Archive for May, 2008

2011 Trendspotting for the Next Decade. Richard Laermer.

2011 Trendspotting for the Next Decade. Richard Laermer. 2008. ISBN 9780071497275. This is a very funny, readable and useful book. Laermer never takes himself too seriously, yet what he is talking about is important. He wrote Trendspotting 2002 and more recently Punk Marketing. Each chapter is short and pithy with ideas rattled off in a very pragmatic writing style. Good cross country airplane read, if you like to think. I loved his line that the last decade has been just boring wrto breakthrough trends.

Contrarian. The contrarian effect. Why it pays (big) to take typical sales advice and do the opposite.Michale Port & Elizabeth Marshall.

Contrarian. The contrarian effect. Why it pays (big) to take typical sales advice and do the opposite Michale Port & Elizabeth Marshall. 2008. ISBN 978-0470237908. This is a seminal book for the sales industry. Why do you ask? Does your sales dept think the following?

  • Cold calling is an effective way to generate leads, since everyone is a potential customer.
  • Prospecting means you make a certain amount of calls each day (usually 100) in order to reach potential client.
  • The Numbers Game is tried and true formula that helps sales professionals determine how many calls they have to make in order to set a certain number of meetings so as to make a certain number of sales.
  • Canned or scripted presentations are effective, since most potential clients have the same needs and desires.
  • During a potential client, the sales professional’s job is to present the product or serrice, explain the features and benefits, handle any customer objections and then close the sale
  • Tactics such as closing techniques and other strategies used to speed up the sale are vital, since it’s critical for the sales professional to “make his number.”

Congratulations your sales dept is stuck in the 1889 model.

Perhaps the world has changed since 1889?

Perhaps customer s have changed since 1889?

Perhaps it is time for selling to change?

Todays prospects expect no, demand that you:

  • Listen to them and understand their needs and desires
  • Tell the truth and be radically transparent (Sounds like the Go Getter – Be authentic)
  • Respect them and their ability to buy from anyone, anytime
  • Honor their timetable and their buying schedule
  • Allow them to buy in the way that works for them
  • Be authentic and sincere
  • Ask permission to keep in touch
  • Keep your word and honor your commitments
  • Treat them as intelligent people capable of making a good decision.

This books reeks of truth and the reality of selling today. In our practise we live the implementation of this every day. There is a better way and it is not a surprise. But it is not a halfway half hearted method. It requires full on committment.

I urge you to buy this book and devour it. It is the seminal book on selling today.

Check out,,

God is a Salesman. Learn from the Master. Mark Stevens.

God is a Salesman. Learn from the Master. Mark Stevens.2008. ISBN 9781599956909. This is a surprisingly cool book. It is more than a good title however. Stevens explains that in a world where men are inclined to disbelieve, to be skeptical, to need evidence prior to trusting others this is not true in only one area, religion. He draws parallels between religious and secular selling. E.g.. He shows how the ways people are drawn to any religion can be used as examples of how a good sales/marketing effort has “drawing vs pushing” power. God does not make cold calls, says Stevens and then he makes a very good case for stopping cold calls as well as losing a dial for dollars mentality. Intellectually the arguments are clear and well presented. A short book that you will enjoy (Stevens is the author of Your Marketing Sucks)

Accidental Branding. How ordinary people built extraordinary brands. David Vinjamuri.

Accidental Branding. How ordinary people built extraordinary brands. David Vinjamuri. 2008. 9780470165065. This is a clearly written book about “accidental” entrepreneurs, who remained true to their brand promise. Vinjamuri has defined an accidental brand as one where:

  1. An individual who is not trained in marketing must create the brand
  2. The individual must experience the problem that the brand solves.
  3. The individual must control the brand for at least three years.

So you will read about

  • Craig Newmark of Craig’s list,
  • John Peterman of J.Peterman,
  • Gary Erickson of Clif Bar,
  • Gert Boyle of Columbia Sportswear,
  • two founders of The Art of Shaving,
  • Julie Aigner-Clark , Baby Einstein videos and
  • Roxanne Quimby of Bert’s Bees.

These are all unique individuals in different industries who remained

  • really true to the customers “who bring ya to the dance”,
  • they also were fanatical about details and product execution,
  • they may have had one really lucky break in their business, and
  • they have been able to capitalize on their success to go onto other things.

Well written and clearly in tune with the subject ( I love it when marketing folks write a book). This is a useful book in that it reinforces that for todays market, the customer has to know they receive real value from authentic vendors. (Sounds like the Go-Giver). The depictions are very authentic and real.

Its on Amazon

The Go-Giver. A little story about a powerful business idea. Bob Burg & John David Mann.

