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The 20 Commandments Of Sales That You MUST Obey

Richard Harris

May 5th, 2016

20 Commandments Sales

As the inside sales and sales enablement community continue to mature, we have all gotten much better at sharing our knowledge so that we can all learn from each other.

A few weeks ago, Jack Kosakowski and I were batting around a few of our Sales Commandments. Lord knows there are more than a few. Rather than just create a list of them for people to merely agree or disagree, we decided to engage a few sales leaders and ask them to explain some of their favorites.

For your review, here are the Sales Commandments of 2017 and some excellent advice from folks leading us to the promised land.

Behold, the 20 Commandments of Sales

  1. Thou Shalt Recognize That SDRs Are Not Data Scrapers and Data Cleaners.
  2. Thou Shalt Have Done Research on Your Prospect Before Picking Up The Phone
  3. Thou Shalt Know Your Desired Outcome From Every Call And Clearly Communicate It To Your Prospect At The Beginning of The Meeting
  4. Thou Shalt Not Pitch the Demo on a First Call
  5. Thou Shalt Listen More Than Thou Speaketh

Scott Leese – SVP Sales – OutboundEngine |

Scott Leese

“This is the most frequently forgotten and neglected critical piece of selling. But maybe not for all the obvious reasons: don’t be a sleazy car salesman, talk over people, come off as overly aggressive, etc.

The thing is…the more you talk…and the more I listen…the more you reveal to me. I learn how you think, and how you make decisions. I learn your fears and your perceived strengths. The more I learn about you the easier it is to help me get what you need – which is what I want as well. In order to be a superb listener in sales, you need to have total confidence in what you are supposed to say next.

It should be reflective. If you are too focused on what you are supposed to do or say next, you will not be able to hear the clues a prospect is giving you. And they are telling you everything you need to know.”


Matt Tresidder – Director of Sales Development  – Pushpay |

Matt Tresidder “Over talking is overselling. If you are talking for more than 30% of the time during your initial call, then you aren’t asking the right questions OR you’re not asking them in the right way. Every salesperson loves the sound of their own voice and loves to talk, but when you’re on a sales call, ‘Shut up and listen.’ It’s that easy!”

Alan Tarkowski – VP Sales – SocialChorus |

Alan TarkowskiCreate the opportunity to listen intently to every word your prospect says to you by asking intelligent, provocative questions. Your prospect will be willfully challenged to think critically and communicate to you the problem they are trying to solve or opportunity they seek to capitalize on.  
As the salesperson, your prospect’s answers to your questions will earn you the insight you need to properly diagnose and solve for- therein creating a viable opportunity between both parties to work on together (or not – which is equally as valuable).”

  1. Thou Shalt Not Simply Read the PowerPoint to Your Prospect On A First Call.
  2. Thou Shalt Not Say “Sure, no problem.” When The Prospect Asks You To Send More Information
  3. Thou Shalt Always End Each Call With A Confirmed Next Meeting Understanding
  4. Thou Shalt Stop Saying Reaching Out, Checking-In, Touching Base, Circling Back (Tx John Barrows)
  5. Thou Shalt Demand Sales Training and Coaching From Your Organization Or Tell Them You Will Find a Company Who Does
  6. Thou Shalt Customize Your LinkedIn URL
  7. Thou Shalt Be Comfortable Picking Up the Phone
  8. Thou shalt recognize that it’s not your sales teams closing skills that are bad, it’s that their discovery skills suck

| From Mike Schmidt – VP Sales – Gainsight |

Mike Schmidt

“Oh so true!  The art of selling is really the art of asking questions.  Asking intelligent questions and being able to keep asking them without being annoying is the key.  Discovery is never done….it starts on the first call and continues after the customer becomes a customer….you will never know enough about the prospect/customer….never.”

  1. Thou Shalt Quit Wasting Time Running Demos with Titles That Can’t Make the Decision.
  2. Thou Shalt Quit Spending Time Making Excuses While Whining and Instead Work Harder Than Everyone Else and Start Winning

| Scott Leese – SVP Sales – OutboundEngine |

Scott Leese“There is only one thing that really matters in sales (and perhaps life): How bad do you want to make it happen?

If you want it bad enough you will whatever it necessary to be successful. You learn to focus on what you can control and ignore the things outside of that realm because they serve you no purpose. If you are not where you want to be – you need to be the one to take a look in the mirror and figure out what changes (big or small – a few or many) that need to be made. Nothing in life means anything other than the meaning you give it.

If you think the leads suck – you’ll prove it right. If you think the leads don’t matter and you’ll win anyways – you’ll prove it right.

Focus on what you are in control of and stop blaming anybody else or anything else for your circumstances.”

  1. Thou shalt quit stuffing pipeline with fluff quantity and start focusing on Revenue-Generating Opportunities That Are Quality
  2. Thou Shalt Qualify In and Qualify Out Before Wasting Time with People Who Aren’t Going to Buy
  3. Thou Shalt Quit Begging for Business and Start Getting Buyer-Focused and Earning the Business
  4. Thou Shalt Quit Debating Social Selling, Cold Calling, Email, and Start Mastering the Three in Unison Yesterday
  5. Thou Shalt Understand that Closing is the Natural Progression of a Strong Discovery and nothing more.

So there you have it, not just words of wisdom but actionable advice everyone in a sales role including SDRs, AEs, and Field Sales Reps, can use immediately.

What commandment do you think is most interesting and why?  We’d love to include your thoughts as we feel this post will be able to generate real revenue for those who read and implement the concepts.

Be a giver, not just a taker.

This is a sponsored guest post from a Sales Hacker partner.

About the author

Richard Harris

Richard is founder of The Harris Consulting Group and the Director of Sales Training and Consulting at SalesHacker. He is a seasoned SaaS sales leader and trainer with 20+ years experience helping early stage and expansion stage start-ups build their sales infrastructure and train their sales teams to "get there faster". Clients include: Gainsight, Udemy, TopOpps, LevelEleven, PushPay, and SocialChorus

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