May 11, 2010

Let's Get Real: Mahan Khalsa Brings ORDER To Sales Chaos

Okay, I admit it. I don’t know much about sales.

I’ve listened to many audiobooks over the years but find the process manipulative. Learn the 10,001 ways to overcome objections. Artificially eliminate options  (e.g., do you want to meet Tuesday at 2 PM or Thursday at 10 AM?). Here’s how to get testimonials. Here’s when you SHUT UP to put pressure on your prospect. Here’s how to make your canned sales presentation sound fresh. If they’re undecided, ask what colour of fridge looks better in their kitchen because they then visualize that they’ve already bought.

Maybe those techniques work(ed) for products. What happens when you’re selling the invisible, a service?


Let’s Get Real Or Let’s Not Play: The Demise Of 20th Century Selling And The Advent Of Helping Clients Succeed

Does that title grab you? With low expectations, I got this audiobook from Mahan Khalsa. The beginning was dull. Since I had nothing else to listen to, I persevered. Within minutes, the book drew me in. I’m listening a second time.

Process System for Planning Simply 500x368[1]
Let’s Get Real uses a consulting model, which is well-suited to complex selling situations. Perfect.

I deal primarily with complex problems and operate as a consultant using the simple three step Process System. Even if you’re a salesperson, you might like the ideas.


The model uses an acronym: ORDER. Let’s break it down
Opportunity if your client has no need, you can’t help them
Resources if your client doesn’t have enough money and time, you can’t help them
Decision process if your client can’t make decide, you can’t help them; you need to know how decisions get made and who makes them
Exact solution In ORD, you seek to understand; now you seek to have your answer understood (while there is no exact solution, an E-word was needed to make the acronym)
Relationship maintain the human connection regardless of the outcome; maybe you’ll get a referral or tips for improving

This brief summary can’t show you the power of the book. Mahan anticipates the real life issues you face when trying to help a client and he provides excellent solutions.

Suppose you’re asked to reduce your price. Do not --- without an offsetting concession. Otherwise, you prove to the client that you would have overcharged them if they hadn’t asked for a discount. Instead, get something in return (reciprocity). Perhaps a different due date (sooner or later) or a reduction in scope (e.g., skip the cost of writing the proposal). Maybe you already know this?

Slow Down For Yellow Lights

When the light turns yellow, you might drive faster to beat the red light. That doesn’t work in consulting. When you sense a concern, you want to slow down to clarify the issue. Maybe you’ll get a red light. Wouldn’t you rather know that now than after investing more resources?

No Prospects

Until recently, I used the word “client” to mean anyone you were serving (the party who pays you with money or attention). For some reason, I introduced “prospect”. Mahan defines a “client” as someone you’re serving for the first or subsequent time, which I like. So “prospect” will be banished again.

How about replacing “sales” with “helping clients succeed”. That’s nicer and removes the negative connotations associated with selling.


Why get a book you think will be lousy? We learn more by taking the road we didn’t want to travel. Let’s Get Real is worth the trek.

Sometimes we can’t judge a book by the title or cover.


PS There’s a newer revised/expanded version co-written with Randy Illig. This may be better, though the original seems timeless.

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