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A Midsummer Night’s Sales Dream

Friday, 27 January 2017 05:06
27 01, 2017

A Midsummer Night’s Sales Dream


Nick is an enterprise sales guy, married to Helena, a clinical psychologist.

It is a Thursday, 5.13 am at their house, 14 Theseus Court in the heart of a suburb with 15 organic coffee shops.

Nick wakes up screaming.

Helena: Hey, hey, hey…what’s wrong with you…it’s still early.

Nick: I had a shocking dream…did you turn the air-con off?…it’s 38 degrees.

Helena: I was cold…so, come on, you know I love a good nightmare…what happened?

Nick: I was meeting with a CEO and it was just me and him in a really small office and I couldn’t shut up. I just kept talking and pitching idea after idea and sharing all the new product updates. It went on for what seemed like hours.

Helena: So, what did he do?

Nick: He said I was very knowledgeable and that he was very interested….and then he rang me straight after this ridiculously long meeting and told me he was giving the business to another company whose Sales Director was a mute.

Helena: A mute?… as in couldn’t speak?

Nick: Yeah, apparently he had his tongue cut out by his first boss after talking too much in his initial calls with clients….it was awful.

Helena: Then what happened?

Nick: The CEO said ‘But I want you to come back tomorrow for a de-brief’….I did and we walked into an even smaller room and he said ‘Watch this!’

Helena: Watch what?

Nick: He made me sit through 325,000 slides, the same number as my monthly target, going on about the history of his company and all their divisions and departments. It was excruciating. When I got home you greeted me with a Zimmer frame and said ‘Well, aren’t you going to give me a kiss for my hundredth birthday?’

Helena: How’d I look?

Nick: Like your mother…only with no teeth.

Helena: Charming! So do you want me to unravel the dream for you?

Nick: I suppose it’s just the constant feed of how not to sell on LinkedIn, which I already know anyway… and that leftover goat’s cheese from last night.

Helena: Not quite, Nick. It’s actually a bit deeper than that.

You do indeed know how to have a conversation with senior executives, listen and let the discussion unfold… that’s why you’ve been successful…plus you’ve picked up all of my clinical psychology techniques that encourage people to reveal themselves.

But recently, you’ve been inundated with mixed messages from Head Office. You had the Regional Sales Kick-Off with a whole day of product updates and the cult-like fervour of what you should now be pitching with the new system. You then had the divisional off-site function where the product gurus pummelled you with even more slides and a director who told you and the team to lead all calls with the new presentation.

It’s called cognitive dissonance – the disconnect between your attitude and your behaviour. Your dream simply highlights that you have a choice to make. Be true to yourself in the brilliantly conversational way you engage clients or become some weird hybrid that flips between what you do well and the information dumping approach to which you’ve been exposed.

I guess, your dream is telling you to choose.

Nick: Thanks, honey…don’t worry, I’ve made my choice. I know who I am and what works.

You know we still have an hour before we have to get up…cuddle?

Helena: It’s too hot.

Elliot Epstein is a leading Sales Expert, Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Corporate Trainer who gets sales results rapidly and is the author of #1 International Best Seller, ‘Confessions of a Pitch Consultant’

Also available in hard copy for $15 +P&H…just DM or email here.

He has coached and trained high profile executives globally in master level presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching and has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, EMC, Hitachi , Computershare, Lend Lease and Asciano.

This article first appeared in Linkedin Pulse.

Published in   Blog, Executive Level Selling

Holiday Sales Reading Guide

Sunday, 11 December 2016 06:56
11 12, 2016

Holiday Sales Reading Guide



Like the wafting smell of a barbecue at your neighbour’s house, you can sense the holiday season is not far away.

Many people ask me ‘What’s a good book to read over the break on selling or negotiating or presenting?’

Usually, the response is ‘Give it a rest, go sit on a beach or read something else like the fascinating ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ or a dark Danish crime thriller’.

However, if you are keen to keep the business brain cells alive after they’ve been bashed by food, wine and New Year’s Eve, here is my holiday sales reading guide for you to check out.

Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini. His long awaited sequel to the seminal Influence is a great read on what to do before traditional persuasion takes place.

To Sell is Human by Dan Pink, This #1 New York Times Business Best Seller is still excellent reading for technical sales, pre-sales, project managers as well as sales managers that reinforces many of the key points of engaging people.

