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Sales Training Expert Jonathan Farrington: Meet The Founder of The Top Sales Blog In The World


About Today's Guest on The Sales Podcast

Jonathan Farrington is a globally recognized business coach, mentor, author and consultant, who has guided hundreds of companies and more than ninety thousand frontline salespeople and sales leaders towards optimum performance levels.

As well as acting as the Senior Partner for JFA, he is Chairman of The JF Corporation and CEO of Top Sales Associates, based in London & Paris.

Formerly, Jonathan was the CEO of The jfa Group, which he established in 1994 and sold in 2005.

Prior to that, he earned his spurs in some of the most demanding and competitive market sectors – i.e. IT, Telecommunications and Finance. Outstanding achievement at an early stage in his career provided a ‘fast-track’ passage to several board level appointments, working with a number of the largest and most successful international corporations including: IBM, Wang, Legal and General, Andersen Consulting, Litton Industries and The Bank of Tokyo.

Jonathan’s written work has been republished by a host of journals including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The London Times: He is consistently named amongst the top twenty influential sales and marketing experts, and his highly popular daily blog, which he first published in 2006 for dedicated business professionals can be found at The JF Blog.

Hear the rest of his story on The Sales Podcast Session 70.

Rubber-Meets-The-Road Sales Tip

  • “I’m never satisfied.”Perfection is a journey, not a destination.
  • Came out of Anderson Consulting in 1991 to do his own thing.
    • Called in lots of favors to get started and it worked.
    • Wanted to have a 10 year run and it went 11 years.
  • He sold it and needed something to do but he had a non-compete.
    • He wanted to get online and experiment.
    • He reached out to 10 people he admired and told them there was room in the sales space to collaborate and he expected them to tell him “no.” But all came back and were on board. Jill Konrath was hiking in New Zealand and was checking email every 48 hours and was thrilled to work with him. Those 10 are still together.
    • Called ourselves the “top sales experts” and bought the URL Top Sales World.
    • Ended up with a lot of sites but it was diluted so he brought it all under one roof
    • 9 strategic areas of selling - relaunching his site to address these segments.
    • Creating the largest library for sales people ever created and it’s free.
    • Launching his first convention - TSW14 - in Philadelphia in November 19-20, 2014.
    • Launching their awards of top 50 sales influencers.
  • Small businesses have a very level playing field. The only differentiator is price and that’s tough. The marketplace is being commoditized. In the next 5 years 80% of the current sales population will be changed or replaced because of the internet.
  • But personal selling is not going to disappear. The top 5% achievers will become the top 20% because they will sell consultatively.
    • You must differentiate yourself with your marketing.
    • Our knowledge is what differentiates us. Our clients don’t care about us or our brains. They want to know what we can do for them.
    • Gain. Save. Improve. Increase. Reduce. 5 key words. Prove this and you’ll have their attention. Then prove it and back it up.
    • Relationship selling isn’t dead. But too many sales people think it happens too quickly. It takes time to develop. It’s based on mutual respect and integrity. Then it will endure. Being liked is not that important.
    • The greatest compliment is that they respect you and tell others they respect you.
    • People buy from people they believe can help them.
    • It’s a bonus if people like you.
    • We talk WITH clients. We don’t talk up or down to prospects.
    • We have something in common with everyone we meet. We just have to take the time to get to know them.
  • In the 80’s PCs were selling like mad. He started helping people connect PCs via network. He called on a major private bank after the sales guys had been in 5-6 times. It was a huge opportunity. The prospect was a golfer. Jonathan was, too. The first thing they did was set a tee time. Jonathan put off business talk until they were golfing. The deal was done on the course.
  • You need deep pockets to launch a new venture and you need to be in it for the long haul.
    • For 4.5 years they were in the red with Top Sales World.
    • Top Sales Awards but not like the Stevies now in its 5th year.
    • Top Sales Academy.
    • His blog is a constant source of new opportunities. Top Sales World is not.
  • He wants to raise the bar and the level of standards in the sales world. Sales skills are declining rapidly.
    • “Nothing happens until somebody buys something.”
    • Sales managers aren’t getting trained. The average tenure of a sales manager is 16 months, down from 18 months just a couple of years ago.
      80% of sales people are under qualified to be in sales.
    • Individuals today don’t have to wait for someone to make you successful. “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”
    • Be committed to improving on a daily basis.
  • Somebody has to be #1. Why not you?
  • Be discerning. Experiment with sales concepts and ideas. Dive in and test some things.
  • Material stuff is reward for achievement. Money is not the motivator for the top achievers. It does pay your bills but we want to know we did a job well.
  • He is a crusader for sales. The rate of change is increasing. Solutions are becoming commoditized. We don’t need sales people or even order takers. The bottom line is driving people out of business. There are 100 million sales people in the world today. You’ll thrive if you’re totally committed to sales.
    Be focused. Know what you want. Surround yourself with people that can help you achieve your objectives. You’re the CEO of your own destiny.
  • Launching 5 major initiatives and then leaves for a month. Blitz and then break. Gets more done.

Links Mentioned

If you liked this episode, please let Jonathan Farrington and me know on Twitter.

If you need more help growing your sales, check out the following resources scattered around this site and a few others I operate, such as:

Now go sell something.