Mark SA Smith is an electrical engineer, author, speaker, and customer acquisition guru. He’s co-authored three books in the legendary Guerrilla Marketing series and 10 other business books. His clients are Fortune 500 high-tech firms and entrepreneurial companies that need to scale rapidly. His area of expertise is product launches and sales force development. And he loves to figure out how to get customers buying.
Mark SA Smith Changes Selling By Focusing On VALUE
I’m about to introduce you to a gentleman who, like me, was trained as an electrical engineer. This guy didn’t even go into electrical engineering. He went right into marketing at Hewlett-Packard. It was in Hewlett-Packard that he learned to sell disruptive products, but don’t let that fool you. His skill as an engineer served him well later as he grew through many different areas of the company being a software marketer, and then a business owner. Mark has written thirteen books, technology playbooks, and sales guides targeting government, education, and health care. Let me introduce you to Mark SA Smith.
It’s great to be with a fellow engineer. What makes us special is we view the world as a process. Once we figure out how it works, we can make it work repetitively, which makes this such a powerful idea. You are creating a system for generating your first thousand customers. Thank you for having me on it.
One of the things that I find engineers like to do is they’re never quite happy with the way things are. If we could find a better way, that’s going to happen with engineers. That’s one of the reasons I love hanging out with engineers is because if you brainstorm with one, there’s always that next idea that comes from the first idea, and it keeps going and going. You’ve achieved quite a bit in your career. One of the things I like to do is I’d like to uncover the gems, the wisdom that you earn the hard way from the time you left school to the time that you evolved into who you are today. Tell me about what happened when you first graduated school and how this pivot took place from you going from EE to marketing master.
It was 1982 when I graduated with that EE degree and landed the big job with a big company I always wanted to work for. Hewlett-Packard wasn’t the highest paying job but it was the company that I respected the most. It wasn’t as an engineer, I was a sales guy, as a marketing guy. I figured, “That doesn’t make any difference. I can figure out the technology. I know what the customers need, and I can make some money.” I made every mistake in the book because I wasn’t trained on how to market. I wasn’t trained on how to sell. I was trained on how to design things, build things, troubleshoot things. When customers would say, “Can you do it?” I’d say, “Sure.” “Can you do it by Thursday?” “Absolutely.” Sometimes I lied to customers because it was sales.
One day, my boss, Mr. McEvedy, invited me into the office. He said, “You’re smart but your customers think you’re a jerk.”Something have to a change. I read every book I get my hands on. Listen to audio cassettes in the car as I was driving around, from the sales classics, Zig Ziglar and Tommy Hopkins, Anthony Robbins, and I learned their secrets. I hung out with the old pros. These guys that had relationships with customers who refused to do business with anybody else regardless of price and I learned their secrets. I applied that stuff to what I was doing, selling this disruptive technology. Technology that nobody knew they needed, but once they got it into their hands, they wouldn’t use it any other way. How do you make that transition?
Selling disruptive technology is what they used to call the old missionary sell.
Three years later, I was talking to Mr. McEvedy again and he said, “I’m proud of you because when I hired you, you were a diamond in the rough, but you have polished up nice. The thing I’m most proud of was the fact you’ve increased your European sales territory by over 100%.” I did that three years in a row. I’ll be glad to share with you that secret of how I did that. I got a lot of scars and made a lot of mistakes. I got the typical three-part sales training, “Here’s your desk here. Here’s your phone. Good luck.” Back in those days, sales training was product training, not how do you go about connecting with customers identifying their problems and making that connection between their motivation, their problem, and my product. Instead, it was always about product pitching. It was about features, advantages and benefits.
You figured that out and I couldn’t figure it out, or at least I didn’t think I could. What I did is I found the best sales guy in the semiconductor business. I went and had breakfast with him and said, “You got to tell me how do you do it. You’re the best around.”He was very modest. He didn’t think he was the best but the numbers never lie. His name was Kevin Hunt. He used to be a professional football player, and he’s a huge man. Here I am, I’m all of 5’6” on a good day and sitting across from this guy. I said, “Tell me what is your secret. How did you do it?” He looked at me with a dummy expression says,” I went to the Dale Carnegie course and I studied hard. That’s how I did it.”Who’s to argue with success? I drove over to Waltham and signed up for the Dale Carnegie course. The following weekend, there I was.
