Reading List

Over the years I have been influenced by a number of great authors. Their books have opened the doors to a world of wisdom and success. Each book is unique in the various facets and aspects they  address, all have influenced me and my postings on the Tao Te Ching of Sales. I’ve often been asked by the readers of this  blog on advice on what books I’d recommend. To answer that question I’ve created a new tab on this blog with my Reading List.

The six books I review are:

  • New Conceptual Selling – Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman
  • Cold Calling Techniques (That Really Work) – Stephan Schiffman
  • Crossing the Chasm –  Geoffrey Moore
  • Selling to the Very Important Top Officer – Anthony Parnello
  • Spin Selling – Neil Rackham
  • The 5 Paths to Persuasion – Robert Miller and Gary Williams

I hope you find value in this selection.  Click here for the list.  Good reading!

“I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object.”

Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, June 10, 1815.


Tricks and Traps

telephone number padThis week a sales rep from a world class corporation sent me an email requesting that I attend a brief webinar. After reviewing his email,  I specifically asked him to give me his elevator pitch. It became clear that he was selling a service that is not appropriate for my company. I was firm in responding that my company does not do that kind of marketing, it’s bad for our branding. To be certain I asked “Is that what you’re selling?” He then responded “It’s more-so about helping you make more money without putting stress on your resources and without disengaging your customers”.

OK, so maybe I’m wrong and he has something that could have value. So I dug deeper into his email and asked again in  another way. Eventually he came clean and said he  was selling that service  I don’t want,  just as suspected. The rep was not honest with me and I told him as much in my email response. I shared I expect more from a company with their reputation. I told him if he did this on his own, shame on him. If his sales manager is telling him to lie and be evasive, I asked him to please share the email with him so they can know their tactics are dishonest. Being the strident coach, I recommended they rethink their efforts.

The Master Seller is an expert in finding “qualified” prospects and serving them. Of asking questions and finding out if we can help. When prospects are crystal clear about their desires, and our solution does NOT match up, we thank them for their time and move on to the next lead. We don’t try tricks and traps to get them to sit through a dog and pony show.

If sellers hope to become successful in sales, it’s best they learn ethical sales now, sooner the better. These were the thoughts I shared with the sale rep. He did not acknowledge my comments but merely responded “thank you for your time”.

Some people do not want to learn.

When the Master sells, prospects are hardly aware of it,
To them it’s just a conversation about their lives.

Next best is a seller who is loved.
Next, one who is feared as sleazy.
The worst is one who is considered a huckster.

If you don’t trust the customer, you make them untrustworthy.

The Master Seller doesn’t talk, he acts.
When the sale is closed the people say, “We chose wisely”

Discovering Expectations

As the bee expects nectar 
From each flower it visits, 
So too does the buyer 
With expectations of your solution.

Each sale is built on  a foundation of
Understanding the  urgency
Learning the real need
Delving into desires
Framing the budget
Building trust and confidence 
that you can deliver.

By learning the yearning 
And selling by not telling 
The seller connects with the buyer
To  find common ground

Blue Birds vs Bird Dogging 

Sales is a mix of the hard and the easy
Sometimes they fall in your lap 
A pleasant gift on a hard days work.
They are called Blue Birds.

More common the Master Seller 
is a Bird Dog,
Patiently sniffing out opportunities 
working to flush out new business.

Patience is the test of resolve, trust and circumstance.
Not whining 
The Master Seller accepts responsibility
They work each deal at its own accord

Helping Hand

The buyer is busy.
With their cup filled to the brim,
they fail to make time and consider alternatives.

The Master Seller extends a helping hand
to clear their minds.
They help discover frustrations and desires.
They create possibilities
with new products and services
the buyer alone cannot see.

In the hubbub of the everyday, prospects often and understandably fail to step back and challenge the processes they’ve been doing. They know that things could be simpler, faster, and of higher quality. But the demands of their customers take precedence and fill their day. Retrospection is left for tomorrow.

As Master Sellers, it’s our responsibility to “awake” the prospect to new possibilities. We must reach out to them, they won’t come to us. It requires patience and a certain bravado to create a conversation, that allows them to self reflect. But in that self-reflection, openings are created. It is here where the seller may have solutions, to alleviate their suffering.

It is the Master Seller who takes the initiative and empties the buyer’s cup.

Time, Sediment and Grit

Mountain glacier

Last week I visited Alaska to bicycle 400 miles of mountain passes. I have never been there before and it is wilderness beyond measure. Although a challenge, it was an extremely enjoyable experience. At times  quite difficult, yet I believe in the Paradox that joy is found through struggle. Throughout the ride I  passed many glaciers, whose melting waters ate away  the hard granite.  Their soft, yet  incessant flow, creates sediment and grit that wears away great crevices and gorges. The water is cold and would flow through my hands, yet over time could wear away the hardest rock.

While riding I reflected  on the numbers of people who couldn’t fathom the challenge of riding mountain passes. They see the task as something impossible and something out of their reach. Yet with time, anyone can do such a thing. I’m no athlete. Yet slowly  mile by mile, like the grit and sediment of glacier waters, anyone can “eat” away the miles. First one, then ten, then 70. Before you know it,  you’re done and ready for dinner.

This applies to many things in life, and of course Sales. The Tao commonly speaks of the power of water. Last week I saw this viscerally first hand in Alaska, how tenacity, persistence and grit can move mountains. Far too many see the hard as “too hard”, not believing that if they break the problem up into series of “one mile”, it can be completed given time.

Glacial rivers
Wear away mighty  mountains
With  time,sediment,  and grit.

With grit, the Master Seller works opportunities
Others abandon.
With tenacity they chisel away objections
With persistence they wear away concerns
Each sale has its own nature
And can be won
given enough time,
Given enough grit.

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