EPISODE 427: Top Sales World’s Jonathan Farrington’s Five Suggestions for Near Term Professional Selling Success

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of Creativity in Sales virtual learning session sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Sales on May 19, 2021. It featured Top Sales World Publisher Jonathan Farrington.]

Register for the LIVE IES program featuring Arnold Sanow on November 5, 2021 here.

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JONATHAN’S TIP FOR EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “All the economists that I speak to and everybody that I listen to that is a so-called financial expert are predicting a boom for the next two, three, four, maybe even five years. Beginning, they suggest, at the end of Q3 this year. If we’re going to take advantage of all of this, we’ve got to be prepared. First of all, we’ve got to conduct an audit of ourselves, we’ve got to understand what we need to do to improve because the day we stop improving and the day we stop learning, we might as well pack up and go home, frankly. The next thing we have to do is to understand the people that report to us, and we do have a duty of care to them. We’ve got to make sure that they fully armed not just to win the occasional skirmish, but to win the war. Then third and probably the most important, think about customers. Get as close as you can to customers. Work across the line, work up, work down, understand their entire commercial objectives, understand their concerns, their fears and just get closer to them because they want you to. Stop selling, start understanding.”


Fred Diamond: I’m excited today because we have Jonathan Farrington. Of course, he’s the creator of Top Sales World publications, they have their awards as well. I’m honored to have won a silver medal in Best Sales Podcast of the Year probably two years ago, so thank you so much to you and your team for recognizing us for that. Also, you’re the Director of Research for the Sandler Research Center.

Jonathan, you’re over in the UK, I’m here in New Jersey today. People who typically watch the webcast, a little bit of a different background, I’m in a different location spending a couple days at the beach. But Jonathan, how are you doing today, my friend?

Jonathan Farrington: We’re doing well, Fred. Thank you very much for inviting me today, it’s a great pleasure.

Fred Diamond: It’s very exciting, we’re talking about what will sales look like post-COVID? Again, we’re doing today’s show in May and Jonathan, it’s unbelievable that we’ve been doing a webcast like this every single day since the pandemic kicked in last March.

Prior to that, the Institute for Excellence in Sales, we’re based in DC, we were doing 50 live programs a year. Now we’ve done this every single day and we’re probably going to continue doing this for another couple of years.

Let’s get started here, I’m really excited with what you have to say. I know there’s about 5 or 6 critical points that you’re going to touch on, let’s not waste any more time and let’s get to it.

Jonathan Farrington: Absolutely, Fred. I think what we could start with is by considering whether or not the buyer-seller relationship will return to what it was pre-COVID. I’m happy that we’re beginning by focusing on customers because as we work through this recording, Fred, you’ll understand that I believe that customers should always be front, center and right.

There’s a myth been going around the sales space in recent months that we’re witnessing the death of professional selling as buyers’ preferences for the way they buy change. Obviously not, because in our latest piece of research we ask the question, in your personal experience, do you feel that the relevance or the importance of sales professionals to your future purchasing requirements will increase, decrease or stay the same? More than 90% told us it would increase significantly or increase. Only 9.8% said it would decrease.

I think what we should also think about when we consider how buyers are changing is that today they’ve got access to most of the information they need prior to engaging with a vendor, which means the contact is made much later in the sales and buying cycle. That’s not going to change, they will continue to become more educated and they will continue to have greater access to all the information they need.

But not only do they conduct thorough research into the products and services, but they access reviews, they speak to existing clients, they seek out market intelligence. This in turn means that when a vendor is finally invited into the process, they must have already completed their own homework on the buyer and be able to demonstrate, for example, that they’ve got an in-depth understanding of the vendor’s industry and sector. I’ll touch on that critical word, understanding, a little bit later, Fred.

Fred Diamond: Jonathan, I know you’re going to get to that later, but I want to hit on something that you just said. My question for you is this, talk a little bit more to help sales professionals, especially those who are relatively new, understand how the customers interact with each other.

