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How to Accelerate Relationship-building, with Keith Dugdale [Episode 356]

Joining me on this episode is Keith Dugdale, CEO of The Business of Trust, which is a sales consultancy based in Brisbane, Australia, and coauthor of the book, Smarter Selling: How to grow sales by building trusted relationships, by David Lambert and Keith Dugdale. Among the topics that Keith and I discuss are the activities and mindsets that work best for relationship-building, when sales training is premature, and how trust means ceding control to the customer.

Key Takeaways

  • Focus on helping a client succeed, and building a relationship of trust, and that will create an environment where they want to buy from you.
  • The ‘I owe you’ approach is that the salesperson owes the customer everything, for their present commitment of time, and potential future commitment of money.
  • Top executives place a higher premium on their time than on money. They will give time to the person who gives the most return for it. This requires deep advance research.
  • Look at the drivers of the person you are speaking to, the person’s business role, their organization, and most importantly, global and local issues within their industry.
  • The standard sales development process many companies use that focuses on setting up meetings is not about relationships. Behavioral change is needed. Don’t invest in training until other key pieces are set up.
  • Have a business strategy, a key account strategy that everyone believes, and long-term market share and revenue goals. Identify the key players, and who in your organization will build the relationships. Then align your infrastructure.
  • Use questions that aspirational CEOs want to hear. Don’t ask what is their biggest challenge. Ask what is going really well, and, is there anything that could go better?
  • We are losing our curiosity. What are the traits a salesperson needs, to ask the questions that build relationships.
  • Trust, for the salesperson, is ceding control.
  • No one likes to be sold to, but everyone likes to buy.

More About Keith Dugdale

What’s your most powerful sales attribute?


Who is your sales role model?

Alan Ross was my mentor for years, in Asia.

What’s one book that every salesperson should read?

The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results, by Brent Adamson and

Matthew Dixon.

What music is on your playlist right now?

“I Wish You Were Here,” “Bat Out of Hell,” “Rumours.”

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul (0:35)

It’s time to Accelerate. I’m your host, Andy Paul. Join me as I host conversations with the leading experts in sales, marketing sales, automation, sales process, leadership, management, training, coaching, any resource that I believe will help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business and most importantly, you. 

Hello and welcome to Accelerate. Joining me on the show today is Keith Dugdale. He’s CEO of the Business of Trust, which is a sales consultancy based in Brisbane, Australia. We’ve had a lot of really interesting guests come from Australia on the sales side, a lot of good sales thinking going on there. He is the author of a book called Smarter Selling, which we’re going to talk about on the show. Keith, welcome to Accelerate.


Keith Dugdale (1:21)

Thank you very much, Andy. It’s a pleasure to be here.


Andy Paul (1:24)

Pleasure to have you. I was serious, we’ve had some really interesting guests. I urge the ones listening to go back and check them out, we’ve had Tony Hughes, John Smibert, Keith McLaughlin, Peter Strohkorb, and few others. Some people doing some really good leading edge thinking about sales in Australia, of which you are one as well.


Keith Dugdale (1:48)

Yeah. I think every name you’ve mentioned is a part of a group that we’ve pulled together here to keep on challenging each other’s thinking, in this space.


Andy Paul (1:57)

Excellent. Well, you’re doing a good job of it. So, fill in my introduction a bit and tell people how you got your start in sales.


Keith Dugdale (2:04)

I worked with PwC, and the consulting businesses for years around the world, primarily in business development and in training roles. And over time, you start to see the patterns between those who are really good at their client relationships and also making serious revenue and those who aren’t. I got frustrated by the pattern of someone saying, “I’ll just go and do what Jane does.” But of course, you can’t unpick what Jane does, because Jane just does it. And so, David, who’s based in Hong Kong at the time with PwC, and I set up a business to try and code the behavior. We started running programs before the book, then people start saying, “you really should get a book on this stuff”, because at that stage, it was very different. The book got written. We’re very fortunate to get one of the best publishers in that space, and the rest is history. We’ve now run consulting in 27 countries and have a lot of fun with a lot of great clients.


Andy Paul (3:10)

Excellent. So, your business is called The Business of Trust. Do you focus primarily on building trust-based relationships in businesses and how to expedite the speed of trust? On how to facilitate economic relationships through trust?


