Unexpected Honesty in Sales with Todd Caponi [Episode 746]

Todd Caponi, author of The Transparency Sale: How Unexpected Honesty and Understanding the Buying Brain Can Transform Your Results, joins me on this episode.


  • Todd Caponi has five hopes for sales in 2020. The first hope is the death of the “Death of sales” trope. Cold calling is still important. Sales employment has grown.
  • Classroom training is ineffective. Todd offers solutions. There should be learning every day on the job. Andy talks about the curated book club he offers to companies. Todd advises learning to be a “buyer journey sherpa.”
  • Todd’s second hope is that sales will rise on the list of “trusted professions.” Todd shares the secret of “4.2-star” reviews. If your facade is “perfect,” buyers will spend more time researching you because they doubt you.
  • Andy tells how he used transparency as an underdog Burroughs salesperson against IBM’s fear, uncertainty, and doubt sales pitch. Todd talks about transparent negotiation, showing your motives. It generates trust.
  • Adam Grant wrote about Givers, Takers, and Matchers. Unfettered Givers are the least successful. The most successful are Givers. Be clear about your self-interest. Allow your buyers to negotiate their deals.
  • Andy tells an anecdote about a company using contract negotiators to sign so salespeople were removed from the negotiations. Salespeople should be the trusted contact, not the adversarial negotiator.
  • Sales negotiations should be managed in the qualification phase. Tie their business case to the investment they need to make to get there. Don’t find yourself at the end of a deal facing a buyer’s demand for a 30% discount.
  • Todd’s third hope is paying more attention to behavioral science and decision science in sales. Todd talks about emotional decision-making over logical rationalization. How does Todd flip the script to tell a story?
  • Thomas Huxley advised learning something about everything and everything about something. Each sales conversation is unique. What you’ve studied helps in various situations.
  • Todd’s fourth hope is for sales organizations to realize that enablement needs 2X to 3X the investment that companies are currently giving it. Today’s sellers and sales managers need more training to be more engaged.
  • Todd’s fifth hope is that organizations realize the need to go back to pods and walls and replace annoying and distracting open office plans. There are reasons for walls.
  • A recent Harvard study debunks every supposed benefit of open offices. They do not help anyone.