Corey Sommers is the senior vice-president of whiteboard strategy at Corporate Visions. He is also the co-founder of WhiteboardSelling, where he was chief marketing officer. I invited Corey to Marketing Smarts to discuss the book he co-wrote with David Jenkins, Whiteboard Selling: Empowering Sales Through Visuals.

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Here are just a few highlights from my talk with Corey.

Whiteboarding doesn't replace your existing sales methods; it enhances them (6:24) "Most companies have a packaged sales methodology they've adopted of some sort.... A lot of reps or salespeople will say 'I've been through so many of these, they're all kind of blending together'...but if you look at it, all these different sales processes, they follow a somewhat predictable and appropriate set of steps.... You start with prospecting, then you've got planning, the pre-approach to the sale, you've got needs assessment and qualification, presenting your solutions, and on and on... We've come up with a variety of whiteboards or story types that fit into these different stages. We have a qualification whiteboard, and we've got a solution whiteboard, and all the way through to a closing whiteboard.... We are not a sales methodology. We're not changing someone's sales process. We're just providing some tools that can fit in regardless of the sales process."

Before you erase, snap a pic (5:39): "People say 'what's my leave-behind if I'm whiteboarding? You know, it's easy to hand out a PowerPoint presentation printed out, but what's the leave-behind if I'm whiteboarding?' Well, the leave-behind is a photo that we actually will send out five minutes after we leave a session, and we send that whiteboard photo out as a follow-up tool, with the action items in the email, and the next-step items are actually on the email, as well. So we find that it's actually more effective with the leave-behind as a photo than it would be with printed materials.

Whiteboarding is not a monologue: it's a conversation (9:56): "It's basically taking a 50-slide PowerPoint and breaking it down into a concise visual that has a framework, but also may have iconography; it's going to have simple drawings, it's going to have places where you're going to capture the customer's input. Because you want to highlight that two-way dialogue, so at some point you're going to say, 'Hey, here are some of the major trends and themes in the market that we're hearing from other customers that are driving them to do things differently. Do you see these, or what other major trends and challenges are you seeing?' Then there'd be a place in that whiteboard framework where would capture those. Next steps, for example. There's a place in that single-frame visual where you would capture next steps.... We believe in a single-pane visual, so you're not erasing things off of that visual and you're sticking pretty closely to it, so it's consistent across a sales force."

All you need is four markers (seriously) (21:33): One of the most powerful if you come into a sales call and all you have with you is 4 dry erase markers—red, green, black, and blue. This is how we do it, and we bring our phone in. We don't bring anything else. We don't bring a book bag or a briefcase. We obviously don't bring a projector.... We come in and we conspicuously place those two things in front of us on the conference an in-person meeting. And the customer looks over and says, "Oh, I get it: That's all you need."

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Corey and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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