Archives For mack hanan

My personal copy!

I was shocked this morning as I reviewed last nights blog traffic on my site – one of the searches read, “Mack Hanan’s Obituary!  Almost a year after his death, and I am just now catching up….however, even if I am 11 months behind, it’s important to remember him for his contribution to our industry….

Mack, author of the well known book, Consultative Selling was an icon in the sales world, having written about ROI, value selling, and consultative selling long before his contemporaries – back in 1072 he published this book, and it remains in print today, having been updated at least 7 times, an 8th now in process.

I was fortunate enough to quote Mack in a workshop I conducted several years ago in New York, to which one of my attendees, Tom from Cisco Systems replied, “Do you know Mack?”  Only by his writings I replied.  I was then invited to join Tom for dinner along with Mack that evening!  We dined on the upper east side at Vagabondo, a unique restaurant featuring its own bocce ball court!  Mac was more than willing to share his insights on selling, review my materials, and provided excellent insights into what I was working on.  In the end he greatly encouraged me to pursue my work with enthusiasm.  If that wasn’t enough, Mack insisted on paying, asking me to keep in touch.

Mack was always responsive if I emailed him; he was dedicated to helping others and bringing new ideas to the sales community.  Even at 85 he continued to produce new ideas and updates to his initial concepts on consultative selling.  We’ll miss him!  Take this opportunity to pick up Mack’s book and read it, remembering the contribution he has made to our industry.

© 2011, David Stelzl

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Our last session in the Making Money with Security Class (Online) is tomorrow.  I’ve had some great interaction with attendees over email and some phone this week, and value the questions and ideas that will improve both of us.  Yesterday  I was asked, “What should I be reading?”  Here is a short list of some of my favorite books:

First, before I mention a single book, every sales person should be reading The Wall Street Journal!  Not the whole thing, but anything having to do with technology.  Referencing this paper in a sales meeting with a relevant comment (don’t just do this to show off), can’t hurt.  Every “executive level” client subscribes so every rep should read.  Second, turn off your television – what a waste of time this is.  Rent an occasional movie with great content, and use your spare time to read great books and talk to great people.  Here’s the list…(of course it’s incomplete…but this is what is sitting on the self next to me)

Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath – The Heath brothers do an excellent job of explaining what makes a message stick.  If we could just apply a small portion of these ideas to our presentations I would be a lot happier sitting through sales calls!

Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play, Mahan Khalsa –  I have listened to this in audio-book format dozens of times!  Normally, once through is enough for me, but Khalsa’s advise on how to answer executives, determine budgets, and move through “sales politics” is unparalleled.

Solution Selling, Michael Bosworth – this book is older, and I’m not sure I really like the 9 box matrix Bosworth takes us through.  However, the ideas behind his questioning and discovery process are right on, and his treatment of Negotiations should be required reading for all sales reps!

E-Myth, Michael Gerber – if you sell to small business, Gerber’s book is a must!  Again, I did this on audio book, and that is what I recommend.  The way Gerber pronounces “pies”, as he weaves his story of Sarah building her pie business is like listening to old time radio.  But the concepts are what make this book a winner.  Talk to any small business owner and start sharing Gerber’s truths, and they will be offering you a job.  This comes from personal experience with client of mine who has done this.  Business owners constantly wish he would come work in their company at a strategic level – what more could you ask for.

Time Traps, Todd Duncan – for the rep who does not have time to wade through Stephen Covey, this is the book.  Short, simple, but very practical.  My favorite part of this books explains that most reps spend about 90 minutes each day actually selling.  What if they doubled that!

Consultative Selling, Mack Hanan – An old standby for anyone creating value.  I had the opportunity to dine with Mack in NYC a few years ago!  The author has a great deal of wisdom when it comes to demonstrating justifaction.

Personal Branding, Peter Montoya – There is no better book on personal branding, and personal branding is key to changing the way people perceive you.  If you want to know how famous people become famous, Peter explains it.  If you do nothing to change your personal brand, expect to be treated accordingly.

Good to Great, Jim Collins – there is no excuse for not reading this book!  Every executive has read it, so you should too.

Permission Marketing, Seth Godin – Did I say Marketing is key?  I did!  Seth Godin has a lot of wisdom in this area, and seems to understand the steps we need to take in order to get past the noise.  Thousands like you are calling on the same executives every week.  How will you get permission to continue calling on them?

The New Rules of Marketing, David Meerman Scott – Yes, there are new rules.  Scott has forever changed my view of marketing and social media. Every rep should take this book to heart and get moving on their marketing program.  Waiting on your marketing department will kill your business.

The Ultimate Sales Machine, Chet Holmes – for his treatment of educational marketing.    He has some older ideas that are easily replaced with Scott’s book, but still worth reading to understand how he gains permission, building on Godin’s ideas.

PS. By all means, do read The House & the Cloud

© 2010, David Stelzl

 

Old School Selling

Product knowledge used to be a key part of the sales role.  “Tell me what you have, how it works, features, benefits, etc.”  Google has changed all of that.  Today the purchase starts with Google.  Since most high-tech sales are done by referral and lead follow-up, the prospects tend to be people who are already in the research process.  They are Googling to learn what they can about technologies under consideration, and given the technical bent of the IT people doing the shopping, they likely spend more time reading and researching the bits and bytes than you do.   Sales has become a commodity, and the basic sales person is no longer worth their wages.  An electronic chat person online does almost as good, and the prices online can’t be beat.  So what’s the answer?

Reaching back to the 70’s

In the 1970’s Mack Hanan wrote “Consultative Selling.” He describes a process of measuring return on investment over various clients, creating a database of norms from which the sales person can now draw justification based on ROI, and predict hurdle rates to sell the product.  While I tend to steer away from ROI with most sales (given our inability to face CFOs with confidence), I do whole wholeheartedly embrace the idea of focusing on value (in this case, financial justification) to improve the client’s position.  Every budget has business purposes behind it.  The sales person must become enough of a consultant to figure out what these are and then demonstrate a connection between the proposed sale and the client’s business needs.  If you want to beat the online e-tailors, you’ll have to change your value proposition; you’ll have to become a consultant.

So What is a Consultant?

The first thing people think of here is billing time, but that doesn’t do it for me.  When I hear someone say, “I’m a doctor”, I get it, same for insurance rep, teacher, police officer, etc.  But when I hear consultant, I have no idea what they really mean.  They might be anything from a PWC partner to unemployed…I’d rather hear what they do than what they call themselves.  “I work with manufacturing companies, helping them improve efficiencies in the widget manufacturing process.”  This works for me.  It’s an improvement in the client’s situation, taking them from current to future state, with improvement, cost reduction, efficiency gains, or risk reduction (you can fill in yours), in mind.  They provide the analysis/discovery, make recommendations, and point them in the right direction with practical, specific information.  In the end, it may be a product sale, but the real sale is in helping the client acheive something specific.  Note: the later you are in the sales cycle, the less likely it is that you actually do this.

This doesn’t mean that every consultant bills time.  Some make their money through the sale of products or other services.  But they consult with the client to bring this value, delivering it through the product or people they then sell, others will do the follow-through work themselves with an associated fee.  So in 2011, consider this; what problems do you specialize in solving, what business benefits or gains do you specialize in giving?  Can the value you bring be provided through Google and e-tailors, or are you unique in some way that requires you be there?  Is your value worth the additional price of the product or is the client better off buying it from a major distributor?  This is the question we all need to be asking as Google grows.

© 2010, David Stelzl