This one change could increase your teams productivity by 32 percent!

I speak to many leaders and owners of companies that tell me projects are not getting completed as quickly as they should.  It could be a variety of different things that are slowing them down.  Things such as lack of communication, ego, no sense of urgency, to just having the wrong people on the team.

However, recently I started sharing another thing that could be preventing their teams from accomplishing the goal. And it doesn’t have to do anything with the personalities of the team.  It is instead the distance of the team from each other while working on the project.

At the height the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union both, had teams of engineers working on multiple projects trying to develop and create more more weapon systems and satellite systems.  Between the government projects and private enterprise projects, teams of engineers spent countless hours working trying to develop something that had never been done before.

And like in most organizations, there were teams that consistently outperformed other teams in developing and implementing new things and completing projects. The government commissioned a study to determine why some teams were just better at doing this than other teams.  So they called on Thomas Allen who was a MIT Professor.

Allen started off his research by locating what he called “twin projects”, which was when two or more organizations, either private firms and the government were both working on the same problem.  Or it could have been two groups with the government or two groups of private firms.  Allen then measured the quality of their solutions and came up with a list of success factors that two teams had in common for completed projects.

What Allen determine pretty quickly was that the most successful projects were driven by individuals in groups that were very good communicators. After determining this, he wanted to see where these good communicators learned the skill.  Did they all go to the same school?  Did they have more experience?  Were they better at basic leadership skills? Were they just smarter IQ? Did they know each other better?  Allen looked at all of these factors and none of them gave any significance to being the reason for their superior communication skills.

Then he discovered something unique about where and how the teams of engineers were placed in their working environment. At first Allen didn’t think proximity of these teams had anything to do with their ability to get the jobs completed. But after looking at it further he determined that the most successful teams worked closer together physically.

“The ability to see each other everyday” Allen said, “is more important than you think.”

After determining this Allen researched it further by looking at the frequency of the communication between the teams.  They started looking at this across all teams and determined something very interesting. The further away people worked from each other, the frequency of their communication rapidly decreased. Allen said “It is really a serious thing, if you’re on a different floor in some organizations, you may as well be in a different country.”

Allen plotted the frequency of interactions against distance, and he ended up with a line that resembled a steep hill.  It was almost vertical at the top and flat at the bottom.  This became known as the Allen Curve.

As you can see by the curve that the steepness starts right at the eight meter mark. At eight meters or less that communication rises off the charts.

In today’s world with digital communications research has also found that teams still obey the Allen Curve. One study found that workers who shared a location emailed one another four times as often as workers who did not, and as result they completed their projects 32 percent faster (Daniel Coyle; The Culture Code, Bantam Books 2018).

As a trainer I work with organizations daily on the importance of communication in the workplace and how do it more effectively. One of the biggest things I will now share with them is the importance of proximity amongst the team.

The fact is that if we see each other and we know we have to face each other, we will communicate more effectively and more often, these two things determine success on projects and in the workplace.

To your success and your future.

Notes:  I originally read about the Allen Curve in Daniel Coyles book The Culture Code.  I highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to create a better working team. Proximity matters.  Google has also understood the importance of this and have designed all of their facilities accordingly to create the most opportunities for teams to collaborate and work together. 

My top 10 books out of the last 100 I’ve read!

I recently hit another milestone in my learning journey.  I just finished book number four hundred in seven years.  For some of you, that may seem like a small number.  But to me, from where I started, to where I am today, this is a an amazing accomplishment for me.

I have written countless times about the power, the confidence, and the joy that I get from reading.  But if you have not read any of that up until now.  I will say it again.  There is not one other thing that I have decided to do in my life and in my career, that has been more beneficial to my success financially, mentally, and relational, than making the decision to become an avid reader of books.  This one discipline has provided me with so much more in my life.

Become a reader and your life will change.  You can start with the list I have for you here.

Its funny, as I look back over books 300 to 400.  It was really easy to compile this list. Well, the fact that I have a grading and scoring system that I manage and track for all of the books I read makes it pretty easy.  But that alone, isn’t the only reason.

This list came together so easily, because the books on this list were by far and away, just really that good.  I am not sure how many of them were actually best sellers, but all of them had a profound impact on me which is why they made the list.

