April 26, 2017

Be Wary of Sales Experts and NFL Draft Experts Spouting Opinions

In case you’re not a sports fan, haven’t turned on ESPN lately, or seen a sports page, tomorrow is the NFL Draft. The hype is close to unbearable. And laughably, so is the pathetic track record of the supposed experts telling us who’s the next surefire superstar. (The image above is comedian Frank Caliendo impersonating ESPN NFL Draft Analyst, Mel Kiper. If you’ve never seen Caliendo, check this out later.)

The amount of hours devoted to covering the draft is obscene — similar to the amount of nonsense being posted on LinkedIn and “authoritative” sites by sales experts. I’ll circle back with some harsh words for today’s sales experts in a minute. First, though, let me drive home the point about the track record of these draft experts (that includes TV personalities, online gurus, and even NFL team executives).

Last year, the Rams traded up to get the very first pick of the entire draft because they had to have QB Jared Goff from Cal. Goff was so ill-prepared to play and so awful in training camp that the Rams didn’t even dress him the first few games of the season. That’s right. The guy the experts had as #1 turned out to be unworthy of even putting on pads and a uniform. 134 picks later Dallas grabbed Dak Prescott at the end of the fourth round. What did Prescott do? How about lead the Cowboys to the playoffs, set all kinds of rookie records and get named to the Pro Bowl Team. I guess the experts missed that one. Remember JaMarcus Russell? Ryan Leaf? Tony Mandarich? All first round busts. Huge busts that experts pegged as must-haves. Hmm. Maybe you’ve heard of Tom Brady. He’s won a few Super Bowls and is now widely considered the greatest QB ever. You know where he was drafted? 199th pick, sixth round. Guess the experts missed on that one. And I’ll close my argument with a quick look at my personal hero, Kurt Warner. I was blessed to meet him a few times when he was with the Rams in STL and I was on the board of local homeless and men’s recovery shelter/program where Kurt volunteered. I could fill an entire post with my thoughts about this man and what I saw him do, privately, behind the scenes, away from cameras. He is exactly the man you want him to be and the man you want your sons to emulate. And in case you weren’t aware, he also led two previously pathetic teams (the Rams and the Arizona Cardinals) to three Super Bowls and was NFL MVP twice. Oh, and this summer he is being inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame. And, yes, I’ll be watching that ceremony and will very likely shed a few tears. You know what round Kurt Warner was drafted? He wasn’t. Yeah. Undrafted. Nobody took him. So much for the credibility of the experts.

You see, the experts are dangerous. They’re wrong. A lot. And that’s why I have no problem frequently calling out today’s supposed sales experts for the ridiculous crap they toss out on a regular basis. Whether it’s the joker on LinkedIn proclaiming that ALL salespeople should be writing blog posts (instead of picking up the phone) or someone on the other side of the globe telling salespeople that they must be desperate and dumb if they are still prospecting and phoning prospects trying to create new sales opportunities. They are WRONG, and they are dangerous – especially because weak, gullible salespeople fall prey to this false teaching in their perpetual hope of finding the “easy button” or magic bullet for sales success.

I really thought that last year we put to bed (and death) that straw-man often-quoted statistic that buyers go 57% of the way through their buying process before engaging with a salesperson. But somehow the social selling and inbound marketing charlatans resurrected that myth once again. Listen to me, salespeople and sales leaders: the only time that stupid statistic is possibly true is when lazy, reactive sellers are sitting on their asses waiting for a lead. My clients’ sales teams (in all kinds of industries from the most simple commodity sales to extremely complex enterprise deals with multi-year sales cycles) are engaging prospects way before they’re two-thirds through their buying process, and way before many of them are even shopping! Only the moron salesperson listening to experts telling him not to prospect and waiting for a potential customer to raise its hand gets trapped by that lie — and consequently ends up late, or last, to the opportunity where it’s almost impossible to bring value, be perceived as a consultant, and help shape the buying criteria.

The message of this post is very simple and very clear: Be careful what the experts are telling you, and be wary of their agendas. When inbound marketing companies who have their own outbound sales teams preach inbound-only, be wary. When people who declare themselves pioneers and leaders of the social selling movement can’t get enough of their own business using the very techniques they espouse and are forced to close up shop and go to work for another company, be wary. When experts quote articles and studies with statistics that make no sense and fly in the face of what you know is true and see with your own eyes, be very wary.

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New Audible audio version of New Sales. Simplified:

I spent the past two days in that very chair pictured on the left recording the NEW narration of New Sales. Simplified. Thanks to the many of you who shared that you loved the book but thought the narrator was not the best fit. Gildan Media, who owns the rights to the audio version, was very accommodating and sent me into the studio to record the new version myself. Stay tuned for news about the upcoming release. I’ll be giving away a bunch of Audible downloads as a thank you.

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OutBound Dallas Announced:

Our first OutBound Conference in Atlanta was incredible. HUGE thanks to the 400 who attended and all the support and feedback we received on social channels. The next OutBound Conference has been announced! We’ll be in Dallas on October 11th.  Get more info, and put yourself on the invite list now. This event will sell out, and to be assured of getting in and getting the least expensive ticket, sign up here, even if you are not ready to commit yet.