1814 – Helping B2B Sales Improve Their Results with Dave Kahle

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Founder & CEO of Kahle Way Sales Systems, Dave Kahle.

Kahle Wide

Dave Kahle's reputation in B2B sales precedes him, and for good reason. Throughout our interview, he emphasized the importance of understanding the unique challenges and opportunities within B2B sales. Unlike B2C sales, B2B transactions often involve longer sales cycles, multiple decision-makers, and a need for a tailored approach to each client.

Dave shared that the key to success in B2B sales lies in the ability to build strong, trust-based relationships with clients. He stressed that sales professionals should focus on turning clients into partners, which requires a deep understanding of their needs, challenges, and business goals. This partnership approach leads to increased sales and fosters long-term loyalty and recurring business.

One of the main topics Dave explored was the critical role of time management in sales. With only so many hours in the day, maximizing productivity is essential. Dave provided actionable strategies that sales professionals can implement to control their time and prioritize tasks that drive sales forward.

He suggested that salespeople should conduct regular reviews of their activities, categorizing them into high-value and low-value tasks. Professionals can make the most of their time and increase their effectiveness by focusing on high-value activities that directly contribute to sales outcomes.

Dave also highlighted the importance of planning and scheduling. He advised setting aside dedicated time blocks for activities such as prospecting, client meetings, and administrative tasks. This structured approach ensures that critical sales actions are not neglected and that there's a balance between client-facing activities and behind-the-scenes work.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Interview with Dave Kahle, President of Kahle Way Sales Systems
  • Expertise in B2B sales and time management strategies for sales professionals
  • Insights on B2B sales and turning clients into partners
  • Discussion of resources and services available on Dave Kahle's website

About Dave Kahle:

Dave Kahle is a seasoned sales professional with three decades of experience, achieving the coveted position of the number 1 salesperson in two different companies across distinct industries. Renowned for his high-energy and intense speaking style, Dave is a world-class speaker who has presented in 5 Canadian provinces, 11 countries, and 47 U.S. states.

As the author of 13 books, including “The Good Book on Business” and “Question Your Way to Sales Success,” Kahle's works have been translated into eight languages and are available in 20 countries.

He has trained or consulted for over 459 companies and is dedicated to helping sales teams excel. Beyond his professional endeavors, Dave and his wife Coleen split their time between Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Sarasota, Florida. A father, foster father, adoptive father, and grandfather to 14 children, Kahle embodies a rich and diverse family life.

About Kahle Way Sales Systems:

Kahle Way Sales Systems is a transformative force in the sales industry, dedicated to enriching sales professionals and organizations by developing and implementing robust processes, strategies, and systems.

Focused on substance and effectiveness, Kahle Way Sales Systems utilizes a diverse range of media to deliver its cutting-edge methodologies. By offering comprehensive solutions, the company strives to elevate sales teams' performance and bring about positive change in sales organizations.

Through a commitment to creating impactful processes and strategies, Kahle Way Sales Systems stands as a key player in shaping the landscape of successful sales practices, providing invaluable resources for individuals and businesses aiming to thrive in the competitive sales world.

Tweetable Moments:

03:49 – “One of the things I learned in my first sales job was that about half of your success comes from how you think about your job when you're not in front of the customer.”

07:35 – “We create unconscious habits and we don't even know it; it's like gunk in the pipes we don't see.”

13:48 – “Often people think creating a customer is the end; it's actually just the beginning. Typically, it costs you money to create a customer.”

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Kahle Way Sales Systems website at

Check out Kahle Way Sales Systems on LinkedIn at

Check out Dave Kahle on LinkedIn at

Check out Dave Kahle on Twitter at

Check out Dave Kahle on Facebook at

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Josh (00:00:05) - A thoughtful listener before we get going. Did you know that my company up My has launched more than 200 business podcasts. The host of our shows are amazing leaders and collaborators. Folks I want to connect you with. Maybe you deserve your moment in the spotlight as a guest of one of these amazing shows. Just go to up my, where you can see more than 50 shows that are actively seeking business leader guests like you to celebrate right now in front of their high caliber audiences. Just click on the podcast tab and up my, where you'll see shows like the Optics in Action podcast hosted by the visionary Ryan Weiss, president of EPS. This daily podcast is a treasure trove of insights for anyone in the manufacturing and construction world. Are you a business leader or innovator in these industries? Then Optics in Action is your go to source for stories that inspire and strategies that really work. Ryan and his guests dive deep into the journeys of successful founders, uncovering the secrets to scaling up in today's fast paced business environment.

