Archive for July, 2011

Why China Will Never Rule The World. Travels in the two Chinas. Troy Parfitt.

Beijing Downtown

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Why China Will Never Rule The World. Travels in the two Chinas. Troy Parfitt.  2011. ISBN 9780986803505. Troy contacted me to look at his book.  He warned me that it was controversial and Amazon would publish it in Sept.   I enjoy a good travelogue like this one. He is a Canadian history teacher who taught for 10 years in Taiwan and is now back in Canada.  He is just a regular person like us all with no “hidden interests or agendas”.  The book was prompted by a growing disconnect he saw between his experiences in China and the “roaring noise” he heard in the media that China was on a roll, that this was their era and they were on their way to a global hegemony.  So he took a total of three months to travel through China and the Taiwan to “live” in  the two Chinas, talk to regular folks, and see if there was this groundswell.  He took the routes of the residents, eschewed the tourist trails and essentially went native, with the record button turned on.   The time was just before the ’08 Olympics.  This was an eye opening trip for him. He used his history background to link the past to the present and  the future.  It is an easy read, well written and annotated with a style that allows you, the reader to build your own opinions from the views that Troy brings back.

I do not want to spoil the book for you, but I now agree with Troy’s thesis – China can not “rule the world”. The countries behavior is too tied into past history ( they can never forgive a slight – eg America backing the S Koreans, despite pouring billions into China during WW II, and now supporting Taiwan. The other slights are the Europeans and Americans having the opium wars.) China will not  forgive and forget and then move forward.  Revenge for these and other events will eventually come.  The behavior of Chiang Kai Chek and Mao was driven more often by revenge than anythng else.

From this book I take away that:

  • China will never move to a democracy (Communism “fits” the Confucian culture. too well).
  • When the leaders feel they have the US in a tight situation (Eg Move to sell their US bonds, or cripple their IT) they will move against Taiwan, even tho’ very few Taiwanese wish it.
  • Hong Kong will slowly lose the freedoms they have now and will never get the vote ( When I was over there I heard over and over again that the plan was for Shanghai to eclipse Hong Kong as a financial centre).
  • The “media” in China present the opposite of the truth until it becomes a “cultural truth”
  • The educational system predicates against graduating students who can think for themselves, putting them well behind “western ” abilities
  • The emerging wealthy  middle class will not give power to the 800 million poverty stricken peasants, preferring to transfer wealth to Western investments
  • The West will continue to mess up in dealing with this country, since they will never understand the basis of Chinese decisions. The West will be played like a harmonica (Like they are being played in Pakistan)
  • Religious freedom will never come to the country, persecution will continue
  • Copyright protection will not take place in China, they are too good at copying everything.
  • It will continue to be one of the most polluted countries ever and a growing global contributor.
  • The concept of losing face is mostly a ploy to ensure that the country is not called out for its blatant acts.
  • The leadership will continue to take advantage of the Chinese people. Corruption will always be there.
  • We should watch to see what plays out in Africa with the heavy Chinese investment.

I liked it and suggest this is a good one for the “skeptical” reader. You can see how the the authors becomes quite emotional in his  responses through the description of his initial openness and the resulting experiences. I particularly enjoyed his use of  Orwell’s 1984 commentary.

Strengths Based Selling. Tony Rutigliano & Brian Brim.

CORAL GABLES, FL - FEBRUARY 10:  Verizon sales...

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Strengths Based Selling. Tony Rutigliano & Brian Brim.2010. ISBN 9781595620484.  A follow-up to Discover Your Sales Strengths.   This book contains more detail on applying your strengths to various sales opportunities as well as guides for sales management. Again it it is built around Gallops online skills inventory test and the book contains one login to take the test. I appreciated that each sales person may have very different strengths and that combined with a basic sales aptitude there are winning methods for all, but they all differ. The suggestions are tried and true but seen through the filter that a one size fits all approach will not work in sales.  This is true in all coaching. They mention that training is not the same as development.  Personal development in sales skills must be issues based.  Again we hear that the base for all sales success is understanding the value that you bring to the client, which requires homework and preparation long before you make the call.  In their eyes a referral is a testimony to the value that the client received.  As well they have the numbers to show that as you increase customer engagement, you increase the  profits from that customer.  A non engaged, rational client is a price based client.  Engagement speaks to an emotional satisfaction for the client.  Which as we have seen before means matching your product to a client’s basic values.   Short, easily read and immediately useful.

Pricing with Confidence. 10 ways to stop leaving money on the table by Reed Holden, Mark Burton

Cover of "Pricing with Confidence: 10 Way...

Cover via Amazon

Pricing with Confidence. 10 ways to stop leaving money on the table by Reed Holden,Mark Burton . 2008. ISBN 0470197579.  This is a book for the practitioner, whether it is CEO, CFO, VP Sales/marketing.   They do a very good job with strategy:

  • set pricing and offerings
  • establish list prices and base agenda

and tactics:

  • actual transaction prices
  • rules for negotiations
  • holding to earned legitimate discounts, alignment with street price

They give you a model of change how to go in small steps from:

  • cost plus
  • value enhanced cost plus
  • better market driven to
  • value driven.

There is also lots  of meat there for the in-the-trenches salesperson with a surprising (to most sales managers ) metric showing that you can expect maybe 38% of your prospects to be price driven, with the rest being relationship or value driven. They also show you how to best deal effectively with all purchasers including the poker playing purchaser .  The case studies are good and easy to emulate.  This is an easy to read, easy to use book.  My only concern is that its been around for 3 years and I could have used it all the time.  Put it on your Kindle and keep reading it over and over.

Pricing for Profit. How to command higher prices for your products and services. Dale Furtwengler.

Book price tags for cheap special editions as ...

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Pricing for Profit. How to command higher prices for your products and  services.  Dale Furtwengler.  2009. ISBN 0814415172.   This is a very useful book and it may have been the basis for quotes I have found in other later books. It is an easy to read combination of strategy and tactics with good examples .  Core to his thesis is that most owners do not know how to monetize the intrinsic value  in their offerings.  At Rocket Builders we could not agree more.

I was taken with his analysis of value and price buyers.  Over the past few weeks I used this idea while looking at various people in their sales role and their own approaches to pricing. Results have been very interesting to say the least.   In this book I have found lots of truths that others believe as well. E.g.

  • Using low prices to market your offerings sends the wrong signal to the market.
  • Price buyers are not loyal
  • Buyers will find the money if the offer is truly important to them
  • New product launches are when you can command premium prices, prices denied to the competition
  • Combine the bottom line impact with personal goal achievement and you can get the premium price
  • Bundling helps you achieve the price you want.
  • The use of options in premium pricing
  • Companies fail in marketing through telling what they do vs what the customer wants.

Most of the marketing material is of not use to the buyer and they are telling you so.  This book will be on my reading shelf for quite some time.  You should get it too.