How to Accelerate Your Sales With Lean Communications w/ Jack Malcolm [Episode 357]

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Among the topics that Jack and I discuss are how a reluctant salesperson became a sales trainer, how Lean thinking clarifies sales communications, how the right questions lead to optimum outcomes, and why your product features, in isolation, are of no interest to the buyer.

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Jack Malcolm, President of the Falcon Performance Group, and author of two books, Bottom-Line Selling, and Strategic Sales Presentations.


Jack was a banker in the early ‘80s, because he wanted nothing to do with sales. Until he was sent out to bring in new customers.

Summary of ‘Lean’: create more value for customers, and take waste out of the process. Lean communications are: A, B, C, and D. Add value, Brevity, Clarity, and Dialog with customers to co-create value.

Adding tangible value is effective communication. It is clear, improves outcomes, and sustains the relationship.

Improving outcomes takes precedence over sustaining relationships when an unfavorable message must be given. Be candid at all times, or you subtract value.

Asking questions may help buyers to arrive at conclusions that will help improve outcomes for them.

Clarity — the customer’s understanding of what the salesperson is trying to get across.

Brevity — answer the two questions on the prospect’s mind: “What do you want from me,” and, “Why should I do it?” Start your meeting with the what and why.

Make it impossible for you to be misunderstood. Don’t assume they know your jargon, acronyms or connotations.

Dialog begins with listening. You’re never going to get it all exactly right on your own. To create value, create it together. Use ‘Just In Time’ communications. Listen with focus.

Four factors for improving outcomes: solve problems, show opportunities, help adapt to changes, and remove risks.

Instead of starting with features and benefits, ask what the customer wants to achieve, and work back to the features.


Is it easier to teach a technical non-salesperson how to sell, or to teach a salesperson how to really understand the product or service they sell?

It’s much easier to teach a technical salesperson how to sell. If you present sales to them in the right way, they can learn really quickly.

If you could change one thing about your business self, what would it be?

Be about 20 years younger and start over. Knowing what I know now, I would have gotten one of my degrees in engineering or a technical field and then gone into sales.

What’s one non-business book that every salesperson should read?

(I’m surrounded by about 2,000 books; probably 20% of them are business books.) Thinking Fast and Slow, by

Daniel Kahneman.