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Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Being Prepared

TSE 1107: Are You Ready and Prepared?

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Being PreparedSellers who want to succeed must ask themselves a vitally important question: Are you ready and prepared to have a value-rich conversation?

I recently took a camping trip with my buddies to St. Louis, and though many of us were excited about the trip and we were ready to go, we realized that being prepared was something completely different.

Being ready for it suggests that you believe in your ability to get it done. Being prepared means having the proper equipment and gear to succeed.    

Sales pitch   

My friend Doug shared recently that many different sellers pitch his company. Though many of them are ready, most are not prepared. Sellers often feel excited about the sales pitch and the possibility that it could lead to great opportunities for their company. 

If, however, they arrive unprepared, they’ll be unable to identify the problem their prospects are facing. They won’t have any idea about how to solve the problem for the client. 

Imagine if my buddies and I were unprepared for our camping trip. If we don’t have enough food and water to sustain our group, and if we don’t have a way to communicate with the folks who are scheduled to pick us up, we could quickly find ourselves in the midst of a disaster. 

Understanding problems

Imagine I sell office furniture and I’m excited to pitch our new sofas and standing desks to my prospects. I must be ready and prepared to address the person’s business, how it operates, how it makes money, and the changes that exist within the industry. 

If my client is facing higher prices because of the trade war with China, I have to understand that business problem and then offer ways to solve it. It’s the same as going camping without enough drinking water. You’re going to land yourself in a tough situation, and ultimately, you’ll sound like every other sales rep. 

Be prepared

The same friend shared with me that he was working with a prospect when he discovered that he didn’t understand enough about the prospect’s industry.

He started by researching the people who were going to attend his upcoming meeting. He researched each person on LinkedIn so he was prepared to have good conversations. 

Next, he Googled the company’s history so the prospect wouldn’t have to educate him on it. And when the prospect asked him what he knew about the company, he was able to share the history.

He was also able to observe that many of the company’s employees changed position from one department or role to another. That helped him have more meaningful conversations about the changes the company was facing. 

His preparation set him apart from his competitors, many of whom show up expecting the prospect to provide this information for them.

Buying cycle 

These buyers come to the table with more understanding. They want to have meaningful conversations with companies that can solve their problems and offer great deals. 

If you find yourself being dismissed often, it’s likely that you didn’t provide a value-rich conversation. If your prospects frequently offer to “follow up with you,” you didn’t provide compelling reasons for the prospect to engage with your company. 


Go a step further and research your main competition. Who is your prospect working with now? Who have they done business with in the past? 

Uncover the difficulties that your competition has solving problems for your client. Then leverage that information to show how you can be the ideal solution. 

Sometimes companies are in contracts with vendors but if you can create reasonable doubt, you can help the prospect realize that the current partner isn’t the greatest fit. 

“Ready and Prepared” episode resources

  If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. 

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Donald Kelly, Sales Coaching, Sales Training

TSE 1080: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “Discovery Meetings”

Donald Kelly, Sales Coaching, Sales Training

Building value is a critical part of any sales process, and the discovery meeting is an important step in that process.

How much should you prepare for the discovery meeting beforehand? What should you know? What should you do?

The insights I’ll share come from the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, designed to help sales reps perform to the best of their ability, find more ideal customers, build strong value, and close more deals.

What is discovery?

The discovery meeting is an opportunity to learn about the challenge your prospect is facing. It’s a chance to go a little more in-depth.

It’s not necessarily a chance to get all the information about the company or about its history. That’s boring for the client who doesn’t want to have to educate you. The client is likely meeting with other sellers and they aren’t interested in working to educate all of them.

Do your research beforehand so your discovery meeting can focus solely on understanding the prospect’s true problem and understanding how you can bring value and help them learn more about what you have to offer.


You can easily find information about the company and its history on the Internet or the company’s website. If you show up to discovery seeking this kind of information the prospects will likely think less of you.

I’ve said it before, but you also have the option to call into the company and ask the receptionist for more information. The organization may be able to share an information page or other company literature. The PR department may be able to provide the information you’re seeking as well.

This information is vital to the discovery meeting because it will help you have a meaningful discussion when you meet with the prospect.

Understand the industry

Make sure you also understand recent developments related to the industry and the company’s role within the industry.

If the company is in the housing industry and I discover that the housing industry is booming in states like Arizona, California, and Florida, then that will impact my presentation.

