Key takeaways from Same Side Selling

Pick up a copy of  Same Side Selling .

Pick up a copy of Same Side Selling.

For the first few years of my adventures in solopreneurship, I told friends and colleagues that I’m not good at sales. I would explain that my expertise is in marketing and communications, but not sales. Guess what, I was wrong. I had to be.

I had always thought of sales in the worst possible way. I envisioned the cheesy, pushy, used-car sales guy. Or the uppity, asshat in business class on his second cocktail before takeoff.

One day, it dawned on me that if I run my own business and I am not good at sales, I’m in big trouble. If I am my only employee, I had better be damned great at sales or my family will suffer. 

Spoiler alert: You don’t have to be a jerk to excel in sales.

I went out on my own as a consultant and professional trainer and speaker in 2011. I’m happy to report that I have increased my earnings each year. I have become more knowledgable in how best to approach sales, but I don’t consider myself an expert.

One true sales expert I personally know is Ian Altman, co-author (along with Jack Quarles) of Same Side Selling: How Integrity and Collaboration Drive Extraordinary Results for Sellers and Buyers. I absolutely loved the lessons and approach to sales taught in their excellent book. Spoiler alert: You don’t have to be a jerk to excel in sales.

In this short blog post, I’m going to share some key takeaways directly from Same Side Selling. There is much more within the book that you should not miss. Pick up a copy.

Same Side Selling Takeaways

There is an adversarial trap that causes buyers and sellers to work against each other instead of collaborating. Replace this trap with a cooperative, collaborative mindset. 

Selling is not a game because in a game one side wins and the other loses.

Selling is a puzzle. With a puzzle, you are solving. You create something and over time provide value. People sit on the same side to determine if the pieces fit. It’s better to solve puzzles than play games. 

Same side selling is about finding the fit. FIT. Finding Impact Together.

The objective is to be seen as a solver instead of a seller.

Answer the questions:

  • Whom do you help?

  • What do you do to help them?

  • Why do they need your help?

The most successful pitch will resonate with the prospect’s pain.

Find people who not only face problems you can solve, but also recognize those problems and believe they are worth solving.

Focus on the challenges that your client is facing, rather than on the things you are selling. 

Entice. Disarm. Discover.

  • Entice. Entice the customer by identifying something you have that might be of interest.

  • Disarm. Make it clear that you are not there to sell, but want merely to see if there is a fit. 

  • Discover. Trigger a discovery phase in which you learn about them (instead of opening a meeting talking about your stuff). 

The truth is always your ally in same side selling, even when it seems to decrease the likeliness of making a sale. 

Ask who else is affected by this project? How can we engage them in a way that works for you?

Don’t start with your qualifications. Start with the buyer’s problem

Gracefully guide the conversation away from details and toward impact.

It is not the client’s job to see the big picture.

If your price is too high don’t discount. Rather expand the scope to create more value.

What do you think?

How do you handle sales? Are you an expert or a novice? What sales lessons have you learned over the years?

What is the legacy you will leave?

How will you be remembered?

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Have you ever thought about what’s going to be in your obituary? Does this sound morbid? Stick with me for a minute. 

When I was a child, I was lucky to spend a few summers attending Kilcoo Camp. While I certainly suffered from feeling homesick, I also made new friends and learned many skills I still use today (I’m not too shabby in a canoe). 

The camp was run by John “Chief” and Peggy “Mrs. Chief” Latimer. I remember many warm moments speaking with Chief and his sons (who run the camp today) about missing home. He was always keen to help me overcome being homesick and made sure I was connecting with the other kids.  

In 2003, Chief sadly passed away. I saw in his obituary that a celebration of his life would be held at St. James Cathedral in Toronto. Everyone in Toronto is familiar with the sound of the bells ringing at St. James; it is one of the largest churches in the city with the biggest peal of bells in North America.

