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Last month, nearly 150 food and beverage sales and marketing leaders gathered in Chicago for the 2018 FPSA Sales Conference. The conference featured two days of education and networking opportunities, including four excellent speakers, a speed-network session hosted by the FPSA Young Professionals Group, and an FPSA Women’s Council dinner.

Here are some highlights and quotes from the presentations.

Jeff Bloomfield: The Science of Customer Decision Making

Jeff Bloomfield, the founder of Braintrust, opened the conference with an interactive and engaging keynote about how we make decisions. He explained the neuroscience behind why change is so hard and how to overcome barriers to change through storytelling.

Top 5 quotes

  1. “Most salespeople think their customers love them, but there’s a difference between building rapport the way we’ve been trained and creating connection.”
  2. “86% of B2B buyers see no difference between suppliers. We think we have a differentiated message, but our customers don’t believe we do.”
  3. “Problems are emotional by nature — you can think all day about it, but it’s how you feel about it that drives you to do something.”
  4. “We like to call the things we manufacture solutions, but then we go sell them as products. A solution by definition solves a problem.”
  5. “A fact is 22 times more likely to be remembered if it is anchored in a narrative.” ~Dr. Jerome Bruner, cognitive psychologist

Read more from Bloomfield.

Mark Hunter: High-Profit Prospecting

Mark Hunter, aka The Sales Hunter, spoke about how to avoid getting caught in the commodity trap by filling your pipeline more intentionally.

Top 5 quotes

  1. “When we prospect with integrity, we will get customers who have integrity.”
  2. “Your goal is to qualify fast to allow you to spend more time with fewer clients.”
  3. “Prospecting is not an activity. It’s a lifestyle.”
  4. “Sales is having the desire to succeed and the passion to serve.”
  5. “Sales leadership is about helping others see and achieve what they didn’t think was possible.”

Read more from Hunter.

Matt Heinz: Content That Converts — A Proven Approach to Driving Sales Impact and ROI Into 2019 and Beyond

Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing explored how digital channels have changed sales and how salespeople can use content to help prospects move down the funnel.

Top 5 quotes

  1. “Your customers are busier than ever, self-educated, skeptical, distrustful, and jaded — a lot like you!”
  2. “Meeting with potential suppliers represents just 17% of the time people spend on the buying process.”
  3. “Up to 90% of content that sales gets is not used by sales.”
  4. “On average, there are 6.8 people involved in making the decision.”
  5. “Do you want to be interruptive or do you want to be irresistible?”

Read more from Heinz.

Kelly Riggs: Winning Business in the Modern Economy

Finally, Kelly Riggs wrapped up the event with a presentation about why standard sales training doesn’t work and how sales leaders can better serve their teams.

Top 5 quotes

  1. “If you’re a leader, the four most dangerous words in your vocabulary are: ‘I don’t have time.’”
  2. “Do you want to be a better salesperson tomorrow? Quit talking.”
  3. “We think we’re building relationships as salespeople, and we are grossly mistaken most of the time. We’re asking someone to marry us on the first date.”
  4. “When you begin to think of them not as sales calls, but as value creation calls, you will radically change how you sell.”
  5. “You win a deal when you take your leverageable assets and connect them to your customers’ personal agenda.”

Read more from Riggs.

If you were at the conference, we hope you left with some strategies and tools you were able to implement right away. If you weren’t there, we hope to see you in 2020!