Keith Dugdale (3:27)

Absolutely. For us, both the end game and the start game is, if you focus on helping a client succeed, rather than selling something and you help build a trust through helping them succeed, then they will buy from you. So, if you want to two sides of the coin as opposed to selling something, it’s creating an environment where they want to buy from you.


Andy Paul (3:51)

Yeah, and you talk about this in your book, you define that really is the “o-w-e you” approach, which is spelled out “o-w-e you” approach. Explain that a little bit further for the people listening.


Keith Dugdale (4:04)

Yeah, the whole notion is that if you think about the way that many salespeople behave is that they take control. So, it’s almost as if the customer actually owes them. Whereas what we’re trying to do is to get salespeople into that mindset that I as the salesperson, owe you as the customer, everything, because you’re already committing to me your time and at some point, it might be your money. So, at the moment, is on me as a salesperson to give you as much value through the sales interaction as I possibly can.


Andy Paul (4:36)

And you say that, to the extent that you can actually create a buying experience that the buyer enjoys.


Keith Dugdale (4:44)

Absolutely. We all know it, when we are the customer, we know that we go back to places to buy things when we enjoy the experience. And yet it’s kind of strange that a lot of salespeople and sales organizations don’t create that experience for their customer when they’re selling. If you look at some of the research by the Challenger guys, if you look at their original research now, I think it’s 42% of repeat purchases had nothing to do with the price of the product or the product itself. It was totally and utterly based on; did I get value and enjoy the interaction with the salesperson? And yet, there’s very little training around making sure your customer gets value out of the interaction. It was pushing how much they’re going to enjoy the thing they purchased.


Andy Paul (5:38)

Well, if you think about all this, the field about customer experience, it really starts after the sale. For the most part.


Keith Dugdale (5:46)

Yeah. And what we’re saying to a lot of our clients– we’ve got some in traditional retail, some of very large ones in traditional retail, but a lot of our clients tend to be in the professional services where you would say, they’re in expert industries, where the salesperson, although they probably wouldn’t call themselves a salesperson, focuses on showing that they are the best lawyer in town or the best accountant or engineer or whatever it is. And frankly, the person on the other side doesn’t really– they kind of assume that that’s a given that you know how to build a bridge.


Andy Paul (6:19)

Right. That’s why they are talking to you.


Keith Dugdale (6:21)

Exactly, that gets your foot in the door. But what we’re trying to get people to do is to say, “okay”, especially where with where technology’s going, you can get knowledge on technology, but also the increasing competition across all spheres. So, I’ve now got, even within Australia, now I’ve got one of the big four accounting firms competing directly with a small company, who up until a few years ago sold TVs. And so, what they’re both trying to do is recognize at the end of the day, they need to build a much more trusted relationship with the critical decision makers in the customer organizations that then facilitates buying that gear at some point, whether that gear is legal advice or technology to help their business run more efficiently.


Andy Paul (7:07)

So, I’m curious, what is the big four accounting firm competing against the company used to sell TVs? What piece of business are they competing for?


Keith Dugdale (7:17)

That is a great question, Andy. And I think this is an area that I’m not sure most organizations have really got their head around, especially at the top end. If you’re dealing with the top end of any organization, whether it is a small corner shop or a big bank, when you’re dealing with the top executives to them, their time is more valuable than money.


Andy Paul (7:37)



Keith Dugdale (7:39)

And so, the CFO of an organization, for example only has, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, 10 hours a day. And I’ve interviewed a few of these around the world, the top end of town, and they’re very clear, I will give my time to the person who gives me most return for that time. So, if I can sit down with the one of the consultants from the company that sell technology and/or with one of the partners from a big accounting firm, and I have to make a decision which one I give an hour to? I’ll give my hour to the person who gives me most return for that hour. So, we would genuinely say to both of those two people, “how are you going to focus on giving the most value to that person?” “Well, talk about my stuff.” “No. You need to find out what is going on for that person in their world, regardless of what your product is.” And so, in theory, both the people going to speak to that person, once they’ve done their research and we talked about different ways you can do research, Pest Analysis or our own Focus Five, you start to get patterns of what is important to that CFO. And the person that CFO will see is the one he believes, based on the introductory email for example, he will make an invitation to the meeting based on, “yeah, that’s really important to me, that’s going to be a really valuable meeting in my world.”