Josh (00:01:23) - But that's not all. If you are at the helm of a thriving company, Optics in Action is actively seeking guests like you. In those industries, leaders who are shaping the future of manufacturing and construction. Share your story, your challenges, and your triumphs with a senior leadership level audience who are eager to learn from your experience. Don't miss this chance to be a part of a community of visionaries. Visit up my Influence Comm. Click on the podcast tab and look for optics in action. Whether you're tuning in as a listener or stepping up as a guest. Join us in driving the conversation forward. In the world of manufacturing and construction. Your voice matters and we can't wait to amplify it. With us right now it's Dave Kahle. Dave, you are the president of Cale Way Sales Systems. You're found on the web at Dave Qualcomm. That's k a h l Dave, thank you so much for joining us.

Dave (00:02:29) - Well thanks for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.

Josh (00:02:31) - Well I'm excited about the topic we're going to talk about today because I love it.

Josh (00:02:35) - And uh, a lot of this is going to have to do with B2B sales.

Dave (00:02:39) - Yeah. Yeah.

Josh (00:02:40) - Well let you maybe just kind of do some table setting for us and give us a quick overview of your work in the world.

Dave (00:02:46) - Yeah. So for the last 30, 35 years, I have been, um, what people call a sales guru. And, uh, what that means is a written books, 13 author, 13 books. I'm a public speaker, so I presented in 47 states and 11 countries, all on the issues of, uh, B2B sales, uh, sales systems, sales management, sales tactics. You know, everything had to do with I like to tell people everything having to do with sales, you know, up and down the whole ladder of sales. That's my world.

Josh (00:03:18) - Yeah. And generally, um, how is B2B sales different or similar to let's say you go into a, you know, a retail sales situation, car sales or something like that. What's unique about B2B sales?

Dave (00:03:33) - What's unique about B2B sales is the amount of planning and thoughtfulness, time management, all those issues apply to B2B sales, and not so much in in B2C or retail or anything like that because, uh, you know, you've got accounts, you have different, uh, potential in accounts.

Dave (00:03:49) - You need to organize and invest your sales time. So there's a lot of thoughtfulness that goes into B2B sales other than the moment in time, which you're actually interacting with the customer. There's a lot. One of the things I learned in my first job, first sales job was that about half of your success comes from how you think about your job when you're not in front of the customer, you know, making time management decisions, planning, preparing all that sort of stuff.

Josh (00:04:16) - All right. Go ahead and defend your thesis for a bit because that's a, that's a that's a quite a claim.

Dave (00:04:24) - Yeah. Yeah. Well let's take a typical B2B salesperson. Let's say maybe they have assigned an account responsibility for 100 accounts. Let's say they can't always see everybody when they want to. And not each of those accounts has the same potential. So there's a whole big thing. One, actually, one of the best initiatives a B2B company can undertake is prioritize the accounts based on their potential, not on their history, but on their potential.

Dave (00:04:50) - So an account, let's say an account, might have $1 million worth of annual potential. Another one has 50,000. Where is your time best spent? Well, you know, just right at the surface, it's to the million dollar account because they have greater potential. So that's a decision you make as to where to invest your sales time. And that's a big part of it. I like to tell, uh, salespeople, there's two decisions that you make in the course of the day, over and over and over again. It's not an event. It's a continuous process. And the first one is, who should I see? And the other one is, what should I do? Because you have the ability to make those decisions not once, over and over and over. So how you attack those two decisions is really fundamental to your success. One of my books is called 11 Secrets Time Management for salespeople. And that's, you know, that's many of the issues that we deal with in that book.

Josh (00:05:41) - Uh, well, tell me more about the book.

Dave (00:05:43) - Well, it started out as ten Secrets of Time Management for salespeople, I think. I'm not sure when it was originally published. Career press published in the early 2000. And then, um, came back to me after the it became a worldwide book, and it was available in, uh, 20 countries, eight different languages and so on. So on the 11th anniversary, they came back to me and said, can you do a second edition called 11 Secrets of Time Management? And I said, yeah, so we did. So we did another book, a second edition called 11 secrets. And it's also gone worldwide. I mean, it really strikes to the heart of, I think, the biggest issue for B2B salespeople, and that is the issues of time management, how you decide to invest your sales time incredibly important.