If I’m selling marketing services to companies in the housing market it will be important to know that the market is growing. I’ll also need to know the top challenges that companies within the housing market are facing.

Then, determine how those trends will correlate to your product or service.

Case studies

If you have a previous or existing client that is similar to your prospect, consider sharing that information. Has one of your clients faced the challenges of growing in a high-growth market? Have you helped a client tackle some of the issues inherent in that situation?

Is there a business case study I can share that helps my prospects understand the challenge they are facing?

I did an episode some time back about case studies and the folks over at Gong outlined four main steps that should exist within every business case study.

  1. Identify the problem. What is preventing the client from growing? What challenges are hindering the company from accomplishing its goals?
  2. Develop a measurement. How can you measure the challenges the company is facing? How can you quantify the issue the company is facing?
  3. Determine the consequences of the company losing those deals or opportunities. Did they have to let people go or close their doors? Make a dramatic point without going over-the-top.
  4. What transformation did your product or service cause in this company?

Prepare questions

What things did the company try previously that didn’t work?

The more questions you ask the more you’ll learn about them. Go deep. Ask them to tell you more.

You may discover that they are currently working with a company that isn’t providing the kind of results they need. Why don’t they like the current company? Incorporate those facts into your own presentation so you can address their challenges.

Find out who will be making the decision and how they will decide. Find out what their budget will be and when they are hoping to make the change.

Is there an unconsidered need they aren’t aware of?

TSE Certified Sales Training Program

This stuff works. We teach it in TSE Certified Sales Training Program and we’re seeing fantastic results.

If you or your team want to check out the program, we’ll let you try the first module risk-free. If you love it, we’d love to have you join the TSE Certified Sales Training Program to improve your selling skills.

I share this because I want to help you find more ideal customers, have more meaningful conversations, build stronger value, close more deals, and I want to challenge you each and every day to do big things.

“Discovery Meetings” episode resources

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link. allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.



Tom Jenkins, Amir Reiter, Power of Chat, Donald Kelly

TSE 991: Sky Rocket Your B2B Sales Through the Power of Chat

Tom Jenkins, Amir Reiter, Power of Chat, Donald KellyIn this episode of The Sales Evangelist, we talk about how to take advantage of the power of chat when growing your business.

Many organizations have struggled to capitalize on the power of chat, but Amir and Tom share the struggles they’ve had using chat and how we can overcome them.

Tom Jenkins and Amir Reiter help companies scale their workforce without having to get offices, pay insurance and taxes, or worry about hiring and training.

Instead, they offer technology and strategy.

At CloudTask, they provide sales development reps, they manage account executives and they manage the customer success/account reps responsible for renewals and upselling to existing customers.

They comprise one office. If someone wants to hire five sales reps, five account executives or five support reps, they will all be in office and managed so that the customer gets what they want – representation and results.  

By specializing in sales, customer success and customer support, CloudTask is the best of the breed. [00:51]

The power of chat

One of the biggest issues surrounding the use of chat is a lack of clearly defined ownership.  If you look at our partners at for instance, their ability to work as a bot or as a human can confuse whether chat is owned by marketing or by sales.

Marketing is typically used to drive traffic to forms, to blogs and to sign-ups. As such, marketing tends to prefer automation.

Sales, however, relies on people first, so deciding who owns chat is often a hurdle.

Failure to assign ownership then creates a failure to act or a failure to implement correctly. [02:19]

We manage a lot of cloud chat programs and have noticed that many people view chat as just another tool for the reps to use in addition to calling, emailing, LinkedIn, etc.

Rather, with a high volume of web traffic, chat is a key tool in the generation of qualified leads.

In fact, because chat allows you to respond quickly with the right answers and in the right way, it can be your number one lead generation tool. [03:17]

Qualify leads

People today want answers now. They expect to be able to go onto a website and to be able to chat. It has worked well in the B2C world but is really moving quickly into the B2B world as well.

We are finding that an MQL (marketing qualified lead) or SQL (sales qualified lead) that chats with a member of the sales team is 2-3 times more likely to close versus one that goes through the process of filling out a form. It makes sense. A form is stationary and available to anybody.

With chat, you are able to quickly let people qualify themselves with a friendly discussion.

For example, suppose someone wants to hire a sales rep. Within a few moments, we can discuss salaries and budgets and determine right away if it is something to pursue, or not. [04:54]

Chat conversation

Chat does not replace cold calling or emailing but it does allow the person who visits your website to have a conversation with you and determine for themselves if they want to move forward.

