Adding compelling value

The Art and Science of Compelling Value with Dr. Tom Sant

Dr. Tom Sant | Sep 9, 2014

We all know it – the magic word in selling in today’s increasingly complex marketplace is value. They say that providing value cures all problems. Such stresses as price pressure, intense competition, slow sales cycles, shrinking margin all poof and disappear with the presence of value…right?

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Customer Centric Communications

Customer-Centric Communications

Dr. Tom Sant | Mar 3, 2014

One of the all-time classic TV ads was the one for Wendy’s hamburgers where elderly Clara Peller lifted the bun, squinted at what she saw, and then bellowed, “Where’s the beef?”

Great ad. Good question. It’s one that senior executives often ask themselves when they see canned presentations or boilerplate proposals from sales people. And they typically react by dismissing the sales person or tuning out the presentation.

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Sales Coaching Reinforcement

Principles of Effective Sales Coaching and Reinforcement

Dr. Tom Sant | Feb 2, 2014

Recent research into adult learning, information processing and skill development has shown that individuals learn to function in real-world settings and make effective decisions about how to execute their role when they have been properly coached.

Effective coaching addresses the three chronological phases that people go through as they learn to execute a new skill:

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Just-in-time Knowledge

Just-in-time Knowledge - Creating a Reactive Selling System

Dr. Tom Sant | Jan 1, 2014

When you get a canned email or direct mail piece, you know what it is instantly.  Even if the sender has woven your name through the piece, it still sounds “off.”  There’s a distinct aroma to boilerplate that most of us can sniff out pretty quickly.

And yet many companies arm their sales people with boilerplate presentation decks and boilerplate sales messages.  Do they work?  Of course not.  Most executives will resent being expected to sit through a boilerplate presentation.  They take it as a sign of laziness, incompetence, disrespect, or ignorance. 

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Sales effectiveness

Moving from Sales Efficiency to Sales Effectiveness

Dr. Tom Sant | Nov 11, 2013

Sales systems have focused primarily on making the sales person and—more typically—sales management more efficient.  That is, they have enabled people to handle larger volumes of data, keep track of more deals, communicate quicker, develop more accurate forecasts, and so on.  These are the typical benefits promised by various kinds of workflow automation systems worldwide.  They are the benefits of greater efficiency.

What they haven't done is help people sell better.  That is, they haven't provided the tools the sales person needs to close deals.

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Resistance to Change

Resistance to Change - Combat the Fear of the Unknown

Dr. Tom Sant | Sep 9, 2013

Thirty years ago when libraries began to digitize their holdings, librarians and patrons alike complained about the change. A research study into the effects of library automation by Sarah Fine found widespread resistance to replacing the old card catalog with a computerized database of holdings. As she wrote then, "human beings tend to resist change, even when change represents growth and development….[leading to] greater efficiency and productivity."

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Change is hard

Managing Change in the Sales Organization

Dr. Tom Sant | Aug 8, 2013

Bringing about change in a sales organization is one of the most difficult jobs in management. Let me share three quick anecdotes that illustrate the point, and then offer some observations about what we might learn from them:

Desperation in Dayton

After buying National Manufacturing and renaming it National Cash Register, John Henry Patterson found he had a problem. He was going broke. Retailers saw no reason to buy a complex, expensive cash register to use in their businesses.

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Top 5 "Messages That Matter" from Dr. Tom Sant

Dr. Tom Sant | Jul 7, 2013

Big News! Dr. Tom Sant’s popular newsletter, Messages that Matter is getting a new home over at Qvidian’s Sales iQ Blog! We’ll continue to email you links to Tom’s blog posts in the coming weeks, but be sure to sign up for Qvidian’s Sales iQ Blog so you don’t miss any of Tom’s great tips!

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Messages That Matter: Tracking Results - Metrics and Measures

Dr. Tom Sant | May 5, 2013

A discussion on the Association of Proposal Management Professional's LinkedIn discussion board posed a very interesting question:
How to measure success in responding to RFPs (requests for proposals) if management does not want to include win rate as one of the key criteria?

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Dr. Tom Sant | Qvidian

Messages that Matter: Question 7—Why are we the right choice?

Dr. Tom Sant | Feb 2, 2013
7 Key Questions to Answer When Writing a "Killer" Sales Proposal

We have been reviewing the seven key questions that you must be able to answer to write a winning proposal:

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Dr. Tom Sant | Qvidian

Messages that Matter: Question 6—Which Solution is the Best Fit?

Dr. Tom Sant | Jan 1, 2013
7 Key Questions to Answer When Writing a "Killer" Sales Proposal

We have been reviewing the seven key questions that you must be able to answer to write a winning proposal:

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Dr. Tom Sant | Qvidian

Messages that Matter: Question 5—What products or services can we offer?