The Go-Giver. A little story about a powerful business idea. Bob Burg & John David Mann.. 2007 ISBN 9781591842002. A business fable that is quite powerful . The fable follows a go getter sales guy as he finds the path to riches is quite a different way than he imagined. In our experience this fable is quite true as it is built around five laws of giving. The more you give, the more you get.

Law 1. The Law of Value; Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payments. In our business, we hear from clients “guys are worth twice as much as we pay you”.

Law 2. The Law of Compensation; Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them. In our experience this has proved out with the Word of Mouth business we get.

Law 3. The Law of Influence; Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interest first. I have had many clients say things like , “you treat my business like it is more important than your own”.

Law 4. The Law of Authenticity; The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself. That is all we have

Law 5. The Law of Receptivity; The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving. Our clients are constantly introducing us to their business friendsĀ  that might need us.

This is a great read, and you can get through it quite quickly. Very enjoyable and I think useful to us all.

What do top performing graduates want out of companies these days? Well, its not more money.

StudentsWhat do recent graduates want out of companies these days?

Data touch points from a cross Canada survey of University students in Mining Engineering. I heard a very useful presentation from a graduating Mining Engineering student at UBC yesterday. Michael Fuller (Remember that name 6 years from now) , in response to a past question from an Industry Advisory Committee I sit in on, surveyed students across nine universities coast to coast about what companies could do to attract and retain new grads. (Now this in an industry where there are three to five jobs calling with signing bonuses for every graduate. Ave starting salary is $80k/annum. There may be 150 of these students graduate each year in Canada)

And the biggest issues were not for higher salaries. I was impressed that the issues exposed were in line with what we see in the technology industry. What did they want companies to support in order to be interesting to work for?;

  • Opportunities to pursue more education once they were out of school ( with some financial help)
  • A structured growth program for employees, where the grads help shape their program
  • Mentorship
  • International and multi department experience
  • Compensation for overtime hours (in time , not money), these folks are not overtime hounds.
  • Flexible work hours, such as nine day fortnights, 4 – 10 hour days and then 3 off. Fourteen days straight and then fourteen off when the location is not great. They want to maintain a work-life balance.
  • Evidence of concern for employees and others. e.g. A company with the highest safety rating was seen as one that would also have high environmental and social responsibility values.
  • An HR dept that can be very punctual, with quick turnarounds, yes or no. Job interviews that are casual and personal – learn about the person while they learn about who they would work for.
    • If you really want to alienate young grads use a top grader/behavioral interview method. Seen as gimmicks and not of any value. (This was a surprise to me) These are smart people who want to be treated as such. It is a candidates market where you can not afford to put people off.
  • Very last on the list was stock options and profit sharing.

This is very current stuff for a demographic of high performing 20 – 26 year olds. Did you know that the CEO of Computer Associates is an alumnus of UBC Mining Engineering? Past UBC Mining graduates are now CEOs of major international firms.

The Art of Possibility. Transforming professional and personal life. Rosamund and Ben Zander

The Art of Possibility. Transforming professional and personal life. Rosamund and Ben Zander. 2000. ISBN 9780142001103. Garr Reynolds in Presentation Zen recommended this book. It is a very useful and well written little book. Their web site , The Art of Possibility gives good background. Ben Zander is the long time conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and Rosamund is well respected change management professional. The book gives us very key insights into how to better understand our daily life and make something out of it all. Eg . Ben gives his music students an A at the beginning of each semester, but the students have to write an essay at the same time as if it was the end of term where they have to explain what they did to earn an A mark. I found each page had another insight for me and it was delight to go through the book. (Thank goodness TV is such an intellectual wasteland, else I would never get through all the great books being sent my way.) If you are into personal growth and development I would say this is a library keeper.

If You Want To Write. A book about art, independence and spirit. Brenda Ueland.

If You Want To Write. A book about art, independence and spirit. Brenda Ueland. 1937,1987. ISBN 9781555974718. Carl Sandburg called this ,”the best book ever written about how to write.” I have eleven other “good” books on my shelf on writing, I monitor six blogs on writing yet, this is the first author who has really spoken to me on writing. If you strive for reality, truth and want to really communicate, this short and well written book is a must read for you. An example …”everybody in the world has the same conviction of inner importance… Therefore all should work. First because it is impossible that you have no creative gift. Second: the only way to make it live and increase is to use it. Third: you cannot be sure that it is not a great gift.” Her advice runs counter to all the “technical” improvements put forward and addresses our individual ability to tap into an “inner” voice, without guilt, timetables, or “the right way”. She is able to give you examples of incredible writing from very ordinary people. I loved her metaphor that great communication “infects” the reader with what you are talking about. Something like spinning a tale to a child and watching their eyes light up driven by all their senses and imaginations.