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Linda Richardson; Consultative Selling, Insights, Richardson

TSE 084: Changing The Sales Conversation with Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson; Consultative Selling, Insights, Richardson

During today’s interview I had the pleasure of speaking with Linda Richardson about her new book, “Changing The Sales Conversation”. Linda is the Founder and Executive Chairwoman of Richardson, a global sales training business. As a recognized leader in the industry, she has won the coveted Stevie Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sales Excellence for 2006. In 2007 she was identified by Training Industry, Inc. as one of the “Top 20 Most Influential Training Professionals.”

Linda is credited with the movement to Consultative Selling, which is the cornerstone of Richardson’s methodology. Linda is the author of ten books on selling and sales management, including her most recent work; Perfect Selling, The Sales Success Handbook — 20 Lessons to Open and Close Sales Now, Sales Coaching — Making the Great Leap from Sales Manager to Sales Coach and Stop Telling – Start Selling. She teaches sales and management courses at the Wharton Graduate School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton Executive Development Center.

Here are some of the major takeaways from our discussion:

Many customers are satisfied with their vendors, however today vendors need to delight or surprise customers. They do this by going above and beyond the call of duty.

The new sales conversation is an extension of consultative selling. Here is a brief history of sales and how Linda feels that sales has evolved:

  • 1890: Sales first started.
  • 1920: Patterson introduced the concept of featured and benefits and scripts.
  • 1970 Consultative selling was introduced by Linda Richardson where customers were the focus. According to Linda, in sales there are two big “C”:
    • Customer
    • Customization
  • Present: The buyers have changed because they have access to the internet. By time the buyer is introduced to the sales person, they have gone through a large portion of the sales process. The seller now needs to come prepared to add to what the buyers already know. The key is not abandon customization or consultative selling, the seller just needs to add to what they already know.

The quality of the seller needs to improve because the buyers know more today.

First of 5 Strategies:

1. Future:

The sales person needs to become more educated on the client and industry. They will need to not only know about present needs, but also future needs. The seller will need to be way more prepared.

2. Heat Mapping: 

This where all of your futuring comes in play and the seller brings insights that adds to what the buyer knows.  This will also help you bring more information.

3. Value Tracking:

Buyers want to learn how things are going to impact their organization and what the outcomes will be. Sellers must be able to provide this information to their buyers.

4. Phasing:

The organization must have best in class sales practices. They must have phases with best practice activities. For example, these things must take place in order for the deal close.

5. Linking:

The seller must be able to provide an emotional connection with the buyer. Sellers sometime overlook this but you must be transparent and show volubility.

“Clients don’t want research but they want insights” – Jerry Bullmore

Research about the client and their industry, blogs they read and social sites they go to. Learn how your clients thinks and then you can bring more value to them.

Connect with Linda


Tired of your same old sales performance? Well, this episode is just for you. Linda Richard is the queen on consultative selling and in today’s episode we talk about how sales people must change the sales conversation in order to find success. You will love it, listen now!

TSE 071: Why You Need to Embrace Silence as a Sales Professional

TSE Epsiode 071 Cover SiteWhy You Need to Embrace Silence as a Sales Person

Have you ever experienced a situation like this? There you are sitting across the table from a prospect who you have been working with for several meetings now. All the signs seem to be there that this will be a done deal and all you have to do is ask for the business. However, since you haven’t been to this stage too often you are nervous. The last thing you need is for her to say no at this point and shatter your little heart. Your palms are really sweaty, your stomach is in knots and your nerves are on high. You find yourself quickly saying the words, “So Barbara, now that you have seen everything, and expressed that this will be a great fit, what would you like to do next?”

Silence………it seems like it’s been an hour, but it’s only been 2 seconds. Since you are so nervous, and think that silence means that they are not convinced, you start talking and things goes terribly wrong. You end up talking too much and the next thing you know the prospect is escorting you out of her office. But where did it go wrong? You didn’t know how to remain silent.

In this episode I share some of the things you can do to over come this challenge and how you can learn to be silent.

Here are some of the major takeaways from the discussion: 

  1. Speaking too much at the close may cause you to introduce new topics that can ruin the opportunity.
  2. When you speak too much, you may cause the prospect to think that you have a something to hide and cause the prospects to hold back from making a decision to move forward.
  3. If you speak too much, you can annoy the prospect and talk them out of the business opportunity.
  4. Silence shows that you are confident in yourself and have ability to deliver value to the prospect.
  5. Silence gives the prospect time to think and organize their thoughts.

Activity to practice so that you can improve your ability to embrace  that awkward silence: 

    • Role play by asking for the business from a prospect. Invite a family member or friend to be the prospect. Tell them that you want to practice asking for the sale from a prospect and that you are having challenges with awkward silence. Explain that you will ask for the sale, but that they should take their time answering. Don’t tell them how long to wait to say something, let it be a surprise. This practice, although simple, will help you embrace the awkward situation.
    • Whenever you ask someone a questions, ANY QUESTION, don’t interrupt them. Let there be silent, even if it’s awkward. Wait for them to answer. It’s fun will will definitely help.
    • Ask a random stranger a thought provoking question, something like “What is the meaning of life?” or “What is the definition of success?”. This could be someone you meet on the train, on the subway, in line at the grocery store. Follow the same idea as above and don’t say anything! Whatever questions you ask, make sure that it is clear and concise.

If you do any of the following practices, send me an email and tell me about your experience.



TSE 068: Learn How To Become An Agile Seller with Jill Konrath

Jill KonrathJill Konrath  is a best selling author of 2 award-winning books: SNAP Selling (#1 Amazon bestseller) and Selling to Big Companies, a Fortune magazine “must read.”

Jill’s newest sales book, AGILE SELLING, was released earlier this year and was the target focus for this podcast interview. The main things that Jill does in her book is teaching salespeople how to succeed in a constantly changing sales world.

Jill is also a frequent speaker at sales conferences and kick-off meetings. Sharing her fresh sales strategies, she helps salespeople to speed up new customer acquisition and win bigger contracts. Jill has worked with companies such as IBM, GE, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Staples and numerous mid-market firms. She is an industry thought leader and sales expert.

Here are some of the major takeaways from our discussion:

  • Recognize that your clients and prospects may not be an expert in your industry, product or service. It becomes your moral obligation to clearly provide vital information to them that they don’t know. In essence you have to think one step ahead and lead them. 
  • Prepare an agenda for your meeting with your prospects and clients. This will help them to recognize you as a professional and also provide for an easy way for them to build trust in you. 
  • One thing many buyers are making a decision on is their relationship with the salesperson. Today it is not about your product or service, it is about truly understand your buyers! 
  • The more you know about your buyers, the processes they are using, the financial matrix they are using, the goals that they have etc. the more effectively you will be able to provide value to the seller with the ideas you bring. Understand that your buyers are busy and they want to work with people who can think for them without them doing all the work. 
  • If you are having a tough time as a seller, you must be brutally honest with yourself and evaluate where you are having challenges. Whether the challenges are you can’t get second appointments, you are having trouble finding your idea clients etc. 
  • Executives feel that less than 15% of sellers are prepared for a meeting. Only 7% of these executives will schedule a second meeting.
  • Learn to “borrow the brain of others”! This principle allows you to think like others! 
  • Sellers need to LEARN FAST! Be an idea person for your client.

Stay in touch with Jill:

Visit Jill’s resource page to gain access to a lot of FREE information!

Check out a preview of the book on Amazon!