While working out in Morocco this past month; I set myself a challenge to read ten books. For personal development, I read Brene Brown, ‘Braving the Wilderness’ and ‘Rising Strong’. Along with Tony Robinson OBE ‘Loose Cannon’. I thought it would be useful to review the professional development books I read while researching #ScaleYourSales.
I re-read The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon Brent Adamson
We know the world is changing rapidly and transforming the sales processes. The Challenger Sale researches into affective behaviour in selling. Understanding this gives you a competitive advantage.
Challengers have a deep understanding of the customers business. This type of sales person will push the customer into new areas to help them solve their problem. They create competitive advantage. Challengers sale through creating value, this is bigger than the relationship. Customers and Buyer are so much more sophisticated, able to access 20% more information than they could 5 years ago. The need to build professionalism in selling. Consultative selling is not the answer. If you want to be the expert, you must research data and create insight to sell value. You are the expert offering a unique solution that will solve their specific problem.
This is a great question: Would the customer pay for the sales call because of the value you add? Are we making the kind of sales calls that creates customer impact? This is enlightening to see the relationship is the reward for the value you create. I enjoyed the second read and gained value from the refresh.
Predictable Prospecting: How to Radically Increase Your B2B Sales Pipeline by Marylou Tyler, Jeremey Donovan
Although the narration is a bit dry the content is 101 to fill your pipeline. Recommending applications such as Salesforce. I am sure there is academic rigour in the content with easy to follow processes. This is clearly well researched if dull, but the most effective methods can be dull. Do not read this book if you want entertainment. I found some sections more detailed that others. The section on segmentation was a bit vague, talking about the theory and not the practice. The chapter on Ideal Prospect Personas IPP was far more detailed. There are many great strategies. I would not have thought to look at job posting to discover business objectives that you could support and help to fulfil. I particularly liked the creation of the Value Proposition by asking and answering Why Change? Why Now? And Why Us? If you want great strategies to create predictable pipeline it is a must read.
Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk
I used to think Gary Vee was just a loud brash American, that shouted to be heard. Having read Crush It – I am wrong! Gary Vee is loud because he has a valuable message that deserves and needs to be heard. I know now this is his DNA and will no longer hold it against him because he is authentic. I enjoyed Gary’s straight forward no BS, real relevant advice on business development and how you need passion and perseverance.
This I can relate too! After reading Crush it – I know there are none of his strategies that I cannot do. This is so refreshing. I loved Gary’s stories and family first message. I feel I know Gary, better and I am happy I opened my mind to let the great strategies and mindset in. I am now an advocate of Gary Vee.
To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink
Pink writes in an easy to follow, easily accessible entertaining way. His premise is that today we all sell, influence and negotiate. The old ABC (Always Be Closing) does not work and proposes Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity as an alternative. Pinks solutions are Pitch, Improvise and Serve. I loved his six practical pitching strategies.
- The one-word pitch: e.g. Mastercard’s “Priceless” or “Google”
- The question pitch: e.g. Ronald Regan’s “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” in the 1976 US Election campaign.
- The rhyming pitch: e.g. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” from O.J. Simpson’s lawyer at his trial.
- The subject line pitch: A phrase that can fit into an email subject line (successful if utility and curiosity applied)
- The Twitter pitch: Using 140 or fewer characters (ask a question, useful info, links).
- The Pixar Pitch: Employs the winning formula used by Pixar movies (Once upon a time . . .. Every day, . . .. One day, . . .. Because of that . . . Because of that . . .. Until finally, . . ..)
Pink provides an excellent summary of his book in the form of what he terms a “Pixar Pitch”: “Once upon a time, only some people were in sales. Every day, they sold stuff, we did stuff, and everyone was happy. One day everything changed: All of us ended up in sales – and sales changed from a world of caveat emptor to caveat vendor. Because of that, we had to learn the new ABCs – attunement, buoyancy and clarity. Because of that, we had to learn some new skills – to pitch, to improvise, and to serve. Until finally, we realised that selling isn’t some grim accommodation to a brutal marketplace culture. It’s part of who we are – and therefore something we can do better by being more human.” p.172-3
Pink summarising with asking will what you’re are selling improve the buyer’s life? And will it leave the world in a better place? An enjoyable read.
Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount
I love everything about this book. Unlike many other books I have read over the years, this is written from a sales Jedi master perspective. Blount understands and has heard all the excuses of why sales people are not selling and has practical tried and tested workarounds. It is refreshing to read that social selling alone will not work. That it does not replace the process of selling but shortens the pipeline or sales cycle. I loved the law of 30 days: what you do in 30days day pays off in 90 days. We have all experience the law of need. The law of replacement is practical, I wondered why this is not common knowledge. Blount provides great practical workable strategies. If you did not understand how to align Sales and Marketing to support the customer journey, then this book is for you. I would highly recommend this book.
I hope you enjoyed my book review. If you have read any of these books let me know what you thought.
This article was originally published on The Problem Solver blog