52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #35 – Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives by Keith Rosen @keithrosen

Effort X Skill = Success. Some coaches get by with a ton of blustery effort and massive enthusiasm. They get what they want to say out and often it’s a great feeling but it fades quickly and I need to get energized all over again. Keith isn’t that type of writer. I haven’t seen him speak or watched any saleschampionsvideos but his writing seems very skillful and I’m sure he’s passionate about what he does, but it’s the thoughtfulness and the well laid out plan that catches my attention.

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #35 – Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives by Keith Rosen @keithrosen 

 

This is a tactical playbook. It’s full of specific tactics and I think it’s fair to say that most of the tactics are straightforward and easy to understand. We aren’t talking about rocket science, brain surgery or a membership to mensa here. We are talking about execution. I don’t mind that Keith hammers home the fundamentals of his coaching and talks about asking the right questions and particular systems multiple times. I’m still of the mindset that repetition helps people to learn and even though we bought this book and want the information contained something like 72% of the knowledge gained is instantly lost. Retention of knowledge is fleeting when we read a book like this. It’s important to take notes and implement the tools right away.

I bought a hard copy of this book right after listening to the Audible version. I liked the Audible version but I need the hard copy to reference during the day. 1:1 coaching sessions fall into the category of Important but Non-Urgent activities that are easy to push off in favor of some reactive behavior. These same coaching sessions are the actions that will yield the highest results and also cause us to stretch the most as leaders.

Keith is a pro. You could literally throw out your current management playbook and substitute this for whatever you are doing now and if you actually did what he prescribes, you’d be an all star. It doesn’t take much to be a sales manager, but it takes an awful lot of grit, consistency and a willingness to actually coach in order to be a great sales manager.

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #34 – The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over by Jack Schafer @jackschafer

I feel like I’ve just been let in on a giant top secret training for Mission Impossible. This guy has done the things that we watch on T.V like-switchand even though I’m sure those actions aren’t nearly as glamorous as the television presents, It’s infinitely more interesting because it’s real.

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #34 – The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over by Jack Schafer

 

So how does this apply to everyday life? There are so many applications, but think of this as “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, but from the perspective of someone who’s life actually depending on it. That’s a whole different level of ownership. I can’t imagine that I’d ever be in a situation like any of the ones described in the book, but I could use the techniques to make friends and gain trust in a more consistent manner. Some people will say that if you use tactics to make friends or to gain your way in business it’s unethical, disingenuine or manipulative. I guess all of these things could be true, but I always encourage you to use your powers of persuasion for good instead of evil. That sounds a bit grandiose, but seriously evil people are always persuasive. Hitler and Charles Manson were great salespeople, they just sold crap.

The book touches on several subjects which I’ve been interested in for some time. It touches on body language and micro expressions. The body language stuff all seems relatively straightforward but, I can only imagine that it’s a beast to remember to look for all of these tells and still keep up the conversation. The micro expressions are a bit trickier still. Mostly Jack talked about eyebrows and eyes but I’m wondering if you ever watched that show “Lie to me”? I think it had Tim Roth in it, but it was amazing. The science behind the show is mostly legitimate as well and focuses on microexpressions. The main character could read these micro expressions and tell you what you were thinking. I believe there is a new show coming out soon about a jury consultant who uses some of the same science. It seems like a modern-day Sherlock Holms to me. You can tell so much more from a conversation if you can just pay attention to all of it. The book also seems to touch on some NLP, the pseudo-science that basically talks about low-grade hypnosis and tricks your mind into responding a certain way. Like if I get you to say yes 4 times in a row and then ask you for a favor, you are likely to say yes again.

So here is the deal, I like the book. I found it immensely entertaining and I probably have 2 dozen things I need to practice so I don’t come off as snobby, peevish, condescending or cold. I’m a natural introvert and so I don’t like small talk and social gatherings in general. I probably rub people the wrong way too often and you know when you send an email and then think that you probably shouldn’t have because email doesn’t include things like tone and pace? Yeah, that happens to me in real life because I don’t naturally have tone or pace that matches what most people think it should. I’m responsible for not only the intent of the message but, also for the interpretation and I struggle with that often in person. Books like this help me and even if you aren’t socially awkward I bet this book would help you too. Everything in life is Sales, and people buy from people they Like. Flip the switch.