These books, aren’t necessarily the best written, most sold, most known (which I guess would also mean most sold), the longest, etc. No.  These books, had a profound impact on the way I thought, or provided me some new insight that I could apply that could make me more successful.  That is how they make the list.  They had an impact on me.

Maybe they will have an impact on you. Remember, click the title of the book and the link will take you right to Amazon so you can purchase the audio version or the hardcopy of the book. These books are in no particular order.

  1.  9 Things You simply Must do to Succeed in Love and Life; author Dr. Henry Cloud.
    Dr. Cloud is a phenomenal writer and speaker.  He has several best-selling books.  This book I picked up at a discount rack somewhere.  The reason I put it on the list is because he has two chapters in the book that really were amazing.  One chapter on playing fair and the other chapter on hate.In the hate chapter he discusses the practice of hating in a way that solves problems instead of creating them. Cloud suggests that hating well preserves life and hating poorly destroys life. An integral component of hating well is objectivity, which hates the issue without hating the person.

    In the chapter on Don’t Play Fair he discusses the practice of loving unconditionally. Loving without conditions is unfair and incredibly powerful. Further, the author suggests that loving without conditions is possible only when healthy detachment exists. In summary, undeserved love transforms lives.

  2. The Business of the 21st Century; author Robert Kiyosaki
    If you have lived under a rock the last twenty years or so, you may not be familiar with Robert Kiyosaki.  He is the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, and created a massive training company around that title as well.  I received this book from someone who was trying to sell me on joining their MLM (Multi Level Marketing) company.  If you don’t know what MLM is, I again, want to tell you to get out from under the rock.Some people call it Direct Marketing.  But it is selling products through a specific brand like a Herbalife, Amway, Beachbody, etc. to name a few of the bigger ones.  The process for MLM is where a person sells the products to people they know in their circles, and then from there they build a team of people doing it.  As you build a team within their organization you earn money from all of the sales the people on your team make, in addition to your own. I digress.

    This book is somewhat of a promotion of this type of business. A business that I personally have no desire to be in.  I don’t have a problem with the business model, I just don’t want to be in it. However, I am thankful for the book.Robert Kiyosaki is really successful and in the book he is promoting the MLM business, but this book has a whole lot of practical advice on why it is important for everybody to start some kind of business.  Whether it is real estate, selling products, or something else. Everyone should be involved in their full time job and a part-time job doing something that could eventually grow into something bigger.