The desire to engage is up to the visitor. As the sales rep, you increase the level of engagement with your replies. Consider “I’m here to help sales leaders every day, how can I help you?” instead of “How are you?”

People want to work with companies that can fix their problems. Target the message to visitors as much as you can in order to increase engagement with them.

You will receive visitors who want to know more about the topic rather than starting from scratch.  

You don’t want to write too much in a chat forum, of course. Start by keeping the conversation focused on the problems you are trying to solve for your prospects. [06:48]

The initial engagement is absolutely key but response time is just as essential. Buyers are conducting research and they want answers.

It is imperative to be super sharp and to answer quickly. [08:10]

Pique curiosity

When you give visitors the information they want to the questions they ask, they begin to ask the more sales-related questions themselves.

Knowing how to give people the right amount of information so as to pique their curiosity without being overly aggressive is a skill.

For example, the best way to answer many of the questions about a technology product is with a demo. An aggressive tactic might be “this is the best product and it will solve all your problems.”

“We want you to get your eyes on this to see what you think about it” is a better approach, however. It allows the buyer to have ownership in the decision.

Chat also identifies return visitors so that you don’t have to start all over from the beginning each time. [09:42]

Sales or marketing

When Sales and Marketing are aligned as a team with the common goal of getting customers, ownership of chat is less important.

When Sales and Marketing are not aligned, better results occur when chat ownership is with the sales team.  Sales speaks to people and that brings results.

It is really important that everyone involved be 100% clear on which team does what so that each can grow and build expertise. [11:27]

Decide first if you will make your own chatbot or use a company like Drift or Intercom.

Many such companies have partner systems that can help with deployment. They are also set up to support the user and the sales cycle. It can be a big jumpstart toward a successful launch. [13:30]

Common mistakes

Some companies rely on too much automation. We’ve seen companies who don’t get the results they want right away so they just scrap the whole thing versus A/B testing people.

Everyone wants leads. It is the goal of every company but people make the chatbots and automation too much about themselves.

They try to get contact details and meetings rather than making the initial interactions about web visits. They aim to fulfill their own needs rather than the needs of potential customers. [14:25]

Chat gives buyers the ability to raise their hand, to tell you who they are and where they are in the sales cycle. It gives them the ability to get what they want now instead of going through the standard sales process. [15:28]


We have an interesting case now with a client who had used chatbot before but didn’t get the results they had hoped for. They weren’t particularly sold on the idea but were willing to give it another try.  

We were able to successfully implement a program on Drift consisting of a training program, as well as the addition of five sales development reps.

As a result, they realized $3.5 million in opportunity and $1 million in closed within eight months.

They appreciated our complete focus and specialization. We also provided them with quality assurance teams that checked in on the chats, and we worked really well together. [16:17]

We represent your company and do what needs to be done, just like employees.

The main difference is that instead of getting one new employee, our client gets a whole team. We are remote to you, but not remote. It is like having multiple offices or a satellite office.

We check on everything. [18:28]

Don’t blind yourself with the idea that you can’t use chat for enterprises.

Even if your sales process has you on flights to Hong Kong, or spending nine months working a deal, it can still start with a chat.  

Don’t consider chat as a replacement but rather as an extra channel that gives people the ability to communicate with you faster.

It can be such a cool tool to add to your cause, to your social network, and to your social ads.

When used correctly, chat will deliver results. [19:59]

“Power of Chat” episode resources

Visit Tom and Amir at or through their partners at  Allison manages their chat and is always more than happy to help everyone. Experiencing their services first-hand is the best first step.

This episode is brought to you in part by, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out.

You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

This episode is also brought to you in part by, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach. It allows you to set it and forget it. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

Previously known as TSE Hustler’s League, our TSE Certified Sales Program offers modules that you can engage on your own schedule as well as opportunities to engage with other sellers in other industries.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode, and share with your friends!

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.




Email, Outreach, Tailored, Donald Kelly

TSE 795: TSE Hustler’s League-“Tailored”

In today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we’ll show you how to use tailored email to grab your prospect’s attention. We’ll also show you how to make sure she reads to the very end.

Make her feel good.

People are ego-driven.

Before you make contact, figure out what matters to her right now.

Has she shared something important on social media recently? Mention that in the email. Pick something that demonstrates you were thinking specifically of her company.

