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Comment and Question: Tom, I been asked by our main manufacturer to be part of a panel discussion that describes why our company is so successful.  They see our success when they measure our market share numbers but those numbers are about how much of what we sell.  They don’t reveal the true reason for our success.  Our success is a function of how we sell.  You know our company.  All of our sales professionals have attended your counselor selling workshop.  We’ve embraced the selling on purpose philosophy.  I’ve told them about this approach at council meetings and they dismiss it as something that will not work with what they call hard core price buyers.  A description of our approach will be very different from the other presenters.  How should I present our approach without sounding confrontational?   S. T.
Answer:  S. T.  What a great opportunity for you to deliver a very strategic message to everyone in attendance.  Be clear that success in any business is totally a function of “behavior” that can not be measured.  After Counselor Selling, your sales people began to “behave” very differently.  They did the Care Reviews to “understand” your existing customers.  That “behavior change” started your journey to the success you are realizing today and very few manufacturers have measures to determine how that happened.  All measurements are of “effects”-- not causation.  What they want to hear is about the “cause.”  
There is an old truth that states: “No one can talk (negotiate) themself out of what they behaved themself into.”  This is a very difficult lesson for many people and companies to learn.  No company can “talk” (sell) itself out of a product defect – a late delivery – a poor customer service interaction – a picture on the menu board that does not come in the bag.   Yet, many companies advertise the “new and improved” hoping to regain lost credibility.  Some even change their names to suggest that new “behavior” is in something “bigger” and “better.”   Yet, the “muscle memory” of the faulty “behavior” pattern remains and is the actual “cause” of customer neglect.  As your people learned in Counselor Selling, No-Trust is a massive barrier that can not be overcome with “talk” about “sports” or superior products or any increase in magnitude differences.
S. T.   As a Leader, you were very wise starting many years ago to invest in changing the “behavior” of your sales people.  There were many things that had to change, but the “macro behavior” pattern was to create a critical mass of everyone “Selling ON PURPOSE.”  That was the philosophy taught in Counselor Selling.  You knew this would work based upon your past career. 
What should you reveal about your success during the panel discussion?  Be “humble” in presentation.  Humility is a “behavior” that is not confrontational.  Tell them how your people defined the selling system to support ON PURPOSE, Win-WIn behavior.  Everyone needed to learn how to “behave” even with the “hard core” price buyers.  The “arm wrestle” in Counselor Selling proved that this could be done.  Tell them about reaching the critical mass of Counselor behavior with the young people and how even the most senior sales people THEN had to get on board.  Tell them what we did to get the senior “guys” to buy-in. Tell them how the critical mass had to include the “behavior” of your entire company.  Everyone had to “behave” their role as described in the story about the Business of Your BusinessYes, Leading the Counselor “behavior” was difficult at first, but now it is “effortless and effective.”  Customer loyalty, not market share, is the measure of “effortless-effectiveness.” 
You know this presentation.  I’ve heard you give it many times. Summarize your presentation by saying, “Customers must BUY who we ARE before they are even interested in WHAT we HAVE (products) or WHAT we DO.  Who we ARE is proven by our behavior – not tenure or size or the scope of our offering.  That is WHY we ARE successful.  We made the simple CHOICE that everyone has a role in executing the Business of Our Business and the difference is in How We Sell ON PURPOSE.     


Question: Tom, I recently heard you speak about competitive advantage and the importance of a core competency and core capability.  You related it to a PGA Professional.  What is the core competency and core capability of a Counselor Sales Person?  K. A.


 Answer:  K. A.  What a great question.  The Core Competency of a Counselor is Humility derived from experience.  The Core Capability is “Helping Customers and People make wise business and personal decisions.”  The mistake is to perceive “humility” as a weakness, when it is a strength and to see humility as a sign of ignorance rather as the basis of wisdom.  Wisdom always flows through Humility.  That is why Jordan Spieth was very “humble” in accepting the Green Jacket.  Even at the age of 21 he has learned to be very “humble.”  The mistake that Tiger is making is to project to the fans his lack of “intelligence” when he hits a bad shot.  You will see him “beat on himself” for being “stupid.” He has lost his “humility” and will not win again until he regains it.   He had humility early in his career when his father was alive. 


 Counselors ascend from the world of “The Intelligent” to the realm of “The Wise.”  This transformation takes time and is grounded in “simplicity.”  All wise decisions come from an elevation of “awareness” -- not intelligence.  That is what we examine in Counselor Selling.  All people have the “potential” of wisdom.  It comes from “learning from experience.”   Like golf, it is “simple” -- not “easy.” 