  3. Be Obsessed or Be Average; author Grant Cardone
    Grant Cardone is a best-selling author and one of the top influencers on all social media platforms.  He is everywhere.  He has two primary goals.  First he is a sales trainer and his company sells sales training.  Secondly, he has built a huge company where he owns over 5,000 apartments around the country. The reason this book was so impactful is Grant is probably the best motivator I have ever listened to or read.  He will make you think bigger and differently than you have ever thought before.This book, is somewhat of  continuation of his 10X book. However, you don’t need to have read the 10X book before you read this one. Although I read the hard copy version, I would encourage you to buy the audible or audio version of this book.  Grant has a way of reading his books like no other person can.  He will get you motivated.
  4. Rejection Proof: How to Beat Fear and Become Invincible, author: Jia Jiang
    After I read this book, I immediately was more motivated to go out and do some of the things I was most fearful of.  I picked up the phone and called a CEO that had been putting me off.  I wasn’t scared of the CEO, or at least, I would have told you I wasn’t.  However, what is the worst that can happen.  There is no growth without a little fear, hesitation, and some discomfort, but that is also where the growth and success exists as well.  Read this book and you will learn how to overcome your fear.  This was one of the best books I have read in a long time about sales and it isn’t even a sales book, but it is.
  5. Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter, author: Scott Adams (Dilbert creator).  Scott Adams is the creator of the world-famous comic strip Dilbert. But Adams is not only a cartoonist, but he is a great writer.  Most of his books are around this topic of persuasion and how we can have more influence.  In this book, he talks about why he was one of the first to predict that Donald Trump would win the Presidential election in 2016.  He made this prediction because of Donald Trump’s ability to persuade and convince people.  This book is well written and is truly a lesson on how you can be more persuasive and convincing and grab attention in todays complex and noisy world.
  6. Nudge: Improving Decision about Health, Wealth, and Happiness; Author: Richard Thaler.  This book is about how every day we make choices—about what to buy or eat, about financial investments or our children’s health and education, even about the causes we champion or the planet itself. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. Nudge is about how we make these choices and how we can make better ones. The authors show that no choice is ever presented to us in a neutral way, and that we are all susceptible to biases that can lead us to make bad decisions. The author’s research show us that when things are presented in a certain way, we can change the buying patterns for people.  These little nuances can help everyone become healthier and even wealthier.  Richard Thaler also won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2017 for his work around behavioral economics.
  7. Anti Cancer; A new Way of Life; author: David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph. This book chronicles the story about how the author was diagnosed with brain cancer and the steps he took to fight and ultimately beat cancer.  He tells us his story, but also provides the readers his playbook, based on his success and his research, on what we can all do to not only fight cancer, but prevent it.  The biggest thing I learned was that a few changes in my diet could prevent me from ever having to deal with this.
  8. Made to Stick; Why Some Ideas Survive and others Die; authors: Chip and Dan Heath. In typical Heath brothers fashion, this book is peppered with lots of great research and support to back up their claims and the processes they suggest.  Through this process they outline several steps we can all take to come up with and deliver messages that stick with our audience. Whether you are a parent trying to get a message to stick with your child, to a manager trying to get adoption of a new process. This book tells you how to communicate in a way that gets things to stick.
  9. The Thomas Sowell Reader; Author Thomas Sowell.  Sowell is an American economist, turned social theorist, political philosopher, and author. He is currently Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. This book is a collection of the authors columns that have been syndicated in Newspapers for the last forty years, and our still being distributed.  Sowell’s opinions on everything from race, religion, politics, to every other hot button topic you hear about everyday is refreshing.  The way he breaks down and communicates in his writings his arguments on all of these topics will challenge you to think about the topic differently, regardless of what side of the argument you are on.  He believes in personal responsibility and that government should not be in our lives as much as they are.  Yes, he would be labeled as a conservative on many of his views.  However, I consider most of his arguments to be just very practical and straightforward.
  10. Steal Like an Artist; 10 Things Nobody Told you about Being Creative; author: Austin Kleon.  This book is the shortest read on the list.  The book is actually really tiny, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t impactful.  The information in the book, the quotes, the ideas the author throws out will really get you thinking about how you can get your creative juices flowing.  In addition, the author reminds you that everything we create is some form of a copy of something else.  Nothing is original.  We all have to start from something.  And he makes you feel good about how you go about creating and developing your material in whatever it is that you do.  This book isn’t only for people who currently do work that must be created, this is for someone who would like to be more creative.  This book will show you how to do it.

I hope you pick up a few of the books that I have recommended here.  When it comes to reading, I have learned that I must seek out other people’s opinions on books and get recommendations.  Most people won’t recommend a bad book.  I won’t, unless I think it will help someone based on whatever it is they are dealing with and working through.

But that is the point, many of the books I recommend and say are my best.  May only have been the best, because of what I was doing at the time I read them.  Of the four hundred books I have read, some of them, if I read them again today, I might be looking at them through a whole different set of eyes based on my perspective now.  And this list could be a totally different list.

My only advice to you is this. Become a reader.  Start finding books or even listening to books.  It will change your life. It has mine.

To your success and your future.

 

My Top 10 Books for 2017. #2 will change your life.

2011, was the first year I set a goal to read a certain number of books within the year.  My goal that year was to read 12 books, one a month.  I ended up reading 22 books that year. The next year I read roughly the same amount.  The following year I challenged myself with reading a book a week, 52 for the year.  Since that time 52 has been my minimal standard, with the big goal to read 100 for the year.

I have yet to hit the 100 number, but this year I currently have read 83, one more than last year.  Probably the closest I have come to hitting the big goal of 100.  I have a big road trip in about a week, so I may listen to another two or three books before the end of the year. We’ll see.

