I get harassed about why I stopped banging the drum for an all social selling approach and went full throttle for the phone. The blunt truth is without the human voice on the line, your KPIs in generating net new business are toast. Jeb taught me that but let's dig a little deeper.
I think Jeb Blount is heroic and may just be the "hardest working man in sales" on Terra Firma so I'm doing what I can to catch up and so should each one of you! Here's why: He's been writing arguably the best books on sales on the market today, picking up where SPIN and Challenger left off. Those books were like Beatles records of sales but leave almost every reader dumbfounded on how to "earn the right to challenge" and where on earth to generate the "insight." Jeb argues that with the crazy busy modern executive, there's just no time to "teach, tailor, or take control" without leveraging a level of persuasion and emotional intelligence to even begin to tell your story.
From my lens, Jeb's focused on 2 major themes hidden from view in the modern sales canon. They differentiate his work from the rest of the 10,000+ sales books out there except maybe content Ben Zoldan and Mike Bosworth touch on in "What Great Salespeople Do." You almost never read about emotional vulnerability or storytelling at this level. The majority of strategic sales methods are highly analytical and heavy on control.
C-Levels like stallions, aren't fans of saddles so if you break 'em they certainly will not buy you.
Sales programs are typically constructed by those that can't do but love to teach. Many sales methodologies and processes are so complex that they tend to confuse reps limiting adoption and results.
Jeb delivers in stark contrast. Just go read the hundreds of glowing reviews on Amazon.
Where Jeb Blount, pronounced "blunt" - bluntly breaks new ground with evergreen themes:
- Emotional Intelligence or Sales EQ: People buy on emotion and rationalize with logic. There's neuroscience behind this but it's this simple truth that earns us a seat at the table and allows us to WIN. Even if we have the weaker solution and approach the meetings, those ultra-high performers that trigger an emotional connection will win. The kicker, the customer will even have a rational explanation for how it's better. The analogy that COKE only tastes better than Pepsi when drinkers first see the can is a wild truth.
- High-Quality Daily Sales Activity: This is the 80/20 rule that allows top performers to consistently fill their pipeline. I argue in my upcoming COMBO Prospecting, that if you could isolate the 20% most effective things to do on a daily basis and then only do those at scale, just imagine! He provides that blueprint, too. We're all familiar with the "busy fool syndrome" and social selling has been the ultimate scourge of that. Lots of bad activity amounting to little revenue, if any. It's not only about performing the right actions but prioritizing which "dream" accounts - in Iannarino parlance - and "dream" stakeholders to fire on every single day, with which message and how to follow it up in the right bold sequence to get noticed and progress micro-commitments.
What makes Jeb so credible? He has been a top performer in the trenches himself working up the corporate ladder. He's done seven figure deals. He's scaled his own consultancy. He's a master of all forms of selling from transactional to strategic. He hones his craft and reads voraciously. He uses all the tools in the toolkit building a bridge across the generations.
What I love about Jeb is his charismatic ability to weave personal stories from his time in the trenches into his material. He has a great sense of humor, no nonsense approach and always massive amounts of warmth radiating off the pages.
In many ways, my new book "COMBO Prospecting" (pre-order for January release) is like an Aussie Love Letter to Jeb. He is so relentless it's downright controversial in a world where sellers really just want the easy button. SDRs graduate to an AE thinking they can stop prospecting. Sales VPs graduate to CRO thinking they can just become "spread sheet jockeys," removed from the messy business of Human to Human interaction. But it's actually the opposite. The higher up we get on the sales food chain, the more important "true connection" becomes.
I would greatly encourage you to buy the following 3 books immediately. Better yet, move them to the front of your Audible or Kindle queue. I challenge you not to find them in the top 5 sales books you've ever read. My synopsis.
- People Buy You: Why? This is not about becoming a relationship seller. It's more speaking to building true connections and the little things like manners, integrity and polish that differentiate you as a seller. I think CEB confirms 53% of why C-Levels buy is the experience they have with the salesperson as all solutions become increasing commoditized in this time of AI, automation, and offshoring.
- Fanatical Prospecting: Why? The truth is, you've got to understand axioms like the "universal law of need," "law of replacement" and Horstman's Corollary to play in the big leagues. In short, you can't have needy commission breath. You can't only prospect when your pipeline is empty because you'll roller coaster. And, "Work contracts to fill the time we give it!" This is the best book on prospecting ever written and greatly inspired mine.
- Sales EQ: Why? There is actually a great deal of smoke and mirrors around NLP, trusted advisor and insight selling. This is the research on neuroscience that describes the emotional world of buyers and how it's the ultimate edge for the top 3% of sales eagles. Essentially, challenging buyers with insight is impossible without earning the right by setting them at ease with empathy.
"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen." - John Wooden
Jeb likes to chop wood and further confirms that sales in the modern age are the most blue collar of white-collar professions. I've coined the expression, "Modernized selling requires a pale blue collar." You've gotta connect to power, powerfully connect, build value collaboratively and then be well-liked enough to inspire change. That's hard. I'm the duck, poised on the surface, paddling like hell underneath!
Jeb will teach you how to be more likable even if you are having the worst day of your life. He'll give you actionable, simple advice that cuts through the noise to produce sales results in any market.
I'm on the edge of my seat to see what Jeb will do next in his career. His work ethic and mastery of the fundamentals remind me of Coach John Wooden, nicknamed the "Wizard of Westwood," who won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period as head coach at UCLA, including a record seven in a row.
Jeb's a brilliant coach who truly cares about people over profit. It radiates in all his work. He's the real deal. I trust Jeb to filter out all the BS coming out in sales books these days that honestly will be a theoretical practice for your team and will fail your pipeline. There are so many brilliant minds in sales today but for some reason, Jeb is ahead of the pack.
What are your favorite theories, quotes, and concepts in Jeb's work? Have you read his books, followed his exceptional podcasts or interfaced with him directly? Let's fill the comments here with some gravy-laden love and "results" oriented stories for Jeb so he keeps raining golden nuggets for many decades to come!
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Tony Hughes is ranked as the #1 influencer on professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is a keynote speaker and best selling author. This article was originally published on LinkedIn where you can also follow Tony's award-winning blog. Also, visit Tony's keynote speaker website at www.TonyHughes.com.au or his sales methodology website at http://www.rsvpselling.com/.