Andy Paul (9:06)

Yeah, which requires a degree of research into the prospect before you send that email.


Keith Dugdale (9:14)

Absolutely. But I think again, here there’s a slight shift. If I work with a lot of sales organizations, the research they’ll do about their prospects is usually about the prospect organization. And to certain extent about the individual, they’ve got LinkedIn and the likes that they can use. But actually you’ve got to look at four things, you need to look at the person you’re speaking, what sort of person they are, what their drivers are, their bonus systems, their relationships internally; the role they have, the business function they sit in, how is that seen politically? What are their budgets like? The organization, but probably as important as any of the others is actually the industry they sit in. I’ll just give a very quick example. So, imagine both of these people are trying to build a relationship with someone higher than a bank. What will almost certainly fall out of doing analysis around the industry is the issue going on for CFOs in banks in Australia, that CFOs in banks in the US have already addressed. So, the thing then becomes go and find out what those banks in the States did in a similar situation. Don’t pretend to be an expert in that. But take that knowledge to this person in the bank in Australia, that is immensely valuable. And then you build that trust. Now, of course, you can’t afford to do this across all business community. So, the sales organization has to have a very tight key account strategy, knowing who their targets are, who their relationships need to be with, and then deal within that.


Andy Paul (10:38)

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.


Keith Dugdale (10:42)

So, you’re almost flipping the model on its head. So, it’s rather than saying, “I’ve got this solution, and I need to find a problem that fits it.” You know where I’m going on that. It’s kind of flipping that over and saying, “actually, no, I know who the clients are and the needs they have. And I probably need to have a long horizon for that. Let me figure out how I can build relationships at the top there by genuinely adding value to them in every interaction.” Jack Welch had a very similar thinking, he was well known within the GE world for roping– if he met someone on the way out of the building he said, “I’m just going to catch up with John for a cup of coffee”, drove them back in said “no, was the value in john and having a cup of coffee with that unless there’s something else”, so it’s a different approach. I don’t know in the states what situation is with this, but one of the basic challenges a lot of organizations we see here and also that Europe faces, is that actually we don’t have a really good key account strategy. So, they don’t know which clients they want to have three years down the track. They don’t know who the key players are on those accounts. What they have is an opportunity prospecting strategy, which is very different.


Andy Paul (11:54)

Oh yeah. I’m laughing because just before speaking with you, I was talking to someone else for another interview on it. That’s a point that was being made exactly, there seems to be a problem of really short horizon in sales planning and business planning for sales in too many sales organizations.


Keith Dugdale (12:18)

Yeah and I’m surprised. Usually what triggers more discipline and all of that is a downturn. So, in Australia, we’ve had a booming economy for 24 years, late 2012, the minds turn the taps off, because China, we did less stuff. So, I can understand why there’s not much discipline in the systems and that part of that discipline is having a strategy, an account strategy following through a strong go, No Go process, all that kind of stuff. In the States you kind of hit that tsunami in 2007. You’d have thought that would have triggered in most companies, or at least have two or three periods, an “aha” moment where you think, “we really need to get this right.” That’s also what we’re finding here, and I’d be really interested to find out in your neck of the woods, what’s the situation? One of the challenges we’ve got here is, the sales managers who are running the sales teams, all came through a boom economy. So, what they’re actually coaching the sales team in is actually poor behavior designed for an older age.


Andy Paul (13:21)

Well, yeah. There’s lots of issues that people confront these days. I think one of the solutions that we’re seeing here, and I think it’s spreading to Australia as well, is moving to this notion of account-based selling, account-based marketing, account-based selling which is much more strategic at the top level because you are finding those accounts that are going to have a long term value that you can provide to them, the long term value on both sides, and then targeting it with a different sales approach that is about building relationships through a broader segment of contacts within the company is supposed to serve, trying to find that one person that can open the door for us. And I think relationships for the companies that are embracing them, begin to practice relationships in the relational capital is the relationship capitals you talk about, it starts becoming a little bit more important.


Keith Dugdale (14:16)

It does, and I’m finally hearing it in a conversation yesterday with someone in Perth. They’re saying they’re finally finding that the CRM systems, the technology side of things, is getting much better at helping with that relationship capital side of things. Because most sellers are typically driven by the product and the account, but not by the human beings behind the account, not by the human beings in the sales organization. So, as soon as your system can make all those connections, it makes it easier to drive a relationship strategy.


