has worked over the past 22 years, it is the lament, “It ain’t as easy as it used to be.”  We’re not talking about the musings of journeymen peddlers.  These are solid six-figure earners, supremely self-confident men and women, who despite enviable track records over many years, are struggling “to make their numbers.”  Almost all of them acknowledge the absence of quick fixes.  Instead, their emphasis (and ours) has been on a return to basics.  Self-interrogation goes something like, “What am I not doing today that I once did that made me successful?”  It’s a great question.  It begs an examination of just exactly what has changed and whether we have adapted quickly and thoroughly enough.  This edition of our Grayson Group newsletter takes a hard look at today’s selling environment.  We offer specific recommendations on how to up your game.  Our counsel is superior to most because it is born of day-to-day, in-the-trenches C-level selling with our clients.  These are some of the smartest, hardest-working (90 hours/week) and most successful salespeople in the world.  Our consulting focus is largely high tech.  The sales professionals we work with are particularly keen these days to sharpen their skills given a resurgence of spending on the hardware, software and other productivity enhancing tools which form their product set. What you’ll get from this newsletter is not a lot of 35,000 foot overviews but rather treetop skimming, laser-guided weaponry to succeed on the sales battlefield.  Sales, like combat, is all about winning.  A second place finish provides no reward.

Sudden Silence

Not long ago The Wall Street Journal ran a cartoon showing a telemarketer making the following pitch:
“Tired of being ignored? Call 1-555-CALLBACK! We will return your calls promptly and treat you like someone who actually matters! Only $3.99 a minute.”

This script captures the plight of the fainthearted salesperson who has yet to learn the consummate value of persistence.

“He didn’t call me back.” “She didn’t respond to my email.” “They suddenly went dark on us.” “He postponed our meeting.” These are just a few in a veritable litany of salesmen’s laments. What to do in such situations? The simple answer is, “Persist.” The more an executive advances in a corporate hierarchy, the more the premium on time management. There are only 168 hours in a week and most successful executives run flat out for 90-100 of them. Add to the professional responsibilities which consume so much time, the inevitable personal issues, e.g., family illness, and you can see how responses can lag. Persisting doesn’t mean pestering. But it does mean maintaining a steady stream of communication (phone calls, texts, voicemails, e m a i l s , eFaxes, etc.) designed to demonstrate your determination. And remember, “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.”


Great Question


According to one of the finest articles ever published in the Harvard Business Review, the measure of a truly unique value proposition is how clearly it answers the buyer’s question:

“What is most worthwhile for our firm to keep in mind about your offering?”

F2F Better...Duh!

For the uninitiated who really do believe that tweeting trumps meeting, check out this survey data:

Effectiveness of
virtual vs. in-person meetings
% of respondents

With Current Customers:
62 % Less, 32% Equal, 6% More

With Prospective Customers:   
85% Less, 12% Equal, 3% More

Also, listen to what Bruce Smith, the CEO of Ohio-based metal parts manufacturer Elyria Foundry, thinks about F2F interaction. “If you look at the younger generation, they seem addicted to text messages. When you’re there in person, the quality of information you transmit goes up dramatically.” Vice President Bob Genco of Silicon Valley-based software provider Synopsis says simply, “You need to have face time.”