Archive for the 'Communication' Category

To Sell Is Human. The surprising truth about moving others. Daniel H. Pink.

Cover of "Drive: The Surprising Truth Abo...
Cover of "A Whole New Mind: Moving from t...

To Sell Is Human. The surprising truth about moving others. Daniel H. Pink.  2012. ISBN 9781594487156. Pink ( DriveA Whole New Mind)  has done the world a favour.  This is never a book about how to sell, its a book explaining how sales permeates all our lives.  That said, Pink points out (and explains so well) very useful research (some new, some applied in new ways ) which will help anyone who ever needs to persuade, whether its a client, a manager, a child , a partner or a ticket agent.  This is a story that needs to get out into the wild. Those of us lucky enough to be paid to sell realize that persuasion and movement are essential to today’s selling and we use this in all our daily interactions.  Way to many great ideas here , but one that stuck out for me was that problem finders fare better in life than just being a problem solver.  This is a skill which will outlast whatever changes occur in the marketplace.  A lifeskill book -perfect for a four hour flight.  Buy it and pass it onto your family.

The New Experts. Win today’s newly empowered customers at their 4 decisive moments. Robert H. Bloom.


The New Experts. Win today’s newly empowered customers at their 4 decisive moments. Robert H. Bloom.2010. ISBN 9781608320240.  A small book , but it punches above its weight class. The author , who is a good writer, lays out where and how you need to meet and exceed buyer needs and expectations in order to make, keep and continue a sale. He makes a very good case on why and how you need to think like a buyer at all times. His examples are drawn from b2b and b2c experience making this a very good general use book.

Lead With a Story. A guide to crafting business narratives that captivate, convince and inspire. Paul Smith.

At the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, t...

Lead With a Story. A guide to crafting business narratives that captivate, convince and inspire.  Paul Smith. 2012. ISBN 9780814420300.  The author has had a long career at P&G and many of his stories are from one of the best marketing firms ever. He has also collected many other in his 100 stories that are relevant in training and teaching  moments for many of your situations..  A big asset is his appendix that helps you find the relevant story from a classification matrix. His story on what sales people can learn from their own purchasing department was quick and insightful. In our practice we do not often find the sales and purchasing departments sharing war stories.  Content marketing gets real horsepower through stories, which makes this a very valuable book for sales and marketing.

Conversations That Win Complex Sales. Erik Peterson & Tim Riesterer

2010 Barrett Jackson Auction - Scottsdale - 23

Conversations That Win Complex Sales.  Erik Peterson & Tim Riesterer. 2011. ISBN 978007175090. We know that competition is fierce and your  prospects are being overwhelmed by information. Every now and again a book comes along that synthesizes and summarizes what you just know is happening in selling situations and then proves clear insight into what you can do. This is one of those books.  Their Point of View is based on what is going on in the mind of the receiver while your are in the middle of a pitch, and how we usually  faili miserably in helping clients move forward.  Based on lots of research and experience the authors will show you how to make much better use of your selling time, become a much more valuable resource to your clients and move those stalled deals forward.   Did you know :

  • Your Old Brain views the simple approach and stories as coming from much more intelligent people – park the jargon
  • In the Hero story, your job is to make the client the Hero
  • The first and last ten minutes of a presentation are gold – do not waste it by telling the client about your self.
  • Tie approaches  to the techiques taught in the  The Challenger Sale, You need to challenge the prospects status quo – to prevent the do nothing response.
  • You are presenting stories and conversations not a pitch  (again the buy is emotional first than logical)

Terrific book. Needs to be in the kit of high performance salespeople. Perfect for a 4 hour plane ride.

Curation Nation. How to win in a world where consumers are creators. Steven Rosenbaum.

Photo of Robert Scoble, cropped from original.

Curation Nation. How to win in a world where consumers are creators. Why the future of content is context. Steven Rosenbaum.. 2011. ISBN 9780071760393.  I confess, I am a content curator.  Maybe 5% of what I  put out on the web is my own content – book reviews.   The rest is material gleaned from 620 + RSS feeds I review five days a week.. I share about 20  items each day – which are queued up in Hootsuite so one goes out every few hours.  In my online travels I may post another half a dozen immediate tweets/G+ posts of things that are relevant to me in my “collecting” of items on sales and marketing “today”.

Rosenbaum goes into some detail about how the firehose of content needs to be curated – so you can pick and choose what is relevant to your interests/uses.  There are people who are doing that , Scoble, Kawasaki, Huffington Post.  Others rail against repurposing of content, eg Mark Cuban.

Who could benefit from this book?  Marketers, authors, journalists and anyone who proposes to be a content authority.  More of a whats happening vs what to do about it book, the insights are valuable. I believe him when he points out several business models that can spring from these ideas.

The Secret Language of Influence. Master the one skill every sales pro needs. Dan Seidman.

2010 Racelogic Sales Figures

The Secret Language of Influence. Master the one skill every sales pro needs.  Dan Seidman. 2012. ISBN 9780814417263.  Another fine book from the good folks at Amacom.  This is an easy to read, very insightful and terrifically useful salesmanagers and salesman’s book. The author not only provides you with what you need to really raise your sales game, he follows his own advice in how he presents the information.  You will learn and be educated on this topic like never before.  I appreciated that this material compliments any type of sales training or process you follow. He has three dozen major topics, from which he then points out the twelve activities to get yourself started.  I appreciated his short direct chapters. Some of my ‘”found” items  were how to:

  • build a strong opening strategy ( reinforce the time, the objective and the yes/no aspect of the call beforehand)
  • prepare beforehand your reps with the proven strong responses to the six most common objections (also pointed on in contextual pricing preparation)
  • find great sources of humour
  • influence your “self talk to be positive
  • show your reps the data they need to know

Get this book – read and reread it. With the growing emphasis on having and using valuable content, this will become a classic.

