- April 18, 2007
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
First, before you read on, you’ll need to read this post.
Next you’ll need to read Geoffrey James rebuttal post.
I apologize to Geoffrey James for making the assumption that he is not an expert on the subject of sales. My research failed to turn up anything other than his blog and I’m very sorry that I did not conduct a more thorough research effort.
Now that I have apologized, he should too. Geoffrey should have read Baseline Selling as his inaccurate statements about my book would suggest. As a matter of fact, out of the dozens of positive reviews on Baseline Selling there was one reviewer who, back in January of 2006, wrote a review that was so far off-base it was clear he either never read the book or had an agenda to keep people from reading it. The review was so mean-spirited that the reviewer didn’t even sign the review. Instead of reviewing the book he attacked me personally right in the book review. Little did the reviewer know that I thrive on such attacks. Bring them on! I only bring this up because some of Geoffrey’s comments were the exact same comments as the reviewer’s. Could Geoffrey, the freelance writer who writes about sales, be that mystery reviewer? Hmmn. Couldn’t this be exciting!
It is quite obvious that we strongly disagree with each other’s position. I believe that disagreement is what makes the internet so compelling a forum for discussion. Instant feedback can foster an ongoing debate on what it takes for a company’s sales force to succeed. This allows us to challenge them and provide information to help them improve. Geoffrey and I simply don’t agree on how to do that! That said, I must point out that Baseline Selling is not a complex system of steps, but simply four events in time that must occur before a salesperson has earned the right to close the sale..
He really surprised me when he wrote that “if someone has commoditized your product then it’s a commodity”…..Wow! If he is a sales expert then he must sell some of that sales expertise to companies. As this debate illustrates, our selling systems, methodologies, processes, strategies, tactics, philosophies, content, style, experiences and positions are 180 degrees apart. Could we be any more different? Yet, based on his claim, if a prospect thinks that all sales development is the same, then shouldn’t that make Geoffrey a commodity?
I think not. So now, the ever-present salesperson within must get that prospect to alter his opinion because that surely won’t happen in a vacuum. If Geoffrey asks questions, then he’s selling. If he makes comparisons, then he’s selling. If he makes a presentation, then he’s selling. If he educates, then he’s selling. And if that prospect’s limited search of the internet causes him to choose Baseline Selling (or any other selling system) over the Sales Machine because he can relate better to the Baseball analogy, Geoffrey is out… unless…he can ask questions…to learn:
what it is about Baseline Selling that the prospect relates to so well (the baseball analogy);
why that’s important to him (his people can remember it and apply it);
how that would help him (everyone would be selling the same way, spending time on only the best opportunities, and closing more of them);
how that help would impact his company’s revenue (they would increase by 30%);
how important that would be (his investors would allow him to keep his job);
and most importantly, whether he’d be open to another approach if it would help his company’s revenue even more effectively than Baseline Selling would (well sure!).
And if he does any of that, he’s selling my way and by now, probably your way too.
On the other hand, I could always make an announcement to all of the companies that have adopted Baseline Selling who are reporting sales increases of 30%-50%. I could tell them to “never mind”. If they have to sell their products and services then their customers are being scammed. If they have to differentiate themselves, they’re just a commodity and they should take their licks. If they are more expensive they should just lower their prices. If they have a complex product they should just simplify it. If they have a design/build/custom element to what they do, they should just rely on prospects to know exactly what they need because Geoffrey James says that companies shouldn’t have to sell anyone because their prospects should just magically know what they need and buy it.
© Copyright 2007 Objective Management Group, Inc.