Josh (00:06:26) - What are some of the biggest time sucks or time traps for B2B sales professionals?

Dave (00:06:34) - Yeah, well, number one, there's habit and routine.

Dave (00:06:37) - So in other words, you know, they're here at this account on Tuesday at 10:00. Why? Well. Because it's 10:00 on Tuesday. In other words, they get into comfort zone to get into habits. They get into routines, and they don't think strategically again about the investment of sales time. So habits, routines, comfort zones, those are all issues. And you know, the other issues, I mean, there's a number of things that impact it. The idea of being reactive and proactive. You need to be a little bit reactive because your customers have needs and so on. But if you structure your day by who called you yesterday, you're in trouble. You know, the proactive salesperson who sets goals, analyzes the territory and then works that those goals. That's a far more effective approach than being reactive. So there's a whole list of things. There's another one I like to call it gunk and gunk. You know, here's an image. So you think of gunk in your sewage pipes.

Dave (00:07:35) - You know, eventually the stuff sticks to the pipes. And eventually if you don't clean it out, it's going to stop everything up. Nothing's going to get through. That's gunk. Well, same thing for a B2B salesperson. What happens is we create unconscious habits and we don't even know. I mean, it's like gunk in the pipes. We don't see it. We don't see our on some of the unconscious habits that we had. Here's an example that I use. So clean out the gunk. First step is to realize you have gunky habits. So in my career when I was a salesperson, I had the gunky habit. I never realized it that whenever I had a bad call, you know, just a really bad call that you just didn't want to have that ever happen again. I would have to go get a coffee, a coffee shop, and, um, and, um, feel sorry for myself for a half hour or so. And then one day, one day, as I was feeling sorry for myself, it suddenly dawned on me.

Dave (00:08:30) - Hey. Am I doing the most effective thing I can be doing? No, I'm sitting here feeling sorry for myself. Hey, wait a minute. I always do this. And it dawned on me I had a gunky habit, you know? I didn't even know I had it. It was just routine. And so that's an example of gunk. Salespeople develop unconscious habits they don't even know. They have them that suck away their time and make them less effective.

Josh (00:08:53) - Yeah. So to our friends, let's say that they are a consultant. They're running lean. Maybe they've got an assistant. They are responsible for a lot of things, obviously working with their clients as a consultant, but they're also doing B2B sales in order to drum up business. Um, what are some really effective activities that you would recommend for someone who says, well, look, I probably would enjoy some more business. It's a little inconsistent. Is there activity that you'd recommend for, um, you know, maybe keeping the sales side a little bit more successful?

Dave (00:09:30) - Yeah.

Dave (00:09:30) - So I'd like to talk about the big picture sales process. You know, what does a company do in terms of sales? What does an individual do? What's the big picture? Here's the big picture. They identify suspects and a suspect is someone you suspect might do business with you one day. And then they turn. They do a little research at your suspects into prospects. Prospect is somebody who really could do business with you. That's the short version. And then the hardest part in the sales process is turning prospect to a customer. Customer. Somebody who gives you money. When money changes hands, relationship changes. But you're not done yet. Now we're going to take customers and get them to buy over and over again. We call them clients when they do that. Next step is customers and clients. And there's one more. And that is turning clients to partners. And partners are people just can't imagine getting by without you, you know, without the relationship with you. So that's a multi-step process that is described as bringing people into a closer and closer economic relationship with you.

Dave (00:10:29) - That's what sales is all about. So once you understand that, then you can create a little dashboard to measure activities along the way. And so is there one activity? No, there isn't one activity because everybody's strengths and weaknesses are a little different. The thing that is probably most overlooked in a business to business sales system is the concept of turning clients into partners, and that can be orchestrated, that can be managed. You know, it begins with a definition of a partner. What is a partner. And I have a working definition, somebody who buys at least 75% of everything they could from you. So, you know, there's a little room for buying from other from other people. What if they're buying 75% of what they can from you? Then, you know you're very important to them. And creating partners, being important to partners is a long term strategy for success. The one thing that is probably and I often when I come into a company, we look at all this stuff. And one of the things that we'll do pretty commonly is say, let's create a concept for moving clients into partners, because it's very rarely ever addressed by itself.