A lot of salespeople learned from the Dale Carnegie course about, “How do you create that human connection?” One of the secrets to being successful as a professional salesperson is 50% of your success is based on your customer motivation. Do they want what you’re buying? Does it solve a problem that they have? Does it solve the pain or does it create a dreamer or connect them with a dream?50% of your success. I don’t care how good you are, how cheap you are. If it doesn’t connect with something that they desire, some motivation, you’re going to make it happen.
40% of our success is relationship. Do they trust us? Do they believe us? Do they think that we’re acting in their best interest or are we trying to sell them something? 10% of our success is the product, which surprises people because they figured the product is everything. The reality is that you and I have both sold competing products extremely successfully. It’s not the product. It’s the relationship and our ability to map the product to the customer’s motivation that creates our success. Starting with Dale Carnegie, which is all about relationship, is going to get you 40% of the way there.
I certainly needed a boost because I was coming into this as a field applications engineer into sales and I didn’t even make believe I knew how to sell. I figured I had to learn. Without building that relationship, nothing can happen. I used to watch the sales team go to the purchasing agent’s office and slap the guy in the back and take him to his three martini lunch. I’m an engineer. I can’t do that. My approach was, “I’m going to go to the back door. I’m going to become friends with the engineers. I’m going to design my custom components. By the time the order gets to the purchasing agent, they don’t have a choice.”
We have to have a multipronged approach. We have to get the trust if you’re selling technology, the trust of the people that are making the technical decisions as well as the support from the people at the top. We have to be going both directions. I’ve spent 27 years in the world of selling technology as a solopreneur, not as an entrepreneurial business owner. The companies in the world of technology that own the market share have relationships with executives on down. Those that have smaller market shares have relationships with the technicians and technologists on up. The question is, “Where do you want to start?”The reason why that works is very simple.
Technologists, technicians, the technical staff are risk resistant. They like to avoid risk. They are about eliminating errors and eliminating faults and eliminating problems. When you bring in new technology that they haven’t experienced before, there’s an educational period where they have to spend time learning about what you have, how it benefits them, how they can manage it, how they can troubleshoot it. That takes quite a while. The people at the top are risk aware and will embrace risk because they’re out there stepping into unknown territory and they have a lot of ways of managing the risk along the way.
If you can get risk sponsorship from the top and provide the people at the technology levels with the education they need to become comfortable and confident with it, you have a winning combination. If you have an executive that doesn’t understand the risk profile of what you’re selling, then the technology people are highly resistant to considering your approach until they feel confident and that they can support it and they can defend it. To be successful, what I’d learned along the way in selling disruptive technology is we must have relationships at all levels within an organization for this to be a success.
That is true brilliance. The reason I say it’s brilliant is because you might think it’s obvious. You might say, “You have to do that.”The reason it’s not obvious is because people don’t do it. When people are stuck behind the computer and typing out multiple e-mails and feeding them into auto responders, we forget these lessons. It’s a shame because these are the true lessons of business and building relationships.
We have our gurus who talk about relationships and are seeing relationships maybe from a different perspective from the perspective of showing up in a car and showing up in a lab or showing up in a purchasing agent’s office and literally on the spot, nose-to-nose, belly-to-belly, building those relationships. That’s what I love about the work you do. Bring us forward a little bit. You went through the HP experience. You learned to sell disruptive products all throughout United States and then later in Amsterdam. What happened next?
Let me fill you a clue on the secret that allowed me to roam my territory a 100% per year for three years in a row in the European marketplace. It was very simple. I had a two-hour class that showed people how to solve their measurement problems. I was selling a silver scopes and logic analyzers back in the days. That’s the equipment that allows the people to build your computers, and your television sets, and your radios do the troubleshooting to figure out what’s going on inside. I showed people how to use my disruptive technology that included a lot of automation that hadn’t been available before, how to solve their problems.
I didn’t do demos. Demos are upside down because it’s about what I find interesting about my product. What I did is put the product in front of people and have them touch the buttons and twiddle the knobs and solve their own problems. After those two hours, 80% of the people said, “This is the best thing I’ve ever seen.” The other 20% couldn’t buy because of political reasons. They either had attachment to the competition or they couldn’t do it for other reasons. 80% of the time, people would say, “This is it. This is what I want.” It wasn’t a sales pitch it was an educational component.