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #32 – Never Be Closing: How to Sell Better Without Screwing Your Clients, Your Colleagues, or Yourself by Tim Hurson @timhurson and Tim Dunne @dunne_tim

These guys get it. These ideas are great and they are stitched together with a lot of formulas that aren’t necessarily new but are known to work. They repurpose some problem-solving assessments and some great planning exercises in a way that is easy to understand. NBC I love the philosophy about genuinely attempting to help the customer and by doing so create a win-win scenario.

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #32 – Never Be Closing: How to Sell Better Without Screwing Your Clients, Your Colleagues, or Yourself by Tim Hurson @timhurson and Tim Dunne @dunne_tim

 

This is Sales as a Problem Solving exercise. It’s a great book for anyone that can follow direction and basically paint by numbers. The steps are literally all laid out for the successful sales career, it is up to you to execute. There is a ton about successful planning and deconstructing the results of sales meetings and there is also a lot of great info about rapport building and gathering information. This isn’t a “sales” book that talks about the techniques of closing, persuasion or the nuances of NLP and sales hypnosis. I think this book would apply to a lot of B2B types that aren’t really ready to call themselves salespeople but probably are. There are entrepreneurs and anyone in a small business forced to wear multiple hats that can find themselves in a situation where selling is a necessity.

The book also does a great job of breaking down some personality types based on what motivates them. I’m always particularly interested in the human mind and personality types. I believe I’m probably energized by ideas, but I really want to get the results so I am working hard on habits and accomplishing small goals to train my mind to recognize and crave accomplishment. I would like to see the personality discussion actually expanded and applied to the rest of the book. The rapport building could be greatly impacting by the client’s motivation and energized basis.

The problem I run into with salespeople who WANT to be salespeople is that they are often motivated by people and connections. They are less focused on the details by nature and tend to have shorter attention spans. They love sales because they get to meet a lot of people and are presented by a lot of small challenges that are easily solved or moved on from in search of something shinier. Never be closing can be implemented by those salespeople, but only in small increments. The professional salespeople that I know ALL have a process and are ALL obsessed with their system, so I know it can be done. Every system works a certain percentage of the time, but there are just too few top producers. By definition half of all salespeople are below average and it’s those people that need this book, but I fear wont have the grit to follow through on what it suggest. It’s all about installing the right system that works for you. This book doesn’t touch much on prospecting, a little about referrals and research ahead of time, but that applies primarily to B2B salesmen. I don’t think this would apply as much to Retail Sales or any kind of Consumer Direct sales. If you are on a showroom floor or in a call center this may not apply as much to you. You can always learn something but you aren’t having sales meetings or presentations in the board room to apply some of these systems. You could still deconstruct your phone call or introduction but you aren’t going to research your client with anything other than your eyes and ears. If you are in a B2B this book requires very little translation and is packaged and ready for you. Force yourself to take the steps involved, do it for a week, then a month and then 60 days. I think you’ll be amazed.

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #31 – Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire by Paul Smith

Do you have a story? Is it well thought out and ready to go? Is it practiced, polished and perfected? Have you wondered what happens at a Toastmasters group? Lead with a StoryNever heard of Toastmasters, but you’d like to be able to captivate a crowd? This is the book for you.

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #31 – Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire by Paul Smith

 

I’m not an outgoing person yet, I frequently am called on to speak in front of groups. I need to give presentations, speeches, motivational messages, heartwarming calls to action and convey very straightforward information without putting the audience to sleep. I’m also in sales and I’m a leader. This means I take groups out to award dinners, outings and work functions like mixers. I also talk to customers, both internal and external and I have to often find a way to make the mundane interesting, or to convey complicated financial information over the phone in a way that makes sense and spurs action. I have learned to do this in part because of the principals in this book, plus I just winged it.

