The Deal Hack

The Deal Hack book shows how to improve sales effectiveness by using live deals.

The Deal Hack book seeks to answer why it’s so hard to improve organization wide sales performance. Many companies train the latest sales techniques but frequently these fail to last. The Deal Hack book is not about the latest sales techniques, rather how to change to capitalize on them. It explains why, when trained and coached in the latest sales techniques, 90 percent of salespeople will not be able to change. It examines why the sales brain is hardwired to take shortcuts that break the sales processes, and proposes the use of Deal Hacks to drive the required changes. Below are some extracts from the book.


Sales Simulations

One of the most enjoyable parts of my career has been designing and deploying live sales simulations using actors. This is because the positive and lasting impact on the salespeople is so obvious. From my experience of large scale sales learning events, I’ve learned three key insights:

1) Salespeople like learning skills that have a direct impact on their roles, rather than learning abstract concepts
2) Salespeople like learning from each other
3) Salespeople learn by doing, rather than theorizing

Many salespeople are, therefore, rightly skeptical about traditional sales training sessions where they are expected to take theoretical concepts and translate them into the real world. In a simulation, I take on the accountability for theory application in the real world through the design of the simulation. In a successful simulation, the salespeople will say that it felt like the ‘real world’.

My team and I create an environment where the salespeople can test the sales theory they have learned with immediate and honest feedback. Feedback from the actors is valuable because no customer is ever going to tell you that you have irritating habits! With softer consequences than the real world, no deals are lost, but the salespeople experience practically and emotionally what works for them and what does not.

Below are some of the simulated learning events that I’ve created to give you an insight into sales simulations.


Sales Playbooks

Another enjoyable part of my career has been designing and deploying sales playbooks. This is because the sales playbook has such a significant impact on sales performance. Something I’ve found over the years is that sales leaders have a playbook that works well in one company and so they port it over to the next company they move to. Sometimes this has happened a number of times and there’s a mixture of sales tactics that have come together over time. It’s often a matter of luck if this works or not, and mostly I’m asked to look at the situation when things are not working and asked to design and implement a fix.

The design rules that I use when designing a playbook are:

  1. Salvage what you can – take most of what exists as this minimises the changes. In the Deal Hack book I explain why changing sales tactics is hard for salespeople.
  2. Make it simple – and when it’s as simple as possible make it even more so. You need to have an eye on how the playbook will be coached and for this reason it needs to be easily communicable and measurable.
  3. Figure out how the customer buys – talk with salespeople and customers to figure out the ideal customer and how they buy. The sales playbook is then a collection of tactics that get the customer into the buying process, and that take control and drive the customer through that buying process.
  4. Tie into the company strategy – it is possible, with good design, to tie the sales playbook to the company strategy. This helps access company wide momentum to drive adoption of the playbook.

Below are some examples of the playbooks I’ve created for various companies.


Some people I've worked with

I’ve been lucky enough to be on the sales leadership team of five companies that have been grown for IPO. I’ve also had 10 years of consulting experience in global multi-nationals setting up or supporting sales enablement and sales operation functions.

Contact Al

I enjoy hearing from other sales enablement professionals or those who have questions about my work.

Contact Al