The art of selling has to change because the art of buying has changed – Interview with John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing

Today’s interview is with John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing who has recently added Duct Tape Selling to the set of books that he has authored. John joins me today to talk about his new book, how sales in changing and what sales people and businesses can do to adapt to their changing environment to help serve their customers better.

This interview follows on from my recent interview: Building valuable customer support communities – Interview with Rob Howard of Zimbra – and is number one-hundred and two in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, helping businesses innovate, become more social and deliver better service.

Here are the highlights of my interview with John:

Duct Tape Selling

  • Just written a new book called Duct Tape Selling: Think like a marketer, sell like a superstar which was released on the 15th May.
  • Selling has changed over the last few years and John has written this book to help salespeople and businesses adapt to the changing environment.
  • This book should act as a game-plan for professional salespeople.
  • Many people have jumped on the content marketing bandwagon. However, the challenge is now personalising the content such that the salesperson positions themselves as an expert and build their own personal brand.
  • A salespersons job is to help a potential customer understand the content they are presented with.
  • The art of selling has changed dramatically because the art of buying has changed.
  • The real opportunity is for sales people to be looked at as a trusted guide.
  • One of the real ways that you build trust is to demonstrate value.
  • This might require salespeople to develop new skills such as writing and public speaking in order to develop trust with their potential audience.
  • This may also mean that firms need to think about who they hire too.
  • Marketing, to some degree, have ruined social media for some other people because they have turned it into another broadcast channel.
  • John thinks selling should be like his father used to sell, where he was the advocate for his customer and not just interested in selling them more of the product that he was trying to sell.
  • ‘Social selling’ should mean focusing on delivering ‘value’ to your customers whilst utilising the rich tool set that social media offers.
  • Key question to ask is this: How can you use these tools to do a better job than you are already doing?
  • The future marketer and the future sales person could learn a lot form each other.
  • We are potentially seeing a convergence of marketing and sales departments and functions. When they do come together the customer is often served the best.
  • However, to make this happen will require a significant culture shift in most organisations because in many cases marketing and sales have different objectives.
  • This can be helped by reviewing the purpose of the organisation and getting everyone aligned with that purpose.
  • John thinks that we should stop thinking about the ‘marketing funnel’ and start thinking about our marketing and sales in terms of a ‘marketing hourglass’, where the top of the hourglass is like the traditional funnel but the bottom half includes the required focus on service and experience that will drive loyalty and referrals.
  • 57% of B2B companies report that they have already made a purchasing decision prior to contacting the company.
  • 53% of all B2B companies also reported that their decision to remain loyal to a business is dependent on their sales experience.
  • It’s the customer’s journey not the business’. The customer journey belongs to the customer. Customers don’t like to be controlled or forced along a certain pathway or route.
  • If you are an individual salesperson then John recommends that you read this book and then give it to your sales manager and tell them why you think the business would benefit if they implemented some of the stuff in the book.
  • If you want to start on this journey then look at your best customers and figure out why they are your best customers. Maybe also ask them a few questions like: why do you buy from us, why do you stay with us and when you refer us what do you say?
  • This doesn’t have to just be about the company. This could be about you, the individual salesperson.
  • What you are trying to do is get a sense of what your personal brand is and how you can enhance that.
  • Check out all of the tools and resources at

About John (taken from his profile page)

John JantschJohn Jantsch has been called the World’s Most Practical Small Business Expert for consistently delivering real-world, proven small business marketing ideas and strategies.

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and best selling author Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine, The Referral Engine and now Duct Tape Selling.

He is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing System and Duct Tape Marketing Consulting Network that trains and licenses small business marketing consultants around the world.

His blog was chosen as a Forbes favorite for marketing and small business and his podcast, a top ten marketing show on iTunes, was called a “must listen” by Fast Company magazine.

He is the featured marketing contributor to American Express OPENForum and is a popular presenter of workshop and webinars for organizations such as American Express, Intuit, Verizon, HP, and Citrix.

His practical take on small business is often cited as a resource in publications such as the Wall St. Journal, New York Times, and CNNMoney.

You can check out the website for Duct Tape Selling, pick up a copy here, and connect with John on Twitter @ducttape.

4 comments On The art of selling has to change because the art of buying has changed – Interview with John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing

  • Adrian,

    I like very much the idea of being the “advocate for his customer”.

    When I ran my own business, I hated selling, until I realised I din’t have to. All I needed to do was shut up and listen. Then it wasn’t so hard.


    • I agree. I like this: “John thinks selling should be like his father used to sell, where he was the advocate for his customer and not just interested in selling them more of the product that he was trying to sell.” All too often, we see salespeople only focused on making their numbers. It would be a novel idea to see them be the advocate, the trusted partner. They should listen to understand the customer’s needs and problems to be solved, understand how you/your product can add value to the business and to the individual you are selling to, set expectations, deliver on what you promise.

      Annette 🙂

      • James, Annette,
        Thanks for your comments.

        I agree that advocacy is the sort of behaviour that we would like to see more or and this is a great foundation for sustainability and long term success.

        Doing so, however, will probably require hiring different people and giving them the right incentives and targets. Therein lies the challenge. It’s one thing to talk about it and another to actually deliver it. That requires work, time, commitment and patience. I wonder who is up for it?


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