We talk a lot about how the customers are getting more educated, and of course, that’s because of the internet and information is out there and they could do their homework before they reach out to the vendor that they don’t know. Talk a little bit about your understanding of how customers talk to each other so that sales professionals or sales reps can understand that dynamic as well.

Jonathan Farrington: We would expect that customers interact. If I want to know something – and I’m sure you and everybody listening to this are the same – we do conduct our own research, as I alluded to. But I’m always very, very keen to talk to existing users of that vendor, the existing customers, and understand the experiences that they’ve had. Any red flags that they’d like to show up so that I can make a more educated decision about that particular vendor and their products and their services. We should come to expect that that buyer log is taking place, why wouldn’t it?

Fred Diamond: And it makes a lot of sense. I’m just curious, if you were a sales professional and that just hit you over the head, and of course, we’re familiar with things like user groups used to be a big thing, and of course, conferences and people would talk to each other.

If I’m a typical sales professional who’s probably listening to today’s Sales Game Changers podcast with Jonathan Farrington, I really can influence my company’s marketing per se, the website and the strategy for getting contact. How can I influence or be aware of what you just talked about in my sales process to use that to my advantage?

Jonathan Farrington: In a sense, you are right, Fred. The average salesperson has no influence over how the website looks, although are we putting excessive importance to that? What I can do as a salesperson is to ensure that every time I make a sale, that I get closer to that customer/client and I do my very best that I understand their needs, I understand how they wish to buy, how they wish to communicate.

Although it’s become a cliché, exceeding the customer’s expectation – which I absolutely abhor, by the way – it is so important that every time you make a sale, you keep all of your promises and you attempt to go that extra yard, if not mile. When you do that, then you should expect very good referrals.

Fred Diamond: Yesterday we had Jennifer Chronis who’s the Senior VP for Verizon Public Sector here in the United States. At the end of the podcast, like I’m going to ask you in about 25 minutes, I’m going to ask you for your final action idea. Jennifer’s was spend all of your time getting to know your customer deeply than you can possibly ever imagine, so that you can deliver the value.

I agree with you, the concept of exceed expectations is kind of a cliché and it’s hard to rally around because you’re busy looking for new business and trying to find ways to ensure that you keep your customer happy. But understanding their challenges, one of the interesting things that came about over the last 12 months, and we always talk about how sales professionals need to bring value.

We’ve been talking a lot about the concept of extreme value, getting to the customer with ideas that are going to help them achieve their goals. One of the notions that we brought up, and I’m interested in your thoughts on this, is that we should know as a sales professional, because of all of the challenges that we’ve all had to face over the last 12 months. For the first time in history, we should know what everybody’s dealing with.

We know everybody’s dealing with getting past COVID, work-at-home, working moms working at home and all those kinds of things. We’re all dealing with the financial implications and we’ve all had to deal with whatever the third thing might be, either personal or mental health or something impacting your company particularly. I believe this, I think we should know what our customers are challenged with and we should not feel afraid to come to them with solutions for that.

Jonathan Farrington: Here’s the reality, Fred. 68% of customers change vendor for one reason and that is because they began to feel ignored, and another vendor came along and made them feel sexy again. It’s as simple as that. They didn’t leave because they were offered lower prices, increased discounts, new shiny products at all.

If an organization has been in business for more than two years, it’s most probable that 80% of their revenue year on year will come from their existing clients, unless they’re selling commodities, of course. Yet, most sales organizations spend 80% of their time not looking after their existing customers, getting to know them and working on account development issues.

What they do is for 80% of the time, they’re chasing new logos, they’re looking for new business and they’re ignoring what they already have, which is no surprise.

Fred Diamond: I want to ask you a basic question and then we’ll move onto your second point here. Jonathan, this is a very basic question but I want you to answer it so that sales professionals can hear. You just made a really interesting point, why don’t customers want to switch vendors? Again, it’s a real basic question, but I wanted you to bring it out here.

We live in fear, in a lot of cases, that our customers are going to leave, but customers typically don’t want to leave. Can you talk for a second or two about from a customer perspective, what they want and why they don’t want to leave?

