Keith Dugdale

Keith Dugdale

Why you should never ask a CEO what their challenges are

By Keith Dugdale

People love asking about challenges in sales meetings.

In my many years of observing sales people, ‘What are your biggest challenges?’ would only be surpassed in popularity by an equally doomsday style question ‘What keeps you up at night?’.

Don’t get me wrong – asking about their challenges can be a very good question, and is certainly a better question than ‘what keeps you up at night?’ which has become as frequently used in sales meetings as Big Macs are seen in McDonalds. If you’ve built a level of trust with the other person before you ask it, it can definitely unearth a whole host of interesting information, and hopefully gives you an opportunity to give the other person lots of ideas about how they can tackle these challenges (and not just with your own product or service, of course).

But this doesn’t mean it’s a good question to ask everyone….and particularly to ask CEO’s.

If it can be suc [...]

How to write subject lines that make buyers want to open your emails

Last Friday I received 56 unsolicited emails.

56 in one day. And that’s just the one’s that managed to get through my spam filters (note that when I say unsolicited, for many of them I probably did sign up or get added to their mailing lists at some point in time).

Of those 56 I clicked on 11 and deleted the rest without opening them. I counted this because last week I had a question from someone on my video training series about writing compelling sales emails asking me about what to write in a subject line to make someone want to open it.

It’s a great question – you can write the best sales email you have ever written in your whole life, but if the subject line sucks, it will get deleted before it has a chance to get read. Of the 11 that I chose to read based on their subject line, 7 of them turned out to be spam (or what I consider to be spam – content that has no real relevance to me and what [...]

This is the single most important part of a great sales email

Every day around the world billions of emails are being sent – quite literally. In 2015, research by The Racadati Group found that around 2015 Billion emails are being sent globally each and every day.

Amongst all of these emails that are shooting all around the place are millions and millions of sales emails. And as I said in my last post, I bet the majority of them are pretty bad – which means that the chances of a decision maker not only reading your email, but then taking the time to reply to it and agree to a meeting is slim.

Unless what’s in your email is pretty darn compelling.

What to include in a great sales email

The way you structure a sales email and the content you include in it is critical. But before you even start thinking about that, there’s an element that is even more critic [...]

Three ways to be seen as more trustworthy – a podcast with AmCham

Without trusted relationships in business, what do you have?

Suspicion. Wondering whether the other person has your best interests or their own really at heart. Worry about what another person’s motives really are.

Obviously none of these are overly conducive to building trusted relationships that drive collaboration, winning work and people simply enjoying working with other people. Most people I speak to know that trust is important, but don’t really understand what it actually means to build trust – they see it as something intangible, something that takes a long time, and something that feels potentially hard to do.

Recently I was fortunate to have a chat with Duff Watkins for the AmCham Podcast. We talked a lot about what it takes for people and organisations to build trust and be seen as more trustworthy, and I wanted t [...]

Why most sales emails don’t work

Have you ever sent off a sales email to someone you really wanted to get a meeting with but got no response? Or if you got a response it was along the lines of ‘no thanks’ or ‘I’m too busy’ or ‘I’ve already got a provider that I’m happy with’?

If you’re anything like most of my clients, then the answer is yes.

Most of the time they’re a bit puzzled by this. They’ll say ‘but our product/service is great, and totally what they need!’. But when they share with me exactly what it was that they sent off, I can tell them straight away why it didn’t work.

Why most sales emails don’t work

The reason why most sales emails (or sales calls) don’t get the response that the sender was hoping for is because they are far too self-oriented. They tell the buyer:

  • Who I am, who I work for, what my position is.
  • What great product/servic [...]

‘Flogging engineering services has long gone’ says Australia’s most client-focused Engineer

According to Brent Thomas, it’s trust based relationships that matter most in business. And he should know – having just beaten an impressive field of candidates to win the national Client Choice Awards Most-Client Focused Engineer of the Year award for 2016.

“After every meeting, the client needs to leave with a feeling that you are easy to deal with, that you truly have their interests at heart, and you’re providing value out of the interaction,” Brent says. Unfortunately, he sees a lot of people in engineering, and business, that still h [...]

Always running late? Here is why it’s time to change.

By Keith Dugdale

How many meetings have you been to today where at least one person was running late…and that person might just have been you?

I bet at least one, and maybe quite a few.

Over the last few months….well, the last few years if I’m totally honest….I’ve noticed an increasing trend in organisations for people to run late – late to meetings, late to training, late to workshops, basically late to anything where they’d committed to someone else that they would be somewhere at a specific time. And not only are people running late, but it appears to me that they are almost proud to be running late as it is a sign of their busyness, and that they are busier than everyone else.

Now I know that things crop up and stuff happens and it’s simply not always possible to be on time. But being late seems to have become the rule rather than the exception, which got me to thinking about what impact this culture of lateness is actually ha [...]

Stop focusing on closing sales and start getting curious.

Post by Ben Paul, Director – New Zealand

There’s a classic scene in Glengarry Glen Ross when Alec Baldwin gives his version of an inspirational sales speech. It’s anything but and if you do watch it, be warned the language is strong. One of the main points is that salespeople should follow their ABC:  A – Always; B – Be, C – Closing. It’s scary because it’s probably a mantra many follow in some way shape or form. How many interviews for prospective sales people focus around can you close?

However, if you want to build a trusted relationship with your client or prospect it is far better to think differently and re-learn your ABC along the lines of A – Always; B – Be; C – Curious. The key here is to be curious and seek to understand what their goals and aspirations are and what is actually important to them.

This is key to building great rapport with anyone, not just a client. Are you actually interested in the other person? You [...]

What should you do when your client asks you for a discount?

You’ve got this great client. Let’s call him Phil. You’ve been working together for years, and you think the relationship is pretty rock solid. And then one day Phil calls you out of the blue and says ‘Look, we’ve enjoyed working with you all these years, we’ve really enjoyed it, but times are tough. We’re gonna need you to give us a 20% discount going forward please.”

How do you react? Should you give him the discount to make sure you retain his business, in the hope that times will get better and you can put the price back up? Or should you say No and risk losing Phil’s business for good?

Being asked for discounts seems to be a trend that’s on the rise – and in my world, that’s symptomatic of the types of relationships we have with our clients (but more on that later). The other thing I’m also seeing is an increase in the number of times organisations themselves are putting pressure on their sales teams to bill lower, win work at [...]

5 great questions to ask to really understand your client’s business

I love the start of a new year. Not just because it always means I will be skiing in knee deep powder in Whistler, the best place in the world (which I am, hence the photo above just to rub it in), but because the beginning of a new year is the best time EVER to shift your client relationships.

Why? Because the new year gives you the perfect excuse to ask them all sorts of longer-term, big picture questions about what the year ahead holds – for them personally, for their team, their company, even their industry. And it’s these kinds of conversations that are going to show you’re interested in them and their world, not just what money they’re going to give you, which will potentially shift your relationships from technical, social or ad-hoc, to a true trusted relationship.

To really get to know and understand my client’s businesses, here are five questions that I will often ask:

  1. “In an ideal world, what will your business look like in 3 [...]