How to Accelerate Your Sales With Lean Communications, with Jack Malcolm [Episode 357]

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

Key Takeaways

  • 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.

More About Jack Malcolm

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.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul (0:35):

It’s time to Accelerate. I’m your host, Andy Paul. Join me as I host conversations with the leading experts in sales, marketing sales, automation, sales process, leadership, management, training, coaching, any resource that I believe will help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business and most importantly, you.

Hello and welcome to Accelerate. My guest on the show today is Jack Malcolm, president of the Falcon Performance Group, and also an author of two books, Bottom Line Selling and Strategic Sales Presentations. He’s a speaker, sales thought leader and trainer, as well as author of a new eBook we’re going to talk about today. Jack, welcome to the show.

 

Jack Malcolm (1:15)

Thank you, Andy. It’s great to be on.

 

Andy Paul (1:19)

Well, it’s nice to have you back on the show. You’re one of my early guests when I first started the podcast, so for people who didn’t listen that episode, take a minute, introduce yourself, tell us how you got your start in sales.

 

Jack Malcolm (1:27)

I got started in sales completely by accident. I was a banker in the early 80s. And I did that because I wanted to have absolutely nothing to do with sales at all because I was a very introverted person.

 

Andy Paul (1:40)

Not an uncommon story by the way.

 

Jack Malcolm (1:42)

That’s true. Unfortunately, about three months into my banking career, Congress totally deregulated the banking industry. And I was thrown out on the streets and told to go out and bring in customers. And I had no clue what I was doing, and I made every mistake in the book, but I gradually got better and better at it. And that was it. The start of my sales career. And about 10 years into my banking career, I actually made a sales call on a company that was a sales training company. And six months later, I went to work for them worked for them for five years. And for the last 20 years, I’ve had my own company doing sales training.

 

Andy Paul (2:18)

Got it. So, one thing that that you’re focusing on– and we talked a little bit about this last time you’re on the show was Lean Communication, taking some of the Lean Principles and applying it to communications or how it applies to sales. So, tell us what that means, how do you apply these Lean Principles, what are those principles that you’re applying to the communication?

 

Jack Malcolm (2:39)

Well, let me just tell you a little bit about how lean started and that will describe what it all means. I received a call from one of my clients about a year and a half ago saying that I needed to come in and work with his leadership team. His CEO was very frustrated by the quality of the communication he was getting from the senior leadership team. So, this was a manufacturing company and I decided, how can I make, the principles that I’m talking about resonate with them? And it struck me that communication is a process just like manufacturing is a process. You take an input; you apply work to them through a certain process to produce outputs that the customer values. And the more I thought about that, the more I realized that all the principles of Lean Thinking, which are about creating more value for customers, taking waste out of the process, all of those can be applied to communication, if you think about it properly, and hence cane Lean Communication, which is built on the principles of Lean Thinking, but focused on how to add more value to your listeners.

 

Andy Paul (3:50)

So, you have sort of three or four main rules up there. Top one is Add Value. So how are you defining “value” in this context?

 

Jack Malcolm (4:01)

Well, let me first tell you that that I actually have four rules, and they’re extremely easy to remember. Just remember A, B, C and D. The A is add value, B is brevity, do it briefly, C is clarity, do it clearly, and D is engaging in dialogue with your customers so that you can co-create value. So if you look at it that way, it’s actually a pretty simple way to understand it.

 

Andy Paul (4:25)

A good mnemonic device. So, add value. Now, are we talking about adding value in sales? Exact value is, is become a cliché. So, in the context you’re using it, what is value when you say add value through your communications?

 

Jack Malcolm (4:40)

Value and Communications is very simple. It’s effective communication, and effective meaning that the message has to get through. That’s one that improves business and or personal outcomes while sustaining the relationship. So, it’s got to get through, it’s got to improve outcomes and the relationship must be sustained. If you have some combination of those, you’re adding value if you’re missing one, you’re subtracting value.

 

Andy Paul (5:16)

So, if you improve outcomes, is there ever a chance that you’re not going to sustain the relationship?

 

Jack Malcolm (5:23)

Absolutely. And you got right to the key issue, sometimes you have to communicate things that the other party doesn’t want to hear. But you have to do it for a larger picture. In sales, it might be telling your customer they’re doing something wrong or they’re making the wrong decision. It might be telling them something that they are proud of, is really not the best way that they can be approaching the situation that they face. So, there are times that the relationship might have to take a backseat. So, improving outcomes has to take precedence. When I show this in my, in my presentations and my slides, I always have outcomes in bold and relationships in regular type, just to show that they’re both important, but sometimes outcomes have to have to take precedence.