I want to relate it to something I did once. I was selling my Timeslips software at a trade show. I went to the trade show and I put up a booth and had a big screen in front and tried to lure people over to give them a demo. We got some people stopping by, but I got so tired of not seeing many people at the booth. I decided to try something that I had no idea would work.
I moved the tables out of the way and set up a theater and announced that there would be a Timeslips training class at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM that day. I was able to afford a ten by ten booth. We had all of eleven chairs there, but the hallway was crowded. The fire marshal came in and tried to move people out of the way, but they were riveted because they wanted to learn about the product with no obligation at all to buy, just learn. That’s where I learned what education-based selling is all about.
Education is how we sell disruptive products. Without the educational component, it doesn’t work. The old school approach is feature, advantage, and benefit. That works when you’re selling low consideration products, products that people can make a decision about in five minutes or less. That’s how everything in Walmart is sold. You pick up the package, you read it; you pick up the package beside it and you read it and you’ll say, “I like this feature, advantage, benefit better than this other one. This is the one I’m going to take home.” When we’re selling complex expensive technology, when we’re selling disruptive technology, that doesn’t work. Back in the days, when I used to write FAB charts for my products, I’d look at the competitive products’ FAB charts, “They were winning.” Then I looked at mine, ” I was winning.”
The problem was we were misaligning and the customers became better aligned with ‘whose FAB chart’. The strategy was, “Let’s figure out what the customer wants to accomplish.”Stepping forward into the next part of my career where I became Director of Sales for a software company, I changed it up because I was always selling against a competitor. I’ve never been in a case where I sold against a competitor. In this particular case, I would go to prospects and say, “If you could have anything you wanted for this type of software, what would it be?” I wrote down their answers on a flip chart on their whiteboard and I’d say, “What else?” Until they said, “If you could do that, that’d be amazing.” Did you just hear the sale close?
When I started Timeslips Corporation with my partner, Neil, we ended up pivoting into time and billing. We knew that lawyers liked it, but here’s the thing. We knew nothing about time and billing. We were about to become experts, but we knew nothing. Instead of trying to “figure it out”, what we did is we went to CompuServe and we found the Legal Special Interest Group. The guys in there were forward thinking lawyers who liked computers back then.
CompuServe was an early version of an online community.
I almost made you explain FABs.
Feature, Advantage, and Benefit. That’s how people sold, and they still do.
I went to CompuServe. I then asked people what they were using, what they like, what they didn’t like. Something that may have been unintuitive to many is I said, “How many people here in this forum would like to try a beta version of our software?” That’s risky because you’re dealing with lawyers and you’re dealing with their money and you’re dealing with their time, but a bunch of people raise their hand and we sent out 40 or so floppy disks with our software. This is how we understood how to best serve our market like you described.
That’s a brilliant concept even still today is to find birds of a feather that have that advanced leading ability to consider new products, new technologies. When we’re bringing in a new piece of disruptive technology to market, we always talk to the people that have bought disruptive technology in the past. They are the ones that are willing to accept the risk. They have a temperament profile that’s risk accepting versus risk averse. They’re not going to pick it apart. They’re going to look for what makes it work. Instead of going to the people and say, “If I get this one guy to get this,” but he’s like, “I’m going to tear this apart.”No, don’t go there. It’s going to demoralize you. You did exactly the right thing. We can still use that strategy today.
When I started Timeslips, I had no idea what to do. I had to go of gut instinct. That’s what I would have liked if I were a lawyer and I was sitting in that forum. I call those folks early adopters. That’s what I use when I work with a client. We are looking for early adopters and their client-base in order to offer certification first before the rest of the community piles in. Now you leave and now you started your own business, what happened?
I asked people what they wanted and all I had to do is three or four of the things on the list to be successful. I didn’t have to do everything they wanted. I had to do three or four things that they couldn’t do. That’s when I learned about value scope expansion. If I could take their expectation of value and I could expand it by saying, “If you could have things any way you wanted, what would it be?” I could create new capability in their mind that they were salivating over, and I would disrupt the competitor every time.
