Tag Archives: Selling


While some still consider it a dirty word, selling is becoming a make-or-break skill.

The competition is too fierce.
The opportunities are too few.
And time is running out on personal brands that don’t include sales capability.

If you don’t consider yourself a sales person.
If the idea of selling doesn’t agree with you.
It may be time to think again.

Last month, I facilitated a session that brought together a dozen public and private organizations to discuss the future of business education. Held on behalf of Iowa State University, the session explored the question:

Has an operational and functional understanding of selling and the sales process become a business education requirement?

Iowa State is not the only institution of higher education exploring the question and educational providers are not alone in recognizing the rising importance of sales capabilities. As the author of “Everybody Sells”— a book that advances the thesis that organization-wide sales engagement is becoming increasingly important to organizational success — my opinion has long been registered.

The groundswell of interest in selling extends far beyond the logical advantages of possessing basic sales skills. The ability to articulate ideas, influence resource allocations and garner and maintain the support of other people is of undeniable practical and tactical value. However, one might reasonably associate similar outcomes to other areas of focus, including leadership, entrepreneurship and marketing.

No, it appears that the rising interest in sales skills represents some deeper movement, some more fundamental change. Moving from the one-on-one to team-on-team; rejecting form, function and price in favor of value realization—each incremental change has altered what sales excellence means and what sales performance requires.

The table stakes are rising. Sales success now requires the highest levels of product and service fluency, a deep understanding of client operations and the ability to harness and coordinate support from a broad range of internal and external resources. What better proving ground of tomorrow’s top executives?

If you’ve distanced yourself from the sales function because you still associate sales with manipulation, trickery, fast-talking or sleight-of-hand, you’ve missed a generation of maturity and development. And it may be time to join the club…

Selling matters—no matter who you are.

As always, I invite you to share your comments and experiences directly at jeff@jeffkaplan.com.

Until next time. Stay connected.


Stranger Danger! Even kids see though our hype…

3-5 Smart Things to Consider

  1. Selling and the art of storytelling go hand in hand.
  2. The more complex our selling environment, the more complex our solutions tend to be.
  3. Increased competition forced the move from features & functions to visions and values selling.
  4. Selling vision and value is where the margin was but presented a tantalizing temptation for story-sellers to stray from hard reality into the netherworld of plausibly believable embellishment.
  5. New research sounds a warning for salespeople tempted to paint-the-picturebetter than it really is…because even kids can see right through you… Social cognition, skepticism and critical thinking are no long the stuff of sophisticated adults.
Research in Brief
By age five, children have learned to sniff out fact from fantasy; hesitating to believe people who make over-confident claims.The Experiment
  1. Children viewed one of two short videos of adults spouting facts:
    1. Video 1- the adult sounded unsure of the true details,
    2. Video 2- the adult sounded very confident stating false details,
  2. Children were asked whom they believed more.
The Results?
  1. It was about a 50/50 split among kids closer to age 4; however,
  2. By the time kids neared age 5, they were more likely to believe the person who sounded unsure!
What’s it mean to you?
Everybody sells but no one has all the answers and we shouldn’t act like we do…
Success awaits those that stop selling to others and instead form a partnership to learn with them…
Source: http://www.concordia.ca/news/stories/cunews/main/stories/2014/10/08/trying-to-fool-akindergartnernotsofast.html

Am I Selling or Are You Buying?

A friend of mine, who is Senior IT Executive in Mexico City, wrote me recently asking the age-old question, do salespeople and marketers sell or do customers buy?
We’ve asked this question to hundreds of sales people around the globe and here’s the consensus:

  1. Nobody likes to be sold anything and most everyone loves to buy stuff,
  2. When we are being sold something, our defenses are up and we typically experience some degree of buyer’s remorse after we make the purchase,
  3. BUT buying something is a real treat–everyone loves getting new stuff, having the latest gadget!
  4. If the buyer feels in control and co-develops the solution with the seller — chances of sales success skyrocket.


…Give your PowerPoint presentations a rest and pick up a dry erase marker. Stop presenting and start co-creating. Sketch out your offer/project/idea with the person considering it.

Death-by-PowerPoint-is out.

Co-creation is in!