Popular Posts

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Solution Selling: Creating Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets

I liked this book.  My job is sales, I'm part of a specialized function where technical knowledge and trading is primary but at the end of the day our evaluations are for how well we do at sales.

I was worried when I started in the sales department.  I was always very good at my service jobs but when it came to sales I was at a loss.  I always associated sales with being able to talk fast and being able to talk people into making decisions they would regret later.

Once I moved over I realized that when you're selling something reputable and beneficial you don't need to be "salesy" at all.  Selling it just having a conversation with a person, being genuine and gaining their trust and then pointing them to something that will benefit them.

This book is an excellent primer into the mechanics of good salesmen and how they do things.

Firstly, this book is aimed at selling to corporations and companies.  The information does apply to selling to individuals but the first half is better for general sales while the second half is based around deep price negotiations and how to determine who the decision makers are in a company.  That's not as useful when you're selling products to individual people or families.  Secondly this author of the book teaches sales seminars, and as is often the case when the author makes more from doing seminars than from selling books,  the book appears to be a companion manual for the seminar.  Because of these two issues I can't recommend this as the only book you should read if you want to learn to sell.

I would suggest it though, it's great for learning the process for making a sale and how to investigate needs.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Discover Your Inner Economist

Yes it's time to get in touch with the inside you, but this inside you is an economist.  This book is subtitled Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting and Motivate Your Dentist.

Now I'm a big fan of Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen's blog.  See it's right over there on the blogroll.  He's probably one of my favorite libertarians and a great modern thinker.
I desperately wanted to love this book and I did make it all the way through but it wasn't the experience I wanted it to be.  I can't even think of a funny metaphor to describe how dissapointed I was.

Firstly, the questions in the subtitle weren't even answered.  How do you use incentives to fall in love?  Well this topic was addressed by stating that it's completely obvious that you use incentives in love and relationships, money isn't the only means of exchange.  Uh yeah, most of us know that already Tyler.  The dentist?  Well you can't motivate a dentist because a person visiting a dentist would evaluate a dentist on how pain free the experience is, not on the long term health benefits that a good dentist will give.  Mr. Cowen states the problem and then throws up his hands and states that you can't solve the problem.  How do you survive meetings?  Have less of them of course, they're all just a big waste of time according to Tyler.

So now why did I make it through?  Because when Tyler isn't lazily asking questions he won't answer and isn't thumping his podium too hard he has some good bits of wisdom.

Things like eat healthily at home and junk when you go out.  Why?  Because you can't make unhealthy food as well as a restaurant can so if you're going to have a good balance between good food and bad you may as well make the bad food as good as it can possibly be.

So Tyler.  Maybe you are a great macro economist and maybe you are a great guy.  Next time though how about you stick to one or the other.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The 5 Temptations of a CEO

Yay, it's story time in the workplace.  I believe this horrible trend was started with the One Minute Manager.  It's reached the pabulum covered goodness with The 5 Temptations of a CEO.

Let me tell you the plot, don't worry I'm not ruining anything for you, a CEO falls asleep on the train, an old man wakes him up and drags him to another car.  Yes the head honcho is traveling around on a train and follows an old man around, how realistic.

Anyway the old man tells the CEO how to run his business, the CEO listens and his business improves and then when the company puts up pictures of the former CEOs the CEO in the story recognized the old man as a former CEO!

If your CEO is taking business advice from old men on the train please for the love Mary hold a shareholder revolt.

Maybe the advice in the book is tolerable but it's overshadowed by the worlds worst attempt to pry $10 out of a businessman's hands that I've ever witnessed.  Pass on this one.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Scream Free Parenting (it's not just for women anymore).

Yes a Psychology book.  Bleeeeech.  Shivers run down the spine of any man contemplating reading any kind of psychology book.  Psychology is for women.  We're going to get in touch with our feelings, learn to accept things the way they are and it's all magically get better, whatever.
Well it often works just that way.  Scream free parenting takes you through a process of seeing parenting different from the stressful way that many of us see it and helps you to relax a bit and enjoy it.

It starts out with the premise that you aren't responsible for everything your children do.  They actually have their own personalities and preferences and not all of them are your fault.  I guess in a metaphysical way they are but I guess you can blame your parents for the awful genes they passed on to you.

So that was very helpful, immediately after seeing things that way I calmed down quite a bit.  No I'm still not perfect, the kids still have to touch everything in Home Goods which makes me panic about what I'm going to do if they break the $200 lamp but when they're not around anything breakable I'm much more tolerant than I was.

Secondly the book talks to you about how everyone needs space starting with your children.  They need privacy and a place to keep their things and they tend to function much better if you're not breathing down their neck making sure they behave all day.  I've been trying this and they're actually behaving much better at home.

Lastly the book tells you that you need to take care of yourself because your kids depend on you.  Would you let them stay up all night drinking coffee and playing video games when they have to be up at 6 AM?  No you wouldn't because it's bad for you and it's stupid.   So maybe you should love yourself enough to treat yourself right because a tired, unhealthy, irritable parent is as useless at work and home as a tired unhealthy irritable child would be in school.

So now I'm in touch with my feelings and things are working better and I'm much less stressed out.  Thanks a lot psychology, I guess I'll turn in my man card at the door.