“We can do this and this. When do you want to get started?” That was my close. That was the pitch-list approach. Back in those days, I was taught paying-based selling. Find that customers paying and make them feel it and offer them a solution. I’d learned that one of the solutions to reduction of paying was throwing me out of the office. I moved to a dream-based selling. It ends up you both work. You need to have avoiding as well as people that are moving toward a dream. The higher up the organization you go, the more that dream-based selling works. The lower the organization you go, the better paying-based selling works. The blend of both is powerful.
You have an incredibly powerful podcast of and it’s one that I listen to. I took notes listening to you speak because I find what you say is so valuable. I’d like to bring something up that you said in one of your shows because it was so profound for me and the way you put it was so great. You said, “Find the blood spurting problem. If your USP solves their BSP, then you sell instantly.”You get elaborate on it.
First, I’ve got to give credit to George Tran for introducing me to that concept. George is the guy that hand wrote 1ShoppingCart.com.George is a good friend and I appreciate his view of life. He talked about the BSP, the blood spurting problem. The idea here is that if you’re a Unique Sales Position, your USP solves their BSP, their blood spurting problem, then they will buy ASAP. If you’re going to take anything to market, if you can find the blood spurting problem, that’s going to be your fastest ‘yes’. Some people call that ‘low-hanging fruit’. I prefer to call it the ‘fast yes’. Any time that we can get to a ‘fast yes’ or to an answer to a blood spurting problem, then we create what I like to call a ‘fast funnel’.
We can sell people even complex products extremely fast if you can dial into their BSP, the Blood Spurting Problem, and prove that you can solve that blood spurting problem. That’s one of the ways that we make things happen extremely rapidly. How do you do that? You focus on outcome .Not on how you accomplish it, but the outcome people enjoy. In the case of a blood spurting problem, it’s stopping the bleeding.
Blood spreading problem is a problem that will have natural consequences if it’s not taken care of. As my father who was a physician said, “All bleeding stops eventually.” A blood spreading problem is a problem that somebody has that has personal, professional, profound impact that they will take to the top of their priority list. The reality is when you’re selling your customers, you have to find those that find what you are offering to be high priority. All of us have customers that have said,” I like this. I’m going to buy it,” but they still haven’t placed an order. it’s because it’s not a priority yet. They’ve made a decision but they haven’t made a commitment.
The next thing you said is that, “A customer confused cannot choose.”
That happens when we pitch customers products that they don’t understand. The moment that happens, they go into confusion mode. They go,” I need to think about it.” Any time your customer says, “I need to think about it,” means either you’ve confused them and they’re not going to tell you that they’re confused or you have not hit a motivational element that is important to them.
The wisdom that you’re sharing with us can change lives. It can have entrepreneurs re-examine whether they’re truly working from that place of highest value. I want to thank you for that alone. I want you to tell me how you made that transition, how you started your own business, and how that first year went.
The way that I moved from being an employee to being the boss was through a disaster. Most of us started our businesses in a disaster. We have massive water leak in the basement of my house and I had to tend that water leak for five days while we were getting things re-combobulated. I sat down, wrote a 5,000-word booklet called 49 Ways to Be Your Best to Trade Show Selling. I had my software success as director of sales for a software company by going and doing trade shows right. I wrote up the things that I found interesting and most powerful in my experiences in doing trade shows. I end up selling 13,500 copies of that little book myself, which by all rights makes it one of the bestselling books in the genre. If you can sell 5,000 books, you considered to be a bestseller in the world of nonfiction. That was that transition and I started helping people do better and better at trade shows.
I ended up connecting with Jay Conrad Levinson, the author of Guerrilla Marketing and writing a book called Guerrilla Trade Show Selling with Orvel Ray Wilson, who wrote Guerrilla Selling. Between the three of us, we developed one of the best books on the topic of how to sell at trade shows. The essence of that is, how do you sell on a second and a half to sell three seconds, to sell ten seconds, to sell 30 seconds, to sell an appointment. At a trade show, that’s what you have. That’s the sequence of events. Your booth, your exhibit has to capture their attention in a second and a half. If it doesn’t, forget it. Anybody has lots and lots of copy in your booth, it’s not working for you. The reason why is everybody is overwhelmed as they step into a trade show environment, you have to think billboard for your exhibit. If they can’t see it as they’re flying by at 60 miles an hour, they’re not going to take the exit into your exhibit.
