How to Sell, While Facing Discrimination

Michael became a partner in his late 20s. To become a partner one needs to develop/sell a recurring book of business (sales) that is usually between $4MM / annum to $12MM / annum. This is the approach he used.

The number above is a function of the firm, region and partner seniority.

Michael contrasts the results of two executive coaching clients, Kajol, and Ranjeeth who used the approach to pursue their respective partnerships. Both are US-based with one at Deloitte and the other at McKinsey. The one who had the easiest path to the partnership ultimately failed to be nominated. They, thereafter, committed career suicide by misunderstanding how nominations and sales work. We will discuss why this happened.

Like all our programs, and what makes us distinctive, we teach insights that only partners can know. Most sales training teaches non-salesy approaches and they imply that by merely mastering the techniques taught, anyone can sell anything. However, that assumes all other things are equal, and all other things are not equal.

What if you are a minority in a country where your ethnicity is discriminated against? Surely, no sales training can help you sell to someone who considers you inferior.

What if you are female in a country where females are dismissed?

Or an Asian with characteristics that Americans consider signifying a lack of confidence?

To assume all other things are equal is to imply Nelson Mandela and Dr. Martin Luther King just did not have the right sales techniques in selling their ideas on equality. 

Most other sales programs ignore discrimination and imply their techniques address these real hurdles. They imply they have found a solution to discrimination. This program does not assume all other things are equal. The program shows how to both acknowledge and deal with these barriers.

Did you know that your very first sale in management consulting involves no selling at all? In fact, your second, third, fourth or fifth sale could also involve no selling. When we say no selling, we don’t mean a non-sales-like sales approach but literally no selling. This is one of the counter-intuitive and critical insights and techniques taught in this program.

The program uses an extremely powerful analogy to explain how senior partners structure and organize their sales within a consulting firm. This critical analogy explains why the process of learning to sell begins, indirectly, at the associate level and why it is difficult to join a consulting firm at the partner level. Therefore, the program offers a blueprint for joining McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, Accenture etc., at the partnership level.

The program explains why selling with insights is a disastrous myth that cannot work, does not work and is not the process used by McKinsey nor BCG. It explains where the myth originated and the way these 2 firms actual sell. This is one of the 6 pervasive sales myths dissected in the program.

Other misconceptions that the program explores include why becoming a partner does not improve your sales skills, why strategy work is not the highest margin work and why trying to sell work as an associate will likely get you fired at most firms.

The program dives into the mechanics, process, and logic of setting up and managing the very first meeting with a new client, all the way to how the meeting should be arranged and followed-up. While the techniques here can be used by most clients, the program focuses on new sales at new clients where one is tackling some discrimination that tilts the playing field against them. This program does not assume all things are equal and that mastery of some basic sales techniques like preparation, thinking of the client needs, discussing benefits versus features will lead to success. By themselves, they do not and cannot work. Life just does not work that way.

This should be watched along with Kevin’s program on becoming a partner, which is essentially about sales: https://www.strategytraining.com/how-to-become-a-mckinsey-partner-first-time-revealed. They address the same goal from different angles.

This is one of the most requested programs and it is delivered by our most requested contributing partner. It is truly an insightful program that shatters numerous conventional wisdom and offers practical advice.

Please submit any questions below and Michael will respond to them in a special Q&A episode.

Like all our programs, this is meant to teach you the strategy we used so you may apply it to your own career.
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