Jonathan Farrington: Yes, because they’re also cost involved with changing vendors, there are huge risks involved. We’ve all heard the expression the grass is always greener, and then it never turns out to be. That’s exactly what happens in a buyer-seller relationships.

Buyers want to be understood, that’s the simple fact. They’re crying out, “Don’t sell to me, understand me.” And they’re looking for long-term symbiotic relationships because it’s easier and trust can be built, and understanding all of their issues. They have that comfort that they are understood, and that’s why that’s such a key word.

If you had to, somebody pointed a gun at your head and said, “Okay, Jonathan, just give us one piece of solid advice today to sellers.” Stop selling, start understanding. It’s as simple as that.

Fred Diamond: It’s interesting, we interview some of the best sales leaders on the planet every Wednesday on our Sales Game Changers Live. Like I mentioned, Jennifer Chronis from Verizon and we had Joe Ayers from HP a couple of weeks ago. World-class sales leaders who have reached the highest level of sales success, and it’s interesting.

You never want to lose the customer, of course, but they never talk about the fear of losing the customer. They always talk about how you can get more understanding of their challenges so that you can continue to bring them value. Sales professionals listening to today’s podcast or reading the transcript, I think that’s going to be in the title there, Jonathan, start understanding and stop selling.

First of all, you remove a whole lot of stress in you life, you empower yourself more and hopefully, you’ll be happier and you’ll grow your career and your company will grow. We’re focusing on this #1, I know you’ve got four more points that we want to get to, so let’s get to #2.

Jonathan Farrington: Moving quickly on, how have the buyers changed in the way that they used to conduct business? As we all know, the arrival of COVID-19 has forced us to reach what my good pal, Tiffani Bova, calls a tipping point for the selling professional. Particularly with regards to digital transformation.

In fact, what we can see is that both selling and buying are now much more digital when it comes to the buying journey and the selling process. We know from previous research that the majority of sellers are expecting to continue transaction, future business in the same way that they have been for the past 15 months.

They accept that, they’ve adapted and even though it’s much more difficult to sell virtually, it just is. Sellers have been forced to reevaluate their skill sets so that they can ensure that they’re communicating with customers, clients and prospects in this new remote and virtual world. It isn’t just video, chat, email or phone, it’s all of those.

It’s actually the buyers that will make the decision based on their preferences. Which of those communication mediums have to be used or should be used? They set the pace of how and how often we communicate with them.

There is some good news. Most buyers understand and accept all this and they also have adapted, because it’s in their interest to do so. It’s blatantly obvious that expertise is exactly what customers are looking for today, and they will spend time with salespeople they believe that will bring them relevant expertise and that will help them solve all of their business problems.

In the content era, expertise was product expertise but today it goes far beyond that. Business acumen, industry knowledge, company and stakeholder knowledge and team leverage knowledge. Finally, I would add this. It’s been suggested that buyers are now more commercially promiscuous than ever before and that they no longer value long-term relationships with vendors. That isn’t so and we touched on this a few moments ago, Fred.

In responding to the following question, thinking about your current list of suppliers, how important is it to create long-term, symbiotic relationships? 86% told us that it was important, and in fact, more than 55% said it was extremely important which underpins my view of that, Fred.

Despite all of this reassuring data, we should be under no illusion that the buyer-seller relationship is evolving, and with the former demonstrating much higher levels of discernment, they do not want to be sold to. They’re even more unwilling than ever to simply be part of the audience than part of the process, and I can only repeat again, Fred, they’re crying out, “Don’t sell to me, understand me.”

Fred Diamond: That is brilliant and it reminds me of something. Most of my career prior to starting the Institute for Excellence in Sales was in technology marketing, I worked for Apple Computer for a long time, Compaq and a large software company called Compuware in various marketing roles, international product marketing, etc.

The main thing that I learned was that on the buyer side, and we talked about the buyer throughout today, was that they didn’t want to make the wrong decision. They didn’t want to be the guy or lady who was responsible for bringing in $50 million of software that didn’t work, and that was back in the day of large ERP implementations that went bust.