Interesting enough this year was a year that I listened to more books than I actually read the hardcover/paperback of.  This was new to me. Up until this year I had always read the hardcover/paperback version of ninety percent of my books.  However, this year I had more road time than I had in the past.  I spent a lot of time traveling in my car.  So I listened to a lot more books.

Also, another interesting thing I did this year was listen to several books that I had read the hardcover/paperback version of before. None of these books made my list, because they are most likely on another list.  But I see myself doing more of this in 2018.  Listening and rereading books that I have already read. There is so much wisdom in the books that I have already read, that I want to go back and make sure I get more out of them.

So here is my list.  As you will see it is very wide range of topics and interests.  There are leadership books, sales books, philosophical books, business, motivational, etc.  The books are not ranked in any particular order.

  1. Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise; author (s): Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.  Click here to purchase the book from amazon
  • Anders Ericsson was one of the original authors of the study that become known as the 10,000 hour rule. Do a quick google search of this rule to learn more.  I read the original research that Ericsson and his team compiled in determining what it took to become an expert in any field.  This book expands on this research and provides new insight on how anybody can become a top performer in any field.

2. Creating Wealth: Retire in 10 Years using Allen’s Seven Principles of Wealth; author: Robert G. Allen.   Click here to purchase the book from Amazon.

  • As an investor in real estate and a big reader as you can tell.  I was quite surprised I had never heard of this book until this year. I picked it up and consumed it.  Obviously, the system he built has helped many people become wealthy.  However, what I like even more about this book, is the language the author uses to discuss wealth and how wealth should be treated an used.  If you are interested in acquiring wealth, read this book.  Regardless of the method you plan on using to earn your wealth this book will help you.

3.  The Definitive Book of Body Language: The Hidden Meaning Behind Peoples Gestures and Expressions; author (s): Barbara Pease and Allan Pease. Click here to purchase the book from Amazon.

  • I have recommended this book at least 1000 times in my workshops and to my participants that attend my trainings, since I read the book earlier this year.  This book was an amazing read, it describes body language and what that body language is saying in about any scenario you can think of.  It not only gives you the theory of the body language and why, but it gives you countless numbers of pictures of examples.  If you want to understand people better, and also, what your body language is saying to others, then I highly recommended you buy this book today.

4.  Be Obsessed or Be Average, author: Grant Cardone. Purchase the book here from Amazon.

  • If you don’t know who Grant Cardone is, then the chances are you never get on social media or you are living under a rock and never get online.  Grant Cardone is the CEO/Owner of four different 100 mullion dollar businesses.  He made his name delivering sales training to car dealerships for thirty plus years, and took all of his money and invested it into real estate.  Grant talks about what it takes to be successful better than anyone I have ever listened to.  His ability to say what you need to hear, is like no other speaker I have ever heard.  This is one of those books I would highly recommend you listen to because Grant is the best motivator on the planet.

5.  Change or Die: The three Keys to Change at Work and in Life; author: Alan Deutschman. Purchase the book here from Amazon.

  • If you were given the choice of changing a habit or a behavior in your life, or dieing, which one would you choose?  You are probably saying, you would change.  We all would.  However, when faced with that exact same question many people chose death over changing something in their life.  This book provides research around why it is so difficult for humans to actually change. It is not something any of us doing very well. I would encourage you to read this book and learn for yourself why change is so hard.  This book brings a lot of evidence and facts to an argument that we all think we know the answers to.

6.  Rejection Proof: How to Beat Fear and Become Invincible, author: Jia Jiang.
Purchase the book here from Amazon.

  • After I read this book, I immediately was more motivated to go out and do some of the things I was most fearful of.  I picked up the phone and called a CEO that had been putting me off.  I wasn’t scared of the CEO, or at least, I would have told you I wasn’t.  However, what is the worst that can happen.  There is no growth without a little fear, hesitation, and some discomfort, but that is also where the growth and success exists as well.  Read this book and you will learn how to overcome your fear.  This was one of the best books I have read in a long time about sales and it isn’t even a sales book, but it is.

7. Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter, author: Scott Adams (Dilbert creator).  Purchase the book here from Amazon.