Include something in the subject line that will provoke her to open your email. Grab her attention by using her name or the name of her company.

Include only one idea.

If this is the first time I’m interacting with this prospect, this will simply be an email to say hi. But don’t actually begin with “Hi, Mary.”

Begin with her name, followed by a comma, and launch into your message.

Limit your email to one question instead of multiple questions:

“Does this make sense for you? Would you be willing to have a conversation about it? How does next week look for you?”

You’ve included three questions, and your reader will likely decide it’s too much work to respond, so she won’t.

Keep emails simple.

If your prospect doesn’t respond, send a simple email that invites a simple response, and even a way out.

I’m sorry we haven’t been able to connect. I saw your spot on (fill in the name of a platform). If I can help at any point, feel free to respond with:

a. interested

b. interested, but the timing is bad

c. not interested

Consider adding a little humor to communicate a light-hearted exchange.

Close with the words “Thanks in advance,” and include a smiley face, with a nose.

Share what you know.

You likely know other people who could benefit from these simple ways to generate tailored email.

Share this podcast with your team so you’ll all be more successful.

Join us at The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League for our new semester beginning in April. Our online coaching program includes sellers of all levels from a variety of industries.

We discuss challenges, share conversations, and give you insights you can immediately apply to your own sales process.

We’d be honored to have you join us.

Psychology, emails, prospecting, cold email

TSE 791: The Psychology Behind Sales Emails

The Sales Evangelist, Email, Prospecting, Ryan O'DonnellSending emails is a prerequisite for sales professionals, but how do you generate emails that reach the right person at the right time in the right place?  In this episode of The Sales Evangelist, Ryan O’Donnell will explain the psychology of emails and teach us how to create a more targeted approach to emails.

We don’t have a crystal ball, and we can’t tell what our prospects are thinking, so we can’t skip the important steps of prospecting and research.

Creating a targeted approach to emails:

  • Use data to qualify or disqualify your existing prospects.
  • Divide existing prospects and customers into segments and use those segments to create targeted communication.
  • Use variety. Personalize some of your communication and automate others.
  • Be intentional. High-value clients might motivate you to personalize more than smaller clients.
  • Take note of effective emails that come to your inbox and employ the same strategies.
  • Don’t allow your emails to become monotonous.
  • Use each part of the email to drive the reader to the next sentence.

Different things motivate different people.

Sometimes a question in the subject line will work best. Other times, the company name or the recipient’s name will work.

Some people check email on Sundays to clean out their inboxes before the coming work week.

Track what works best so you can make your process more efficient. Streamlining your process will free up additional time, which will compound over the life of your career.

You’ll have more time to devote to other steps in the process.

Email mistakes to avoid:

  • Don’t send an email with Re:Re:Re:Re: because it has been sent back and forth so many times. Change the subject line.
  • Don’t use a deceptive subject line.
  • Don’t automate your emails to go out at the same time on the same day every week. It will become obvious that they are automated.

Episode resources

If you’re interested in learning to use email more effectively but you aren’t sure where to start, contact Ryan O’Donnell at or Ryan will provide you free access to one month’s worth of services to give you a jump-start on emailing.

When I was a seller like you, I initially didn’t have formal training. Once I got proper training, I discovered that it greatly improved my sales skills, and I wanted to share those principles.

The Sales Evangelist Hustlers League is a group coaching program designed to help sellers of all levels improve their sales skills and close more deals. We’d love to have you join us. Go to for more details.

Donald Kelly, TSE Hustler's League, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 545: TSE Hustler’s League-“Researching Without Wasting Time – Part 2”

Donald Kelly, TSE Hustler's League, The Sales EvangelistToday’s snippet taken from one of our previous sessions over at the TSE Hustler’s League is Part 2 of last week’s topic (TSE Episode 540) where we discuss ways to research on your prospects without wasting time.

Strategies for maximizing your research:

  1. Use Facebook.

Find out personal nuggets about them, basically, what matters the most. Don’t do too much research on their Facebook and come out creepy. You want to ask meaningful questions. If they vent about some issues they have, subtly bring them up in the conversation.

  1. Check the company website.

Read about them and their boss on the company webpage. Look up company announcements, recent activities, etc.

  1. Search for the individual by “name” on Google.

Be sure to put the quotation mark so the results you get are specific to this particular client.

  1. Figure out which particular product are they making the most money on.

If you can’t find it from the company itself, try to look up their competitors and see what particular product is most profitable to them. So it’s probably going to be the same thing with your prospect.

