Archive for May, 2007

Covert Persuasion. Psychological tactics and tricks to win the game. Kevin Hogan

Covert Persuasion. Psychological tactics and tricks to win the game. Kevin Hogan. ISBN 0470051418. Well the title is enough to put many people off of this book! However it is well researched with terrific applicability to the intended audience, salespeople. You will find out the “why it works” for pretty well any sales and motivation approach you may have experienced or heard of and some you have not. Of particular use to me were the checklists of words and phrases that he collects from all sorts of places that help drive targets toward making a decision. I also learned about Option Attachment. This is where a buyer has two good choices, either of which are valid. However once a choice is made, the buyer can feel a sense of loss over the option not taken. This is a useful book, fairly easy to read. There are a few serious copy editing flaws which drove me to ask “what?” It may come from a bit over use of cut and paste from other books/articles he wrote that refer to topics not in the book.

How To Sell More In Less Time With No Rejection. Using Common Sense Telephone Techniques. Art Sobczak

How To Sell More In Less Time With No Rejection. Using Common Sense Telephone Techniques. Art Sobczak. 2001. ISBN 1881081036. The guru of telephone sales, Sobczak has squeezed lifetime of tips and techniques into this book. Like how to avoid the top ten mistakes made by sales people. or How to ask for, and get, more than expected.

For example:

” If I called you now and asked you if you would be interested in a product that would increase your revenue. would you take the call?”

or “I have something here that could potentially be of great value to you. I’d liek to find out more about you to see if it’s something you’d like more information on.”

If you make a living using the phone, this book is one of the tools that you need beside you. Check out his website ( Perhaps you better not leave your phone number yet.)

Revolutionary Wealth. How it will be created and how it will change our lives. Alvin and Heidi Toffler

Revolutionary Wealth. How it will be created and how it will change our lives. Alvin and Heidi Toffler. 2006. ISBN0375401741. Well for a generation that cut its teeth on Future Shock and The Third Wave there are few surprises in Tofflers’ approach to the issues. They re-emphasize the impact of Wave Three (the Third Knowledge revolution) with more reference to the growth of Prosumser ( open source, You Tube, home schooling, NGOs) arising as much from the failure of second wave institutions (“industrial society” creations like manufacturing factories, schools and their attached stakeholders). The analysis if Europe and the EU is quite different. They believe that the EU is using too centralized a control and growth strategy that makes Europe less competitive and further into the Second (industrial ) Wave each passing year as the Third (knowledge) Wave continues to roll out. He points out the real fears that we should be aware of with China as it follows a dual wave strategy. India and the other Asian countries receive quite a review as well. Their analysis of the deep fundamentals of Time, space and knowledge is worthwhile as the impacts can be seen further along multiple directions. Simple to follow and readable as they use shorter chapters, but as a 447pp tome, this is good for long flights and/or your summer reading selection. They end up optimistic despite the pitfalls but a bit short on suggestions as to what are the business opportunities coming forward. Read more and see him

The three things a CEO can do to help Sales. Tips from a CEO

1. Hire the right kind of sales people at the right time. Don’t hire salespeople too early in your growth. Wait until you have learned what is needed from several customers and you can determine a repeatable, proven series of steps to follow to bring in the right kind of customers. If you don’t do this, you will frustrate and lose the “coin operated” sales guys.  If you are in a very early stage looking for your first customers and have yet to “know” your repeatable method to use to capture sales you need a more consultative, “Business Development”
resource vs. a salesperson.

Different stages of commercial development, different industries, different distribution models need different types of selling.  Understand your requirements and target your recruitment accordingly.  Some sales guys are sniffers, some are killers, some are missionaries.  But don’t think solving your “sales problem” requires you to just “hire a sales guy.”

2. Use a simple consistent sales process/system. Explore inexpensive, open source automation solutions in the early stages (e.g., One size of sales process does not fit all sales models.  Keep it simple

3. You can manage activity, not results. When you measure, use metrics that are shared by the sales and marketing team. The entire team has to buy into the same numbers. Top down metrics do not work. So concentrate on finding with the team the activities that will move sales forward.  Then, measure and review them regularly.
Tips from Paul Maurer, CEO of Actenum to the Rocket Builders Go2Market Program (RocketAcademy) on May 16th 2007

45% of all sales leads turn into a sale

45% of all sales leads turn into a sale. So says Jim Obermayer, Inquiry handling systems. Sales people believe that only 10% of leads turn into a sale….because they stop following after 90 days. Great sales people follow every lead until it dies. After six months a lead still has a 50% chance of converting. Yet over 50% of leads are not followed up!

Colin McWhinney and Paul Maurer both stated at the Rocket Builders GoToMarket sales process session yesterday ( that the majority of prospects do not decide on your desired timeline.. You must adjust your process to their time frame.

