SUMMARY - Sales Unplugged - Michael Walford-Grant

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Here are the key points summarized:

  • Develop a clear value proposition focused on tangible business benefits and outcomes for customers. Follow the standard formula of business function = direction + metric + magnitude.

  • Craft consistent messaging that resonates throughout the sales cycle, addressing why change is needed, why now, why you are the solution. Incorporate problems, insights, value proposition, delivery, and proof.

  • Qualify opportunities by understanding budget, timeframe, decision process, pain points, and evaluating over time. Prioritize ideal customers that are a strong strategic fit.

  • Build rapport in initial meetings through research, listening, asking questions, summarizing next steps, and scheduling follow ups to maintain momentum.

  • Adopt a consultative approach as a trusted advisor, helping the buyer understand their needs and how your solution benefits them strategically and quantifiably. Manage complexity and pace the sale appropriately.

  • Maintain ongoing communication and move the sale forward at each stage of the buying cycle - awareness, evaluation, decision. Monitor tactics, messaging and competitive edge.

  • Leverage referrals which have higher conversion rates than cold calls. Ask thoughtful questions, share insights, anticipate objections, qualify properly and avoid closing too fast.

  • Target the right stakeholders and decision makers through internal sponsors. Prepare thoroughly with research on hot topics, budget priorities, and industry trends to secure executive access and negotiations.

The overall emphasis is on developing a tailored go-to-market strategy focused on value delivery, effective communications, qualified opportunities, consultative relationships and continual improvement based on data and feedback.

Here are the key points from the summary:

  • The author hired an experienced but older salesperson, Paul, who struggled to close deals after a year.

  • The author and CEO decided to let Paul go, but on the day of the planned dismissal meeting, Paul disclosed medical issues like high blood pressure and stress. This put the author in a difficult position.

  • Luckily, Paul asked what the meeting was about before the author could fire him. Paul then took a medical leave.

  • When Paul returned, the author had no choice but to proceed with dismissal. However, the exit was amicable as Paul understood the issues and even waived expenses owed.

  • Paul found a new job within months, showing flexibility on both sides to handle a difficult situation professionally.

The main takeaways are how the author had to navigate firing an employee with disclosed medical issues, delayed it tactfully, but still ultimately had to for performance reasons - yet maintained an amicable transition.

Here is a summary:

  • The author had been under immense pressure at work to finalize and sign a $1 million, 5-year contract by the deadline of October 15th due to receiving a final written warning.

  • Through navigating the sales process skillfully, gaining trust, limiting scope, structuring the deal terms well, and avoiding unnecessary checks, they were able to move the deal along.

  • Legal contracts were drafted with most terms agreed by mid-October, though a few clauses remained outstanding.

  • The author addressed their concern that pricing hadn't been negotiated by arranging a call to resolve the final clauses within 30 minutes.

  • They worried obstacles may appear last minute to derail the deal, as well as their mental state affecting things, but were able to complete the deal on the deadline day when the second director signed.

  • While expecting to be fired, their manager informed them the warnings would remain but they would not be sacked since hitting the sales target.

  • The author resigned in January 2020 to start their own sales consultancy, having achieved the crucial contract under pressure.

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