You have some early adopters, of course, but they don’t want to make risky decisions. They want to help their company grow, they want to help their company sell more products, they want to help their company be more efficient, whatever they are tasked with doing. They don’t want to make a mistake because they’re going to be in that relationship for 20 years.

One of the cool things, before we move onto the next question, we’ve had some sales leaders on the Sales Game Changers podcast that have been selling for 30, in some cases 40 years to the same industry, and in many cases, to the same customers. They’ve grown up with the customers, people who were sales professionals at Red Hat, Oracle, Intel, companies like that, Microsoft. 30, 40-year technology companies.

I’ll say, “Tell us about relationships” and one person, Tamara Greenspan who was at Oracle for 30 years, she said, “Some of my customers, we’ve grown together over the last 20, 30 years.” Isn’t that amazing, Jonathan? To be able to have that type of relationship and to be aware of that?

I’m not talking about a friend, I’m sure maybe they have a friendship at this point and invited each other to each other’s children’s weddings and that. But I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about knowing that you’ve had a 20, 30-year relationship with a customer and you’ve helped them achieve their goals over 20, 30 years.

Jonathan Farrington: Yeah, and I’ve been there myself, Fred. I’ve often said to my sales teams that we need to get to a point that if a relationship with a customer or client is going to end, we will make that decision. And if necessary, we’ll have them surgically removed.

Fred Diamond: [Laughs] all right, next topic.

Jonathan Farrington: Obviously, when we think about traditional sales skills it’s very difficult not to remember Arthur Miller’s classic Death of a Salesman. Of course, the hero, if we can call him that, was Willy Loman. Willy Loman didn’t become a poor salesperson overnight, he simply refused to change.

When I think about the future of selling, I see the era of collaboration continuing and extending and becoming even more significant. It’s where both the buyer and the seller become customers to one another, and this approach has three primary goals for both organizations. It minimizes short-term risk, it maximizes long-term gain and it creates value by partnering.

I feel that the bar will continue to be raised as salespeople increase value for their customers beyond what they can glean from the internet and social media. Buyers and sellers will leverage the natural synergies that already exist and jointly – that’s the key word – seek new ways of being innovative and proactive in creating mutual success.

Salespeople are often described as being either hunters or farmers, everyone’s familiar with that. What I’d like to do, really, is introduce a new metaphor because I think it accurately describes how the most successful people are selling today. That is the fisher, which better describes what the goal is, and that’s to put the bait out there and be ready to engage as soon as the prospect is ready. I see technology is the game changer for adapting old sales models, selling differently in the marketplace by enticing rather than pushing.

Fred Diamond: Jonathan, I want to ask you a question here. We’ve been doing a webinar every single day since the pandemic, and prior to that we did tons of live events. There’s been so many common themes that have come up when you do a webinar every day and I want to ask you your thoughts on this particular topic.

A couple weeks ago, I had a guest on the Sales Game Changers Live where I interview sales VPs. His name is Kevin Dorsey, KD, and I asked Kevin for the action step that I’m going to ask you in a few minutes here. “What’s your action step?” He said, “For everybody listening, treat yourself like a professional.”

That’s one of the themes that has come up over the last year, and actually, it comes up so many times at the Institute for Excellence in Sales prior to that. I want to get your thoughts on sales as a profession. I’m going to tell you right now, we’ve got thousands of people listening to this podcast or reading the transcript. We’ve got a couple dozen people here watching the webcast. They’re all professionals.

If they’re devoting an hour of their time to spend time with the great Jonathan Farrington, getting some ideas on how you can take your sales career to the next level, ladies and gentlemen, I applaud you. I’m going to take you off course here for a little bit as I probably already have done five or six times. Talk about sales as a profession. What does it mean to you? You’ve been in this industry for decades, you’ve led the way, you’ve created and implemented new ideas. Talk about the sales professional and what that person should look like.

Jonathan Farrington: It’s a very, very good question. I think the tide is changing, Fred. Here in the UK, the government has started investing in sales training programs and is recognizing that actually, sales is a profession. Even though they want to add marketing to it, which isn’t a bad thing, because marketing and sales should be working together and legitimizing their relationship. Let’s hope that continues.