The Go-Giver (Expanded Edition) by Bob Burg and John David Mann is a lovely parable worth reading after a massage on the beach with an espresso martini. It might even re-frame your thoughts after a year of global division.

Negotiating the Impossible by Deepak Malhotra has some great stories if you anticipate coming back to work facing contract renewals or tough negotiation situations.

3-D Negotiation by Lax and Sebenius is also a significant tome on fresh ways to grow the pie so that both parties can get more than they might have imagined.

Slide-ology by Nancy Duarte has some clearly articulated ideas on how to make your presentations look and feel great for all audiences.

Storytelling with data by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic is even more focused on how pre-sales and technical sales people can present data without making the client feel that they’re listening to their drunk Uncle at Christmas re-telling the same boring stories about fly-fishing in the 1960’s.

Story Theater Method – Strategic Storytelling in Business by Doug Stevenson contains the seven stories we all need to tell in business and how to tell them.

Finally, click here for ‘Confessions of a Pitch Consultant’ which gets a favourable rating here because I wrote it.

Now a #1 International Best Seller these sales stories are perfect for a poolside beer or champagne, served with mini-burgers. Just a thought.

Also available in hard copy for $15 +P&H…just DM or email me.

Have a safe, happy, well rested and well read holiday season


Elliot Epstein is a leading Sales Expert, Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Corporate Trainer who gets sales results rapidly. He has coached and trained high profile corporates globally in presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching. He has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, EMC, Hitachi , Computershare, Lend Lease and Asciano.

More wins,  better deals at www.salesversusprocurement.com


Published in   Executive Level Selling, Negotiation, Presentations

Bad Sales

Saturday, 27 August 2016 06:22
27 08, 2016

Bad Sales


There’s a whole genre of Bad movies such as Bad Santa, Bad Grandpa, Bad Teacher, Bad Neighbours and the most recent, Bad Moms ( genuinely funny!).

The premises vary ranging from absurd stupidity to hilariously heartwarming, but one of the keys to their box office success (collectively over $1 Billion) is that people relate to the stereotype being broken.

We don’t see ourselves as robotic stereotypes and whilst people often crave acceptance from their peers or managers, it is not sought at the expense of losing intrinsic individuality.

One of the greatest advantages of selling or consulting is to engage authentically and frequently with other Homo sapiens.

However the trend towards homogenised sales approaches, skills, account plans, recruitment and training is getting worse, not better.

Recently I have conducted five different executive level selling programs and one of my longstanding themes of ‘It’s OK to be yourself, rather than being a life support system for a sales methodology’ has never resonated so strongly.

After all, you got the job for a reason.

The look of relief, liberation and transformation is palpable as professional sales people discover that the person they are with friends and family is the same person they can be with clients.

The only change is a business context.

The meth (odology) pushers are still selling dangerous pills that destroy creativity, ingenuity, individuality and ultimately confidence.

Sales managers reach for more pills to give sales people in an effort to produce results. Sales Steroids are legal though and many are subjected to three and four day regimes to be indoctrinated in the latest Sales meth lab.

Unsurprisingly, sales people come out of these labs slightly giddy, heads spinning, temporarily euphoric, only to crash in front of real clients when the alignment of the methodology to their individuality is about as neat as Trump’s hair in a tornado.

We need a WADA – an anti-doping program to stop turning wonderfully imperfect, highly competent, individual, introvert, extrovert, ambivert sales people into dopes.

We need to coach, mindful of the individual preferences of real people who deal with real clients.

Standardisation is lazy. It’s like emailing sales teams with this week’s key sales messages instead of discussing it with them.

It’s not 1977 where we only had two flavours of yoghurt. One size fits all sales processes leave a chunk of people wearing ill-fitting suits in front of clients.

Those clients can tell and that’s the bottom line. They’re subjected to sales meth addicts daily and they can see exactly what you’re doing Spinning, Challenging or Snapping to try and lead them to buy your widgets.

They’re over it.

They want more.

They want the real you.

As Nietzsche said “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist”

If you’d like to know more about we can help you unlearn your way to authentic sales results, email me directly elliote@salientcommunication.com.au

Elliot Epstein is a leading Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, Corporate trainer who gets sales results rapidly. He has coached and trained high profile corporates globally in presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching. He has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi, Lend Lease and EMC.

He is internationally renowned for ensuring sessions are engaging, interactive and relevant to winning business in competitive markets.

Elliot is based in Melbourne where he lives with his wife and two individual children.



Published in   Executive Level Selling