PowerViews with Peter Bourke: Sell Less, Win More

Posted by Dan McDade

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on Jul 30, 2013 7:05:00 AM

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Sell less, win more. Don’t even try to start selling—and you’ll win more commitments. Sure, this smacks of contrarianism, but Peter Bourke has proven that these iconoclastic approaches work. Peter, senior principal and vice president at The Complex Sale, a premier sales and methodology company, spoke with me about the wild success of his outside-the-box thinking.

Peter is past president of Spherion Corporation’s outsourcing division and was previously global director of business development for Anderson Consulting (now Accenture). Below are some choice takeaways from the full interview, which can be viewed in its entirety below.

Unselling: The Less You Sell, the More You Win

Click to start video at this pointWant to win more? Then sell less, Peter says. Does this sound antithetical? Does it go against your instincts as a salesman? Probably. But Peter says the more you sell, the less the client trusts you to tell them the truth. That’s right: the more you sell, the less inclined the client is to listen.

In reality, the more you sell, the less you win. In his ebook Unselling: Sell Less to Win MorePeter will help you shift the buyer-seller relationship from subservient to collaborative.

"Great rainmakers in consulting firms don’t even try to start selling, and yet they get a lot of commitments."

Click to start video at this pointDoes this sound like pie in the sky? If so, a lot of salesmen are buying Peter’s pie and then selling it to others: mostly via word of mouth, his ebook has more than 40,000 downloads. Momentum in the marketplace has helped, thanks in part to titles that are also iconoclastic, including The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, which says in part that the best salespeople don't just build relationships with customers—they challenge customers. Peter also mentions Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty by Patrick Lencioni, which says service providers should be transparent and vulnerable with clients.

“If I just plug in the technology, I’ll win a lot more dealsbut the reality is it doesn’t work.”

Click to start video at this pointIn his latest ebook, Deal Coaching Is A Lost Art, Peter says there’s been such a shift towards customer relationship management (CRM) and the use of technology that deal coaching has become a lost art. As I often say, “Technology has allowed marketers to get more poor quality leadsfasterto sales than ever before.”

Conference Calls with Managers: 58 Minutes of Worthless Time, Two Minutes Updating the Manager

Click to start video at this pointPeter argues that 85-90 percent of the benefit of coaching happens before the coaching itself. Once again, challenging base assumptions. A salesman does his best work before he even starts to sell? Yes, because his preparation for the sales meeting will directly impact the meeting itself.

You can connect with Peter and learn more about his work via the following resources:

Peter Bourke


The Complex Sale Website: www.complexsale.com

Better Way Strategies Website: www.betterwaystrategies.com 


 The next PowerViews will be with Koka Sexton of LinkedIn. Stay Tuned.

By Dan McDade

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Topics: Sales Process, B2B Sales, PowerViews

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