This article was originally published on January 16th, 2012. Even though I don’t often write about sales, on some level, all networking and communication is based on our ability it influence. This is a great place to start!
I have a shelf in my office full of sales books and they pretty much all say the same things. So these days when I read another book on sales, what I’m looking for are the few nuggets that stand out and make the lightbulb go off. It might be a reminder of something I already knew, or a different way of looking at a part of the sales process, but it’s a piece of actionable information that will make a difference in my results.
Jeffrey definitely delivers in the Little Red Book of Selling. This isn’t a book of basics, and I think there are better foundation books out there. For salespeople with a little experience under their belt, though, this is a great tool to help develop advanced business skills.
“People Don’t Like to be Sold, but They Love to Buy … your job as a master salesman is to create an atmosphere where people want to buy” (first page)
Ideas, Implications, and Questions:
- Most sales books put forth a sales process that is “scientific”, meaning that if it’s run the right way, anyone could run it. But, whether we want to admit it or not, a prospect’s feelings towards the salesperson influences what will happen. Jeffrey points out “liking is the single most powerful element in a sales relationship.” Because, “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being not quite so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends.” (pg 81) So it’s important to develop your sales skills, but it’s even more critical to develop your interpersonal skills.
- Over and over, Jeffrey points out that people who buy aren’t looking to become informed and educated, they are looking for someone to solve their problems as quickly as possible. I think a lot of salespeople fall into the trap of telling their customers about their products – when all the customers care about is the ability of the product to fix their issues. It’s the old school “features vs. benefits” idea – tell prospects how you can help them, not the facts and figures.
- One of the most common objections that salespeople run into is price – because every prospect has a finite amount of cash they can spend. Too many sales people wither when this comes up, instead of standing up for themselves. I love Jeffrey’s response: “Price or profit, Mr. Jones, which would you rather have?” (pg 77)
- “In sales it’s not who you know. In sales, it’s who knows you.” (pg 63). A powerful reminder about prospecting – especially for those who use networking to build their pipeline. What are you doing to increase the visibility of your brand in the marketplace – especially as a solver of problems? If it’s used correctly, social media is a really useful tool for solving both sides of the equation.
Should you read this book?
If you are selling – absolutely. It will re-focus your efforts and re-engage you with your craft at a high level. Definitely worth the time.