Josh (00:11:40) - And help me make sure I delineate a little bit more because. Queen. The difference between a partner and a client.

Dave (00:11:46) - Yeah. So a client is someone he buys over and over again. But just because they buy over and over again doesn't mean you're all that important to them. For example, you know, you might be selling, let's say, uh, Janssen Sanitary Supplies. And so they buy wax from floor wax from you, and I do it every month and so on. Okay. But you know what? They buy 65 other units, other pieces, and until you get 50 of those 65, you're not that important to them. So a client can be buying regularly. But a partner you are important to a partner. And the way you get there is by slowly and incrementally creating, capturing more and more of their business. Turning a client into a partner is often a several year long project. It's not instantaneous, and there's lots of lots of things that happen along the way. For example, one of the things that has to happen is that the key people in the customer have to know the key people in your business.

Dave (00:12:39) - Now, if you're a one man band, okay, they have to know you and you have to know the key people, not just the purchasing people or the people you're comfortable with, but people up the ladder. So if that isn't the case, then make it happen. You know, make it happen. And, you know, one of the things that I'm a great advocate of, it is entertaining. So, you know, invite them to a ballgame, spend the 5 or 6 hours with them socially, and then they will know you. You'll have a greater relationship with them. It's just easier to do business with them. So there's things like that. What we recommend is you create a checklist of the things you're going to do to create partners out of a small group of clients. You don't do it with everybody. Select those clients you want to work with, and then you create a checklist of the things you're going to do over the next year or so, to bring them closer and closer into a committed economic relationship with you.

Josh (00:13:33) - I like that. That's a great you know, rather than looking at okay, they bought great. We got them past the finish line you know to recognize. No, no no the race is actually just starting now. Just it's a nice metaphor.

Dave (00:13:48) - Yeah. Often people think again creating a customer is the end. It's actually just the beginning in the big picture. Typically it costs you money to create a customer. I mean, you're losing money on that customer. And the way you get a return on your investment is to, of course, capture ongoing business that with that customer. And when you turn one into a partner, they become annuities. You know, the typical B2B setting, 3 to 5% of the customers will turn into partners, and those 3 to 5% will do half of your volume. I mean, we're talking about significant relationships with that, that you have orchestrated over time, nurtured over time, and they become your annuity.

Josh (00:14:28) - Dave, your website is Dave. And it looks like you've got some pretty great resources that you provide for folks, someone that's been listening to our conversation and they want more Dave in their life.

Josh (00:14:39) - What would you recommend they do?

Dave (00:14:41) - Oh, go to the go to the website and sign up for our easing. So again, I'm a writer. I publish three easings. These are newsletters. One is called Sell Better goes out every week. Another is called Lead Better for sales leaders and chief sales officers CEOs. And the other is of building biblical businesses for Christian business people. So we send we create these easings. And it's me send you an article, podcast, YouTube video on some topic and you can take your choice. And it comes out every week or every other week. So that's first thing, then you'll get connected to me. But we also have YouTube channel and we also have A2I do two podcast shows. They're not interviews. It's Dave talking about this topic for 5 to 10 minutes. So they're very short to the point. But it's you know, it's me addressing an issue. And those are every week. So Practical Wisdom is a free podcast show. And the other is Christian Business Insights, another free podcast show.

Dave (00:15:33) - I do two a week.

Josh (00:15:35) - To our friend that's listening in your podcast app right now. Um, just search up the term practical wisdom for one of them and then the other one is Christian Business Insights. Correct? Dave Kale, your website is Dave Qualcomm. That's k a h l who should be reaching out. Um, who do you work with and what does that look like?

Dave (00:15:56) - Yeah, we train salespeople, we educate salespeople. But they're not our customers. Our customers are their bosses. So vice president of sales, a chief sales officers, uh, CEOs, you know, I do personal coaching for folks at that level. And you know, we create we help them create and refine sales systems. And that's the bulk of my work. And then we have training programs for salespeople with really unique, powerful training programs. But again, they don't buy from us. Their bosses buy from us. So people we want to talk to are their bosses.

Josh (00:16:29) - Yeah. All right. Dave Kahle again, your website, Dave

Josh (00:16:33) - That's Carl dot com Dave great conversation. Thank you so much for joining us.

Dave (00:16:39) - Yeah thanks for having me.

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