Trade shows, if you select them right, can be a very powerful way for you to launch your business because you can get so much information and connect with a lot of people that you would otherwise never have a conversation with. I highly recommend them, but you got to do it right. You got to get rid of the tables in front of the booth. No barrier between you and your prospects. You have to have a value proposition. The best exhibit that I ever saw as far as a powerful exhibit was back, the old computer show in Las Vegas, Comdex. I was at Comdex and there was this exhibit that said “Video heads.”Would you have stopped into that exhibit?
Not unless I had some fixation on video for any reason.
That’s right and they don’t want to talk to you. They were selling literally the heads for video recorders. That’s what they sold. They were targeting the buyer. The booth was empty, and I went to talk to the guy who said, “How’s the show.” This is great. We’ve sold out all over inventory.” I said, “Why are you still here?” He says,” I might sell at next year’s inventory.” The point is that he figured out exactly what he wanted to do, which is what people were buying. “I’m looking for a manufacturer of video heads that’s, all that I care about.” I’m going to have a conversation. I’m going to make the connection for half a dozen conversation. We have to make sure that we understand very clearly what our objective is when we go and sell.
I’d like to talk about your booklet. I bet there isn’t anything in that booklet that would be considered outdated.
Other than perhaps an example or two. I used Jurassic Park as an example and I might have used Star Wars. That’s still is in the social, but yes everything else is still there. That’s practical information. You can search 49 Ways to Be Your Best at Trade Show Selling on the web, it’ll pop up. There’s plenty of places that it exists. It’s been published widely. I put that at the footer of the book, “Thanks to Yvonne Yorke who taught me this trick.”She said, “Give away your stuff.” That’s why at the bottom of the book, it said, “Reprinting and usage is encouraged. Please include this line.” There was a contact line. I would send the stuff out far and wide and I got printed up 300 or 400 different magazines over the period of a year. I sold 13,000 copies. At the bottom, “If you’d like to have your copy, send $3 to,” and I get these little $3 checks in the mail. Back in those days in 1990, $3 felt like a lot of money to me.
What’s cool about the story is that it’s true today as it ever was and we’re now in a world that has transition where people used to buy content to where content is free, and people buy implementation skills.
The content was illustrating capability, illustrating insights, illustrating wisdom.
I’m realizing now that it is even that way would legal too. There’s dozens of law sites where you could download their contracts for either nothing or under $100.
That’s smart because it gives people this insight, “Here’s how complex it is.” A lawyer’s job is to protect you from any and all possible risks.
Not just to write a contract. We got the book out there. It’s flying off the proverbial shelves and here you are five days into a flooded basement. When did this transition take place? What happened and how did you launch?
In 1990, I wrote this little book and was getting traction with it. There was another interesting little situation that was back in the days of the big real estate crash in the ‘90s. I was a landlord renting out houses because houses were cheaper. You can buy a house for half the cost to build it. I purchased a house from a guy who originally bought it for his wife to run it. She hated being a landlord. It was sell the house or get a divorce. This was back in the days when mortgages were transferable. I bought the house and he wrote me a check for $30,000. I was assuming his debt and he was paying me $30,000 for the privilege of doing so. That $30,000 was my seed money. That’s how I used to watch my business. I know that’s not repeatable and scalable and a very few people are able to do that. It’s one of those weird little quirks where it gave me the seed money that I needed to go out and start pounding the pavement.
When people would buy my little book, I’d follow up with them. How can I help you with your trade show? What do you need? What kind of assistance do you need? I sold consulting services for about $50 an hour. To me, that was enough money. Then it developed into relationships and training programs. I ended up doing a lot of road work doing public seminars with the Guerrilla group and doing guerrilla selling in public seminars. Some might remember that camouflage flier that came in the mail and you’d be invited to our hotel room for a day. I probably did somewhere around 400 or 500 of those events in the ‘90s. That’s where I learned my chops as a professional speaker. Standing in front of rooms full of people that wanted their money back if I screwed up.
I remember those flyers quite well and Jay Levinson and his wife, Jeannie, and I had spent a week together on a cruise ship. Even before then, he and I had worked together to help get Chet Holmes materials into the hands of his clients. Here is one interesting thing we discovered. Anybody who enjoyed that Guerrilla marketing didn’t have any money.