On a grander scale, your story or your companies story can be crafted in a way that can be told in one of these encounters. Your Story is the reason you are in business, it’s what brought you, your business or company into being and it’s what made you, You. There is a formula to crafting a story and keeping attention. I wish I had read this book sooner, I had to use trial and error over the years and even then this book probably doubled my Story I.Q. and made me that much better. You can use the ideas, methods, and suggestions in this book to increase sales, increase your employee buy-in, boost morale and raise your visibility in all social settings. Good story tellers are remembered and identified with. Great opportunity often arrives from people we are barely acquainted with, but through the power of a story a connection was made and you became memorable.

This all boils down to communication. I’ve said before that I now hire communication students and look for strong communication skills from employees and colleagues. How a message is percieved is how you are percieved. Can you craft a message that is received by a large audience and in a way that motives, inspires or impacts them all? Can you also communicate in a 1:1 setting or a small group and get the same response? It’s a tall order, but those that can deliver are coveted.

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #30 – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by by Stephen R. Covey

I basically write these reviews for myself, a way to hold myself accountable to reading a book a week for the entire year. It’s amazing to 7Habitsme that it’s already been 30 weeks into the year. July is coming to an end and I am astounded at the knowledge I have gained from the 30 books covered so far. I’m really excited about the next 22 weeks and in fact; the more I read, the more I realize that there is an every growing number of books that I need to read. Each week I try very hard to pull relevant information out of a book to positively impact my life. This week I realize that I’ve been sharpening my saw, working on the 7th Habit all year long.

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #30 – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

I don’t often criticize an author instead, I attempt to be completely optimistic and find only the positive that can help me. I’ve read a lot of authors this year and if I were a real book critic I suspect that I would have found a lot of faults in almost all of these. I’m not a book critic, I’m a salesman and the first person I sell to everyday is me. I have to sell myself on the fact that reading more content in the form of books will be more valuable than watching T.V., reading blogs, playing video games or playing on social media. Stephen Covey does an excellent job of describing the most important activities in our life, the activities that don’t offer instant gratification but instead will lead to long term improvement, those Important but Non-Urgent tasks. Reading a book a week falls into this category for me, it probably does for most people. I have successfully tricked my mind into turning this activity into an Important and Urgent task by imposing this blog deadline on myself. I wonder what else I could trick my mind into doing?

The 7 Habits is a great book, pick it up. Apparently, over 25 million copies have been sold and for good reason, it all makes sense. Covey conveys his message and it’s stood the test of time. Use this book as the catalyst to do something great, or to just be great. We aren’t all going to be public leaders, CEOs, politicians or group leaders but we can all grow a little bit each and every day and strive to be just a little bit better than we were the day before.

 

7-habits-of-highly-effective-people

The New 4 Letter Word in Sales = DEAL

Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of noise around the word “Deal”. I have no idea why some sales experts are designating this word as bad-dealsomething to avoid, but i whole heartily disagree. I am happy to look someone in the eyes and ask them if we have a Deal. I’m happy to let someone know that this is a great Deal. As long as I am genuine and I really believe that I’ve put together a great Deal then I’m 100% good with this word.

The problem arises because some sales reps will talk about getting or giving “Deals” that aren’t really a good value. The customer can feel when something doesn’t feel right and that “Deal” suddenly turns into a Lemon. Customer’s still want a Deal, but the Deal has to mean Value. Every customer I’ve ever worked with wants to feel like they got the better end of the bargain. They want to feel like they negotiated and received a better Value because of their interaction and ability. The passive people believe they will get a good Deal because they are good people or because they are easier to work with. The friendly, outgoing people believe that only friends give friends the good Deals, so they want to make friends with you. The super busy executives want to get a great Deal from you because they are quick and to the point and save you time. My friends with the excel spread sheets that analyze the numbers from every aspect want to believe that their acute attention to the numbers has garnered them some magical leverage that enables them to get a better Deal.

