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The Portable Sales Coach


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Time is money -- which means you're pouring money down the drain when you spend your time on low-percentage selling strategies.

How many times have you cold-called someone with no expectation that they'd have any interest in your pitch? How many times have you had to crowbar your way into someone's office to make a presentation? How many deals have you poured hours into, knowing that they were doomed from the start?

Don't just work hard -- work smart. Read this book for the high-percentage plays in sales that will take your game to the next level. Discover how to:
  • Craft a cold call your market wants to hear
  • Get more appointments from fewer cold calls
  • Get more sales from fewer appointments
  • Find segments of your market that no one else is selling to
  • Figure out which of your customers are making you money and which are costing you money
  • Stop wasting time on people who aren't going to buy from you



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Published 18 September 2012
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EAN13 9781927483367
Language English
Document size 1 MB

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The Portable

Copyright © 2013 by Lance Osborne
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by
any means including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now
known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Published in 2013 by BPS Books
A division of Bastian Publishing Services Ltd.
Toronto and New York
Paperback ISBN 978-1-927483-27-5
ePDF: ISBN 978-1-927483-37-4
ePub: ISBN 978-1-927483-36-7
Cataloguing-in-Publication Data available from
Library and Archives Canada.
Cover: V. John Lee
Illustrations: Jim Hunt
Text design, typesetting, and graphics: Casey Hooper DesignCONTENTS
Part I: Commonsense Cold Calling
1 Tell the Right Story
2 Tell It to the Right Person
3 Tell It the Right Way
4 Tell It Often Enough
Part II: Managing Yourself, Managing Your Market
5 Time Is Infinite Only If You Happen to Be a Physicist
6 All Customers Are Not Created Equal
7 The Cure for Irrational Optimism
8 Avoiding the Dreaded Sine Wave of Sales
9 Prospecting on Steroids: Referral Selling
10 The Coffee-and-Bagel Marketing Program
Part III: Unconventional Wisdom
11 Report to Your Boss, but Work for Yourself
12 Kiss Me or Blow My Brains Out
13 The Orchard in the Bramble Patch: A Sales Fable
14 Looking for the Road Less Traveled
15 A Conversation About Sales
16 Sell unto Others as You Would Have Them Sell unto You
Conclusion: You Took the Time to Read This Book … Now What?I N T R O D U C T I O N
1. Identify someone who’s in the market for your product or your service, and

