Hunters and Unicorns – 202020 Mastery Mission – John Kaplan

Welcome to Hunters and Unicorns, 20/20/20 Mastery Mission.   

  

20 topics, 20 guests for 20 minutes.   

 

We’re here to unlock tribal wisdom from tech sales legends to help you get one step closer to mastery.   

  

Today we are joined by John Kaplan, President, Co-founder, & Managing Partner at Force Management. John has over 20 years of executive experience in sales, leadership, and execution, specializing in corporate sales strategy and performance management. Before co-founding Force, he was SVP of International Sales Operations for PTC, a leading software developer for content, product life cycle management. 

In this interview, John runs through best practices for conducting effective first meetings in today’s vastly altered SaaS landscape. From warming up cold calls and overcoming “Seller Deficit Disorder” to accessing pain and using his highly effective “Three P’s” mantra to prepare for every interaction, John Kaplan covers it all. 

“When I reach out to them, they’re going to go, “Why is this person calling me?” Purpose. Second, “What do they want from me?” Process. Third is, “What’s in it for me? What’s the benefit? What’s the payoff?” I find that the people that are prepared minimally with just that, have a much better way to stand in the moment of truth and consider what the other person’s reaction’s going to be.” 

Preparing for a deal is critical but preparing others for your sales call can also have equal impacts on your success. Highlighting some of the most common mistakes he sees with salespeople and the discovery process, John educates us on how not to approach initial conversations and offers our listeners advice on how to use great discovery questions during execution to understand positive business outcomes, access real pain and then articulate what you’ve learned back to the customer to demonstrate the value and differentiation of your solution. 

“The more I tell them they have a problem, the more they’re going to resist me, but the more I ask them discovery questions that make them stand in their moment of pain, they’re going to convince themselves they have a problem.” 

Whether you’re at the top of your game or just starting, we break down the best tips to prepare and practice for your next sales call. John Kaplan shares the preparation tactics he uses and teaches to accomplish critical meeting goals and achieve success in his deals.  

 

Listen to our story session to discover more advice from John on the topic of first meetings and first impressions as he delves deeper into his personal experiences with cold calling during his early days of selling and “real world” examples and insights from his 20+ year career in SaaS. 

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