I mention the size of the church because when I arrived for the service, I was shocked (but not surprised) at the number of people present. There were so many people in attendance that they overflowed to the park around the church where the service was amplified through speakers. Chief touched thousands of people’s lives through his work at Kilcoo Camp. His legacy of being a kind, sweet, smart man lives on. 

Thinking about your legacy

I recently watched best-selling novelist Brad Meltzer’s TEDx talk “How To Write Your Own Obituary.” In it, he describes the different types of legacy that you will leave.

Try this exercise for yourself. Write down and separate all of the things you do for yourself versus what you do for other people. Those things for yourself will be the least remembered — your resume will fade. Your legacy is what you do for other people and the impact those actions have on their lives. This very much is in line with my approach to networking, nicely — always find ways to help others. 

Meltzer describes types of legacy.

Personal. You are your parent’s legacy. The way you interact and help your siblings will be remembered. How you raise your children and how you treat your spouse make up your family legacy.

Friends and colleagues. Helping your friends and treating them kindly will play a major role in your legacy. I believe we should find ways to support our friends beyond simple Facebook likes. Reach out over the phone or coffee.

Community. Who will remember your name? The people in your community will remember you for your participation and contributions. What have you done to help the people in your community?

The Business of Expertise

I loved The Business of Expertise How Entrepreneurial Experts Convert Insight to Impact + Wealth. Author, David Baker is brilliant. The content of this book will make you stop to question your brand's positioning as you strive for expertise. As Baker points out, "If you are positioned well, then they find very few substitutes."

The Business of Expertise contains plenty of wisdom and actionable steps you can take to becoming a true expert. He also includes important advice about self-confidence and self-improvement.

Here are some takeaways directly from the book. I highly recommend you pick up a copy for much more wisdom, context, and steps for you to achieve expertise in your space.

25 Takeaways from The Business of Expertise

  1. Personal relationships are not about giving in order to get.

  2. Good positioning makes you non-interachangable.

  3. If you are positioned well, then they find very few substitutes.

  4. Expertise blends knowledge with self-awareness of that knowledge.

  5. You need to earn your positioning.

  6. We gravitate to where we excel.

  7. Clients are drawn to confidence.

  8. If I find a much lower price than I would expect, I know that they don’t have much confidence.

  9. Confidence also comes when we say “no”.

  10. You should always have a list with getting to “know” topics on it.

  11. People don’t die “doing what they love” unless they love dying.

  12. Just doing what you love and making no money does nobody any favors.

  13. Just because you are good at something, even enjoy it, doesn’t mean that you are good at making money doing it.

  14. Make expertise the addiction.

  15. Money is the currency of respect, and the customer of an expert treats the advice more seriously if it comes with a hefty bill.

  16. Consultants who interview employees at client engagements look brilliant early in the process.

  17. Without strong positioning and the opportunity that stems from effectively applied lead generations, you are stuck with whatever opportunities fall in your lap instead of making your own success.

  18. Don’t add additional goals to your life until you decide which ones you’re going to drop. There is as much power in stopping something as there is in starting.

  19. Ask yourself “Okay. What is my role in the world?” - ask often.

  20. The only two kinds of experts who aren’t generally busy are new to the game or are incompetent.

  21. Choose between vertical and horizontal positioning.

  22. A great client may bring you new clients through career changes.

  23. Positioning is public and must be declared.

  24. Clients want to work with experts in demand.

  25. You’ll never get discovered and followed unless you’re an expert, but you’ll never be a good expert unless you’re grounded.

Pick up a copy of The Business of Expertise today to dive into the takeaways I shared above.

Building a Story Brand

Donald Miller Building a Storybrand.jpeg

I’m finally getting around to sharing what I learned in Donald Miller’s Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen. I’ve heard great things about this book from multiply friends since it’s publishing in 2017. I finally read the book late last year and it did not disappoint. It led me to rethink many of the aspects of my own brand. Who the hell is Dave Delaney? As Miller writes, “If you confuse, you lose.”