 

Andy Paul (6:19)

And you sort of address this later on, you have some of your lien keys and you’re talking about being candid and direct but draw a distinction between the two.

 

Jack Malcolm (6:28)

Well, the distinction is that candid is a choice as to whether you say something, and there are times that you can speak up but you’re not really going to add value or it’s not worth the trouble. If my wife says, “do you like this dress?” And I don’t like this dress, it’s probably not worth my time to be absolutely candid about it in that case. However, if I see my customer is making a mistake, or if my customer asked me a direct question about a weakness of my product, and I don’t answer that directly, I’m not being candid, in which case I’m not adding value. So, candor, sometimes if you’re not candid, you are actually subtracting value because you’re allowing a situation to go on, it should not go on, which is actually not improving outcomes, which is actually harming outcomes.

 

Andy Paul (7:26)

And bam, harming the relationship.

 

Jack Malcolm (7:28)

And harming the relationship. Although, a lot of times, salespeople take the shortcut and think, “well, I won’t say anything so that I don’t harm the relationship.” And in the short run, you’re right, but in the long run, the relationship tends to be harmed because the truth eventually comes out. So that’s candid, candid is a choice. And I think sometimes it’s an ethical choice. And sometimes it’s a strategic choice, but you always have to do the right thing. Directness has to do with how you speak up. I can look at a customer and say, “that’s absolutely the dumbest thing you ever thought of”, which is very direct, but it’s probably not going to be the most effective way to get that message across. I could be very direct and say– or very indirect and say, “have you thought about this alternative?” Make it the customer’s idea. So, in that case, I’m being very indirect, but I’m actually being more effective.

 

Andy Paul (8:27)

Is there an argument for directness?

 

Jack Malcolm (8:30)

There is an argument for directness? Directness is important when– if you’re asked a very specific question, it’s best to be direct. And in fact, the general bias of Lean Communication is directness because it’s the shortest distance between two points, and less waste. But at the same time, you have to realize that sometimes if you say something so directly, that the customer reacts negatively to it, then you’re actually introducing waste into the process because you may need to figure out how to recover from what you just said. And at the same point, and really this goes probably into more depth certainly than I could cover in my short book, is the whole idea of asking your customer questions and letting them arrive at the conclusions that you want them to arrive at. The whole spin selling approach is extremely indirect, but very effective.

 

Andy Paul (9:25)

Right. So that was A, we’re going to go through ABCD. The B is brevity, don’t waste the customers time. So, one thing that has to clarify their thinking.

 

Jack Malcolm (9:39)

We’re actually talking about two things. Now. We’re talking about brevity and clarity. So, you want me to talk about brevity first? Brevity– and that goes back to what you say in your book about return on time invested. If you think about it, the whole reason a salesperson exists in sales process, from the buyers’ point of view, is to get give them information that they can use to make an effective decision. Now, according to research that everybody has been talking about, the average B2B customer is about 60% of the way through their buying process before they even contact a salesperson. That’s because there’s so much information available on the internet about your products and services, your customers’ products and services, then why waste the time talking to a salesperson, if you can just do a few keystrokes and look it up on a computer. So, customers are all about saving time, nobody has enough time to do the things that they want to do nowadays. If I want to add value, I need to improve their return not only on their time but improve their return on effort. Brevity is about the time; clarity is about effort to understand what I’m trying to get across.

 

Andy Paul (10:48)

Well, the thing with brevity, I guess I’d misspoken earlier, is that you as the speaker being forced to be brief forces you to clarify your thinking, in terms of what the message is you’re delivering.

 

Jack Malcolm (11:00)

Absolutely right. I find when I write a blog, for example, if I can write 1000 words on a blog really easily, but then when I’m told, “no, you need to get that down to 500 words”, just trying to figure out what’s going to fit into that 500 words helps me to say what’s important, what’s not important here and clarify what my key message is. So, what I teach salespeople to do is, the best way to be brief is– there’s really two tools in Lean Communication. The first one is Top Down Communication, or what I call the bottom-line up front. And a lot of salespeople will go into a sales call and not get to the point right away, they’ll almost feel like they have to keep it a secret from the customer why they’re there.

 

Andy Paul (11:49)

Well, they’re worried about being too direct.