Comment and Question:  Tom, After attending your class, I’ve experienced a major breakthrough in my selling career.  You will recall how you stopped me during the workshop when I used the phrase “I would argue that ------!”  I was an arguer.  You said I needed to make a contextual shift if I wanted to be successful in selling. You told me to study that LSCPA price objection handout to deal with the price situation I was arguing about.  When I thought about it from an economic impact perspective, I began to relax.  It was amazing.  I was able to have a totally different conversation with the client the next day.  The arguer in me was gone.  When I got the purchase order, I had a totally different feeling in me.  It was not a sense of victory it was a sense of purpose.  It was that feeling that told me my Counselor career was underway.  Thank you.  Why does a context shift cause this to happen?  D.S.M.


Answer:  D.S.M. Thank you for the testimony.  I’m glad LSCPA worked for you.  It is a magic skill.  Context gives meaning to Content. The root “cause”of arguments is the deeply imbedded Context of the Win-Lose philosophy.  When you “argue,” you are arguing for your “content” versus their “content.”  Sports fans always argue for their teams.  In selling you can not win a Win-Lose battle.  The Context of the Counselor is a deep investment in a Win-Win philosophy.  When you made the shift from “price” to “economics,” that facilitated the Win-Win contextual shift in the mind of the buyer.  That is what LSCPA is designed to do. 




The word Counselor that gives meaning to Sales Person is a powerful shift in Context.  People must TRUST your Context (who you are) before they are interested in your Content (what you sell).  Counselor Selling is a powerful selling technology.


Comment:  Tom when I returned from the Counselor workshop, I did what you suggested and ask some of our sales Reps how they open a call with a new account.  The answers actually made me weak.  It is no wonder why we can’t open new accounts.  There was nothing consistent, no story of purpose, it was just like that guy in the video spewing “more” and “er.”  I initially thought I would be confronting the intelligence of the 20 year veterans, but you were right.  I’m going to stop managing their quotas and start managing their story telling.  Thank you for that customized Ben Duffy story.  Powerful stuff.  I now GET IT!!!  Counselor A. P.


Response:  Thank you A. P.  The inability to effectively open a call is quite common because the “opening story” must come from a statement about the Business of their BUSINESS — not about sports or fishing or their line card or all the “rapport building” variables.  Counselor Selling is the only business development process that teaches a very specific approach to opening a call.  With the Ben Duffy approach coupled with the Discovery process you can effectively “lead” the new business development process.  Welcome to your new career as a Counselor Sales Leader.


Comment and Question

Tom, per our recent phone conversation, we’ve worked hard for six months to fill our pipeline with new customers and nothing is coming out. Objections are no money in the budget and happy with their current supplier. My people are giving up. Your thoughts and will Counselor Selling help?
J. T.


J. T. Filling a pipeline is a “strategy.” Getting results is a “skill.” The objections are the clue that the “clogged pipe” is full of No-Trust. Yes, Counselor Selling is specifically designed to teach sales people how to open new accounts. We also teach what many call “farming skills” – we call them Care Reviews – but the main focus is on new business development. We also spend time developing the “skills” of overcoming the objections you mention.

To give you an example, what follows is a very condensed comment from a recent graduate who immediately put the Counselor skills to work in developing new accounts:

Hi Tom, Hope you are well. Things are in full swing over here and I am doing my best to implement the counselor selling approach. I wanted you to see my first discovery letter with a new contact at a large company we just met with two days ago. This one is challenging because it’s a design where they really don’t have a current situation vs. desired situation, more of a blank sheet of paper where we would need to help them create a design concept to meet their desired situation/needs. Without the discovery letter I would have put it in the pipeline for follow-up in three to six months but my discovery agreement caused him to invite me back today. It was the reference to owning experience engineering in my letter that sparked his interest. Also, just yesterday I went to a meeting with another new account and just happened to get face time with the VP of IT. The Ben Duffy skill opened him up and I left the meeting with the opportunity to create an entire design concept and quote all the equipment. That role play we did in class with talk about economics when dealing with a C level executive was ringing in my ears through the meeting and I think I was successful in trying to be his “A” level partner. I know that was a mouthful but I wanted to share some of my immediate Counselor experiences with you. T. M.

New business development is a very difficult “skill” for even the most experienced sales people. We teach a very formalized and very workable approach in Counselor Selling.

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