Very few people have had the types of life experiences Pete Turner has had. His experience as a soldier and then later as a cultural consultant to the military and U.S. State Department during the Bosnian and Afghanistan conflicts gives him a perspective and skill set far beyond those of the average person. And you may wonder why a guy with that background is on a sales focused podcast. It’s because so much of what Pete has learned about culture and how to deal with people applies directly to the business and sales world. You’ll get it after you listen to this episode. It’s a bit longer than usual but you won’t care. It’s that good.

Culture is like gravity, it is everywhere. Salespeople need to understand the culture they step intoClick To Tweet

4th generation warfare and its relevance to business cultures.

The term “4th Generation Warfare” is not a commonly heard phrase but it’s one that’s being used more and more to describe the way that warfare situations have changed in the last decade or two. Pete Turner brings his expertise in that realm into this episode of In The Arena to illustrate how there are many more things going on in every culture than most leaders and decision makers are aware of. And for salespeople, understanding the underlying cultural dynamics of a situation would win or lose the deal. You won’t be sorry you listened to this one.

Spying (counterintelligence) is not really all that different from sales.

Pete Turner spent a good deal of his military career in what is called “counterintelligence.” It’s spying, plain and simple – getting into the everyday life of a culture to discover important information that can help your side of the conflict. But Pete realized early on that his job was not to locate or identify the bad guys, his job was to get to know the culture and the people, to care about them, and to understand what his side of the conflict could to to win a lasting peace after the conflict was over. Sound anything like sales? It should. Be sure to listen so you can glean the insights Pete has to share.

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Relationships are key to getting almost anything done in a culture.

In a military conflict, The American way is often to come into the situation with the assumption that help is needed and that “we” are the ones to give it. But Pete Turner says that his experience as a counterintelligence officer and cultural consultant to the military has shown him something entirely different. It’s impossible to truly help if you don’t know the real situation on the ground and military leaders and diplomats are characteristically bad at getting that kind of intel. Many salespeople do the same thing: they make assumptions about the business culture they’re stepping into instead of investing in the relationships required to make a sales change happen. You’ll hear Pete’s insight and see how they relate to the sales process on this episode of In The Arena.  

Organizational cultures require that you come in with respect.

Any culture has its own unique set of “rules” regarding the way things work between people. If you come into a culture as a gung-ho salesperson without taking the time to communicate respect for the way things are done (through getting to know people and asking questions), you’ll inadvertently disrespect something valuable to the culture and quickly become an outsider who is not allowed in. On this episode you’ll learn how to ask questions, learn, and demonstrate respect that builds the relational clout needed to become an influence on the culture from your place outside of it. Every salesperson needs to learn these lessons.

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Outline of this great episode

  • How you can get aboard the Bob Burg mastermind event.
  • The concept of 4th generation warfare.
  • Why Anthony invited Peter Turner onto the show today.
  • Why the concept of 4th generation warfare appeals to Anthony.
  • What are 4th and 5th generation warfare?
  • Was the American Revolution 4th generation warfare?
  • Why the military conflict is not the end of the war.
  • Pete’s deep experience in these types of situations.
  • The “sales” portion of counterintelligence (spying).
  • Why relationships matter in conflict resolution and sales.
  • Pete’s time in Afghanistan.
  • How the accountability ladder works and why it doesn’t work.
  • Why leaders often try to impose their will against the culture’s wishes.
  • The problems on the ground are often not the problems leadership sees.
  • Why organizational cultures require respect from those coming in.
  • Key lessons for business people from Pete’s experiences.
  • Pete’s current work consulting and advising.
  • The most important book Pete has ever read and why.
  • Who has had the biggest influence on Pete’s thinking.
  • Pete’s most important lesson in life.
  • What would Pete do if he weren’t doing what he does now?
  • What Pete hopes to be remembered for.
  • The break it down show.

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Resources & Links mentioned in this episode


The theme song “Into the Arena” is written and produced by Chris Sernel. You can find it on Soundcloud

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Post by Anthony Iannarino on May 13, 2016
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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