Forging Change: The Sales Process

Go Lean Commentary

CU Blog - Forging Change - The Sales Process - Photo 1

Now starts the quest to change the Caribbean, to empower its economic, security and governing engines so as to elevate society. The book Go Lean…Caribbean posits that for any permanent change to take root, an accompanying community ethos – the fundamental character/spirit that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices – must first be adopted. How do we go about doing that?

Change is not easy! It can come about in two ways: revolution or evolution. The Go Lean book is asserting for evolutionary change. The book describes (Page 20) that change begins in the “heart”. This figurative body part is associated with feelings, values and commitments. This is why the heart is considered the “seat of motivation”. The people of the Caribbean must change their feelings about elements of their society – elements that are in place and elements missing.

The book identifies a number of best-practices for forging change or adopting new community ethos. According to a previous blog/commentary that was a review of the book ‘Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right’, it was established that forging change in the region requires selling to the Caribbean youth. In the past, this audience has been quick to abandon the region and set the destination of their hopes and dreams on to foreign shores. But the Go Lean roadmap requires youth participation and their engagement in the homeland. So this audience must be sold on this vision to make the region a better place to live, work and play.

What process do we use to sell to the Caribbean youth, our target market? (And by extension to the entire Caribbean).

The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation – a Sales Process – of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This initiative to bring change and empowerment to the Caribbean region will require the application of best-practices in Delivery arts and sciences. This Go Lean roadmap is set to deliver, with these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

Frankly, selling economic empowerment to the public is easy…
… just show up with a boat-load of jobs and people will “cow tail” and cooperate; (the heavy-lifting is involved in selling industry stakeholders). Security and governing changes on the other hand require much more heavy-lifting: consensus-building, convincing and compromise of existing institutions and officials. This is the charter of the CU, to employ a Sales Process to persuade these different stakeholders. Persuasion equals selling.

The Go Lean roadmap includes the steps for this goal; to apply a technocratic Sales Process. Consider the details of this source/article; (references here to “company” would relate to the CU while “customer” relate to Caribbean stakeholders):

Title: What is your Sales Process?

…for achieving the sales edge? Do you have one? Is it working? Do you need one?

CU Blog - Forging Change - The Sales Process - Photo 3
Our answer to this last question is a loud YES. Not all sales people are rainmakers. In fact only 20% of the sales population possess the intuition and luck to make things just happen. And with these sales personalities, your best bet is to let them “do their thing” with some management to make sure your goals are met and your image maintained. The remaining 80% of sales people, however, are most successful when they follow a specific sales process that details steps along the way and the tools to use at each step.

You should define and standardize your company’s sales process based on best-practices within your team, your industry, and the sales field in general. Here are some guidelines for creating a sales process workflow to get you started:

LEVEL 1—Contact Type. First start by defining your contact types. One of the mistakes we frequently see is confusion (and therefore a lack of appropriate prioritization) around whether a contact type is a Suspect, Prospect, or Lead.

  • Suspect. A suspect is a name and a name only. In fact, it may only be the company name. You may not know the contact name of the buyer most likely to purchase your products and services. Or, if you have a name, it may be a reader of a publication, a listener to a radio station, or an attendee at a trade show, and you don’t know if this person is the appropriate buyer. You only suspect this “entity” is a target for your products or services.
  • Prospect. A prospect is a suspect that has engaged with you in some way, whether it is an action taken on a web visit, a phone inquiry, etc. Your goal in this stage is to qualify this prospect to the point that you know the decision-maker and you’ve identified an interest level in your products and/or services.
  • Lead. A prospect becomes a lead when you’ve established a future (maybe not immediate) need. The more immediate the need, the more hot the lead. Before you can move the lead to the assess phase, you must determine what information you most need to know. For example, what is their decision-making process/timeline, do they understand your offering and value proposition, does your solution align with their business problem, etc?
  • Customer. A customer is someone who bought, or has contracted to buy, your product and/or service.