Andy Paul (14:48)

I think it becomes sort of the final platform than the other tools were using to, to help put that information into the CRM system to make it more useful. So yeah, it’s more of a platform play. But, your point in your book is so you’re saying here is relationships, relationships, relationships, and yet, so much of selling, especially in inside sales is about, yeah, I’ve got my team of insight cadre of inside salespeople, we’re just trying to set up meetings for account execs and so on, which isn’t about relationships at all. There’s going to be an evolution I think, that that’s going to occur and that’s going to be really critical as it gets harder and harder to sustain growth using sort of the conventional inside sales model that a lot of companies use today. So, to a point that you make in your book is that unfortunately, a lot of sales training doesn’t really, even though it talks about relationships, it really doesn’t. It doesn’t really train people how to build relationships.


Keith Dugdale (15:45)

No, it doesn’t. Because again, I think that what we’re talking about is a very behavioral issue. And for anyone to change behavior from whatever it was, whatever you want it to be is a massive thing. And very few sales organizations, I think when they come to choose their training provider look at the whole behavior. So, we find ourselves probably as much now telling potential clients to not proceed with training. Because there’s an awful lot of other dominoes that need to line up before they go near it if they want to make it effective.


Andy Paul (16:22)

So, what’s the first thing that all have to line up?


Keith Dugdale (16:25)

Well, the first is the stuff we’ve been talking about, is behavior. Have a business strategy for everything and have a key account strategy that everyone believes in, have identified long term market share and revenue goals. And then identify who the really key players are, as well as those you know the technical buyers further down the chain, but the really key players are in there, and then determine who from your organization needs to build those relationships, before you go near anything. And then at the back end of it before you start the training, make sure you have all your infrastructure in place to embed the learning, coaches, technologies, etc. Have your KPIs aligned, your promotion systems aligned, have your CRM aligned. There’s one firm over here I remember years ago, started working with us at the same time brought in a tool that did nothing but measure pipeline. And I went to the leaders, I said, “you got two conflicting messages here. And I know which one is going to win.” And sure enough, they then built a reputation over years of having the best full book in their industry. But none of it was profit making or real because all I knew what people were doing were, they knew they’re going to be judged on the pipeline. So, let’s fill the pipeline. Surely wasn’t real, but it was there. And so, getting all of those pieces aligned and then you say, “right, now you’re ready to go.” And let’s not call this training in the middle, shall we? Let’s call it something different. Let’s call it something to do with empowering your strategy. Or, let’s make this internal, not external. So, you call it whatever you want to call it. So, it becomes part of your ether in your organization, not this external mob running with a training course, with a long tail who will keep on taking money off you, just make this part of the way you do things. And what we’re seeing in every market is– this isn’t down to us, but every market we go to, in every industry we go to– things are pretty tough here in Australia, but in every market, there’s one or two outliers who are making extraordinary profits. And yet all their competition is really struggling. And when you get down underneath the sheets to find out what it is, is they’ve really got a culture in their organization, across the organization, from new graduate right to the top of the tree, “we are here to build relationships in the marketplace. That’s our job. Yeah, we still got to sell stuff.”


Andy Paul (18:50)

So, your book may be one of the only sales books I’ve read that quotes Carl Jung. That leads to a chapter about how to understand how the customer really sees you, which is such a critical element of this, about perception. So, what are the sort of key steps you take to shape these perceptions?


Keith Dugdale (19:17)

Okay, I’ll just give you a couple of really simple examples. I think anyone listening to this will be able to affiliate. One of the first things a lot of salespeople say in a meeting with a new prospect is, “so what is your biggest challenge?” Okay, and it’s intended as a really good question. In those behaviors we talked about we talked about eight different behaviors. So, one of those is opportunity, fear. So, one end of the scale you believe, very hard to school means you believe everything’s all going to work out. It’s great, life’s great, it will be fantastic. On the other end of the scale is incredibly risk averse, negative thinking, fear driven. That question, “what’s your biggest challenge?” works really well for someone who likes the fear side of things, because that’s the world they live in.


Andy Paul (20:06)

You’re saying a great question for the sales rep or for the customer, for the buyer?