In order to understand and create your brand you must have a clear story. In a story, audiences must always know who the hero is, what the hero wants, who the hero has to defeat to get what they want.

Take my Communication Mastery workshop for example. The Hero is the person who hires me for a workshop, usually the CEO, COO, or HR Director. The Hero wants to improve his or her workplace culture by improving communication. The Hero is trying to defeat a potential toxic work environment and employee churn because both are costly concerns.

Customers don’t typically care about your story; they care about their own. Customers buy solutions to internal problems. By talking about the problems our customers face, we deepen their interest in everything we offer.

When we fail to define something our customer want, we fail to open a “story gap” with a single focus. We must define a specific desire and become known for helping people achieve it. That’s certainly what I am working on.

The specific desire for my clients is to improve communication. The Master Communicator’s Secret Weapon is my keynote presentation designed to help audiences use my advice to help them achieve their desire.

Miller writes, “When we frame our products as a resolution to both external and internal problems we increase the perceived value.” For example, part of what I teach is how to improve listening and how to lead with acceptance. Doing this in the workplace improves employee morale. Doing this outside with prospects, clients, and even friends and family improves sales and life in general.

Miller points out that, “A brand that positions itself as the hero is destined to lose.” This isn’t about me. It’s about you and helping you achieve success with your team. My brand is the guide that will help you. I truly care about helping you and your people. Miller reminds us that to succeed we must care.

Talk about the end vision. For what I do, it’s leaving you with a team who are better connected, listening more effectively, open to change, thinking quickly on their feet, leading with acceptance, becoming empathetic, and ultimately reducing employee churn by improving your company culture and overall communication.

Donald Miller writes about the importance of clearly defining the steps your hero needs to make in order to do business with you. He explains, at least three steps and no more than six.

For me it’s scheduling an introductory call. Speaking with me, so I can learn more about your needs. Determining the time and date of the workshop. I facilitate the workshop and you see the results. Boom, four simple steps.

I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Donald Miller’s Building a Story Brand for your own business. I found the lessons within to be exceptionally helpful. I also recommend you subscribe to Miller’s podcast for more insights and interviews with branding thought-leaders.

Ramble on Success

A ramble about success

I think I'm wiser from every failure. Every diet I've tried, every attempt at mindfulness and meditation, every new habit that has failed. I am too hard on myself each time I quit or fail.

I'm not unhealthy. I'm not stressed to the point of sleeplessness or suicidal thoughts. I can relax, I can breathe deeply, I can organize my day and stick with each task until completion.

I've learned these things from my sometimes feeble attempts. I understand what's needed to accomplish items when I aim to, I simply choose not too.

I choose not to stretch multiple times a day. I choose not to exercise. I choose not to work on the proposal, or plan, or manuscript. It's not you, it's me. My own worst enemy, they say.

I'm learning each day I procrastinate. I learn because I read the articles and books, I listen to the experts telling me what I must do to succeed.

Luck & Chance

We don't get their full, truthful transparency. We get the vision of excellence designed by the experts' marketing and publicity teams. We don't see their actual successes that actually fund their journey into expertise. Or maybe we do, but that's not the sexy part of the story. We don't hear about the luck and chance that got them to where they are today. Because so much is about this - luck and chance.

I can't rely exclusively on luck and chance though. Nobody should. But making attempts to improve myself gets me closer to the luck, closer to that chance encounter. Trying and failing gets me closer to the success I long for. And that success isn't the Ferrari or fancy home. It's extended vacations with my family. It's the peace of mind that the house has been paid for. It's knowing that the kids can go to college without the massive debt they should otherwise expect. It's having Heather home with me and traveling to my speaking engagements. It's knowing that our retirement savings are secure and ready for us to unplug from the day-to-day. A house on a lake with a wood-burning fireplace. Maybe a hot tub too. 

What is Success?

