Tag Archives: “Geoffrey James”

The Customer’s Story, Not Yours

27 Jul

Are you listening to product pitches that start with the vendor’s history? “Founded in Silicon Valley by really smart people with A-level VC funding and a market-leading solution” goes the pitch. Then they take 10 minutes to explain the problem. Another 20 minutes to explain the solution in (too much) detail. Does that work for you? It does not for me.

As a salesperson, I’m always interested in how other sales people try to sell me. While part of me is listening to their pitch, the other part is thinking about how effective they are. Are they doing things I would not? Are they doing things that I should?

Usually, those “selling to me” experiences have been while I’m a consumer. Recently those experiences have been in the business world and tend to be more relevant to how I do my own job. There are many smaller vendors looking to partner with my current employer on various sales opportunities.  As I am the point person on several large opportunities, I get these partnering calls.

Those that know me also know about my sales material. It’s a double-sided, laminated card with customer logos on one side and my solution architecture on the other. The card gets lots of smiles from peers and customers but it also is quite effective. Why? Because I start with the slide that tells the customers stories.


I got the title of this post from Geoffrey James’ recent article on Inc., entitled, “Tell the Customer’s Story, Not Your Story” The tagline is spot on, “Why are you wasting everyone’s time telling your company’s story?”

I’ve been listening to too many vendor presentations that tell their story. The salesrep has admirable enthusiasm for the solution and a deep knowledge of how it works. But I don’t care yet. What I want to know is WHY other customers are using the solution. I want to know what problem are they solving with this solution. If you can’t start with that information, then you’re wasting everyone’s time.

[5 Aug 2013 Update] Given the number of people who’ve said they’ve encountered this problem as well, I have created these 2 quick polls to see how pervasive this issue is. Please vote!


3 Great Reminders This Week

27 May

I starred 3 blog posts this week that I’ve re-read a couple of times already and wanted to share with you.

From Seth Godin – He refutes the cliche and states that “It DOES hurt to ask” because you then don’t get a chance to ask the right way.

From Geoffrey James – An example of what he considers an eternal rule of business, “Anyone who manipulates you with fear intends to screw you eventually.

From Adrian Miller, author of “The Blatant Truth”, 10 Ways to Suck at Networking. I was at the New England Networkers event last night and am going to the Cambridge Business Development Group event tonight so a quick referesher on what NOT to do was timely.

Good Cold Calling Leads to Referrals

22 Jan

I’m a big fan of reading Geoffrey James’ blog, Sales Machine.  He gets to be edgier and more controversial than his articles in Selling Power magazine.

He posted a great letter from one of his readers on the value of cold calling.  The real value in cold calling is disqualifying prospects, much like panning thru dirt to find diamonds.  I’ve posted on the value of cold calling in a previous Inquisix post.

The commenter’s conclusion on the value of cold calling?


Same as what I said; the benefit of cold calling is….referrals!

The Sales Machine Machine

4 Aug

Are you reading Geoffrey James’ blog, “Sales Machine” yet? I was introduced to his blog by Joanne Black of “No More Cold Calling” fame and I’ve enjoyed reading it ever since. Unlike the frequency of the Inquisix blog posts, Geoffrey is posting almost every day and I find them all worth reading. I was recently looking at all the starred items on my blog reader and was surprised to see that I have stars next to 16 of his blog postings, which is the largest number of stars I have for another blog.

Some of the posts are advice on how to improve your selling. Here, here and here.

Others focus on dealing with difficult co-workers and bosses. Here.

Others are about my favorite topic of referral selling. Here, here and here.

He has a recent series of posts where readers email him with sticky issues and he offers advice ala Ann Landers. Here and here. The questioner may not like his answers but I always find something interesting in them.

Like this afternoon’s post. He reviews a company’s video elevator speech and offers a suggestion on how to improve it. First, I always like people who offer solutions when bringing me a problem. Second, the company he’s critiquing is in the business of developing other companies’ elevator pitch. How ironic! Geoffrey, will you help Inquisix with our pitch on being the best networking site for referral-based businesses?