For those of us who actually sell big stuff in the real world, the advice seemed pretty common sense. Sell value. Show the customer the difference between their status quo and what your product will build in the future. Sell the outcome. Use stories. Don’t talk features.
OK, pretty standard advice. It actually begs another question. If the sales rep is not selling value, not showing the delta between current state and future state, what is she doing?
Look, selling advice is not a bad thing. It is not wrong for guys who never made any real money selling, at age 50 or 60, to set up shop on LinkedIn preaching the obvious to those who may find the obvious insightful.
Make a buck any you have to, I guess.
We at ContingencySales first discussed the toxic nature of venture capital, particularly early VC dough.
We do not sell any advice. We have a portfolio of a half dozen companies, which we own, and are taking to market. Thus, we have to find ways to break through the white noise and get to an executive buyer.
Our opinions come directly from what works and what does not work. Today. Empirically.
Since we are 100% self-funded, we cannot afford to do stupid stuff; like cold calling, social media marketing, SPAM, logo-wear.
We skip the “sales ninjas” with 10X or now 30X programs that are so preposterous we at first thought they were fun posts from The Onion.
Our skip-the-VC advice morphed into a head on collision with the sales advisory charlatan club.
You know them. They post every day on LinkedIn. Most of their stuff is pablum anyone would know from selling at the lemonade stand. They often jump up and down and do creepy stuff in videos.
We commented on many of their cherished pitches —account based marketing, SPAM, interruption marketing, GrowthPlay training, cold calling, buying DiscoverOrg lists and driving inbound/outbound marketing, social media.
We showed how content marketing is nonsense in almost all instances and how logo-wear became the one stop shop for those needing T-shirts for their next apartment painting project.
A lot of the sales advisory charlatans got their hair very messed up. Actually, not all did, as so many of them are bald or have their hair in a mohawk or painted blue. Such is what one must do to attract attention to their “advice.”
We have no dog in the fight since we do not sell advice. Over the last year, we have accumulated a small band of young sellers in the B2B market. They sent emails commenting on our pieces and often asked for a phone chat. They asked for advice.
We always complied. What we heard was scary.
They universally loathed their jobs. They could not get appointments. Nobody took their calls. They were measured on outgoing SPAM called account based marketing. They were given account lists in January and expected to have predictable, monthly revenue from new accounts.
Their companies were always on the D, E, F or X venture round, never having made a dime.
We chat with most of them at least once a month and we help out where we can. There is always time to help a young person starting out. Someone once did it for us.
They read all the sales charlatan crap on LinkedIn and they laughed about how useless it was. One poignant comment: “…so how am I going to build a value model for the customer when she will not meet with any sales person?” Right.
We point out that 99% of all the sales advice is for the last 5% of the sale: when one is in front of the customer, they are considering a solution, there is competition under way.
Unfortunately, that is not the current problem.
The current problem is: “…how do I get in front of a prospect if they won’t take a call, they delete vendor emails, they loath talking to sales people and they have never heard of my company?”
That is 95% of the sales problem today. It is what we, at ContingencySales, deal with every day. And we have been very successful. We don’t keep secrets.
And we comment on why the sales ninja community is so far off the mark.
Our beef with the sales ninja coaches is not that they are wrong. They are. Their advice is useless. But useless is not necessarily bad.
Useless wastes time and it causes young people to go the wrong direction, encounter endless frustration and fail. That is bad. It is evil because these guys should know better.
OK, so now for life coaches.
We started to see “life coaches,” “career coaches” and other quite interesting new titles popping up on the personal side rather than the selling side of the equation.
OK, let’s look at what they sell and where they came from? Hmmm?
We are pattern people here at ContingencySales. One of our companies does fraud detection using similarity matching. We like to take similarities and follow them a bit.
Life coach, teaching executives how to master their most vexing problems. OK, probably a need for that.
What’s her background? Former dental assistant. Then went to a life coach training program. Now an executive coach. Does one need to comment here? Really?
Let’s take another. Leadership coach. NLP-practicioner. Aha! This one will be fun.
Here we have a former office manager who will help you, senior executive, with your leadership in your organization.
One wonders who would actually write a check to someone so patently out of their depth.
Our issue with life coaches is not that we think they are all scams. Most of them are.
They mean well, they do not want to be what their qualifications have brought them – they go to the life coach event, write a big check, get “certified” and VIOLA!!!
A life coach is born!
We actually love life coaches. We own a social engagement company, with over 150,000 members, that is all about health and wellness.
A few years ago, we started working with several real life coaches. One is an Emmy Award winning television personality who helped people get over some of their worst fears.
Another is a convicted felon, an accessory to murder, who served their time, got a degree, and is helping young people see what can happen if a drug habit gets out of hand. They have a spectacularly valuable story to tell and we are going to help them tell it.
Our new site, coming in January, is 100% free, and we are inviting many valuable life coaches to sell their products to our growing membership. We feature experts on overcoming spousal abuse, dealing with suicide prevention.
We are trying to deliver an investment in fighting loneliness, something we believe is the hidden scourge of our age.
Our value add is a search algorithm enabling people to find others, across scores of attributes, just like them. We use the world’s fastest database, which we invented, at 200 million transactions per second.
Everything in the site is 100% free. The site enables life coaches, dealing with the most intractable issues, to sell their advice, products, organize events on our site. The site takes a nominal fee from their sales to cover ongoing expenses. Anything left over – well, that goes to animal rescue charities.
So when it comes to vetting life coaches, we do have a dog in this fight.
Our commentary on LinkedIn pointing out the absurdity of these former dental assistants who took a course, jumped out of the closet and are now a life coach is they are dangerous.
They are dangerous because they give the recipient, who may need real, tangible advice, a false sense of progress when none is taking place.
We believe nonsense is not always harmless.
Sometimes nonsense, from sales ninjas or life coaches slows the remediation, the cure.
When it does it is evil.
Reprinted from www.JayValentine.com