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Rainmaking Conversations: Influence, Persuade, and Sell in any Situation by John E. Doerr, Mike Schultz

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Chapter 16

What You Need to Know to Sell

Knowledge is the food of the soul.

—Plato

Here’s a shocker: The companies that are the best at selling do things differently than those that aren’t. If someone asked you to guess the top factors that separate the best sales forces from the average, some obvious choices might be: The best companies hire the best sales reps; they train them well; they pay them well; they motivate and coach them to perform at their best; they retain the top talent.

All reasonable thoughts and worthy goals, but there’s one rarely discussed area that separates the best from the rest: sales knowledge. See Figure 16.1.

Figure 16.1 Top firms focus on excellence in the core knowledge needed to lead masterful rainmaking conversations.

image

In an Aberdeen Group research report1 472 business-to-business (B2B) firms reported on a variety of sales-related success factors. Twenty-four percent of firms with salespeople who were best-in-class were markedly better in these three areas:

1. Overall product and service knowledge.

2. Understanding clients’ and prospects’ business challenges.

3. Mapping their offerings to those challenges.

The top three factors of the firms researched have one thing in common: They all focus on excellence in the core knowledge needed to lead masterful rainmaking conversations.

The findings shine a light on a huge opportunity. Salespeople who are ...

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