  1. Find out who is the ideal customer for them.

Do they have an avatar?

  1. Educate.

The whole point of the first meeting is to get some information but also be able to educate them and present stuff they may not have known. You may also do this through asking them.

Figure out how their email automation process is like by signing up for their newsletter. Get on the competitor’s email automation to see some of their sequences and then you can use that information to educate your prospects.

  1. Use other company search sites such as:
  • Quora (See what questions people have asked on Quora and you can bring it up in the meeting)
  • Glassdoor
  • Hoovers

Episode Resources:

Check out TSE 540: Researching Without Wasting Time – Part 1




Check out the TSE Hustler’s League

The Sales Development Playbook by Trish Bertuzzi

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

Help us spread the word out by leaving us a rating or review on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play or whatever platform you’re using.

TSE Hustler's League, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 540: TSE Hustler’s League-“Researching Without Wasting Time – Part 1”

TSE Hustler's League, Donald Kelly, The Sales EvangelistToday’s snippet taken from one of the previous sessions over at the TSE Hustler’s League is all about research strategies to make sure you’re not just wasting your time.

Some sellers don’t do any research at all while other sellers spend so much time doing research. You have to have a good balance. So what do you need to focus on when doing your research? Which data should you look at?

Companies with 100-500 employees have an average of 7 employees involved in the buying process which means there are more individuals coming in the call and only 13% of people believe that the sales rep can solve their problem. Your goal is to mitigate that and not just wing things. You have to come to the meeting prepared.

Strategies for maximizing your research:

  1. Identify your Dream 100.

The principle behind account-based selling is that instead of hunting with a net, hunt with a spear. Go after the ones who are the best for you.

  1. Have a simple prep call plan.

You have to prepare because you want to have some meaningful conversation with the prospect. Pull up the website. Look at the people in the organization and do a quick 10-second overview.

  1. Identify the purpose or problem.

Identify what is the purpose of the call and what is the problem you’re trying to solve. Identify the length of that meeting and who you’re meeting with. Identify what you need to learn which are things that you don’t know yet but need to know about or things that even if you’ve done your research, you can’t learn them so you need to know it from them. Identify your desired outcome. What do you want to get from this meeting?

  1. Use LinkedIn.

4 things to look for:

  • Experience at their current job
  • Connections
  • Groups (See if there’s anything they’re active with)
  • Recent activities (posts, nominations, awards, endorsement, etc.)
  1. Use Twitter

Twitter allows you to find out what your prospects are interested in based on what they share or recent articles they’ve tweet out. Look for trends based on the content they share.

Episode Resources:

Check out the TSE Hustler’s League or join our Facebook group The Sales Evangelizers

Predictable Prospecting by Marylou Tyler

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

Help us spread the word out by leaving us a rating or review on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play or whatever platform you’re using.

Barry Doctor, Product Camp, Marketing

TSE 120: Key Practices Salespeople Can Learn From Marketers To Increase Sales

Barry Doctor, Product Camp, Marketing

Sales and marketing are two different aspects, but they need to go hand-in-hand if you want to achieve explosive sales success. However, there seems to be a disconnect between the two and that’s where many new salespeople are having difficulty. They have failed to bridge the gap between marketing and sales. Sometimes, we get too caught up in focusing on just one customer when sometimes we need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

In this episode, we invited Barry Doctor over to discuss how you can bridge that gap between sales and marketing, how to think like a marketer to achieve sales success, and some strategies you can apply to pin down your market segment.

Here are the highlights of our conversation with Barry:

Barry’s coolest sales experience as a customer with Comcast 🙂

Marketing vs. Sales

  • Sales people are focused on individual customers; marketers look more at a bigger picture
  • Marketers focus on the buyer and the buyer’s journey

Applying the “n = many” mentality in your sales effort

  • Create the buyer’s persona
  • Find a market segment that sticks

How to find your market segment:

  • “Measure twice, cut once”
  • Do your research
  • Understand your market
  • Select a narrow target as your market segment
  • Build more market segments in the future, but focus on the niche first
  • Understand your buyer and what your buyer wants

How sellers can more prepare and think like marketers:

  • Look at the big picture
  • What market segment are you targeting?
  • What does the buyer persona look like?
  • Find the right buyers to be more efficient
  • Take objection not as a roadblock but an interesting point
  • Ask the buyer what they really need
  • See if there is a broader market demand; otherwise, sell at a premium, higher price