2. Persuade them to buy it from you.
Most books about sales concentrate on the persuasion component of selling. The sell like me books
contain sections on How to Get Past the Gatekeepers and scripts and tips on Building Rapport so you
can Connect with Your Prospect and turn him or her into a client. This may all be good stuff, but
there’s a reason that persuasion is the second part of sales. You can be the best salesperson in the
world, but if the person you’re pitching isn’t in the market for what you’re selling, all those compelling
arguments and closing techniques aren’t going to get you the sale. On the other hand, even if you’re
brand new to sales, you stand a pretty good chance of closing the deal if you happen on a guy whose
pants are on fire and you sell buckets of water.
I’ve spent more than 25 years selling and training people how to sell. I can tell you the best
salespeople are not the ones with the most compelling pitches and personalities. Forget all that “I can
sell anything to anybody” malarkey—that’s not what defines a successful salesperson. The most
successful salespeople know how to get in front of the people who want to hear from them and they
stay in front of the people who want to buy from them.
If you’re new to sales and you went for a few beers with a group of successful salespeople, you
might be surprised by what they talk about when they get down to telling war stories. They won’t be
bragging about talking someone who wasn’t even on the market into a big sale. They’ll be talking about
how many (or few) cold calls it takes for them to get a meeting with a potential client. And they won’t
be congratulating themselves on the big deals they managed to close. They’ll more likely be
deconstructing the instances where they wasted time on deals that were never going to happen in the
first place.
Successful salespeople don’t talk about how hard they work. They talk about how smart they work—
how they get the best possible returns on the time and energy they invest in selling.
That’s what I’m going to show you in this book—how to get the best possible returns from all your
hard work. You don’t need to change how you sell. You don’t have to work any harder than you do
right now. You just need to spend more time with the prospects who could and should turn into
customers. This may sound like an obvious, even simplistic statement. But think about how many cold
calls you’ve made where you had little or no expectation that the person you were calling would be
interested in what you were selling. Think about how many “deals” you’ve poured time and effort into,
knowing the odds were against them ever turning into sales.
Up to now, everyone’s been telling you sales is a numbers game. And they’re right—it is. But it’s not
just about quantity of numbers. It’s about quality of numbers. Successful selling is about percentages.
It starts with figuring out the people you should be selling to in the first place. Are you calling the
names on that list in front of you because you have good reason to believe they might need your
product? Or are you calling them because this just happens to be the list your manager handed you to
There may be an infinite number of names in your market, but you don’t have time to call them all.
You just want to call the relative few who might be in the market at the time you’re calling. If you’re
calling people who you know have a 1 in 10 chance of being in the market for your product, you are
going to make a lot more sales than the guy calling people with a 1 in 100 chance of being in the market
for his product.
Cold calling gets you in front of the potential customer, but that’s only half the story. A prospect is
just someone who’s in the market for the kind of product or service you’re selling. This doesn’t
necessarily mean they’re going to buy from you. They might buy from a competitor; they might decide to
defer the purchase; their financing might fall through; or they might just change their mind.
There are many ways for the sale not to happen. Any one prospect can turn into a great customer or a
big waste of time. The trick is to spend most of your time with the prospects who are likely to turn intoclients and as little time as possible with the prospects who aren’t.
My experience in sales comes from the world of recruitment. The company I founded and operated
for more than 25 years specializes in recruiting professional accountants and accounting executives.
This is a very specialized sell. The sales staff has to have a good understanding of the principles and
technical details associated with accounting in order to secure the sale and then come up with the
appropriate recruitment strategy.
I didn’t hire career salespeople for my company. Why? Because I knew they wouldn’t be able to
adequately service the sales they generated unless they happened to have an accounting degree. So for
the most part I hired accountants and then taught them how to sell.
Unsurprisingly, accountants are very logical, analytical people who tend to base their activities and
decisions on hard facts and cold data. They’re typically wary of sales pitches. Even accountants who
decide to get into sales themselves tend to be leery of the persuasion elements of selling. You might
think it would be difficult to teach people like this how to sell, but it wasn’t. It was surprisingly easy
because I focused my training more on the science of sales and less on the art of selling (pitches and
persuasion). And much of the science of sales lies in understanding and playing the percentages of
selling properly.
I taught my salespeople to evaluate all of their activities by the yardstick of the probability that the
activity would result in an imminent or future sale. I told them, if activity A has a 20 percent chance of
a positive result and activity B a 3 percent chance, they should totally ignore activity B and concentrate
on activity A. I encouraged them, when they ran out of high-percentage prospects, to spend their time
researching and planning for more high-quality prospects instead of wasting time chasing
lowpercentage prospects.
They didn’t have to be great at the persuasion component of selling to be successful (although
everyone did learn this side of sales eventually). They just needed to follow a sales methodology that
(a) put them in front of people who wanted to hear from them in the first place and then (b) kept them in
front of the prospects who were most likely to turn into clients.
Nothing in this methodology is rocket science, but it does take a lot of planning, preparation, and
discipline for it to be effective. Fortunately, accountants take to planning, preparation, and discipline
like ducks to water, so it was high-fives all around.
You’ll notice as you read this book that I make virtually no effort to motivate you. I don’t exhort you
to try harder, work more, get your act together, or get your ass in gear. In over 25 years of managing
salespeople, I’ve never been able to motivate anybody. Not one. In over 25 years! And I like to think
I’m an inspiring kind of guy when I put my mind to it. Sure, I’ve been able to stimulate sales activity
when necessary. And I’ve delivered countless pep talks over the years. Like most people in sales
management, I’m a pretty effective wielder of the old carrot and stick. But I’ve learned that although I
can influence people, I can’t motivate them.
Neither can anyone else, by the way. Not your boss, not your spouse, not the keynote speaker at your
next sales conference. Only you can motivate you.
This book contains tools, tips, and techniques that will make you more successful at sales, but only if
you actually put them to work. You were motivated enough to buy this book, but it will take a whole
other level of motivation for you to put its ideas into practice.
Some of what I talk about is obvious (in an “it’s obvious now that I’ve thought about it” kind of
way), some of it is unconventional (see chapter 11: Report to Your Boss, but Work for Yourself), but
all of it is common sense (“spend more time with people who’ll probably buy from me? Sounds good
so far”). Pick the one idea or technique that resonates with you the most and really spend the time and
effort to implement that idea and get some traction with it. Once you’ve seen some positive results with
that idea, phase in the next idea and stick with that until you get results.
The trick is to thoroughly and consistently follow through on whatever techniques you try until they
become part of your sales “muscle memory.” The more success you have with each successive idea,
the keener you’ll be to implement the next idea.
Bottom line: I hope these ideas make your career in sales a lot more successful—and just as
important, a whole lot more fun.