Everyone wants a Deal, they just don’t want to feel slimy about it. They don’t want to be told that it’s a Deal, they want to judge it to be a good Value themselves. Go ahead and use the word, just back it up with Value, however the customer defines that Value. Some people value expediency, other want you to take your time. Some customers want you to be very personable, others want you to respect their privacy. The word isn’t the problem, it’s that sometimes the Deal isn’t really a Value. It’s up to sales people to find out what the customer finds valuable and then to tailor the program, purchase or service in the best way possible. Let’s put away the pitch forks and put the halo over Deal.

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #27 – Dialogue: The Art Of Thinking Together by William Isaacs

If you know me then you know that I often talk about the Duologue and how not just Salespeople, but people in general need to actively dialogue and the art of thinking togetherlisten more and just talk less. This is a book that harps on that concept and backs it up with years of research and quantifiable results. I know that I could be a better listener and that it would help me to become a better salesperson, father, husband and friend. I know that people don’t spend enough time thinking about and crafting their communication style and it’s a shame.

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #27 – Dialogue: The Art Of Thinking Together by William Isaacs

 

This is an in depth book, and it’s not written for the masses. William is an Academic and he often writes like one. The book is about 400 pages long and probably close to 130,000 words, compared to a book written for sales people like Sell or Be Sold, by Grant Cardone which is more like 45,000 words. I’m not saying the length of the book is better or worse, but I’m trying to demonstrate the amount of information contained in this work. The pages aren’t empty filler either, each concept is clearly explained, several examples are provided and then the concept can be summarized and put into action. The book is incredibly well thought out and the chapters are well organized with both classical references for the academic and real life examples from the business world. The result is that the same ideas are likely to get conveyed by several different modes of written communication in an effort for everyone to obtain the same message. People often interpret language in different ways, the author attempts to limit any miscommunication by the act of over communicating, it probably works.

The essence of the book is difficult to summarize, but I believe that the author believes that greatness comes from true dialogue. A dialogue isn’t just a conversation, it’s an action that if done right, will enable us to become much more than we are individually. Communication inspires us and good dialogues create more than we could come up with by ourselves. A dialogue enables two or more brains to interact, it’s as if the dialogue were the ethernet cable that allows our brains to link and double the computing power. If you assign 2 computers a problem and give them the same rules, software and hardware they should theoretically complete the task in the same amount of time with the same result. If you connect those computers with a serial port or somehow link the 2 you’ll have dual processors working in tandem. You’ll complete the work in half the time and depending on the type of problem presented you could possibly have a different outcome . How boring would Google be if it just searched the information on your own computer? How much better would it be if it searched the computers in your home, office, town, church? How much better is it actually because it can search just about any database and computer in the world? A dialogue works a little like that, the bigger and more inclusive the dialogue, the better the search results will be.

We often deny ourselves the dialogue, we insist on just waiting our turn to talk instead of actually listening and using the information provided to add to our own network and database. We take turns giving monologues where we say our piece and move on, the duologue is prevalent in business meetings and relationships across the world. We are simply waiting our turn to deliver our predetermined lines. Take a moment to really listen, and then reply with thoughtfulness that incorporates what you just heard. It’s harder than it seems at first, but it gets easier. I’m no expert at it, but awareness alone will start the process moving forward. Just try a little bit everyday to get better. You will make a difference.

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #26 – The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

We are all way less important than we think we are, but way more important than we give ourselves credit for. 51OWc0PhNqL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_Tim is all about living the experiences and managing cash flow. He’s the exact opposite of many money strategists out there, but he makes a ton of sense in today’s world.

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #26 – The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

 

You don’t need to do 80% of the things you are doing right now. You could drastically cut down on the needless activities and zero in on the 20% of your daily and life activities that really matter. Think about it really hard for a few minutes. Could you just stop doing 80% of the things in your life? What if you outsourced 40% of your activities and just eliminated another 40% of your activities? Could you get by? Tim believes 100% that you can not only survive, but you can thrive in that kind of scenario. The biggest trick here, is to ignore or delegate. The goal is to ignore or delegate 80-90% of your daily activities, by doing that you’ll free up almost all of your time for the few things that absolutely have to be done by you, AND for whatever you actually want to be doing with your life.

