People Achieving

Book Reviews

Robert Cialdini’s work is well researched from when he was working as a salesperson, fundraiser, advertiser and in consultative positions in companies. He focused his efforts on compliance tactics that achieved us to say “yes”. He speaks with great authority on the subject and this book is an absolute must if you are in the business of persuading others. The compliance techniques are arranged into six categories based on psychological principles that direct human behaviour- reciprocation, consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. When these techniques are applied the results are truly staggering in achieving “yes” outcomes at the same time providing you with an insight into human behaviour.

This book is the sales questioning equivalent of the bible, it in my opinion the best book written on the subject. Mahan’s approach is very consultative and is what is used by many blue chip companies and especially the major consulting houses. Mahan Khalsa offers a methodology for approaching the sales cycle that is client centric and not a 'one style fits all' approach. He raises your awareness with both verbal and non verbal signals that the client gives in a meeting and tunes you in to handling these with an intent that makes the client feel comfortable and in control. One of the central themes is that you creating a solution which exactly meets the clients needs in either fixing a problem or achieving a desired result. His principles and approach are so aligned with Stephen Coveys & habits its no wonder Covey invested in the company. What I really liked was even though I have been selling for 30 years with an open mind it really opened my eyes as to the possibilities and also cemented what I had learned throughout that time. This is a cut to the chase approach and for somebody new into selling the book is invaluable there are no bad habits here. Just follow the instructions as you would with a cooking recipe and get perfect results every time. You must apply this book to get the desired results!

This book teaches all many of the things you need to know about competitive selling and political strategies in large and complex organisations. We often find due to preventative measures that we find ourselves dealing with influencers ( technical commercial support business etc) and can’t get to the real decision makers, or at least all of them at the same time to put your propositions forward in the purest sense. It teaches you competitive techniques to out fox them using a wide range of appropriate techniques. When you visit the customer and they often provide you with the organisation chart which is a hierarchical view and you have to turn this into something meaningful cutting through the lines of authority and revealing influence. Holden achieves this and guides through a number of well thought out approaches. If you did not apply this book or just read the first few chapters it would be sacrilege as to the value it can offer. This book personally helped me win the largest contract of my life and without it I feel certain than in such a complex political environment I would have struggled and almost defiantly not won the deal. In a nutshell whilst this book maybe several years old it remains a must for anyone who is serious about selling to large companies. This book can save you so much time in avoiding endless tea and buns meetings talking about the weather.

For the past twenty years Keirsey has continued to investigate personality differences. His findings form the basis of Please Understand Me II, an updated and expanded edition of his original book. This is book is an essential reference guide for the salesperson whether you’re embarking on a sales campaign or doing a presentation to the board. It really connects you with people’s personal preference’s and can be useful warning to all those presenting big picture visions to a customer who needs the real detail. The book contains an in depth questionnaire which will provide insights to your personality preferences. I have used this personally in coaching to develop peoples’ ability and gain an insight into what they need to work on. If you are salesperson then you are in the ‘people’ business so have this in your desk draw and gain a richer awareness of the world.

Tim Gallwey has achieved world class status with his Inner game of tennis, music golf etc series. He uses these principles to give you a real insightful view as to how they can be applied in the workplace. Gallwey, sorts out the nonsense and preventers that go on inside your head and stops you from achieving the results you deserve. Using this book to help you deal with the myriad of nonsense, self doubt and delusion you have as an aspiring world leading sales professional; it does an excellent job. It’s fantastic for a sales manager who wants to adopt a coaching style and develop their teams with a series of models that work. This book should be on many CEO’s shelves as it would be a realism guide to getting the best from the workforce, rather the life story of some egotistical deluded individual who thinks they are Napoleon. As you will find out in the book their inner self is out of control.

Even the title of this book will challenge some but may inspire others both Men and women. What Greene does so masterfully is take us on a journey into the psyches of the great seducers in history and of the world. He provides a number of strategies that help you like Cialdini achieve “yes” in a world riddled with objections and difficulties. He talks about the world stage and how great political leaders and orators charismatically charmed there way to the hearts and mind of their audiences. Surely, this is what we are trying to achieve in every document, presentation or negotiation we have with our customers is winning them over. Greene has the same formulaic structure in all his books which makes them very easy to read and take notes. You can dip in and just reference a couple of chapters or read wholes sections. There are so many ways we can apply this book, when we see how the great film stars and leaders have literally seduced us over time; it all begins to make sense. Please have an open mind click on this link and then look inside you will find many jewels of pure wisdom.