Keith Dugdale (20:10)

The sales rep asset is a great question for a customer who sits at that low end of the scale. Because they, they’re comfortable with challenge negative. Most CEOs around are actually the opposite end of the scale. So, they live in a world of opportunity. That’s why they are the CEO, they have to look forward. Someone of that type hears, “what’s your biggest challenge?” And I can say this very personally, we scored 180 I score 160 an opportunity. The first time someone that says to me, “what’s your biggest challenge?” I genuinely– every fiber of my body wants that person gone, because they’re trying to take me to a dark world I do not like being in, why do I want to spend time with someone like that? So, the salesperson needs to understand that is their tendency is to go into that negative, they need to ask a couple of questions that starts the conversation with me or with someone like me. But they realized, “ah, this is going to lose in the positive world, I need to change that question around.” And so, they might ask me instead of “what’s your biggest challenge?”, they might say, “how’s business going?” I’ll say, “fantastic”. “So, what’s going best?” I’ll say, “this.” Let’s have all the things are going really well. Could any go any better? Absolutely. But they’re not dragging me into that negative world.


Andy Paul (21:24)

This is really interesting, because I’m a huge believer and advocate for– yeah, I hate the question, “what’s your pain point?” And I think it’s a useless question, in the most case, because, again, as you said, CEOs and not just CEOs, people that are having responsibility for a certain outcome, are thinking about, you know, more aspirational level, not a pain avoidance level.


Keith Dugdale (21:50)

Absolutely. It was really interesting; I’ve been doing some interviews on my own for some stuff we’re doing, and I did two yesterday. For people have been through material years ago, actually in both said one of the most impactful things that have changed the way that they interact with their clients in the first ever meeting. And also, the impact it’s had on their revenues and their careers, is when we’re asked one of those ridiculously aspirational questions right at the start, and I’ll just give an example of a brave one. This is Leigh, a female engineer, and she says she now starts nearly every meeting with a question that she’s quite similar, which is along the lines of, “so imagine it’s 10 or 20 years down the track, what do you want to be telling your grandchildren about that building you’re about to build?


Andy Paul (22:33)

That’s awesome. That’s a great question. I love it.


Keith Dugdale (22:37)

And she says she’s convinced the reason she has such incredible success with it is everyone else who goes and meets these clients is going, “so what’s your pain point? What’s your biggest challenge?” How demotivational is that?


Andy Paul (22:51)

A simple example to talk about aspirations is sort of same thing as say, “okay, where do you want to be, let’s say three years from now?” and we are here today. And suddenly, you don’t even have to ask the next question because the customer will ask it for you. They’ll say, “okay, well, here’s this gap between where we want to be and where we are.” That’s the issue, right?


Keith Dugdale (23:13)

And we’re exactly the same patient. And for me, the interesting thing is as soon as you– so that’s three-year question, the three-year horizon, the five-year horizon is brilliant. And you can ask that very early in any conversation. The reason why most salespeople, most people not just salespeople, don’t ask it is partly they haven’t thought about it, but partly, they have no idea what the answer is going to be. And that’s why it’s a great question. But that’s actually quite terrifying to the salesperson. Because “oh, god, what do they start talking about stuff that I don’t know anything about?”


Andy Paul (23:47)

Now, instead of saying, which I always did in those environments is like, “oh, cool. I learned something new”, right? To me, that was why I was in sales in the first place.


Keith Dugdale (24:00)

Absolutely Andy. For me it’d be quite interesting. I don’t know how you do any research on this. I think one of the things that we’ve kind of drummed out of people is curiosity.


Andy Paul (24:12)



Keith Dugdale (24:14)

I remember just being fascinated by a guy I met in Shanghai when I lived there. He said, “yeah, what I do is, I’ll make those—you know those video cassettes?” I said, “yeah”, “you know the black flap end? Inside those black flaps there’s a tiny little piece of metal, there’s a spring”, I said “yeah”, he said, “that’s what I make. And I make a lot of them.” But once people– and again, the higher up you get up organizations, the more they want to talk about their business.


Andy Paul (24:46)

Yeah. Absolutely.


Keith Dugdale (24:48)

So, don’t pretend to know more than you do. You’ll never know more than your client does about their own business.