LEVEL 2—Process Milestones. The process for converting suspects into prospects, prospects into leads, leads into customers is much like playing a baseball game. You’d love to hit a home run every time you step to the plate, but the game is really won on first and second base hits. This is where your focus should be. And like baseball, where you don’t get to skip second base to speed your journey to home plate, you must also make sure you touch every milestone within your sales process. Not doing so can result in wasted time quoting or selling to unqualified opportunities. Build out the second level of your sales process to include the milestones in your standard sales process, including:

  • Engage. This is the first milestone in the sales process and usually happens during the Suspect to Prospect conversion phase. Engaging a suspect can include their inquiry into you or your inquiry into them, but does require that you have interacted with the contact (either through marketing or sales efforts) to introduce yourselves, your company, your offering, and uncover their general need.
  • Qualify. Once you’ve engaged the suspect and determined they fit your overall target profile, you need to qualify the lead further to make sure it’s a “fit” with your company and what you offer. We recommend creating a Lead Qualification Checklist to help define what makes a good lead and to ensure it’s fully qualified before moving the lead to the next milestone.
  • Assess. Once you have qualified the lead using the criteria you defined, you must assess the opportunity before expending the resources to develop a quote or proposal. You want to make sure you understand the key factors driving the lead’s buying criteria. Such as, what are the specifics of their need, what is the main decision-making factor, what is their budget, do they understand your value proposition, and are they looking at competition?
  • Propose. You’ve assessed the opportunity to the level you required during the assess stage, and now it’s time to move into the proposal stage. Make sure your proposal process is appropriate for the buying cycle. You want your proposal created with the right amount of detail and speed to meet the decision-maker’s needs. Consider including all terms, as well as credit, inside the proposal to avoid slowing the approval, and therefore the sales process, down.
  • Close. At this phase of the pipeline, you must follow-up to uncover and combat any possible objections, negotiate terms, and close the deal. Too many deals are lost at this phase due to neglect. In the sales and marketing industry we call this “dying on the vine.” Define what activities, and how often, you must implement during this phase to stay on top of the closing process.
  • SALE! Hopefully at this point, you’ve done such a good job of managing your sales process and pipeline that you have moved your lead to a sale. Congratulations! In the event you lose a deal at any phase of the process, make sure to track why.

LEVEL 3—Tools. Finally, you must determine what sales tools you have or need to help move your potential customer through the sales process from milestone to milestone. For instance at the Engagement stage you will need Lead Generation Tools and at the Qualify Stage you will need marketing materials, lead qualification checklists, etc.
Go-To-Market Strategy – Sales   & Marketing Resource Center (Retrieved 12/21/2014) –

Contact types, process milestones and tools…
… these three elements from the foregoing article require detailed instructions, turn-by-turn directions to apply the best-practices.

So the CU has to “Win Friends and Influence People“. How do we go about doing this? Answer: using the Sales Process in the foregoing article.

The Caribbean is not the first entity required to execute a monumental task of forging change. There are lessons to learn and apply from other successful (and parallel) endeavors. One role model for successfully executing this art was Dale Carnegie; see Appendix below. Insights from Dale Carnegie’s teachings can be gleaned and applied as best-practices for the region’s people and institutions to emulate.

The Go Lean book describes the CU as a hallmark of technocracy, a commitment to efficiency and effectiveness in the Sales Process. As depicted in the foregoing article, selling change is a Big Deal and requires some sales tools and persuasion. But the Go Lean roadmap is not exclusive to a “Sales Cycle”; there is a parallel effort, a “Lean-in Cycle”. There are some differences, as depicted here:


Sales Cycle Go Lean/Lean-in Cycle


Engage Engage


Qualify Qualify


Assess Assess


Propose Messaging


Close Execute/Implement


Sale Assimilate

CU Blog - Forging Change - The Sales Process - Photo 2While the Go Lean roadmap advocates for evolutionary change, not revolutionary, there is still some benefit to formal protests. This relates back to community ethos – there are certain issues that must simply not be tolerated – people must get “mad as hell and refuse to take it anymore”. This attitude was the motivation for the Go Lean book (Page 3); where it relates that despite the world’s greatest address, the people of the Caribbean have “beaten down their doors” to get out. This status quo is not to be tolerated. This demands protesting… through messaging!