Having these visions alone is a success. Most people don't envision what their success looks like. Waiting in the car, in the fall sun, writing this as I wait for the kids is success. Happy, healthy, smart, silly kids... our success. Excited to see Heather when she gets home from work. Success. Leaving to Chicago for Google, success. Leaving to Louisville for my own engagement, success. Running my own business with wonderful clients, success. Writing and having my book published, success. 

Take a minute to consider what your success looks like. Now consider all of your successes to date. You're more successful than you think.

I'm 45. I'm just getting started. 

Setting and Achieving Your Goals with Overlap

How to set goals

Imagine yourself in a car at night, driving down a long, barren road with flat empty fields along both sides. You have been driving for many hours, and you have no idea where you are headed, or if you will ever reach your destination. You don't know this because you never decided where you are going. You are just driving with no plan.

You might be enjoying the feeling you get from the freedom of the open road. However, eventually, you will begin to get frustrated and feel stressed by the uncertainty of not knowing where you are going.

Setting yourself personal and professional goals will help you set and reach your destination. If you have no goals you will eventually run out of gas along the side of that barren road.

Don't quit your day job.

I was reminded of the importance of goals as I read Sean McCabe's new book, Overlap: The Ultimate Guide to Turning Your Side Passion Into a Successful Business. McCabe is an entrepreneur who has had several successful businesses over his career. We met in-person at Jeff Goins' Tribe Conference recently and spoke more about his book. He wrote it to encourage readers to go after what they truly want to do professionally. He doesn't preach what others do about quitting your day job. Instead, he encourages you to carve out time to work on a side business that can bring you joy and reward you financially. This all begins and ends with the goals you set for yourself.

In Overlap, McCabe describes his own goal of writing the book and how he completed it in just one month. He describes his process of writing 80,000 words over two weeks. McCabe includes a clever strategy to help readers set and reach their goals.

A strategy to achieve your goals.

Begin by creating a long list of all of your life goals. McCabe recommends determining which of the goals on your list will have the biggest impact on your life if accomplished in one year. He then says to start a new list and write that one goal on the top of the page. Follow this with twenty bulleted items that will get you to accomplish that goal. Dedicate one day for each item and repeat this for twenty days. 

I would add that you might need some extra time on some of the items, but you will be surprised how little time it actually takes to complete them when you write them down. It also helps to reconsider watching YouTube and Netflix during this period because focus is key.

McCabe writes, "Successful people know what they want, and they invest every ounce of their energy in going after that one thing. You can achieve many great things in life, but you can achieve only one truly great thing at a time. If you try to pursue many goals at once, you will not succeed at any of them." He adds that you should visualize achieving your goal. He says to, see it, actualize it, and internalize the fact that it will happen. Never feel you have failed to reach your goal, just that you haven't achieved it yet.

Make an on-going list of what is effecting you positively and what's doing so negatively. Doing this will help you understand what is slowing you down from achieving your goal and what is helping.

Communicate your goals.

A key message in Overlap is to communicate your goal every day to everyone in your life. Make them associate you with the goal you plan to accomplish. It needs to be on their minds when they think of you. You can even add the people in your life to your list. Some will support you all the way, while others may try to talk you out of it or even speak negatively of your goal.

McCabe writes, "If the people in your life don't know what your goal is they can't help you achieve it." He goes on to remind his readers that we need to know the goals our friends have and do our best to support them as well. As I always say, networking is a two-way street.

Why not pull your imaginary car over right now? Fire up Google Maps or grab the old Rand McNally from the glove box. Choose your destination. You are far more likely to make your journey a success when you know where you want to arrive.

Leave a comment with your goal. Maybe we can help you get there.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I had a colleague reach out to me to ask whether she should continue as a self-employed marketing consultant or become an employee. Here was my advice. 