We are indeed way less important than we think we are. We could delegate a TON of things that we do, others can complete the tasks just as well as we can, sometimes better. We often keep doing tasks because we feel as if nobody else could accomplish the task at the same level of competence that we can. This is a false assumption that we tell ourselves so that we feel successful at our jobs and tasks. We long to feel useful.

The amazing thing about this book is that if everyone who read it actually did the things inside of it, there wouldn’t be anyone left to actually do the work. What stops the majority of people from following through on the tips and guidance provided in this book? There are many types of jobs and professions in the world today, they don’t all lend themselves to this type of lifestyle. Like many changes, the biggest and hardest step is the first one. You have to be willing to change your profession significantly in order to apply the methods in the book. I choose to work in an office where I manage people and I need to be present to do so. I have learned though, that often I can delegate or just plain ignore many items that don’t actually NEED my attention. This frees me up to complete tasks that are important, but not-urgent that will actually impact the people I lead and serve.

I’m a fan of Tim Ferris’ and I believe in many of his suggestions. Switching to a cash flow model for your life could be a little shocking at first, but also invigorating and thrilling. I reviewed a book earlier this year called “You are a Badass” and the author had decided to make this switch to cash flow management and to extensively travel. I haven’t taken a poll, but I’d say that most people die with “I wish I would have traveled more” thought in the back of their mind. Make that first step and change your life. I have feeling it’s like cliff jumping, once you take that first step it’s too late to go back!

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #24 – #AskGaryVee : One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness by Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is a phenomenon. His legion of fans are loyal and loud and if you haven’t heard about him before now, (or more likely you’ve heard about him but just didn’t reach out to consume any of his material), it’s time to dive in and see what it’s all about. AskGaryVee

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #24 – #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness by Gary Vaynerchuk

 

@garyvee is his twitter handle and he’s a social media hustler. He runs a couple of massive businesses but it’s his personal brand that really packs the punch. I don’t know how you value the personal brand of someone like Gary but he’s definitely building his up. He’s always online in some way shape or form, the amount of content that he pushes out is amazing. I’ve watched just a hand full of things he’s on and he’s simultaneously filming a Facebook Live video while doing a YouTube video that’s skewed for a different audience and can be cut and edited while the Facebook deal is raw. He’s multi-streaming himself, he’s recording some meetings, but guess what? He was going to be having those meetings anyway!

He’s always on point, he’s always on and he’s always hustling. He’s got a tendency for some raw language but I accept his language just because it’s who he is. The show has some great insights into his business and the book is basically the show just revamped into a longer format. It’s not just a “Best Of” book though, the new material is significant and it’s more up to date because he’s had time to go through and thing about the questions that compromise this book.

Basically there are a series of questions posed to Gary that allow him to go off on a series of tangents and he can easily go from topic to topic without having to stick to too much structure. The nature of the questions were grouped together, but these were culled over a period of time and this is sort of the readers digest version of #askgaryvee . It’s well done and entertaining. I didn’t watch his show previously but I had seen some of his short clips and motivational instagram pictures. I’m in the motivation game, I need to wake up every morning with massive purpose in order to keep going forward and so I thoroughly enjoy reading this stuff, I thrive on it.

I’m reading a book every week this year and I’m a little upset that now I can’t get my hour or 2 of Gary in everyday moving forward. I’ll have to adjust my schedule to find the time to touch on Gary’s work again. I’ve made it my mission to read as much as possible this year, but that also means that I once I find someone that really interests me I’m already moving onto the next adventure. This year I’m impressed with the Napoleon Hill, Grant Cardone,  Mike Weinberg and Gary Vaynerchuk, Almost done with the first half of the year,  I hope the second half is just as entertaining and informative.