It’s designed for people that have no money.
They typically aren’t the best people to try and sell an expensive product, too.
They’re not, but they also are the people that have a lot of heart and they’re doing everything they can. That’s the concept behind Guerrillas. The idea here was to be unconventional as a Guerrilla fighter, you are up against people with the Air Force and rockets. You had sticks and stones and dirt, so how do you compete? Jay use that metaphor, but how a small business can compete against a large business? It was all about doing things unconventionally. You never face them directly. You do things that were unique and grab people’s attention. Many people use the concept of Guerrilla marketing.
When I started my company, we started with a total of $10,000,$5,000 each. We had no choice. Other than the few mistakes we made like blowing 60% of our marketing budget on stupid ads and PC Magazine, everything we did was Guerrilla marketing.
Jay says, “Advertising is the last thing that you do.”
I learned that the hard way, but I didn’t know any better. If a show like this would have existed back when I started my company, I would have probably wanted to listen to every episode before I did anything. This is where the wisdom of the guests who show up here, they get to tell their story. It’s so incredible to hear what people do, no matter what walk of life they come from. Here you are and your businesses is a year or two or even longer and you’re doing all of these live events and you’re teaching people how to market. Back then, I’m sure it was a lot of education-based on tradeshow marketing. How did it evolve into what you do today?
One day, Bill Hubler, who worked for IBM, was in the audience. He says, “I need to bring this to my business partners. Would you be willing to do a technology version of this?” I was like, “Yeah, I’m an engineer.” He invited me to the sales kick off in Orlando for IBM. I did a program on how to deliver sales presentations. They booked me for four sessions. The first session, I had 100 people in the room. The second session, they had to move me because there were 250 people that wanted that. By the time I got to the fourth session, they had me in the ballroom. That launched my career into the world of helping people sell disruptive technologies in the computer space.
It evolved ever since then because in the world of technology, it’s a small community. You and I have probably been within ten feet of each other a few times in our lives. It was only within the past year or so that you and I connected personally. That’s how small that world is. As people move from business to business, they would call me and say, “I want you to do what you’ve done for that other company.”That’s still is the case today. My business is almost 100% referral based on the work that I’ve done with them. The area that I work in today is helping people sell the disruptive technology by putting together the sales processes that work.
Mark got lucky, but he happened to be also doing 400 presentations in order to get lucky.
Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. When preparation meets opportunity, the idea’s we have to keep going. We can get targeted and we can do things a little bit more intelligently, but the whole idea is that you have to keep turning the crank. There’s a common statistic out there that the average entrepreneur has had seventeen failures before meeting their success. A lot of professional speakers are an overnight success after doing it for twenty years. It is continuing on that path of passion, but that’s an important component. My original book agent, Michael Larsen and Elizabeth Mamada, Michael said, “You need to be writing about a topic that you can speak about passionately for the next ten years.” He’s right. Otherwise, we have these orphans that we create. You have to have a certain commitment to what it is that you are doing.
Let me define passion for you. It’s, “What is the thing that you think about most of the time?” What thought is occupying your brain most of the time? That’s what you’re passionate about. The reward for passion ends up being torture. Which tortures you as an entrepreneur? For me, what tortures me is helping people understand new technology that I know is going to improve their life but they’re resistant to it until I package it the right way. As an entrepreneur, when you can select that thing that you start thinking about when you wake up in the morning and that you wake up in the middle of the night and think about it, when you go to bed, you think about and it’s something you want to talk about nonstop, that’s the thing you should be focusing on. Then you can put the time and energy and expertise into it to be a success as you have been to.
This is what you do now, isn’t it?
I have two businesses that I focus on today. One, is I work with technology companies, typically the world of computers, but I certainly do it. I help people sell jet airplanes and medical services that are primarily in the world of software and hardware. I help them bring disruptive technology to market by a lot of things, which is focus on the outcome, focus on their motivation and then do the multipronged approach from the top down and bottom up. We put together specific ways to do that based on their market, the competition that they’re up against, and their particular goals. I love doing that. Then the second part of my business is helping entrepreneurial spirits, specifically companies that have got into that at least $5 million, somewhere between $5 and $10 million, and helping their founders make the transition from foundership to executive.