Rocket Surgery Made Easy. The do-it-yourself guide to finding and fixing usability problems. Steve Krug.

Cover of "Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The D...
Cover via Amazon

Rocket Surgery Made Easy. The do-it-yourself guide to finding and fixing usability problems. Steve Krug. 2010. ISBN 97803216572999. Another Lean Management recommendation. Krug wrote Don’t make Me think – which I totally enjoyed and agree with.  True to the author’s intent, this is a very usable book.  He has six maxims (which you will find in the book). His writing style is delightful – tongue in cheek, self deprecating and above all clear and simple.  Check out his sample usability test at and watch the Demo Test file.  It is very revealing as to why you will want to read this book.  Is he onto something – well yes. In our practice we are daily being sent to complex, hard to understand what the company does,  completely lacking on customer value company webpages.  Most of the problems would be solve if they followed Krug’s easy to use suggestions.  All I can think is usability is just not done. Everyone who has a webpage should read this book.

Cover of the book "Don't Make Me Think&qu...

The Now Revolution. 7 Shifts to make your business faster, smarter, and more social. Jay Baer & Amber Naslund.

Social Media Cafe

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The Now Revolution. 7 Shifts to make your business faster, smarter, and more social. Jay Baer & Amber Naslund.  2011. ISBN 9780470923276.  This book has been sitting waiting for me to get to it and I am glad I finally did.  It is a mix of an analysis of what the world is like now plus some serious do it now tips.  Some key takeaways:

  • The transition from 50 to 100 employees has big impacts on holding onto the company culture
  • If your company is not already “social” in its culture you will have a reduced chance of success in the social media space.
  • There are quickly changing requirements for the talent you need in your company, what worked before will not work now in your hiring process.
  • You need an army to use social media – starting with a heavy emphasis on customer service, and empowering many many employees to contribute to your social media initiatives.
  • You need to use a new telephone to listen for buyer, customer, competitor  and employee “keywords” .
  • How you respond to this challenge and how you measure results requires some serious analysis – its not  something you hand off to an intern.

Very cool use of QR/ tagging codes in the book, making it more interactive.  Check it out at As ever, some of the Microsoft stuff does not play nice with Android, ie when they send you to a document and not a webpage.

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The End of Business as Usual. Brian Solis.

Image representing Brian Solis as depicted in ...

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The End of Business as Usual. Brian Solis.  2012. ISBN 9781118171561.   This is the epitome of a very current marketing academic book that is eminently practical.  This does not make it an easy read because Brian is concise and direct in his analysis and expects the reader to do some work as well.  The book is full of aha moments, and my Kindle highlights are legion.  This is the book for you if you are a current practicing marketer and or academic.  I especially appreciated that Brian was able to skillfully weave the entire marketing skill set into all aspects of the company.   If you want to learn and earn in this space, you will need to read this book.  Full disclosure- I bought this book and it is on all my Kindles.   Check out his terrific blog

Brian Solis

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Implementing a Value Based Sales Approach – Part 4 of 4. Some sales training ideas

COLMA, CA - JULY 14:  A customer browses new c...

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The first three parts of this series  have talked about the shift required in selling  today due to buyers having the power to decide when they will interact with you.  I also talked about the work that marketing and sales have to do to get ready to sell on value not price. This part discusses some of the training that has worked to change habits and beliefs.

In our training implementations we use short role playing (recorded) as part of the regular sales meetings. Each play has a short focus topic which is aligned with new or updated supporting assets.  Very quickly we find no lack of sales volunteers/commentators to play out and critique the
roles (sales people are so shy). Humor is important here.

Having the session recorded allows the client to build up a sales training library /resource for those who want to review on their own time. (This helps the salesperson who is on the road and misses a meeting)  The role playing goal is to clearly indicate the gap between preferred and poor approaches.  Some of popular topics have been:

  • Buyers lie and other tales for sales virgins (discounting/negotiation)
  • Beware the premature proposal, practise safe selling (discounting/knowledge)
  • What buyers really mean when they say, “Your price is too high.” (negotiation)
  • How buyers go to school on you. (negotiation)
  • Fight the urge to broadcast in presentations, we are not the BBC (Communication skills)
  • Do you deserve to take the meeting? (Knowledge of the customer)
  • The customer does not care about you and that’s a good thing (Value and results)

The organization needs to be focussed on value not volume for this change to work.  If value selling is  new to the company, your market may have been trained to respond to pricing (allowing your product to be commoditized). Fixing this is a separate topic which others have addressed. (Nagle et al)

There is more information on pricing and value in the following series of posts.

Leverage Point

What can you do about pricing for value ?

The intent in this series was to give the reader a different  POV  showing a way out of the declining returns from push marketing and selling. By looking  first at the buyers process and meeting their needs all through in the process, marketing and sales teams are better positioning your company for higher profits and shorter sales cycles.  By adopting this approach a company is also setting themselves up as being different from the others in the  marketplace.  This also adds to your competitive position.

My warning is that this takes hard thoughtful work and attention to the details in execution.  Doing this poorly will leave you worse off than not doing it all.  Doing this well will just make you all very wealthy.

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