Colin stated that studies show that most sales long term come from companies who were not classified as “Hot Leads” on first pass, but were qualified. In order to do this your sales process must nurture the relationship with relevant material and contact based on their response at a relatively low cost. Both Paul and Colin agreed that a salesman is a high cost person to put on lead nurturing program., whereas this is part of the of marketing role to manage the lead nurturing process.



Why companies hire outside experts (part 3 of 3)

What to look for when hiring an outside consultant.

Domain Knowledge. Experts have some domain knowledge but not too much.

  • Having too much can often lead to the consultant maybe believing they know what you are all about before ever talking to you, a major anchoring bias.
  • Second, they may lose objectivity by selling exactly the same solution their last client bought, an extreme anchoring bias.
  • Third, their expertise may be so tightly limited to a single industry that there is no opportunity for you to receive the benefit of parallels in other industries and well-managed firms with innovative channels of distribution.
  • Fourth if they do derive a unique, new solution for you, rest assured they will let the industry know the key to your program.

Structure. What is needed to make major business decisions is structure. A structured and efficient approach to a problem attends to the important specifics of a particular business or market and leads to a solution.

  • The structure the consultant uses is most often revealed through his or her questions.
  • The second task of the questioning process is to determine the range of existing frames for the problem within the organization.
  • The third task is to find what the organization knows about the problem. Even more importantly, there is a need to find out what the organization doesn’t know about the problem.
  • Finally, the objective in questioning is to break the problem down. This is called the “decomposition principal”. Reasonable and workable estimates of difficult, unknowns can be obtained if the problem can be broken apart with knowledge of the structure of the metrics of interest. Experts accomplish the effect of decomposition by constructing process models, on the spot, to drive home the structure of the questions.

With thanks to Harold Gutovich for sharing the core of this material for us.

Robert’s Rules of Writing. 101 Unconventional Lessons. Robert Masello

Robert’s Rules of Writing. 101 Unconventional Lessons. Robert Masello. ISBN 1582973261. His most recent on writing. I had reviewed his Writer Tells All. Enjoyable read in that it is short, well organized and eminently useful. His titles are amusing, e.g. Burn your Journal, Skip the Starbucks , Buy the Smoking Jacket and so on. Lesson learned is that prolific and dedicated writers do not “talk” about their work much while it is underway. It seems to interfere with the process and can ultimately prevent completion.  I also enjoyed his tips on taking a book apart (one that you enjoyed) to study how the writer captured and kept your interest through various tips. If you love words and what they can do, this is a very rewarding book to read


Why companies hire outside experts (part 2 of 3)

Consultants have advantages in coming up with new solutions due to the following:

  • Perception. This is commonly called the “anchoring and adjustment” process. People tend to lock into an opinion, the anchor, and adjust their opinions as new information is brought to bear on the problem. The impact of the initial anchoring opinion is far too great over time while there is far too little adjustment going on as new or better information is available. Experts know to reserve judgement.

  • Time/Point of view. Consultants get all the information required in a relatively short period of time, which diminishes the anchor problem. The real business executives have been part of the development of the problem over months or years and have allowed early diagnoses of the nature of the problem to cloud the importance of more recent information.

  • Point of View. The expert is impartial. The real executives may have an historical and political context such as something to prove about whose “take” on the problem was right.

  • Approach. Consultants approach a project with a team of varied experience, in a non hierarchical mode. No one is “in charge”. This enables “outside the box” thinking and is not prone to supporting one person’s thinking over other team members.

  • Objectivity. Experts are not one-trick ponies and work hard to remove bias to motivation (the difference between what is good for you versus what is good for them)

Why companies hire outside experts (part 1)

Why you should hire outside experts (like Rocket Builders, for example) to look at your business.

  1. There are better ways to learn to make good decisions than by trial and error Some decisions can be assisted, if not made, by solid principles and practices.
  2. Experts think spatially, they quickly notice abnormalities and in a very short time, recognize the strengths and weaknesses in a business. That tells them where to look to gain or exploit advantage.
  3. Executives get consumed by the tactical day to day work required to run the business.
  4. Experts identify a problem, are more likely to classify it correctly and with their experience/education they know the approach to take in solving the problem.
  5. As well, experts can home in quickly on the situation aspects which provide leverage for solving the problem.
  6. Real experts recognize the importance of available clues and of clues not present. What is not happening in the market that is happening in others may present either future threats or present opportunities.
  7. Experts know that solutions that have been effective in the past are not always effective in the future. Most business executives under appreciate the value of testing. . .even in small samples or limited areas. . .new or different approaches.

My Blog roll

I have been asked what are the blogs that I follow. Google tells me:

From your 114 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 1,345 items, starred 49 items, and shared 41 items.

I seem to really like this one

That the one I share the most is

And the one I star (ideas to keep) the most is

More on blogs that I like later.

If you want the entire OPML file (to import into your google reader)

drop me a line and I can email it off to you. Be warned, as reader David Greer commented yesterday,

“I lost the entire day reading blog posts”.