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Note: Nicole Garrison, provides today’s guest Blog, ‘Will you improve with these sales books?’
Nicole Garrison is an expert writer of articles, case studies, and marketing, sales, and business development research. You may follow her on Twitter Nicole contributes her writing expertise to the best paper writing services where she works on academic papers for students in need of writing assistance.
She adds, “if I ever write a book on effective sales training, I will title it “Relationships and Technology – The 21st Century Approach to Sales.” And there’s plenty of research that I could use to support the title and the two concepts – relationships (including trust) and the use of technology (i.e., data science).
Before looking at the best books for sales training today, it’s essential to understand the two concepts in my yet-to-be-written book.
Will You Improve with These Sales Books?
Today’s consumers are “smart cookies,” and accordingly, it’s wise for salespeople to consider the question, ‘will you improve with these sales books?’ They will not accept any salesperson’s word for the value of a product or service. They do their research; they read the reviews; they check with their tribes on social media. In short, they form their opinions of quality elsewhere, not from a salesperson.
People and businesses who make purchases want to know with whom they are doing business. It is a matter of trust, and it is nurtured and earned. Companies earn trust by their practices (customer service, social responsibility, etc.), as do individual salespeople who are on the “front lines.”
Never before have we learned so much about consumers – their pain points, purchasing behaviors, values, and more. It is all thanks to data science – a technology that lets us pull unstructured data from all over the web, organize it, and use it to answer basic questions about targeted groups of potential customers.
It is not the job of salespeople to conduct this research. But it is the salespeople’s job to know and understand this research and use it to drive their sales strategies.
With these two concepts in mind, let’s unpack a few books that will speak to them. After reading the brief description of each, take time to consider the question, ‘will you improve with these sales book?’ Success depends on how we each define it plus our approach.
1. Gap Selling (By Keenan)
In 2012, the company Dollar Shave Club was launched. There was only one salesman – founder Mike Dubin, although he had a partner, Mark Levine. They met at a party and commiserated about the high cost of disposable razors and the inconvenience of remembering to stop at the store to get them when they ran out.
These two recognized a “gap” between where male consumers were and where they would probably like to be – a pain point they could resolve through a subscription razor delivery service that produced bulk razors cheaper than retailers selling them.
Dubin launched a video as a sales pitch. It was about 90 seconds long and went viral within a day. He explained the “gap” to his target audience, millennial men, using a tone and style he knew would connect with that audience.
The rest is history. Dollar Shave Club became a billion-dollar corporation by the time they sold.
And this is the entire point of the book Gap Selling – understanding your potential customer’s problem and presenting the solution to that problem.
Of course, it’s not as simple as that. There is a paradigm shift that the salesperson must make. But the book helps to make that shift.
The other piece that Keenan does not cover in detail is the science of identifying that gap for customers, whether B2C or B2B. And this is where data science comes into play. It identifies those gaps and needs that customers have.
2. Relationship Selling (By: Jim Cathcart)
There is a vast body of research about the value of relationships – personal and professional. We are all familiar with the therapeutic activities of personal relationship counseling. But we may not be as familiar with the value of relationships between teachers and students. Educational research shows the connections crucial to student success in the classroom.
The transition to the importance of relationships in sales has been more recent. While many salespersons have been actively relationship-building with current and potential customers almost by instinct, many others have not embraced that concept.
Cathcart’s book, first published in 1990, has had several updates, but the basic thesis is the same. You cannot retain existing customers (which is a lot cheaper than obtaining new ones) or hope to “court” new ones without focusing on relationship-building first.
Relationships are built by asking the right questions and engaging in “active listening.” The other key, according to Cathcart, is the follow-up.
Many companies understand this and send automated follow-up messages/surveys to customers following a sale. But these activities, while providing meaningful feedback, are still rather impersonal.
Salespeople should personally follow up with their customers, especially in B2B situations, to ensure satisfaction, that continued support will always be available, etc. These are the activities that build trust and long-term relationships.
The recap is a brief summary of Cathcart’s book. But it is a short read and should be a part of every salesperson’s library.
3. Secrets of Closing the Sale (By Zig Zigler)
Here is a timeless name in sales and someone who has authored about two dozen books on sales and success.
This book was published in 1982 (with several updates since), but Zigler’s thesis is one that every salesperson should embrace. You get what you want (sales-breaking records) by making sure you help others get what they want. In other words, successful salespersons are problem-solvers for their current and prospective customers.
The book is filled with practical tips and strategies to problem-solve for a customer or client.
One of the timeless quotes from the book:
“The objective of every sale is to make certain the customer gets fair value, and if he gets more than fair value, not only do you have the sale, but you’ve built a customer who will, in turn, help you build other customers.”
Getting more than fair value means a problem is solved, there is a continuing and regular follow-up, and support is always there.
4. The Science of Selling (By David Hoffeld
Behind every sale is a human or group of humans who decide to buy.
For those who want more scientific, research-based theses on sales success, this book refers to 400+ studies on how the human brain operates as it decides to buy and the “disconnect” between how we sell and how people buy. It could turn into a masterpiece, given the amount of research cited in the book. With a bit of editing and re-writing — you can turn to Supreme Dissertations for help.
According to Hoffeld, potential customers have six “why” questions to be answered before they buy. Ensuring that all six get answered ensures a sale.
It’s Art and Science
I’m not sure I will ever write my book. But I do know this: success in sales is the art of relationship building and the technology research that reveals how buyers act and make decisions. These four books cover both quite well. You will do well to consider the question, ‘will you improve with the sales books?’ and then potentially put them in your library and read them often.
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“Communicate to Attract Interest”
As the CEO of Smooth Sale, after her near-death experience, Stutz adapted the motto, “Believe, Become, Empower.”Nice Girls DO Get the Sale is an International Best-Selling and Evergreen book – among the classics; HIRED! Helped many to secure the job they desired.
Sales Tips: Will You Improve with These Sales Books?
- Dedicate yourself to learning using various methods, including reading and taking classes.
- Should a tip not sound quite right, examine why that might be and how to improve.
- As you gain knowledge, consider whether new conversations are to take place.
- Determine which classes may complement what you read and enjoy.
- Ask peers which books they are currently reading and what they might recommend.
- Will you improve with the suggested sales books is a question to seriously ponder.
- Realize that our personality affects how we deliver, so track the effectiveness of the new strategy.
- Be willing to test, revise, and test again to ensure a new idea works well.
- Additional books to consider: Raving Fans, SPIN Selling, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
- Celebrate Success!
Today’s insights are provided to help you achieve the Smooth Sale!
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