Episode 149: Thinking About Sales As A Creative Process With Tim Dunne

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Tim Dunne Never Be Closing

Tim Dunne

Tim Dunne believes more people would enjoy sales if they understood it as a creative process to solve interesting problems. 

Tim is an innovation and creativity facilitator. He is the co-author of Never Be Closing and the founder of both Selling With Creativity and Instant Brainstorm.  He has been consulting for the past 20 years, helping his clients align their personal goal setting and leadership styles with their larger strategic organizational goals. He currently lives in Barcelona, Spain with his family. (Listen to how Tim left his corporate job in finance almost 15 years ago to move to Paris and become a consultant!)

You might not like sales, but inevitably it’s a skill we all need to learn to advance our careers, whether you are in a sales role or not. Tim believes sales is nothing more than a creative process to solve problems.

As a young adult, he was encouraged by his mother to go to a conference she regularly attended on creativity called CPSI. His perspective on sales was deeply influenced by what he learned at the conference and he has become a frequent attendee himself. When you shift your mindset on sales from simply viewing it as a financial process to a creative one, it becomes much more enjoyable for both parties involved.


Special Offer for UnStuckable Listeners!

Click here to get your free copy of Tim’s eBook, “Speak to Be Heard: Ignite People’s Interest By Connecting With What Energizes Them”. The secret word you’ll need to access this special offer is: “GetUnstuck”.

Quick Action to Get Unstuck

Move around!

Tim believes physical activity is the best way to get unstuck and to get blood pumping to your brain.

Whenever your brain starts to feel exhausted or you don’t know what to do next, do something like going for a run or a walk. Get away from what you are working on and move your body.

Your brain can’t constantly be going, so you need to give it a break from time to time. Taking a break from work to exercise might not feel like you are being productive. However, in the grand scheme of your life, you’ll end up creating higher quality work more consistently when you allow your brain to recover from intense periods of work.

UnStuckable Quotes From Tim

“You have to get comfortable with not knowing what’s going on all the time.”

“We use our corporate jobs as our identity.”

“I turned my hobby into my job, and my job into my hobby.”

“It took me a long time to figure out what I was going to fill my plate with.”

“Where your body goes, your mind will follow.”

More Habits & Actions

  • Have a high “ambiguity tolerance”. Tim says true creativity and innovation happen in the space when the solutions to your decisions seem the most unclear. Be open to new possibilities. Don’t hold yourself back by needing to know what the future holds.
  • Shed your idea of “identity”. Too many people tie up their identity with their job. They derive their self worth from arbitrary titles. Here’s the problem, once you lose your job, the foundation of your identity is gone. Let your identity be rooted in the person you really want to be with or without a job.
  • It’s okay to feel like a fraud. Many people feel like a fraud when they are starting out on a new path. They think that they don’t have enough experience to be doing what they’re doing. Those feelings are completely normal. Just keep focused on learning your craft and those feelings of inferiority will eventually subside.
  • Don’t quit your job too early. Make a plan for your transition. Don’t leave your current job until you have enough money saved up to start your new venture. Look at your current job as funding your future plans and stick with it as long as you can.
  • Develop a learning habit. Tim believes the key to becoming UnStuckable is curiosity and the willingness to learn.  Always be curious about the world around you, so you can be led down new paths you wouldn’t have expected.

Tim’s UnStuckable Lesson

Many people believe sales is disingenuous and phony, but it doesn’t have to be. In today’s lesson, Tim wants to help make your sales process not only better, but more enjoyable. He says the key to being a successful salesperson is having a well-thought-out sales process.

1. Be able to articulate your sales process.

Take the time to carefully analyze your sales process, so you can explain it to someone else. This isn’t always an easy task and it may take a while.

Think about how you pitch your ideas, the types of question you ask, how you present your ideas and the key actions you perform during a meeting with a client. What’s good about your process? What needs improvement? Go over every aspect of it until you can clearly define your sales process.

2. Debrief.

Once you have completed a sales meeting, stop and review your process. Go over every single second of the meeting you can and analyze it. It might be helpful to share your analysis with a colleague. Identify what went well and areas that need improvement. Take the time to review your sales process after each meeting, so you can continually improve it.

3. Find reasons to contact the client.

During your debrief, come up with as many reasons as you can to get in touch with the client again without asking them for “the buy”. Tim will come up with 50 different reasons to reach out to a client after he has met with them. He’ll even spread those opportunities to reach out throughout the course of a year.

Your reasons to contact your client don’t all have to be business related. The point here is to build a relationship with them. If they mention they are taking a trip somewhere, send them a restaurant recommendation. Finding small ways to help your client will help you forge a stronger relationship with them.

4. Wait and listen.

Tim offered us one last piece of advice to improve your sales process: wait and listen. When you are in a meeting, write down everything your client is sharing with you. Don’t try to offer solutions as soon as a problem is presented to you.

During the meeting, simply ask more questions and let your brain process everything.Take everything in first and make your suggestions at the end of the meeting when you have collect the most information about your client’s problem.


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