Archive for January, 2012

Inside Apple. How America’s most advanced- and secretive – company really works. Adam Lashinsky.

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Inside Apple. How America’s most advanced- and secretive – company really works. Adam Lashinsky. 2012. ISBN 9781455512171. (e-book).  Unlike the recent  Steve Jobs bio, this is a fact filled book on the company and the players (as well as Steve Jobs)  that should be on every Apple shareholder and traders reading list. The author is a long time Fortune reporter ( a magazine that Steve Jobs often favored with information over others). You will learn more about the inner workings, strengths and above all the culture of Apple.  As a journalist, Lashinsky writes clear concise copy making the book a good read.   He succeeds in helping pull back the veil in this company.  Highly recommended.

How to Say It:Business to Business Selling. Geoffrey James.

Going to Business

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How to Say It: Business to Business Selling. Geoffrey James.2011. ISBN 9780735204584.  This is a desktop book that every salesman and sales manager needs to have. It is extremely clear, concise and well written. Each chapter is a treasure trove of useful nuggets.  He covers the bases:

  • How to Craft an Elevator Pitch
  • Find Hot Sales Leads
  • Negotiate the Best Deal
  • Sell to Top Execs
  • Build Sales Partnerships
  • Get a Customer Referral
  • Prospect with Voice Mail
  • Give a Compelling Product Demo
  • Move a Lead to a Prospect
  • Develop B2B Campaigns
  • Close a B2B Deal
  • and more

He built this book through countless interviews with sales giants like Tom Sant, Wendy Weiss, Linda Richardson, Keith Eades, Jeff Thull, Keith Rosen, Joanne Black, Jeffrey Gitomer and others.  As a regular contributor to Selling Power and other publications, the author really knows what works. Buy, read and review.

What Great Salespeople Do. The science of selling through emotional connection and the power of story. Michael Bosworth & Ben Zoldan


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What Great Salespeople Do. The science of selling through emotional connection and the power of story. Michael Bosworth & Ben Zoldan. 2012. ISBN  9780071769716.  Michale Bosworth, the writer of Customer Centric Selling and Solution Selling, has written a game changing book for sales training.  His ideas changed when after decades of sales training ( SPSS, Rackham and Solution Selling)  trying to improve the sales skills of the 60% of the salespeople who were not in the top 20%, that now the top was only 17%. The best had become even better but most had not improved.  He went back to basics and started to take apart the top sales guns “mojo”. That is when he identified how much of an emotional connection they made before they ever started on a sales effort.  This book is the result of years of training sales teams on emotional connecting to power the sales effort. He has tied together the common principle that we decide to buy emotionally and then justify with logic. with the power of storytelling. There is lots of good science drawn upon that will resonate with you. I could immediately relate to two sales situations this year that did not go well for myself and the client, despite “doing all the right things”. I realize now that the emotional connection was not present or the sales people.  To make a change you  commit emotionally  Easily the most impactful sales book of the last few years. Check them out on

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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Sell Now! Adaptive Strategies for Today’s Marketplace.Stacia Skinner.

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Sell Now! Adaptive Strategies for Today’s Marketplace.Stacia Skinner.    2011. ISBN 1440533792.   This is a free Kindle book available from Amazon.  I liked it. It covers the basics for sales efficiency as well as giving young and old reps something to work with.  This is a quick but very useful read.  The content gives a good analysis of a sales cycle and why sales conditions change over time. I liked that this book stresses the basics of sales people being proactive and self motivating.

The End of Business as Usual. Brian Solis.

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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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After 10 years – I said goodbye to a Blackberry

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After 10 years – I said goodbye to Blackberry last week.  I held on as long as I could, but I grew tired of waiting for  RIMM to bring out competitive products for the foreseeable future, I had to make a change, my data plan had run out four months ago.  I chose an Android phone (HTC Amaze), with the Samsung Galaxy my first (but not from Telus ) choice.  After 7 days.  I miss the following on my Blackberry:

  • Data compression ( reduces the network charges)
  • EZ controls where I expect them
  • Being contact/email centric
  • Simple battery control, and long life
  • Good pocket sized form factor
  • Out of the box focus on what I use daily.

I do enjoy now having:

  • Very fast download speeds
  • Incredible and diverse Android apps available – very easy to get and use, today  I just used one to store all the bar codes for all my loyalty cards. No more keyring.
  • A 32GB easily swappable sd memory
  • Two cameras – easy to use for Skype video and take very clear photos/movies.
  • The five Android screens are smart and easy to customize.
  • A big screen to read Kindle books.
  • A free phone on my plan – RIMM was going to cost me.

I am surprised I do not miss

  • Having a separate keyboard ( the virtual one gets smarter as I use it)
  • Encrypted data  – who would want to read my stuff?
  • BBMessanger – most of my contacts do not use it anymore .
  • BES
  • PIN communications (again few use it now)

Technically Blackberry has a better industrial design. If I was on their marketing team I could create some pretty compelling value statements for owning a Blackberry.  But this does not matter anymore. RIMM has missed the boat. The issues are legion:

  • There were almost 18 months without significant new products, dissipating their market leadership
  • Failure to nurture the app partner channel leaves them far far behind, getting further every day.
  • Reduction of US channel pull, means retailers push other vendors, commoditizing Blackberry
  • Increasing unit failure/returns means retail has a lower confidence in the hardware
  • Incompetent management of system upgrades = huge loss of services, followed by bumbling public response by CEOs
  • The CEOs and the Board who caused this have no idea how badly off they really are. A new Chair is deckchair rearrangement.

Its likely RIMM leadership has a similar problem to the US movie industry. Despite declining US revenue, the growth of new offshore markets skews the numbers to help balance the books.  This disappoints the local markets so they abandon products (like how many movie sequels do you really want to watch?)  In my early microcomputer days  companies like Commodore would have aggressive annual N American roll outs of new technologies, while still having tremendous cash cows in the emerging world through selling them last years (and earlier)  products at new product prices. But Commodore used the demands of the NA market to drive relentless innovation. When they missed that, the end was quite swift.

Compounding the foolishness, RIMM by not keeping ahead of competition, lost product (and gave up market) leadership . They let Apple claim it. Apple now through using a selective skim pricing strategy is able to generate very strong profits and revenues, while getting tremendous economic benefits through volume sales.  RIMM has to incur more cost to stand still, let alone create new products, incent retail to sell them and spend heavily to create marketplace pull through.  The answer lies partially now in a full bore marketplace war, someplace where RIMM is hopelessly inept.

As a friend of mine said, he sold his RIMM stock when he found out they were hiring ex Nortel employees. We are likely watching the death spiral of yet another Cdn company. Lets hope whomever buys the pieces lets us keep something in Canada.