In their predictions for 2017, IDC forecasts that investment in digital transformation initiatives will reach $2.2 trillion by 2019 which is up by 60% from this past year. The partner opportunity to capitalize on that trend is huge. But without the sales strategy and knowledge to support that initiative, it can be difficult to make the most of this moment.

To provide insight into the art and science that is sales success, I recently interviewed Ron Karr, the best-selling author of Lead, Sell or Get out of the Way. Ron has helped Microsoft partners better understand customer buying psychology and how this leads to sales growth for a number of years. Hopefully his advice will help you capitalize on the industry momentum and grow your business.

Creating a Formula for Sales Success

To set the stage for partners looking to improve their sales strategy, I asked Ron to share with us his formula for success. While he is a salesperson at heart, his advice is relevant for sales, marketing, and management professionals alike, so even if you are not a salesperson per se, his perspective is valuable.

Ron said that “like everything in life, there is a process or formula for success. You don’t always have to figure out things from scratch. After 28 years of working with companies of all sizes on 6 continents, including Microsoft partners, I built the IMPACT FormulaTM to represent the elements an Entrepreneur or CEO needs to ensure his or her organization is executing on a daily basis.”

Ron said that the key elements of that success are: Mindset, Insight, Motivation, and Velocity.



To understand the components of this formula in detail, I asked him to share what he meant by Mindset, or how our thinking about an end result, really impacts that result.

Ron said that success in growing our businesses starts and ends with your mindset. “Think about it this way: If I ask you not to think about pink elephants, what do you think about? Pink elephants! I asked you not to think about them, but there you are doing just that—because the mind cannot process the negative. This simple example reveals how to develop a powerful business mindset.”

“Rather than thinking about how hard something is or expecting a rejection, think about the success you want to achieve and what it looks like.”

– Ron Karr, author of Lead, Sell, or Get Out of the Way

“This is called visualization,” he continued. “Form a mental image of the kind of relationship you want with your customer. When this picture resides in your conscious being on a consistent basis, opportunities will open up to you and answers will appear about how to bring your visualized future into reality.”

Ron explained that a critical aspect of the relationship you want to visualize with your customer is actually leading them through an acquisition process.

“Customers today don’t want to be sold to. Rather they want help in making the right decision.”

– Ron Karr, author of Lead, Sell, or Get Out of the Way

He said that “too often sales execs leave money on the table because they are having too small a conversation. They are thinking transactional vs. enterprise. Enterprise is looking at the total spend of an organization and visualizing the percentage you wish to achieve. Then your next job is to find out the goals and gaps your customer is facing and together visualize how an expanded relationship can help them achieve better overall results.”


Next I asked him to explain his views on insight, and how it can help in focusing on your customer needs.

Ron said that to positively impact others, you need to gain insight into what they are all about. There are two questions to help you do this:

  1. What’s your purpose?
  2. Do your actions support your purpose?

“If your purpose is to become a trusted advisor and earn a big share of your customer’s business, then your actions should be centered around asking the customer what their purpose is, and finding gaps in their actions that you can point out and help them with.”

He continued to explain that the key to selling value is not to compete, but to create better results. “How you do this will come from the questions you ask and the insight you are able to gain from your customers. You should be aware of your customer’s perceptions of your company and specifically about the issues they need to have addressed. This will help you to develop a path forward.”


Another important ingredient is motivation, or understanding the level of desire that a consumer has in the buying process.

Ron said that people buy ideas and products for their own reasons, not yours. “You need to find out what is motivating your customers’ buying decisions. Quite simply, do not start the conversation with the “how”—your products and services. Instead, you need to start with the “what”—the outcomes people are after.”

“Asking people about the outcomes they desire will bring out their emotions. When people talk from the heart, it’s easier to connect and understand where they want to go.”

– Ron Karr, author of Lead, Sell, or Get Out of the Way

He continued, “At that point you can show the customer how you can get them there via your products and services. The key here is context. Presenting the how without context does not generate buy-in. Finding out what is critical to your customer allows you present the how in a context that will greatly impact their buying decision.”

“To gain even greater context, as discussed earlier, raise your conversation beyond products to the enterprise level. Uncover the outcomes they are looking to achieve as an organization, and then present your how in context to the enterprise. This will greatly elevate your perceived value,” he concluded.


Lastly I asked him to explain how to gain velocity with the type of thinking we had already discussed.

Ron explained that the key to growing any business with limited resources is to gain velocity or to sell more in less time. “In growing sales, you need to gain velocity. You cannot afford to simply keep hiring people to grow. Growth will come by shortening the sales cycle thereby having more time to sell others. Growth will come by better qualifying your accounts so you will only work with those who have a valid need and buy-in to your value proposition.”

“Growth will come by not giving proposals to all who ask, but by selectively using your critical resource of time to create proposals to the customers who are qualified and thereby increase your chances of closing the deal. By concentrating on these three elements, you will achieve velocity and multiply your sales by 2, 3, or even 4 times with the current manpower you have.”

– Ron Karr, author of Lead, Sell, or Get Out of the Way

Thank you to Ron Karr for sharing his insights with us. To learn more about his bestselling book Lead, Sell or Get Out of the Way, For more information please go to

How do you ensure that your sales team has the formula for success with customers? Share your tips in the comments below.

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