Because along the 26 years I’ve been helping these people, I’ve identified that a lot of these founders have some interesting challenges because what got you to $5 million is not going to take you to $100 million. What gets you to $100 million, it’s not going to take you to a billion. I help them with those executive skills and making that transition from focusing on how you get things done to creating a path of what we want to accomplish and why we want to get there, then building the team to make that happen. The team knows the ‘how’, not the founder. At the beginning, the founder has the ‘how’ power, but as you transition to an executive, you move from ‘how’ power to ‘what’ and ‘why’ power. In simple terms, you move from being tactical to becoming strategic. I work with executives. I have public seminars about that. The ExecutiveStrategySummit.com is a place where we do that. I hold public seminars in Las Vegas and other parts around the planet to help people that transition. I love doing it.
I’m thinking to myself, “What an amazing group of people to be in contact with every day.”Your clients are like the top echelon of the technical management world. It’s a wonderful place to be and it’s a great group of people to get to know.
As an entrepreneur, I get to choose my tribe. I suggest that you think about that very carefully. Choose the tribe, the people that you’re going to hang out with. If you despise them your business cannot last. If you love them, you’re going to be in business for as long as you choose.
I know that people are going to say, “I got to get more of Mark. I got to find out more about him. I want to read more of what he’s written.”How can people get a hold of you?
Like most people in the world of wisdom, I work in four different ways. I can teach you; I can coach you; I can do it for you; I can do it with you. I love that sequence. The easiest way to get started is connect with me on LinkedIn and I’ve got a simple URL, MarksOnLinkedIn.com. That’ll redirect you straight to my profile. I accept invitations from everybody who isn’t a scammer or a spammer. If you have a few followers and I’m going to follow you. I’m going to communicate with you and that’s a great way because I have almost a hundred articles probably on LinkedIn about this type of technology, selling disruptive technology or as executive skills. There’s plenty of stuff there that you can read absolutely for free. It’s also a great place for us to start a conversation on LinkedIn. It’s a safe place to be. Second thing is listen to the Selling Disruption Show, so SellingDisruptionShow.com or go to iTunes and search Selling Disruption Show. It’s a weekly podcast and I have cool guests.
Mark is this rare person where he is so generous with what he knows, and he shares so much so easily. I would highly encourage you to make contact with Mark and to learn from him and his writing. He writes beautifully, and his writing is the type of writing that you don’t want to stop reading.
Thank you, Mitch. I appreciate that. If you run a business, I’ll be delighted to spend half an hour talking with you. Let’s connect on LinkedIn and then we’ll set some time up to do that. I love talking to entrepreneurs, it’s how I’ve learned. I learn every day, so it’s not just a matter of me spouting wisdom, it’s also about sucking in everybody’s ideas and integrating into my own.
Who in all of space and time would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?
Without a doubt, that’d be Albert Einstein. His brain looked at the world in such a completely different way. He was the one that popularized the idea of a thought experiment, which is imagine sitting on a rocket ship, going the speed of light, and switching on a flashlight. What happens? I love those thought experiments and I love having those conversations with people about thought experiments. Because like another one, his contemporaries Nikola Tesla, he did all of his invention in his brain. Then When he had everything working, then he would put it on paper and he would build it. Oftentimes, it would work the first time. I love hanging out with people who had that capacity to visualize and then materialize, so I could better understand how they did it. That’s my goal is to have a better capacity to visualize and materialize.
You’re the first person so far to name Albert Einstein and he would definitely be one of my choices as well. I’m glad that you chose him and for the reasons you did.
Thank you I appreciate that.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the audience before we end the show?
Your success as a sales professional and as an entrepreneur is about understanding your customer’s motivation then mapping that to your product not mapping your product to their motivation. The mapping product to motivation is the hard way, which generates objections. Mapping motivation to product is the easy way because it solves blood spurting problems. If you can keep that one idea in mind, you’re going to make millions and all that I ask for is 1%.
Thanks again for spending some time with us and listeners reach out to Mark and learn from him.
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Mark SA Smith
- Dale Carnegie course
- 49 Ways to Be Your Best to Trade Show Selling
- Guerrilla Marketing
- Guerrilla Trade Show Selling
- Guerrilla Selling