Sell Futures, not Features by Michael Killen - my notes

  • My rating: 4/5.
  • A lot of great ideas clearly coming from first-hand experience. However, relatively poorly organized and repetitve. Could easily be a 5/5 book with a better editor.

Main Takeaways

  • Sales doesn’t have to be sleazy. It’s about understanding someone’s life and offering the best solution available to them. Getting a truly great product or service into the hands of someone who needs it is a moral obligation.
  • Sales is a transference of enthusiasm.
  • Sales is working out if it makes sense for two parties to work together.
  • Do the first thing that you think will work.
  • Stop worrying so much. No matter what you do, most people won’t care, a few will love you, and a few will hate you. Isn’t helping someone worth being disliked?
  • Automations are a distraction until you have a process that works.
  • Free content is the best lead generation strategy since it demonstrates that you are willing to serve that audience without a direct financial gain and builds trust.

On Cold Email

“He also asked me to look back at things which people are impressed with, when I show them or tell them. Interviewing Ryan Deiss, getting on a call with Mark Cuban, getting a book published. My answer to all of them was “I basically sent an email.” No tricks, no hacks, no hidden networks. I don’t have a wealthy family or a well-connected friend. I just did the first thing that I thought would work.

On Fear and Taking Action

“What I learned is that 90% of people are never ever ever going to care or even hear about you. 5% will love you. 5% will hate you.”

“80% of your audience won’t even care. 99.9% of the entire population of the planet won’t care. They will be completely apathetic to your actions and intentions. But there will be a tiny segment of your audience who dislike you and even hate what you do and what you stand for. However, we must risk that in order to help the portion that does value your help and does want your input.”

“no matter how openly ethical, moral and chilled your sales approaches, you are going to attract criticism. No matter what you do, even outside of sales and selling, people are going to dislike you.”

“The fear of being disliked by people is, in my opinion, the number one reason why people fail to take action.”

“Is helping someone worth being disliked?”

“we have a habit of overcomplicating our own lives for the sake of not offending or upsetting other people.”

“If you are hesitating about pitching or publishing a new piece of content, ask yourself why you are hesitant. Is it because you’re worried about what others will think? Is it because you’re worried about offending someone, maybe even the customer? We must move away from trying to satisfy everyone, by leading the least offensive and least impactful life possible. Towards helping the few, and risking offending the many.”

“if you can make the conscious choice that helping someone and making their life better, is worth attracting occasional criticism, you’ll find it much easier to help more people.”

On Sales

“Sales isn’t a process of talking the most and the fastest until someone relents. It’s about understanding someone’s life and offering the best solution available to them.”

“If you have a product that can help someone, or a service that can make someone’s life better, would you not argue that it is your moral obligation to get that product or service into the hands of somebody else?”

“When you sell a product or service to a customer that makes their life better, and benefits them, there is a morally good outcome. Absolutely no one can argue with that.”

“If you have the opportunity to make someone’s life better, you have a moral obligation to do so.”

“If you really really believe that there are bad products out there that are taking people’s money because they market and sell with energy, excitement and enthusiasm, then don’t you have a moral obligation to also take that customer’s money and deliver a great product?”

“If you really do think that your product is better, then you should do everything you can to take their money and prevent them from spending it on lesser quality or inferior products.”

“Taking money away from immoral salespeople who were delivering a substandard product? It’s no different from teaching children to invest money and save money wisely.”

“Do you really truly believe so much in your product that you’re willing to risk looking like a crazy person or overly enthusiastic just to get more sales?”

“Someone talking with passion and enthusiasm is far more likely to make a sale, compared to someone who knows the rules of the game, but has no conviction in what they’re saying. One of the first paragraphs of this book talks about how sales is a transference of enthusiasm.”

“So many people are weak at sales because they have no conviction about what it is they’re doing. They don’t understand how it makes people’s lives better So therefore they’re non-enthusiastic about it.”

“One of the best definitions for “the sales process” that I’ve been taught is: Sales is working out if it makes sense for two parties to work together.”

“It took all the pressure off the sale and closing, and instead helped me see the sale from the customer’s side. Does it make sense for us to work together? This also helped me start to turn down work that I thought wasn’t right for me. Either because of the budget, the work itself or the customer. It’s not just about you and the product, it’s not just about the customer, it’s about two parties coming together and seeing if they can make something great.”

“Sales is more than just working out what people want, it’s helping them find the right solution and in that vein, figure out if you’re the right pairing. Does it make sense for us to work together? If you’re not right together, it doesn’t mean one of you is “wrong” or bad. It just means that you’re not compatible this time. I love steak and I love Oreos, but I’m not putting them together anytime soon.”