 

Jack Malcolm (11:53)

They’re worried about being too direct but– they are but think about it this way, you’re a customer, you’re sitting at your desk and somebody knocks on your door and says, “can I see you for a minute”, whether it’s a salesperson or whether somebody that works in in your company. The minute that that person walks in the door, your guard goes up, right?

 

Andy Paul (12:15)

What’s in it for me?

 

Jack Malcom (12:17)

Well, not only what’s in it for me, but, what do you want from me? So, I say that really the key question on anybody’s mind is, what do you want? And why should I do it? Now, every second that the salesperson puts off answering either the what are the why that suspicion continues to stay and maybe even grow in a customer’s mind while they’re talking. It’s kind of like you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, or you’re getting impatient. Exactly. And part of the problem is that when they don’t know where you’re going, even if they want to help you and agree with what you want. They can’t give you an agreement because they don’t know what to agree to. So, I find that especially dealing with senior-level people, if you give them your ask very clearly up front, and you give them a headline, it says, “here’s why I’m here today. This is what I’m going to ask at the end of this meeting, assuming that I can provide value to you and I want to provide that value in a form of x. And that x might be I think, I can help you improve revenues cut costs, I can help improve asset efficiency help you achieve a certain specific business initiative or goal or something that you have.” So, if you give them the what and why up front, it helps them organize the incoming information. And it makes for much briefer conversations.

 

Andy Paul (13:49)

Well, and you reference on your book that it really helps—helps you get more time with your decision maker.

 

Jack Malcolm (13:58)

Absolutely. Because they know why you’re there. And there may be times that actually the decision maker will give you less time they’ll say, “sorry, if that’s what you’re going to ask for today, there’s no way you’re going to get that.” And I tell people, that is actually the second-best thing that can happen to you in a sales call. Because if you know that you’re not going to get it, then the next obvious question is, “why not?” You might find out that you’re speaking to the wrong person in the organization, you might find out that they have already done something with a competitor or that they’ve changed their minds and gone and invested in a different priority, or something like that. So, if you want to, if you’re going to lose, you might as well lose early in that process. Those early, lose gracefully, and you’ll sustain a relationship for the long term.

 

Andy Paul (14:45)

Yeah. And you talk about that, as always calls to mind that famous Mark Twain saying about “I wanted to write you a short letter but didn’t have time, so, I wrote you a long letter.”

 

Jack Malcolm (14:53)

Exactly. And it takes a long time sometimes to figure out how to be brief. And of course, that points out the importance of sales call planning, a preparation for what you’re going to say etc.

 

Andy Paul (15:07)

Well, I think that you have an interesting way of phrasing when you talked about but clarity. I hadn’t really thought about it, it’s almost like a double negative in some regards, but as you say, you make it impossible to be misunderstood. And I like the way you said that. So, think about that as a as a sales rep, if you’re out talking to a customer, and you’re trying to get a point across is, make it impossible for them to misunderstand what you want.

 

Jack Malcolm (15:35)

How many times, Andy, if you either in your career or with clients you’ve worked with, have seen business loss and relationships ruined because of misunderstandings between a customer and a salesperson?

 

Andy Paul (15:50)

Oh, gosh, no, I’ve experienced that myself.

 

Jack Malcolm (15:52)

Yeah. And that’s because– I won’t say it’s always a salespersons fault, but it’s always a salespersons responsibility. If you think about it that way.

 

Andy Paul (16:04)

Oh, absolutely, absolutely, yeah. I can even think of more recent times like now, after I’d written my first book, I remember my first website and somebody read it and said afterward– I’d helped write the copy and something else that helped me, but my responsibilities is that somebody read it and said, “yeah, but what do you do?” It’s like, “well, I guess that didn’t work.”

 

Jack Malcolm (16:29)

I don’t go into it in my book, because it’s too brief. But there’s the whole idea of the curse of knowledge. And there’s a famous experiment that you asked somebody to tap out a song in their head, and it could be a simple song or Spangled Banner or Happy Birthday, right? And, you have people in the room, and I’ve done this in my classes and before I have them tap it out I say, “estimate what percentage of people will get the song in your head.” Most people think, well 80 or 90% of the people are going to know the song immediately when I do it. Usually you get something like less than 10% of the people actually figure out what the song is. Because you hear it in your head, but the other person doesn’t. So, you think something is absolutely clear, but it doesn’t come across that way to your customer.

 

Andy Paul (17:24)

Yeah, that’s such a key behavior and key habit and sales, is this whole assumption, right? Recursive managers say it’s an assumption, right? Assume that they have some knowledge that they understand what I’m talking about. And that always comes to play when you use acronyms, and term industry terminology and technology terminology that people just don’t get.