The roadmap lists multiple approaches for messaging: a benign protest movement and the arts (music, festivals, visual and performance arts, sports, film, media and literature). This paints the picture of both overt and subliminal messaging. Yes! All tried-and-true tools are to be employed. The Sales Process/Messaging plan was constructed with the following community ethos in mind. The roadmap also details the execution of these strategies, tactics, implementation and advocacies to forge the identified permanent change in the region. The following is a sample of these specific details from the book:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – People Choose Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – People Respond to Incentives in Predictable Ways Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – The Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Minority Equalization Page 23
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Intellectual Property Page 29
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Research & Development Page 30
Community Ethos – Ways to Bridge the Digital Divide Page 31
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Turn-Arounds Page 33
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness Page 36
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederate 30 Member-States Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Celebrate the Music, Sports, Art, People and Culture of the Caribbean Page 46
Strategy – Competitive Analysis – How does the Caribbean stack up? Page 49
Strategy – Managing Agents of Change (Understand the Market and Plan the Business) Page 57
Tactical – Confederating a Permanent Union Page 63
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Separating Powers between the CU and   Member-states Page 71
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Planning – 10 Big Ideas for the Caribbean Region Page 127
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 136
Planning – Reasons Why the CU Will Succeed Page 137
Planning – Ways to Measure Progress Page 147
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Communications Page 186
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Libraries – Portals for Digital Access Page 187
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Events Page 191
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Sports Page 229
Advocacy – Ways to Improve the Arts Page 230
Advocacy – Ways to Promote Music Page 231

Previously Go Lean blog/commentaries have stressed impacting the community, forging change, through overt and subliminal protests (like fun-and-games). The following sample applies: Local Miami Haitian leaders protest Bahamian immigration policy Book Review: ‘The Protest Psychosis’ Forging Change – The Fun Theory Sports Role Model – Playing For Pride … And More Sports Role Model – Turn On the SEC Network Book Review: ‘Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right’ Music Role Model Berry Gordy – No Town Like Motown Only at the precipice, do they change Collegiate Sports in the Caribbean

The quest to change the Caribbean will require some protests, but this alone will not inspire all to engage. The strategy of fun-and-games is also effective, for some, especially the youth, but still not all elements of society will respond. These facts posit that “change” is serious business, maybe even life-and-death. So different theories will have to be tested, engaged and measured; (plan, do & review).

We must reach our audience – our communities – then grab their attention to send a message of the need for change and to lean-in to this roadmap to elevate Caribbean society. This is heavy-lifting but in the end, the result is a better homeland, a better place to live, work and play.

We encourage all of the Caribbean to lean-in now, to Go Lean. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


APPENDIX – How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie (1888 – 1955) was an American writer and lecturer and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. Born into poverty on a farm in Missouri, he was the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936), a massive bestseller that remains popular today. He also wrote several other books. One of the core ideas in his books is that it is possible to change other people’s behavior by changing one’s behavior toward them. (Source:

Video: How to Be More Social – A take on “How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie” –

Published on Oct 11, 2014 – How to Be More Social – How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (summary, review). How to Win Friends and Influence People was one of the first books I read that really increased my social IQ. It has always stayed as one of my most favorite books and I definitely recommend reading it.

Summary of the VIDEO:
Big Concept 1: Become genuinely interested in other people.
Big Concept 2: Show respect for the other man’s opinions. Never tell a man he is wrong.
Big Concept 3: Talk in terms of the other man’s interest.


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