Dr. Tom Sant | Nov 11, 2012
7 Key Questions to Answer When Writing a "Killer" Sales Proposal

We have been reviewing the seven key questions that you must be able to answer to write a winning proposal:

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Messages that Matter: Question 4—Which specific result is most important?

Dr. Tom Sant | Sep 9, 2012
By Dr. Tom Sant 7 Key Questions to Answer When Writing a "Killer" Sales Proposal

We have been reviewing the seven key questions that you must be able to answer to write a winning proposal:

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Dr. Tom Sant | Qvidian

Messages that Matter: Question 3—What results does the customer seek?

Dr. Tom Sant | Aug 8, 2012
7 Key Questions to Answer When Writing a "Killer" Sales Proposal

As you may recall, we've been discussing the seven questions you need to be able to answer to write a client-centered proposal. Here they are:

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Dr. Tom Sant | Qvidian

Messages that Matter: Question 2—Why is the customer's problem worth solving?

Dr. Tom Sant | Jun 6, 2012
7 Key Questions to Answer When Writing a "Killer" Sales Proposal

We’ve been discussing the seven questions you need to be able to answer to write a client-centered proposal. Here they are:

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Dr. Tom Sant | Qvidian

Messages that Matter: Question 1—What is the customer's problem or need?

Dr. Tom Sant | Jun 6, 2012
7 Key Questions to Answer When Writing a "Killer" Sales Proposal

Lots of bad proposals are bad because they were written in a knowledge vacuum. The proposal writer knows very little about the account, the business situation, or the decision maker's goals. Sometimes the salesperson has thrown a request for proposal over the wall and said, "Just give them our standard response." Sometimes the proposal team hasn't bothered to ask any questions. Either way, the result is a turgid, generic document that sounds self-centered and fundamentally irrelevant.

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Dr. Tom Sant | Qvidian

Messages that Matter: Minimizing Cognitive Dissonance

Dr. Tom Sant | May 5, 2012
What is Cognitive Dissonance?

For a number of years I have been using the term "cognitive dissonance" to describe a phenomenon that everyone experiences. I'm probably using it incorrectly, but I have a confession to make: I'm not going to stop.

The term was coined by Leon Festinger, who studied a Chicago cult that had expected the world to end on December 21, 1954. (By the way, what is it with apocalyptic prophecies and December 21? That's the date the Mayans have supposedly predicted the world will end this year.)

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Dr. Tom Sant | Qvidian

Messages that Matter: Can Feeling Happy Increase Your Productivity?

Dr. Tom Sant | Mar 3, 2012
Want to be More Productive? Put a Smile on Your Face

Can feeling happy increase your productivity? Does feeling stressed reduce it?

Research shows that the answer to both questions is yes. Stress kills productivity, makes it harder to focus, and saps your energy.

If you are a proposal manager who is swamped with "must win" bids, or a sales person with an aggressive quota, you know what stress feels like.

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Dr. Tom Sant | Qvidian

Messages that Matter: The First Time Right Rule

Dr. Tom Sant | Jan 1, 2012
"The First Time Right" Rule

The most important rule for communicating your sales message, in my opinion, is the "first time right" rule.

It's a simple concept: The first time somebody reads or hears your message, they get it right. There's no ambiguity, no vagueness, no confusion in your message. They never have to go back and re-read the sentence or paragraph to try to figure out what you meant.

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Dr. Tom Sant | Qvidian

Messages that Matter: Unleashing the Wisdom of the Sales Team

Dr. Tom Sant | Dec 12, 2011
Glorifying the "Gunslinger"

In recent years, Nobel Prize winner Carl Wieman has found that dividing physics and chemistry students into small groups and having them discuss specific, practical problems among themselves increases comprehension for everyone in the group of the relevant principles.

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Dr. Tom Sant | Qvidian

Messages that Matter: 7 Traits of Effective Sales Organizations

Dr. Tom Sant | Dec 12, 2011

With apologies to the late, great Stephen Covey and his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, here are the seven traits of highly successful sales organizations. They're presented in alphabetical order, because they all matter.

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Dr. Tom Sant | Qvidian

Messages that Matter: Selling Lean

Dr. Tom Sant | Dec 12, 2011
The Development of Lean Thinking

One of the most fruitful movements in business during the past twenty years or so has been the development of Lean Thinking. Championed most notably in the auto industry, it has spread to other industries as well. Using careful measurement of performance in real-world settings, Lean Thinking focuses on identifying the activities that create value, determining the optimum sequence of activities, eliminating those activities that add no value or that produce waste, enabling the customer to "pull", and then improving the process again and again.

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