 

Jack Malcolm (17:45)

Yeah. And the other thing is, words can mean totally different things. When a customer says, “well, what I’m looking for is quality.” What I find is salespeople generally say “well, we’ve got great quality. We’ve got industry leading quality blah, blah, blah.” Instead of saying “when you say quality, what specific factors are you looking at? How do you measure quality? What measurements are you looking for?” So, the person might say, “well, quality to me is actually making sure that the product is delivered on time in full and on spec. And anything under 90% of that is going to be unacceptable quality to me.” See, now you’ve got a lot more clarity on both sides. It’s what the expectations are. And then that’s when the candor comes in, and you either say, “well, we can meet that.” Or if you can’t meet it, then you might have to be candid at that point.

 

Andy Paul (18:41)

Exactly. So then the fourth one, the D of ABCD is dialogue, and starts with listening.

 

Jack Malcolm (18:50)

Yeah, dialogue is all about realizing that no matter how well you prepared for your customer, you’re never going to get it all exactly right. So, you’re going to go in there, you’re going to deliver your key message, and they are going to have questions, they’re going to have suggestions, they’re going to look at it from a slightly different perspective. And the best way to create value with a customer is to create it together. And that’s where dialogue comes in. That’s where listening, and what I call “Just in Time Communication” comes in. And “Just in Time Communication” means that I give them that bottom line up front, I maybe give them a little bit of additional detail, and then let them pull the rest of the information out to me at the rate that they can support and at the rate that they can understand.

 

Andy Paul (19:43)

And to do that you really have to be listening and focused. And this is increasingly a problem that we see with sales reps, there’s so much distraction that they have with devices and so on, even in person meetings, right? And people are looking at their phones and watches, and you can’t listen, if you’re paying attention to those things.

 

Jack Malcolm (20:07)

You know, the devices are, are the easiest thing to solve. You just put them away before you go into the customers’ meeting, What’s the hardest thing to solve is that you always have a second conversation distracting you. And think about it this way, you know how many times maybe you’ve tried to talk to somebody in a telephone and somebody in the same room with you is saying, “well tell them this, or what are they saying,” right now, constantly. And you can’t listen to two conversations at once. The problem is that there’s always a second conversation that’s going on inside your head while the customer is talking. And the reason is that in standard American spoken English, we speak about 125 words a minute, but we’re processing words verbally in our brain about four times that speed. So, it’s very easy for other thoughts to enter into our mind while somebody is talking. And the problem is we think that we can do both at the same time, but we really can’t. We’re not multitasking, we’re actually dipping in and out of both conversations. And how many times have you started thinking about something and then totally forgotten half of this, or missed the second half of the sentence that the customer just started? So that’s, that’s the key. What I call Lean Listening, is to use that second conversation in your head not as a distraction, but actually as an aide or even a coach. Use that second conversation to listen for Lean. So, for example, when I when I talk about improving outcomes, there are four ways that you can improve outcomes for a customer. You can identify and solve a problem, you can help them take advantage of an opportunity, help them adapt to change, or deal with risk, POCR, or what I call POKER. As the customer is talking, you are listening for something that actually fits in one of those slots, “am I hearing a problem, an opportunity to change, or a risk?” So that’s one example of how you would listen for Lean. So, you’re listening for value. And to give you an example, I did a roleplay with a client in Europe and we took the time after the roleplay to go back and listen for problems, opportunities, changes and risk, and there were there was one spot– and this is probably an all-time record, which is why it sticks in my mind, there was about a 32nd spot in the roleplay where the person playing the part of the customer spoke for about 30 seconds, and as we were listening we’re able to write down seven potential needs, not one of which was picked up by the salesperson during the roleplay. And of course, that’s easy to do when you’re sitting back there listening to it on a video rather than while you’re in the moment, but if you can train yourself to do that you can get better and better at it.

 

Andy Paul (23:17)

That’s a great device. Yeah, POKER the acronym, to use when you’re listening, I like that a lot for discovery purposes. Problem, Opportunity, Change, Risk. I learned something really valuable. So, going through some of the keys that you had, I like some of them that were sort of interesting. We just talked about Lean Listening. I liked your “so what?” filter because that resonated with me. Maybe explain a little bit what you mean by that. And then I’ll tell my story after that.