  • Scott Adams is the creator of the world famous comic strip Dilbert. But Adams is not only a cartoonist, but he is a great writer.  Most of his books are around this topic of persuasion and how we can have more influence.  In this book, he talks about why he was one of the first to predict that Donald Trump would win the Presidential election in 2016.  He made this prediction because of Donald Trump’s ability to persuade and convince people.  This book is well written and is truly a lesson on how you can be more persuasive and convincing and grab attention in todays complex and noisy world.

8.  Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery; author: Eric Metaxas. Purchase the book here from Amazon.

  • William Wilberforce doesn’t get the credit he deserves in helping the United States of America end slavery in 1864. Wilberforce was the one person to help end slavery in the British Colonies.  The story of Wilberforce’s life and his pursuit to end slavery is a story of inspiration, motivation, heartache, sickness, etc.  Everything you can think of happens to him, and he always keeps up the fight because he was on a mission to end this horrible thing called slavery.

9.  9 Things You Must Simply Do: To Succeed in Love and Life; author: Dr. Henry Cloud. Purchase the book here from Amazon.

  • I mentioned earlier that I have read a lot of books since 2011.  What I didn’t mention, was that I track all of my books in a spread sheet.  I rank the books on a Star system.  One star means the book was horrible.  And 10 Stars means the book was amazing and life changing.  Additionally, I add notes about the book in my spreadsheet. I gave this book eight Stars.  I also said that the chapters on Hate and not Playing Fair are by far two of the best chapters I have read in quite some time.  This book will help you determine what you need to “do” and “stop” doing, to have better success in all areas of your life.

10.  The Business of the 21st Century, author: Robert Kiyosaki. Purchase the book here from Amazon.

  • Robert Kiyosaki is known as one of the few people to predict the economic crash that occurred in 2008 and 2009.  He is also the author of the massively famous book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and all of the training and other properties associated with the Rich Dad, Poor Dad brand. In typical Kiyosaki fashion, he lays out a plan for what all of us can do to create wealth and success for ourself.  In this book he provides you the philosophy and the playbook on how you can start thinking differently about work and what you can do to get yourself out of the daily grind of working for someone else and start working for yourself.

I hope you found this quick list interesting, but more importantly I hope you clicked on the link and purchased some of the hardback/paperback or the audio books.

My mentor said this “The book you don’t read, won’t help.”  If you want to have a better year in 2018 than you did in 2017.  I would purchase all of these books.

To your success and your future.

8 books guaranteed to help you discover your motivation

For several years now, I have been on a personal mission to find out, or discover, what it is that motivates me.  Through this journey, I have read countless books, articles, listened to hours and hours of podcasts, ted talks, lectures, etc., and spoken with other people.

Through all of this I have learned that motivation truly is an “inside job”.  Which means, it is different for everyone and comes from within.  With that said though, there are certain factors and environments that can develop or exist, that can propel myself and others, to be sprung in to action, where we might not have been as willing before.

Of all of the books that I have read around this topic, I found eight that helped me the most.  When I say, help. I mean they gave me insight on the conditions that must exist.  They provided me further information on why I might be feeling a certain way.  They pointed out conditions that existed or should exist that either motivate me or demotivate me.   Some of these books were text books, some of these were best sellers, and some of them are just books that I stumbled upon while doing research.

Now I am not an authority on motivation.  However, I have for years picked a topic of choice, such as motivation, leadership, emotional intelligence, sales, marketing, etc. And then sought out the most recommended, to the least well-known books on that particular topic.

If it requires roughly forty classes to obtain a bachelor’s degree on a particular subject, which would have forty or so books on that topic.  I have read many more than that on most of the subjects I have studied, and the area of motivation being one of my most read topics.

Here are the books, with the links to purchase them through Amazon.com  Just click the link where the title, subtitle, and author is.  By clicking on any of it, it will take you to Amazon.

These books are in no certain order.  I give a few of the takeaways to get you thinking about the book, but I would encourage you to read or listen to the book to get the full benefit from them.

Title:  Drive Subtitle: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Author: Daniel Pink

  • The author points out the fact that often times internal factors are what drive us versus the external factors.  So things such as autonomy and purpose are more motivating than just money.  And when you couple the two together, a whole new motivation will come out.  The book is well structured and provides a lot of tips for leaders to use to create a more motivating workplace.  Even though the book is geared towards managers and leaders, I walked away from it knowing a lot more about myself.