The word that Kevin uses is professional, and of course, being professional isn’t one thing, it’s actually three. It’s what you say, how you look and what you do. I believe that so many salespeople – I won’t call them professionals necessarily – believe that it’s absolutely essential to be liked by your customer. It isn’t, it’s totally irrelevant. What is important is that you are respected.

The greatest compliment that any client or customer can pay you is to say that you are professional. The number of times that I’ve conducted pipeline reviews with up-and-coming salespeople and I’ve said, okay, tell me about this opportunity, do you think you’re going to win it? “Oh, yes, I’ll win it.” Why are you so confident? “Because he or she likes me.” My immediate response to that is, well, they may like you but will they respect you in the morning?

Fred Diamond: If you need to bring the value and if you don’t bring the value just because your kids play soccer together, there’s no reason to continue with the relationship. I just want to make a quick aside, I came to learn a long time ago that to have success in relationships, it’s really not about love, it’s about respect. If you respect the other person in a personal relationship, in a loving relationship, in a business relationship, that will help the relationship grow. That’s a brilliant answer and I appreciate that.

We’ve also seen here in the states too, we talk a lot about how there haven’t been too many college majors. There’s 5,000 marketing majors at colleges in the United States and there’s about 160 majors and minors in the United States. We’re all working to continue to grow that and there are some great programs moving on. I know you got two more points here, before I take you off course on another one, let’s get to the fourth point.

Jonathan Farrington: [Laughs] you are a total distraction. I just wanted to go take a step back and say I totally agree with you. We could never, ever stop working to earn the right for the next piece of our customer’s business. The day we do that and we start taking them for granted, then we begin down that rapid slope of failure, frankly.

What new skills must be embraced to succeed in the new brave sales world? I believe there’s so much opportunity for sellers right now around using technology. AI and automation, for example, provides us with so much power. I sense that many sellers are being reticent about adopting all the capabilities that technology provides us with. Maybe that’s because they fear being replaced themselves one day.

But the reality is that you can automate as much of you sales and marketing process as you want, but you can never automate relationships. However, a marriage of the human and technology working side by side is a very, very powerful coupling. When we fully embrace technology, it releases us from so many of those mundane selling tasks and frees us up to focus and concentrate on the meaningful and profitable selling activities.

Beyond technology, knowledge has to be continually expanded. 95.1% of respondents recently highlighted the fact that it was very important that any potential vendor is able to demonstrate a strong knowledge of their specific challenges. This point warrants particular emphasis, because today, customers are looking for collaborative partners.

I alluded to that earlier. Customers are advancing in the sale before they’re engaging with salespeople, so it’s absolutely vital that we bring greater expertise and resources and to add to what the customers already have researched for themselves. The emphasis, I believe, is on alignment of the sales process with the customer’s buying cycle and today, the goal is for salespeople and customers to advance together in the buying journey as partners.

Fred Diamond: Before we get to your last point here, there are so many great themes that continue to pervade today’s Sales Game Changers podcast with Jonathan Farrington. One of the critical ones that’s just hit me over the head here is the fact that we forget about this, customers want to talk to us.

We did a show a couple weeks ago with two CIOs from the public sector, Steve Cooper was the first CIO at Department of Homeland Security in the United States here. He was one of the most profound and well-known public sector CIOs, and he was kind enough to be on our show along with a guy named Jamie Holcombe who’s the current CIO at the Patent and Trade office here in the United States.

What amazed me was, and these are very intelligent, successful, hardworking people. We asked the question, how do you want to work with salespeople? And I expected that they were going to say, I want to keep them at arm’s length. They said, “Bring me value, an insight or even a way to work with your company, or something that I might not know about, but tell me that you know about me. Tell me that you’ve given some thought to what my challenges are and then bring me an idea.”