 

Jack Malcolm (23:54)

Well, let me explain in the form of a story. I tell people that the best way to double their sales productivity immediately is to take a green magic marker and write the words “so what?” on the palm of their left hand. And as they catch themselves, speaking and talking about how great their company is, and how many years they’ve been in business, and how many different offices they have, and all the assets and everything and, and how wonderful the technology is, catch themselves and say, “so what?” Because that’s what the customer is asking. And years ago, I trained a company called Tektronix, where they were selling test and measurement equipment to engineers. And one of the folks in the class took me almost literally, he went to a group of engineers at Honeywell Corporation in Boston, and said, I’m going to talk to you about my Das 9200 logic analyzer, but every time you hear a feature out of my mouth, I want all of you to ask me, so what? So, he started out by saying it’s got a 64-bit record length and they said, “so what?” He said, “it means that you can capture more information in every test pass”, “so what?” “It means you can complete your test faster.” “so what?” “Get the product to market faster.” “so what?” “More market share, more revenue”, at which point they couldn’t ask “so what?” anymore. And he did this several times. He told me later that that was the best sales call he had ever been on. But that’s not the end of the story. About three days later, his competitor from Hewlett Packard came in and presented to the same group of engineers. And guess what happened?

 

Andy Paul (25:29)

They started saying “so what?”

 

Jack Malcolm (25:32)

Yeah, she left the room in tears in five minutes. And my moral to the story is that they were actually doing her a favor. Because they were at least voicing what’s happening in your customers’ mind when you’re speaking is they’re voicing that “so what?” So, if you apply that filter before the words come out of your mouth, then you’re going to give the customer just what they need to make the effective buying decision.

 

Andy Paul (25:59)

I think we’ve mentioned this earlier about how the word “value” become a bit of a cliché. I think we have to train sales professionals on what value is, what it means from the perspective of the customer? Because increasingly I hear pitches and other things that are purely feature-laden, without about benefit or value to it. And we always– I’m sure you came of age at the same time, we talk about features and benefits, right? Could never say a feature without a benefit statement attached to it. And that’s how I was trained. My first job, we listen to, watch the videos of this guy named Lita Boyd, old time sales trainer. He seemed like sort of an evangelical preacher of some degree. One of the exercises was just what you described, you had to do a roleplay in front of the team and for the people in the training class. And if you stated a feature without associated benefit statement then every shout it out, “so what?”

 

Jack Malcolm (27:02)

Exactly and really that day–

 

Andy Paul (27:05)

And I remember it to this day, if I talking from a client I’m still mindful of that.

 

Jack Malcolm (27:11)

Oh absolutely. Some of that old sales training, we laugh at it now, but there is some value to that. However, the whole purpose of Lean Communication, and I talk about the pole principle where the customer is the one who determines value. So, I like to turn that entire process on its head. And what I mean is, instead of starting with features and connecting them to benefits, I start with asking and making sure that I understand the customer’s needs, where they want to go, what are the outcomes that they want to achieve, and work backwards to the features of my product or service someone in allowing them to get there, right. And so that that’s why it starts with value, I want to start with the bottom-line up front.

 

Andy Paul (28:03)

Well, one last area I want to talk about before we go into the last segment of the show, is a great phrase or saying to keep in mind, and you say you get sent to who you sound like. Talk about that.

 

Jack Malcolm (28:22)

When you’re talking to people within your customer organization, they’re listening through their own “so what?” filter, and they care about certain things. If you go back to the old parable of the Six Blind Men and the Elephant, every one of them described the elephant differently depending on which side they happen to run into. So, when you are talking, let’s say that you make a cold call, or you get introduced to somebody at a senior level. And a person says, “what does your company do and how can you help me?” If you start talking about your product immediately. They’re going to say “oh, product”, and in their brain, they go, “I pay people to talk to people like you”, and they send you to that person. Well if you’re talking about price go to purchasing, you’re talking about product, go to the technical people. If you’re talking about solutions and problems that you can solve for me, go to the person who has functional ownership of those problems. If you’re talking about bottom-line results for my business, then you’re talking to me at this at the sea level. And it works in both directions, too. You shouldn’t always think that you always have to be at senior levels.

 

Andy Paul (29:39)

No, because most cases you shouldn’t.

 

Jack Malcolm (29:42)

Yeah, I’ve seen salespeople that are very good at connecting it to business value, but then when a customer starts asking him technical questions, they don’t know how to answer it and that can hurt their ability to or their credibility as well. So, you’ve got to be able to speak at all levels in the organization. The problem is most salespeople stay at the lower levels and they don’t ever take the effort to learn how to speak at a business levels.