This is not a book for the if it comes in black do you want to go ahead and buy it now process. This is about a well defined process and a range of tools that help keep focused on the campaign to win the war not just the battle. You would use the whole process if the deal were a long term campaign. If however you become adept at the skills and spend some time setting up you Pain Sheets and various prompters this could almost become intuitive and second le from start to finish It advises you quite clearly to avoid wasting your time on poorly qualified proposals that you so want to win but in real terms have a more than 90% chance of no success. Just spending a great deal of time on the wrong things. Just discovering if you're `Column A' in the evaluation or `Column Fodder' is, in itself, can save you can great deal of time and shape your responses to the customer. When I did the course I came away with the Evaluation Plan concept and gaining access to power through a sponsor was the nuggets that stuck in my mind. On the downside I struggled with the 9 Box process for qualification but now have had more time to absorb it’s power and remember it holistically rather than step 123 etc I find it more palatable. I also think this book is extremely valuable for sales managers who want to have more control over the sales process and the business pipeline. The sales people would have to understand this in order for it to be effective and time coaching here would be time well spent. Overall this would not be my favourite but it certainly goes a very long way and has some very useful tools. For anyone who likes a process this is excellent as there is no stoned unturned in the Sales/Buying process. I think this is ideal for large scale software sales where often the solution is intangible as this really does get you to qualify and confirm a joint vision.

Sir Isaac Newton reputedly said that “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”. Tom Sant, enlightens his readers because he writes about being able to stand on the shoulders of four "giants" in salesmanship: John Henry Patterson, Dale Carnegie, Elmer Wheeler, and Joe Girard. Sant examines the career of each of the four men, and then explains what he thinks can be learned from their quite different approaches to sales...and to life. Sant credits Patterson (1867-1947) was won of the first - to provide a structure the sales process and improve the consistency and standards into his approach. He worked and observed his brother in law to formulate his thinking, which, CEO Patterson empowered his sales force enabled their company, National Cash Register, to attain growth profitably throughout the Great Depression in the 1930s. Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) was known as "the apostle of influence" because Carnegie's original insights in how to get others to like you. He success has continued to influence and inform salespeople and management many years after his death. Elmer Wheeler understood "the magic of words" which he used very effectively e.g. "Don't sell the steak, sell the sizzle!” As for Joe Girard (1928-present), he used various strategies and tactics for "priming the pump" to become (according to the Guinness Book of World Records) "the world's greatest salesman. The focus of Girards attention according to Sant was on his "Law of 250" (i.e. "Most people have about 250 other people in their lives who are important enough to invite to a wedding or to a funeral") This is the basis of his continuous cultivation of past, current, and prospective customers, very much in tune with viral networking. The focus is his attention entirely to the four "giants," however he provides interesting views along the way on many others. I would rate this book as a history lesson in selling, he suggests to his reader how to select the most relevant material from among the abundance he provides. Sant’s sales methodologies key points are:

  • 1. Be customer centric and use a sales method that matches the client’s preferred buying mode. (Serving not Selling)
  • 2. It must incorporate lessons for learning and self correcting, which requires a high degree of flexibility. (Always be prepared to adapt and change)
  • 3. The sales process must create value for the client in the form of intellectual capital, for both the client and the vendor. (Focus on client issues to create value)
  • 4. The methodology followed must increase the efficiency of the sales process, making the sales cycle shorter or enabling the salesperson to handle a larger volume of accounts successfully. (Use a structured approach to be even more productive)
  • 5. The methodology should be transferable across all skill levels. (Not an evangelical approach often prescribed by many offerings)
  • 6. The methodology is based on objectively measured events or tasks. (See the wood from the trees objectively)

Sant informs us that “the one thing that all these sales methods have is they all work. In order for them to work you must have the desire and courage to practice and apply them”. Therefore, be consistent have patience and persistence in your approach by doing I thing at a time. Just keep doing it is really the bottom line.

This book is a practical guide and demonstrates in easy steps how to use linkedin and become proficient in connecting to a network in excess of 30 million business users. This takes you through easy screen shots from create your profile, making connection, joining groups and getting questions answered. Many people don’t spend long enough exploring the possibilities of linkedin and the power of its capabilities. This book in simple steps will make you proficient in a very short period of time. If you’re in business the small investment of using this book will bring you many rewards. Being a seasoned user of linkedin I found this book opened my eyes to further possibilities.

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