It doesn’t have a to be a billion-dollar strategic idea, it could be an improvement, it could be a relationship, it could be technology, it could be used in their agencies. They were wide open to engaging those conversations. What you’re hitting over the head here, Jonathan, is again the opportunity to show the value by bringing those type of ideas to your customer because they do want to hear them.

They don’t want to be sold to, like you said before, but they do want to find solutions. They’re tasked with growing their company, their agency or their hospital, whatever it might be. How can you help them? Jonathan, I know you’ve got one more point here, so let’s get to it. I’m so glad we had you on today’s Sales Game Changers podcast and I’m glad that our guests are appreciating what you’re bringing here because this has been one of my favorite interviews. Let’s get to the fifth and final point.

Jonathan Farrington: Before I get to that, there’s something you just mentioned there that I just want to emphasize. The reality is that every customer/client everywhere have commercial objectives for set periods of time. It might be increased market share, it might be increased product offerings, whatever it might be. It’s the salesperson that can help them achieve those commercial objectives, whatever the period may be.

The five magic words I’ve always worked with are save, gain, increase, improve and reduce. If you can prove that your products, your services or your solutions can help that client/customer achieve any of those, they will most certainly listen and they will be interested, and they will want to talk to you.

Fred Diamond: Before we get to your last point, say those five again, please.

Jonathan Farrington: Save, gain, increase, improve, reduce.

Finally, is there still a place for face-to-face selling? Unlike many of my peers who believe selling is going totally inside, I see the arrival of a hybrid frontline sales professional that would not only embrace all the advantages that technology gives them, but at the same time be prepared for face-to-face sales events when their prospect and customer or client requires them.

Honestly, I do believe that those occasions will most likely, as we move forward, be reserved for important milestones in the buying process like the initial exploratory meeting, the final contract negotiation or with an existing client, quarterly business reviews.

That’s the biggest change that I see. I think we’ve moved too far now digitally, we’re not going to go back and people talk about the new normal. There’s no such thing that’s a new normal, it’s just going to be different. It’s what we’ve discovered that can actually happen. Digitization was always going to take place, it was an inevitability. It’s just been accelerated by four to five years, it’s as simple as that.

What we must do is we must ask our customers how they wish to be sold to and communicated with. That is so important. Finally, I’d say this. The question for business captains is not, “When will sales go back to normal?” but rather, how quickly can you modernize so that you can embrace the future of sales and come out of COVID ready to take on the new, fast, always-online, customer-centric, content-rich and technology-enabled world or modern buying and selling?

Fred Diamond: Jonathan Farrington, thank you so much. We have time for a question here, we’ve got a question from the audience and this question comes from Steve. Thank you so much, Steve. Steve says, “Great points on face-to-face, I agree.” Tell us how sales management can play a role in supporting this.

Before we get to your last action step here, talk a little bit about sales management. About 25% of the audience of the Sales Game Changers podcast are sales leaders, manager, director, VP and above. About 50% are bag-carrying, quota-carrying business owners and about 20% are business owners or solopreneurs. Give us some of your thoughts, again, on how sales management can affect to their team, a lot of what you just talked about in the last 30 minutes. Specifically, maybe even face to face.

Jonathan Farrington: One of the reasons that we just recently launched Top Sales Leadership, which I believe is the only exclusive site for sales leaders – we even offer a question and answer service for free, the panel will get back within 24 hours – is because I believe that sales leadership, sales management, whatever you want to call it, the role has become absolutely pivotal. If you show me a poorly performing sales team, I’ll show you an abysmal manager. It’s as simple as that.

Objective Management Group run by Dave Kurlan, and I often discuss these points, it’s our view that only 6%, amazingly, of sales leaders today are adequately prepared, experienced and qualified to run a modern sales team. Through our research, what we’ve discovered is there are a lot of sales managers who are lagging behind, we’re 15 months into COVID, they haven’t audited their team against the skills that are going to be required post-COVID. They haven’t even trained them to sell digitally.

My feeling is that rather than criticize sales managers/leaders, I believe they need all the help they can get because I think it’s less than 10% arrive in that position with the skills that they need and they’re going to need managing a frontline sales team. The investment seems to stop at senior sales level and the investment doesn’t continue once into sales management.

