By Michael Walford-Grant
They say that in life timing is everything.
And so it was that in February 2020, after more than 30 years’ working in sales for financial data management and technology companies, including PolarLake, AIM Software, SunGard and FIS, I decided to start my own sales consultancy.
Within a month, the UK was in lockdown, and consumed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
But out of adversity comes opportunity. I was able to use the downtime to come up with the idea for a ‘dip in, dip out’ guide to remind me of the best practices and tips on any particular sales topic; for example, a contract negotiation, or a morning of lead generation activities.
It got me thinking: There’s potential for a book here! And last November, I signed a book deal with Morgan James, an international publisher based in New York.
The result of my endeavours is Sales Unplugged. Designed primarily for B2B salespeople, both experienced and those early in their careers, it is an easy-to-read aide memoire of sales best practices. The book is also well suited for business owners, and practicing consultants, that are required to sell, but do so instinctively having never been formally trained.
Sales Unplugged draws on the ‘best practice guides’ I created for my early consulting assignments, themselves based on my experiences over my three decades as a sales executive. In pulling these together, three things struck me:
- How much of what I do, I do instinctively, without thinking.
- There were valuable skills and techniques I had completely forgotten, or had never come across.
- There are things I know, but don’t always do.
The materials in the book are a stripped-down collection of curated best practices of what I consider are the necessary foundations and disciplines for consistent high performance in sales.
To supplement these, Part 2 of the book – Stories From the Front Line – is a collection of anecdotes, capturing my more memorable experiences from the coal face, ranging from the dramatic to the funny to the deeply personal.
It includes winning deals, losing deals, people conflicts, being sacked, ambulances, terrorist attacks, the day Lehman Brothers went down, and enduring a formal performance improvement process. Some of the highlights will be published by Data Management Insight in a mini-serialisation for the benefit of readers.
If there are a couple of conclusions I have been reminded of, both because of compiling the book and operating as a sales consultant, they are these:
- Keep everything you do as simple as possible, and
- Be proud of the sheer breadth of knowledge and skills you have acquired, to operate as a B2B salesperson.
You can pre order a copy of Sales Unplugged through your on-line favorite book store, or if you cannot wait until the publication date in December, then you can order a signed copy directly from me; just message me on LinkedIn.
Enjoy, and good selling!
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