 

Andy Paul (30:10)

Yeah, I really think that’s a great piece of advice. I mean, you get sent to you sounds like. If you sound like you’re a salesperson begging somebody for some time, you’re going to get sent to somebody at a lower level.

 

Jack Malcolm (30:24)

That’s assuming you get sent at all.

 

Andy Paul (30:28)

But if you’re confident in the solution that you’re providing, if you can talk at the solution level that makes sense to the C-level person or VP level or whatever, then yeah, you get the opportunity to speak to that person. All right, very good. Jack, now we’ve got the last segment of the show where I’ve got some standard questions, I ask all my guests. You’ve been on the show before, so I’ve had to change up the questions. So, there’s no redo.

 

Jack Malcolm (30:50)

At my age I don’t remember where to begin.

 

Andy Paul (30:58)

So, really just sort of rapid-fire questions for you. So, the first one is, in your mind, 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?

 

Jack Malcolm (31:15)

I think it’s much easier to teach a technical salesperson how to sell. Most of my career has been dealing with people who either have a scientific or a technical background. And if you present sales to them in the right way, they can learn extremely quickly.

 

Andy Paul (31:33)

I agree. Not many people so far given that answer, but I agree hundred percent. I’ve spent a good portion of my career bringing people from engineering and technical support backgrounds into sales and by large, they did a great job. Because the way– your position is that is not about selling somebody something they don’t need, it’s about providing a service.

 

Jack Malcolm (31:53)

Right. I mean it in a in a future dialogue I would love to talk to you about training engineers how to sell, because I find that to be a fascinating specialty of mine.

 

Andy Paul (32:06)

Okay, that’d be great. All right, so next question. If you could change one thing about your business self, what would it be?

 

Jack Malcolm (32:17)

Be about 20 years younger and start over.

 

Andy Paul (32:23)

I got another unique answer, a very good surprise. No one’s come up with that one. Would you want to start over in sales?

 

Jack Malcolm (32:31)

I would. I would not have a problem at all with starting over and sales. And probably in knowing what I know now, and with the experience that I’ve had under my belt, I would have gone back in and gotten at least one of my degrees in some sort of engineering or technical field and then gone into sales.

 

Andy Paul (32:55)

Yeah, me too. I thought about that. I spent a lot time in Silicon Valley and yeah. I was history major.

 

Jack Malcolm (33:01)

So was I.

 

Andy Paul (33:02)

So, I was dangerous. I sold very complex technical stuff, large satellite communication systems. I knew enough to be dangerous, but I rarely knew as much as my customers.

 

Jack Malcolm (33:20)

Exactly. And you know, that’s not always a bad thing, as long as you’re honest enough with yourself to know what your limits are. And honest with your customer.

 

Andy Paul (33:29)

Yeah, I had no problem. I couldn’t fool them if I’d wanted. They were pretty clear about that. All right, other then any of your own books? What’s one nonbusiness book that every salesperson should read?

 

Jack Malcolm (33:50)

I can’t think of one off the top of my head. If you could see my office right now, I’m surrounded by about 2000 books.

 

Andy Paul (33:57)

Normal business books?

 

Jack Malcolm (33:59)

No. Probably 20% of them are business books. Let me give you one off the top of my head right now, it is called Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. It’s an excellent book. It’s a great way to understand how people make decisions, how people process information. And if you can master that, then you can be very successful in in sales. You don’t need sales books.

 

Andy Paul (34:26)

Yeah. Daniel Kahneman great book. I refer to him in my in my books. Nobel Prize winner in Economics. Well, Jack, thanks for being on the show. How can people find out more about you or connect with you?

 

Jack Malcolm (34:39)

It’s jackmalcolm.com, quite simple. And that’s jack. I think everybody knows how to spell that. Malcolm is M-A-L-C-O-L-M. jackmalcolm.com has got links to my blog, to my books and to my training.

 

Andy Paul (34:54)

Well, thanks again for being on the show. And remember friends make that a part of your daily routine every day to deliberately learn something new to help you accelerate your success, and an easy way to do that is to take a minute and subscribe to this podcast Accelerate. That way you won’t miss any of my conversations with top business experts like my guest today, Jack Malcolm, who shared his expertise about how to accelerate the growth of your business. So, thanks for joining me Until next time, this is Andy Paul. Good selling everyone.

Thanks for listening to the show. If you like what you heard and want to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming episodes, please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or stitcher.com. For more information about today’s guests, visit my website at andypaul.com.