In this book, I attempt to make the content "eclectically snackable," so feel free to browse and jump around based upon the biggest challenges you face. This book is an in-the-trenches handbook for dealing with the entrepreneur's and salesperson's number-one problem: not enough opportunity pipeline. A lack of closable deals is really just a symptom of deeper issues, and you must not solely rely on others to generate your leads and opportunities. Being successful means taking control over prospecting yourself—you're not really a leader or a salesperson unless you do!
Please understand that it is out of respect that I assume you already have a solid understanding of professional selling. Also note that I cite many technologies but acknowledge that there are hundreds more that could have been included. I mention those with which I am familiar through personal use or the work I've done with clients. I am especially passionate about LinkedIn and Salesforce because they are the leaders in creating business-to-business sales pipeline and end-to-end customer experience to drive sales. Since completing the draft of this book in early 2017, Sales-force became my client.
If you don't understand something I reference, simply Google it or ask me on my LinkedIn blog at www.linkedin.com/today/posts/hughestony. I am deliberately provocative about the things that matter, and my goal is to cattle-prod you into action. All the stories in this book are real, and the use of repetition for key concepts is designed to inspire intelligent action and help you remember what's important. The Jason Bourne-meets-Monty Python writing style is intended to evoke emotion and to interrupt your habitual thinking patterns and mindset.
Finally, if you think I'm full of hot air after reading this book, write to me via LinkedIn, and I'll refund what you paid for it. I could go bankrupt since I only receive a small royalty from the publisher, but I'm passionate about everything you're about to read. I'm putting my money where my mouth is because my hope is that you also put your full effort where your mouth is to realize your real potential as a salesperson, business leader, or entrepreneur.
COMBO Explained and Calls to Put Me in Jail
Jeb Blount is a true sales hero, and his book, Fanatical Prospecting, completely changed my attitude toward selling. That's even after being in the field for 30 years in the United States and running entire technology companies in the Asia-Pacific region. Jeb stirred the pot tremendously with this quote that I shared in my LinkedIn profile:
I closed a $2.5 million deal after leaving the exact same voice mail for a C-level exec every morning for 52 consecutive days. He finally called me back and said, "You're not going to stop are you?" I responded, "Not until you meet with me." The meeting opened a dialogue that, six months later, resulted in my company replacing his incumbent vendor. Persistence is the fuel of winners.
This quote spawned more than 1 million views, more than 5,000 likes, and over 600 comments.
Many missed the fact that I was merely quoting Jeb, and they decided to attack me, thinking I had done this. I wish—it's the stuff of legend! One man said I should be locked up in jail for harassment! Another lady threatened to send two former NFL linebackers to beat me up! The level of emotion was off the charts. The irony is that Jeb did not harass anyone. He simply stayed the course, knowing he could help his customer and staying determined to do so despite the customer's apathy. Customers really can be their own worst enemies, but in this case there are 2.5 million proof points that they ultimately awoke from their slumber and agreed with Jeb. I know that his customers are grateful for his polite and professional persistence. Jeb passionately believes in the value he offers...do you believe in yours?
I have become the most-read blogger globally on the topic of buyer-to-buyer (B2B) selling within LinkedIn, and that's where I've researched and tested the concepts within this book. Jeb's quote lit the fuse that ignited a powder-keg realization: Sellers have become too passive, quiet, fearful, and lazy. I discovered the best way to start a fight of mixed martial arts (MMA) proportions, in any sales community, is simply to tell people that they've "gotta pick up the phone and call someone!" Yet fear of rejection and fear of the phone can be transformed and become your best friends if you know the secret to breaking through. Emotion can be harnessed if you have the right thought process.