“Sales is a transference of enthusiasm - Zig Ziglar”

“So you have two choices. Continue to sell without enthusiasms and let others scam your customers (and some people will still think you’re a scam too) Sell WITH enthusiasm and take money away from scammers (and some people will still think you’re a scam too)”

Ultimately, we’re transferring enthusiasm about something which can help people. Then working out if we’re a good fit for each other – that, is selling.

“Imagine your job is to collect truffles in the forest. They can sell for between $1500 and $4000 per lb.Lets’ say you manage to find 5lb, yielding around $20,000 in sales. What if I told you that there was another 250lbs in the forest, a little further in BUT you’d have to look stupid, people would call you rude and foolish. Wouldn’t you go for it? That’s another $980,000 in revenue. What if I also told you that the people who thought you looked stupid, occasionally bought from you AND many many more people would also buy. Doesn’t this sound crazy? That’s what many salespeople and business owners are afraid of. They’re afraid of following up more and worried that they might possibly be seen as rude, arrogant, annoying or persistent. When the reality is that they almost certainly won’t be seen as or thought of as that. When you flip your mindset and start seeing the customer as on the same side of the table as you, you’re not worried about looking stupid because it’s a partnership. You’re not worried about answering their objections and closing them again and again, because you’ve got bigger plans in mind.”

On Automations

“You can’t put sales automation into place where you’re not already making sales.”

“The manual grind and uncomfortable push to sell something IS the sales process.”

“What a lot of businesses do is distract themselves with busy work building automations and email campaigns, in order to avoid going out and selling.”

On Content

“But when we stop thinking about lead generation and start thinking about serving our audience as best we can, you will repeatedly come back to 1 option, create free content.”

“The sales team that is trying to serve their audience as best as they can, and creates free useful, valuable information and content, will win.”

“The ability to say “I’ve written about this let me send you a link”, is an instant trust builder.”

“It is also demonstrating that you are willing to serve that audience without a direct financial gain.”

Transfer of Enthusiasm

““if you want to seem like an interesting person, be interested in other people.” Show interest and you’ll be interesting. Show excitement and you’ll be exciting.”

On Quick Wins and Easy Sales

“There is no such thing as a quick win, or an easy sale that will just magically skip part of the process. There are no special tactics, there are no underground sales techniques. The only thing you can really do is to build a long-term brand, with long-term relationships. I now make more money in sales daily, than I would in an entire month. That’s because I’ve stuck to a sales process, rather than finding the next big thing.”

“Getting better at sales is about developing better relationships, not finding hidden “growth hacks” to generating quick revenue. Coincidentally you can make quick revenue really easily if you’ve done everything else in this book. If you’ve got a compelling offer, you care about your customers and you’ve built a large audience, it’s relatively easy to generate a large income overnight. It just takes a long time to get there. You can’t rush history and you can’t hurry growth.”

“If you plant a field of crops and keep asking people “how can I get these crops to grow 50% faster” you’re either going to be sold snake oil that just could damage the harvest, or you’ll keep pulling up the roots to check on their progress. You need to let things grow, to have that big payday. And if you put in the time and effort now, you won’t have to rely on immediate cash windfalls so much in the future.”

Features vs. Futures

“A feature is something which when described can easily be replaced by another tool, competitor or product. For example, a car is a feature. It can be replaced by a bus, train, plane, bike or walking. It can also be replaced by other cars. The delivery is exclusive of the result. Results ≠ delivery. A car (the delivery) is not the only method of delivering the results (getting to another location).”

“Electric windows aren’t the only method to keep you cool in the car. A Yeti tumbler isn’t the only method of keeping your drink hot. A Microsoft Surface isn’t the only laptop on the planet. However, hardly anything else is going to make you feel like a success and a bigshot than driving around in your brand new Merc. No one is going to know just how tough and serious you are unless you’ve got a Yeti. And you want people to comment on your “out the box thinking” and different choice for choosing a laptop that isn’t an Apple.”

“A benefit is just a better version of a future that someone wants. It’s the future fantasy which someone is working towards or hoping to buy. A benefit is just a better version of themselves, in the future.”

“It doesn’t matter how good your product is, if you can’t clearly articulate a benefit that gets them closer to their goals and vision, they won’t be interested.”

“The #1 benefit that all customers are looking for is a reliable supplier. That’s it. A reliable supplier who lives up to their expectations. A reliable supplier that delivers on a promise.”

Qualifying Leads

“Qualifying the customer is about making sure of 5 key points. They can afford to work with you They can afford to put your advice into practice You can help them get incredible results You want to work with them/like them They refer”

Written on May 27, 2023

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