Ask yourself what you want to do most. Do you want stability but give up some freedom for it, or would you prefer potentially more reward but also more chaos? Working for yourself is always a bit chaotic and stressful (trust me, I know). So it's key to decide which lifestyle you prefer. If you choose employment, remember there are always options to work on a side hustle. ;)

Entrepreneurship or Employment

Entrepreneurship is wonderful and hellish at the same time. It is important to understand that there is nothing wrong with working as an employee. I did this for most of my career. I feel better for having done it, because I learned so much about how a business is run, and how to correct common problems and concerns that aren't visible to the outside world. 

As simple as this may sound, create two Pros and Cons lists. One for working for yourself and one for an employer. Do this on paper with a coffee (or stiffer drink). Close your computer. Put your phone in airplane mode. Don't get back online until you have completed both lists. 

I bet you'll see your answer right in front of you.

Now here's some music to help you work on your decision...

How to Book Yourself Solid

I have had the good fortune of spending time with best-selling author, speaker trainer, and keynote speaker, Michael Port. He is a warm, wise and sincere guy - my kind of people! 

I recently read and loved his best-selling book, Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling. I have already seen an increase in new consulting clients as a result of reading and working through the excerises in his book.

Here are some of my takeaways from Book Yourself Solid. I encourage you to pick up a copy and dig right in today.

17 Takeaways From Book Yourself Solid

  • You are the company you keep. 

I've read this in many of my favorite business and self-help-type books. It's true. Choose your friends wisely. Ditch them if they don't support you.

  • Your ideal clients are those individuals who energize and inspire you. 

This is why I typically work with small business owners and small teams. It always seem like the small businesses are the most passionate about the work they do. That passion always gets me excited to serve them.

  • Being everything to everyone just isn't possible. 

I'm guilty of trying to please all of the people all of the time - in the past. Michael serves his readers a good reminder why this doesn't work.

  • It’s much easier to carve out a very lucrative domain for yourself once you’ve identified a specific target market. 

This is something I have been doing with I wrote my book all about networking so I have returned to the topic to teach and build a community. My target market is anyone who wants to jumpstart their career or grow their business. 

  • If your potential clients are going to purchase your services and products, they must see them as investable opportunities; they must feel that the return they receive is greater than the investment they made.
  • The secret to having a successful business is to know what your clients want and deliver it. 
  • People buy results and the benefits of those results. So think about the solutions you offer and the subsequent results and benefits they provide.
  • View yourself as a leader in your client’s life.
  • Your brand is about making yourself known for your skills and talents. More than that — your brand is about what you stand for.
  • Establish an advisory board.

I'm finally in the process of making this happen officially in a private mastermind. 

  • Read one book a month.

You'll know I did this from reading these mini book report posts. Yes, I admit I have been falling behind. 

  • When you have made the effort to speak and write directly to your ideal client, he’ll feel it.
  • Perform daily tasks that will keep your name in front of potential clients.

I do this with my writing here, at Networking For Nice People, in my email newsletters, and in my column in The Tennessean. I also use Contactually as my CRM to remind me to check-in with clients and follow-up. 

  • From a practical perspective there may be two simple reasons why you don’t have as many clients as you’d like: Either you don’t know what to do to attract and secure more clients; or You know what to do but you’re not actually doing it.

Guilty as charged with not doing what I know I need to be doing. I'm getting better at holding myself accountable though. The photos of my family in my office help keep me focused. 

  • Each day, introduce two people within your network who do not yet know each other but you think might benefit from knowing each other. 

I do this with my Daily Goals Worksheet. You can grab a copy here

  • Start by choosing one day of the week that you can focus on where and when you could be asking for referrals.
  • Instead of focusing on what I do, focus on what I can do for my clients.

Get a Copy of Book Yourself Solid

I pulled each of these quotes from Michael Port's valuable book because they stood out to me. I expect many (if not all) will stand out to you too.

Book Yourself Solid is a must-read book to help you grow your business. Michael Port is definitely somebody you should be following.