Losing a business to gain more business:

  • Follow the voice of the customer in the market
  • Stop shooting in the dark
  • Make use of analytics and research to have better understanding and positioning
  • Talk to the deals that you’ve lost and those you’ve won

Strategies to better understand your segment:

  • Get someone or a neutral third party to call (preferably a professional that can have an executive level conversation)
  • Look at how many deals you do a month. For example, call 30 out of 100 deals you’ve won and 30-50 out of deals you’ve lost
  • Gaining rich-source data: testimonial snippets, understanding the trends

Tactics of great sellers that reflect their understanding of marketing:

  • Getting the customer’s attention
  • Doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing

Current projects Barry is working on:

ProductCamp, an “unconference” because it’s self-organized by volunteers for volunteers, who are local practitioners working with products to help learn from and teach each other. It is an event for product managers and marketers.

Event details:

What: ProductCamp South Florida

Who can join: Product managers and marketers

When: March 14, 2015

Where: Boca Raton, South Florida

Connect with Barry through LinkedIn.

Barry’s Major Takeaway:

Take the time to understand the journey that the buyer is going on. Then you can lead them to your salesperson by putting marketing out there on the internet to be found, making information freely available to help them make the right decision to buy your product.


John Burks MSI Lighting, Corporate Sales, Start Up Sales Training TSE

TSE 095: What Corporate and Startup Selling Has Taught Me About Sales

John Burks MSI Lighting, Corporate Sales, Start Up Sales Training TSE With the ever evolving technology we have today, there is no reason why you can’t capitalize on what the world is offering you to do today. No, it’s not just a matter of knowing what you’re selling and bringing it out to the market. Knowing who you’re up against is equally crucial. In this episode, John Burke talks about these points which are necessary to help keep you ahead in the game.

John Burke is the President of MSi, a LED-lighting company involved in the design and manufacture of their own LED light bulbs and specialized in commercial applications. Although a company president, John still remains a salesman at heart.

Having an extensive background in sales, working with huge corporations like Colgate and Reebok’s Avia International, John has taken the discipline and structure he has learned from Corporate America and incorporated them into developing his own business and gaining the success that he has today.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with John:


His career timeline:

  • Worked with Colgate-Palmolive for almost 19 years (5 years overseas).
  • Found himself burned out by his middle 30’s.
  • Worked for Avia (A Reebok subsidiary).
  • Learned about buying and selling companies with Avia.
  • Starting his own company.

The major challenges affecting sales professionals on the corporate side:

  • Rules have changed in the 70’s vs. today.
  • A completely different business model.
  • Sophistication in data gathering (how many units are sold per store, etc.).
  • The buy-in game has changed.
  • Stores are now more particular about the brands introduced.
  • Products are now more global.

The game is more challenging and only the best at understanding what’s going on in the game will be successful.

What sales professionals are struggling with in these “new rules” in the game:

  • Sales people only know half of the game.
  • They don’t care about any of their competitors.
  • Getting caught in the digital reporting.

What you need to do to up your game:

  • Know who your competitors are.
  • Know what their products do and don’t do.
  • Know how your product is better.

The biggest challenge today: To provide thebuyer with what they need to have to make the sale.

  • Why should they add your product to their portfolio?
  • What does your product do that nobody else does?
  • What is your product’s unique positioning?
  • Are you fulfilling their needs and meeting their profit margin requirements?

What John does to motivate his team about knowing their products:

  • Ongoing communications with people to teach and show them what to do.
  • Take advantage of technology and tools we have today (Video demonstrations, email blasts, etc.).
  • Capitalizing on what the world is offering for you to do today.

The power of knowing your competitor and their products:

  • Helps you assess where you are and fashion your sales presentation.
  • Helps you accentuate the “positive” about your products.
  • Helps you become prepared for what might come your way from a buyer about your competitor to help your buyer make the right decision.

The biggest way to sell:  Relationship Selling

Focusing on the details of the prospects you’re working with:

  • Write things down.
  • Call people back.

Finding the ideal customers:

  • Start with your product.
  • Find who your target audience is.

Current projects John is working on:

  • Going for fewer watts and continually trying to improve product performance while pulling cost down.

For more information on John Burke’s company, visit or connect with John by sending him an email at

Connect with John on Twitter: @MSiLighting @DonaldCKelly

John’s Major Takeaways:


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