We can discuss the reasons why the average tenure now for a sales manager is just 18 months, and that is horrific. But it explains why sales achievement levels globally are going through the floor, while sales costs continue to go through the ceiling. We’ve got no measure for 2020, but at the end of 2019, we know for a fact that only 48% of frontline sales professionals hit their number. We’ve got to believe that in a normal 2020, it would have gone down to 45%, which is frightening because you know exactly where all of that is going.

I think that sales managers have got a big part to play, they’ve got to get themselves up to scratch, first of all. They’ve got to work to the mantra, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me”, embrace the skills that they need and then get very close to each of their sales professionals, get them all working. Not collectively, but every single one of them working to optimum performance levels. You can only do that through familiarity and getting it right all the way through from selection to onboarding to coaching and continuing like that.

Fred Diamond: Steve says thank you very much for the thoughtful response. The great Dave Kurlan is actually going to be a guest on the Sales Game Changers webcast I believe in June or July, so we look forward to having him here.

Jonathan Farrington, before we ask you for your final step, something people must do today, you’ve given us so many great ideas. I just want to acknowledge you and the work that you’ve done in your career to help sales professionals take their careers and their lives to the next level. There’s nothing out there in the world like Top Sales World and the content that you have been producing for decades, and the work that you’re doing at the Sandler Research Center.

You’ve impacted the careers and lives of tens of thousands, maybe more, sales leaders, their teams and everyone who works in their organizations to take their careers and also taking their company’s performance to the next level. Based on today’s conversation, helping customers achieve their goals as well.

It’s interesting, when I think of that, I usually think about the role that my guest has played with the sales profession. But as we talked today, so much about the buyer-seller relationship, it’s really opened up my eyes. If a sales professional is really achieving their goal, truly being professional, they are helping their customers improve their lives and their company’s gains as well.

Jonathan, thank you so much. Give us an action step. You’ve given us dozens of ideas, give us one final action step people should do right now. Before you give us that, we just got a comment here from Jerry and Jerry says, “This was excellent.” We got a comment here from Roberto who says thank you, another comment here from Steve who says, “Thank you very much, Jonathan.” We have a comment here from Alicia, she says, “Thank you for doing this on a Friday.” Of course, every Friday is the Creativity in Sales webcast from the Sales Game Changers podcast and the Institute for Excellence in Sales.

Jonathan, bring us home. Give us one final action step for sales professionals to do today.

Jonathan Farrington: I will certainly, but to the audience, thank you so much for the kind comments. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it.

It’s very difficult to just pick out one action, Fred, but what I will say is this. All the economists that I speak to and everybody that I listen to that is a so-called financial expert are predicting a boom for the next two, three, four, maybe even five years. Beginning, they suggest, at the end of Q3 this year. I think that’s a little optimistic but again, I’m not going to comment on this.

If we’re going to take advantage of all of this, we’ve got to be prepared. First of all, we’ve got to conduct an audit of ourselves, we’ve got to understand what we need to do to improve because the day we stop improving and the day we stop learning, we might as well pack up and go home, frankly.

The next thing we have to do is to understand the people that report to us, and we do have a duty of care to them. We’ve got to make sure that they fully armed not just to win the occasional skirmish, but to win the war. Then third and probably the most important, think about customers. Get as close as you can to customers. Work across the line, work up, work down, understand their entire commercial objectives, understand their concerns, their fears and just get closer to them because they want you to. Stop selling, start understanding.

Fred Diamond: Jonathan Farrington, thank you so much. To everybody who joined us today either on the Creativity in Sales webcast or the Sales Game Changers podcast, I want to acknowledge you for taking an hour of your time to taking your sales career to the next level and for helping your company’s sales process and organization take it up a notch as well. Jonathan, have a great weekend. Thank you everybody for listening to today’s Sales Game Changers podcast or the Creativity in Sales webinar.

Jonathan Farrington: Thanks very much, Fred. Thank you, everybody. Have a good weekend.

Transcribed by Mariana Badillo

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