Andy Paul (24:54)

I think that part of the issue is we’ve become so scripted in many cases, I think with the scripts sometimes there’s tendency for organizations to map all but some to say, “well, we’ve laid out the playbook, we’ve got the script, we’re going to train our people to the script.” But I’d rather say, “I want to train my people to understand the customer and forget the script”, if they understand the customer and the business, then they’ll ask this question, and they will be prepared for the answer if they’ve never heard it before because they understand the business, they’ll be able to come up with a good follow on question.


Keith Dugdale (25:30)

Yeah, but I you know, I think Andy, that one of the– and I know this, I’ve worked with a very large organization out of Boston, as well as in a number of different parts of the world where a lot of organizations, even when they get their head in this space about, and they get really into, “this is what we need our sales team to be doing.” Absolutely wrestled to find people who are good at it. And I think we’re actually rallying against an education system here. Because certainly over here in the UK, my background, the education system is almost by rod, and those who succeed in the education system and not those who are used to asking good questions, they are used to giving detailed answers.


Andy Paul (26:08)



Keith Dugdale (26:10)

And so from the age of four or five, you’ve just become really good at giving answers, the chance of you suddenly the age of 35, or 40, being able to flip that round, you can do it, but it’s a long stretch for a lot of people. And we’re finding in most sales organizations now, there’s probably 10, or 20%, who are doing it naturally anyway, it’s probably 10 or 20% of the bottom who will never get there. Either they can’t or they don’t want, and then there’s a whole batch in the middle, who can but it’s going to take out a lot of work. And that’s why I said earlier that is so critical that the firm, the organization, has all their other pieces aligned around the behavior they really want and don’t just hope the bait behavior is going to happen.


Andy Paul (26:53)

Yeah, I think that’s an interesting point, if you’re undertaking a initiative in behavior change, with behavior change we are talking about the fundamental behaviors of sales, is that they don’t take place in a vacuum, they take place as part of a process or a structure as you talked about. And so, once they’re ready to implement and practice, and hopefully inculcate those behaviors into a habit, then they’ve got a system which to use.


Keith Dugdale (27:18)

Absolutely, absolutely.


Andy Paul (27:21)

Interesting. Yeah. I love that point about opportunities versus pain. And then when you talk about trust, as well, as is one of your core behaviors, you have this tool you call an octagon, you talked about your score on your octagon score, which you can tell people in a few minutes where they can find out more about that, but, you have sort of a less conventional view of trust, it’s really about a salesperson ceding control. Which is tough for them.


Keith Dugdale (27:49)

It is tough for the because–


Andy Paul (27:52)

Not that they have any control to begin with. But they have the illusion of control.


Keith Dugdale (27:57)

Absolutely. Then they try to take control. If you look at a lot of Rackems work, the whole sprint, he says it himself, the architecture he designed in those days was designed around selling Xerox photo copiers in a day when the salesperson could take control because the customer didn’t know any better.


Andy Paul (28:17)

Well, they didn’t have an alternative place to go.


Keith Dugdale (28:20)

Well, yeah, absolutely. If you go back maybe– it’s probably about 15 years ago, he said that that architecture is long gone because the customer now has all control and increasingly so with technology and the likes. But a lot of sales systems and methodologies, as I said earlier, they kind of talked about relationship but essentially, they’re still a solution looking for a problem that fits. The trust for us– David Maister’s stuff in the Trusted Advisor was absolutely spot on, his trust equation– I think a really nice simple tool for most salespeople to ask their customers is, “please score me on these four different variables.” And what the costumer nearly always say is, “high and credibility, moderate on reliability. What do you mean by intimacy? And really high and self-orientation.” Because the salesperson goes in there and takes control. And what Maister says, and we’re saying is, “no, trust and control are opposite sides of the same coin.” And the analogy I make, which kind of trite but people hopefully will understand what I say, when I get back from a business trip, if I walk up to my wife and say, “honey, do you fancy going out for a Chinese meal tonight?” I’m taking control. If you look at the Honey Mumford research way back in the 70s, I think they said there is an 80 odd percent chance that my wife will rebut me in one way or another. Now she’s not rebutting the fact that she doesn’t want Chinese, she is rebutting the fact that I’ve taken control. Whereas instead when I get home, I say to her, “what do you fancy doing tonight?” I think there’s something like a 60% chance that she will say, “I don’t know, what do you fancy?” And that’s that dynamic of me giving her control by asking her what she wants and immediately she reciprocates by giving it back to me, because she doesn’t feel controlled. I don’t about you, Andy, but I know very few people who like to be sold to, but I know an awful lot of people like to buy things. The reason we don’t like to be sold to is the salesperson is taking control over us.


