The Modern Sales Handbook

Aug 21, 2015 1 Min Read


Let’s talk sales

This is an era of disruption. The social and mobile explosion has changed the customer landscape forever. For some sectors their ecosystem is migrating through a rapid transformation.

Our (retail) customers will still need banking, but they won’t need banks. Now that’s a shift in environment!

Here are the modern rules of selling. You can ignore them if you like but your customers won’t.

Rule no 1:

Your business model is outdated. Your customers want something different. Understand what that is, have the foresight and courage to change (quickly) and equip your sales staff with the tools to take that to market.

Rule no 2:

Your customers know about your offerings and your competitors’ offerings more than you do. Or at least they think they do – which is even worse! They have made a judgment of you before you even had a chance to influence them.

Your sales force must be skilled in the art of reframing, re-engineering and challenging your customers’ thinking.

Rule no 3:

Your market is becoming commoditised. You look and sound the same as your competitors. You don’t stand out. “Disruptive innovation” will or has already jostled its way into your sector. Work out how you can disrupt the status quo in your space.

What’s your micro-niche? What’s your edge? How do your customer teams position that in the minds of your buyers?

Rule no 4:

The rules have changed. In fact, the rules need to be re-written – by you. Leave the safe shoreline and venture out into the sea of innovation.

Re-write the rules. Change the customer offering. Change the value proposition.

Rule no 5:

Your customers demand content, not just advertisement. Your customers hang out on social platforms. Are your salespeople there too?

Every company has a social strategy these days but what’s the social strategy of your sales team? Are they unified across social platforms? Is their content consistent? Are they even using it to engage, generate and influence?

That’s enough to get you started.The next thing that I would like to share on is the alternative points of view in sales and business.

Sometimes, what you read in the manual really only works in the manual. My experience has taught me that in real life, things work differently.

Here are five alternative perspectives.

1. The customer is always right

Apart from when they are wrong. In business and sales it’s not only okay to challenge your prospect’s thinking.

It’s actually very effective in winning a business, if done correctly, elegantly and in the right circumstances. Don’t just disagree for the sake of it!

2. Your job is not to make a sale; it’s to deliver value

Too many salespeople get this confused. Their raison d’etre is to close the sale at all costs, regardless of whether it’s of benefit to the customer.

I say explore if there is, genuinely, any value in the transaction taking place (partnership, sales, merger, exchange, etc). If there is, proceed. If there isn’t any value, then it’s your call.

3. Sales leaders should be the best at selling

No, not necessarily. They must be proficient of course, but not the best. They should, however, be accomplished at leading salespeople. Different skillset, different role. Don’t blur them.

4. A champion team tends to beat a team of champions

A cohesive culture with teamwork and collaboration at its core tends to produce better outcomes than a group of lone assassins.
While leading high-performing sales floors, I have sacrificed strong salesmanship for cultural fit with new hires on many occasions; and I have never regretted that decision.

5. You are buying and selling

Some clients are actually not worth doing business with. Controversial? Maybe. But it’s true.

You don’t have to do business with everyone. You can “buy” as well as sell. Try being more selective and picking only the right opportunities to sink resources into.

Remember, some rules can stay in the rulebook. You decide if they apply in your business or not.

Related articles:

Mike Adams is a senior faculty of Leaderonomics focusing on helping sales teams in organisations become more effective and achieve high performance. If you would like to inquire about leveraging Mike for your organisation, email us at or Drop us a line or two in the comment box below or email us at For more Consulting Corner articles, click here.

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Sara firmly believes that learning is a two-way process between a student and a teacher, and that everyday heroes are just as important as superheroes.

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