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The Sales Evangelist

TSE 187: Marketing and Sales From Jim Kokocki President of Toastmasters International

What is your value proposition? First of all, do you know what value proposition means? Let our distinguished guest, Jim Kokocki, answer that for you in this episode.

Jim Kokocki is the Toastmaster International President. The beauty with joining Toastmaster is that it refines your sales presentations in the same way that you will be able to get insights into how to better perform.

With history in sales and marketing with telecom companies and large organizations, Jim is a real estate investor and dabbling in the startup world. Jim spent 30 years at a telecom company in Canada where he spent 10 years in the computer field, particularly the systems development side, 4 years in sales, and the remainder of years in marketing, taking care of the largest enterprise customers, small-mid sized enterprises and medium sized markets.

Listen in as Jim shares with us tons of great, great information, tips and strategies to better your performance in sales while putting tremendous focus on the power of VALUE PROPOSITION.


Here are the highlights of the conversation with Jim:

How sales professionals and entrepreneurs can better market themselves:

  1. Ensure you’re being clear in your message about who you’re serving and what you’re service is.
  2. Listen to how people interpret your product or service.

Strategies when you’re doing a startup:

  1. What triggers people to spend money?
  2. How and why are they going to see value?
  3. Start talking to people early about your business concept and get their feedback and interpretations.
  • This takes some pivoting considering the perspectives from prospect customers or colleagues in the industry to help avoid wasting money.

How to best share value:

  1. Articulate your value proposition.
  • This is a marketing discipline.
  • Respond to customer objections.
  • How do you differentiate yourself from competitors? Stick to that and document that.
  1. Probe for customer needs to see if you’re a match with the customer and offer the product for sale.
  • Determine if your value is a match with the customer.

Strategies in facing the major challenges of sellers in the B2B world:

  1. Motivate the sales team.
  • Focus on the value proposition and its strength. Keep your team highly motivated.
  1. Strengthen your presentation skills.
  • They should be keen enough to listen to customer objections, respond well to them, and articulate the value proposition.

The 3-Prong Approach:

  1. The marketing team has to be clear on the offering and assessing the competitive situation.
  2. Individual responsibility is just as critical.
  3. The sales manager must make sure the top performers stay motivated and bring along people who aren’t performing as well to see if they can turn them into top performers.

The best way to help a struggling seller to improve:

  1. Sharpen the communication skills.
  • Make sure you’re doing a wonderful job of speaking to customers and understanding their needs and not to try to force a solution upon customers.
  1. Have a powerful method of communicating what the value proposition is.
  • Sales people must be able to adapt the value proposition to a particular customer’s situation.

Jim walks you through his process:

  1. Looking at the competitive landscape.
  • Who are the competitors and how they position themselves
  1. Identifying their customer fits.
  • Who are the customers who would buy from them? How to position to those various segments within the buying population.
  1. Ensuring that people always ask for the sale.

Selling for small startups vs corporate Fortune 500 companies:

Large companies:

  • Buyers understand the massive team behind them so they have a lot of comfort that if something goes wrong, there’s somebody to reach out to.

Smaller companies:

  • There is a need to establish credibility.
  • You have to show that you have a solution and illustrate what your support structure is in case something goes wrong.
  • Customers want to see some depth of service.

What a solopreneur can do to find success:

  1. Have a view of your growth path.
  • Have a view as to how you’re going to grow as the revenue starts to flow.
  1. Understand what you love to do.
  • Do not give that away because you want to keep what keeps you motivated.
  1. Have a vision of how you’re going to grow and support the organization through its growth stages.
  • As you grow, you’re going to need sales staff. Invest in professional marketing support or customer service people.

Strategies in pitching your product:

  1. Develop a curiosity about your customers.
  • Become skilled in asking questions.
  1. Show care, interest, and compassion.
  • Don’t worry about the pitch. People appreciate when you are showing care, compassion, and interest in their problems. This way, people will be more open about the challenges they face.
  1. Bring the folks who could help you (like the technical department).
  • Sometimes the owner is not the best person you pitch to but people like the project managers or the technical team.

What is a value proposition?

Articulate who you serve, the problems they have, and why your solution saves them pain, grief, time and money.

Jim’s Major Takeaway:

Talk about your value proposition to a large number of people. Network and get out to business mixers. Talk about what you do, watch their reaction, and listen to how they respond to it. The Toastmasters Club is a wonderful place to talk about the product/service to find  a general audience where you need to describe in simple terms how you approach a market to help you better refine your value proposition. The more you practice delivering your message to a diverse audience, the better you get at it.

Current projects Jim is working on:

  • Volunteering job at Toastmasters International servicing as International President for a one year term
  • Looking into real estate investments and launching startup opportunities

Connect with Jim through email at jimkokocki@gmail.com and on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.


Episode resources:

Toastmasters International

The Sales Evangelizers, Donald Kelly, Sales Facebook Group


About the Author The Sales Evangelist

Donald is the host of the popular sales podcast,"The Sales Evangelist". He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm where he helps small companies develop killer sales process to scale their business and increase growth.

Donald is also an award-winning speaker, sales trainer, and coach. He's a big fan of traveling, South Florida staycations and high-quality family time. Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire and receives the proper training.

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