Andy Paul (30:34)

Very interesting.


Keith Dugdale (30:36)

So, it is simple in concept. But actually, in execution for the salesperson, it can be quite hard. Especially when sitting behind the result of these systems, pressurizing them on how many calls to make, what their numbers are all this things. And what we’re saying in that world is incredibly counterintuitive. And that’s why I’ll get back to what I said earlier, you have to have a strategy that cuts down the number of calls, number of meetings, the number of organizations that people need to contact, spend more time on fewer, and you’ll get a much greater success rate.


Andy Paul (31:14)

I agree. 100%. And also, if you have to take the fear out of it, the control comes from fear. The salesperson wants to be in control because they’re afraid that they’re not in control, and it’s not going to turn into an opportunity. And they’ve been taught over time, the only way to make things happen is to be in control. I mean, you can google controlling sales process, and I talked about this in all my books, and you get 31 million returns. That’s something that’s a complete illusion. I mean, you’re never in control. Very interesting. Keith, we’ll get into the last segment of the show here. And I’ve got some standard questions I ask all my guests, and the first one is actually a hypothetical scenario and in this hypothetical scenario you, Keith, just been hired as the new vice president of sales for a company whose sales have stalled out. It is time to hit the reset button, the CEO, the board are anxious for sales to get back on track. So, what two steps would you take your first week on the job that could have the biggest impact?


Keith Dugdale (32:21)

First two steps. The two things I’d want to achieve really quickly is assess the sales force. and assess everything else in the organization that supports and drives that salesforce behavior. There’s a third one that I’d really want to get in as well as I was going to be naughty. And that would be to understand the customer’s perceptions of our view of reality.


Andy Paul (32:45)

Okay, I like the way you phrased that. All right, it’s good answer. Now I’ve got some more rapid-fire questions. You can give me one-word answers if you wish or elaborate. The first one is you, Keith, have been selling your services. What’s your most powerful sales attribute?


Keith Dugdale (33:03)



Andy Paul (33:04)

Who’s your sales role model?


Keith Dugdale (33:09)

Sales role model? Actually, is someone who is not someone in the public domain, is a guy called Alan Ross, who was my mentor for years in Asia.


Andy Paul (33:21)

Okay. Besides your own, what’s one book every salesperson should read?


Keith Dugdale (33:27)



Andy Paul (33:30)

Which one? Sell or Costumer?


Keith Dugdale (33:32)



Andy Paul (33:34)

I agree. I think that’s a better book. Alright, last question for you. This is a tough one for people. What music is on your playlist these days?


Keith Dugdale (33:45)

I haven’t moved since 1977. I wish you here, Bat out of Hello, Rumor.


Andy Paul (33:53)

Okay, Bat out of Hello, Rumor. Got some classics. There’s Fleetwood Mac, Meatloaf. All right. Good stuff.


Keith Dugdale (33:59)

Yeah. Floyd in there.


Andy Paul (34:01)

Pink Floyd. Excellent. Nothing wrong with that at all. All right. Well, Keith, I want to thank you for joining us today. Tell folks how they can connect with you and learn more about what you do.


Keith Dugdale (34:11)

Excellent. How do they connect with me? If they go to www.boft.com they’ll get links to all the LinkedIn and blogs and newsletters we do. If they’re interested in the profiling tool, the links are in there as well, or they can go just go to online, octagon.com, it’s free, it doesn’t cost anything, but all kinds of information there. Those are probably the two best contact points. We’re about to actually roll out an online learning program, which we’re really excited, and I guess nervous is the fair thing to say.


Andy Paul (34:46)

Well, thank you for listening, hopefully you get in touch and learn more about that. So again, thank you for being on the show. And friends. Thank you for taking time out of your day to listen to Accelerate and remember making a part of your daily routine to deliberately learn something new every day to help you accelerate your success. An easy way to do that is take a minute and subscribe to this podcast Accelerate. That way you won’t miss any of my conversations with top business experts like my guest today, Keith Dugdale, who shared his experience about how to accelerate the growth of your business. So, thanks for joining me and until next time, this is Andy Paul. Good selling everyone. 

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