Title: Power of Habit  Subtitle: Why We Do What We Do In Life And In Business Author: Charles Duhigg

  • The author of the book is focused on habits and how habits are formed.  I found this book to be motivating to me, because I walked away knowing what triggers my good habits and my bad habits.  This book helped me to be more aware of my triggers that cause me to do certain things.  The book dives into how and why we form habits.  The process is simple: we have a cue, that pushes us to develop a routine, from that routine we expect to receive a reward.  The motivation starts with the cue.

Title: As a Man Thinketh  Author: James Allen

  • I have recommended this short read, about 100 pages or so, to lots of people.  This book helps you look at how and what you think, and based on that, what you do.  The title is from the bible in the book of Proverbs 23 verse 7: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”.  All of us truly are a product of what we put into our head, what we think about, and then lastly, what we do with what we think.  This book helped me discover that for me to stay motivated I must think about what I am thinking, because that is what will push me to take action or not take action.

Title: Leading an Inspired Life  Author: Jim Rohn

  • I doubt there will ever be a book list I create that doesn’t have a Jim Rohn book on it.  This book is a compilation of most of his stories and opinions on everything in life and in business.  Jim is considered to be one of the most influential speakers to ever speak professionally in a business setting.  This book has short little chapters on every topic under the sun.  The reason this book will help you understand what motivates you, is each chapter has a message, and many of these messages are put in a way that will make sense to you, and get you motivated on how you can apply it to your life or in your business.

Title: WillPower Subtitle: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength  Authors: Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney

  • This book is littered with lots of research.  Now sometimes, too much research can be annoying.  However, in this book the authors do a great job with giving you enough research to support the thesis, and then they move on and tell you how to actually apply it.  The reason I found this book to be so helpful in determining what motivates me.  Is that I never understood or even thought about how fatigue, decision fatigue (which was really new to me) and lack of food could impact my motivation so much.  I know it seems simple to think about the impact of it as you are reading this, you are saying, “Duh”.  However, this book helped me understand why what I do and when I plan to do it, is so important in my motivation for doing whatever I need to do.

Title: Primed to Perform Subtitle: How to Build High Performing Cultures Through Total Motivation Authors:  Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor

  • This book really takes the book mentioned above, Drive, to the next level.  It provided even more insight on the are conditions and the environment that must exist for you and I to be motivated.  This book is written for managers and leaders.  However, it will definitely get you thinking about the conditions where you do your best work.  It will also help you understand why you are driven to do the things you do.  This book will help you make better decisions on ensuring you are always motivated at home or on the job.

Title: Handbook of Self Determination Research Authors: Edward L. Deci and Richard Ryan

  • This book really is a textbook.  You can read a more succinct version of the book in Edward Deci’s book “Why we do what we do” .  However, since I have read both of them, I found this textbook to be the better book.  This book will help you understand yourself better than you currently do.  Yes, this book is filled with lots of research.  However, you don’t have to read the entire thing.  You can read a few concepts, what is the application, and then how it can help you.  The reason this book makes my list, is again, it really helped me to understand myself better.

Title: The Willpower Instinct  Subtitle: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It  Author:  Kelly McGonigal Ph.D

  • This book is based on Kelly’s class at Stanford University “The Science of Willpower”.  This book is similar to all of the ones on this list as a reference to get you thinking about your ability to control yourself.  The book is centered around self-control and how we can get more of it and what conditions limit our self-control.  After reading this book you will definitely understand yourself much better, which will allow you to control and discover your motivation.

I encourage you to go out and buy each one of these books.  They will help you understand yourself better.  They will help you discover your triggers that propel you to do the things you do or why you don’t want to do them.  If you read these eight books, you will make better decisions on employment and in your personal life, I guarantee it.

To your success and your future.

 

5 books on sales that everybody should read, especially sales professionals

Sometimes a new book isn’t what you need.  Instead you need to go back and reread a book you have already purchased and read.  I can never get it all the first time around.  So going back and reading it again, and again, I can get closer to really understanding the material and ultimately practicing what I learned.

This year I have read about eight new sales books.  This doesn’t count the number of sales books that I have reread this year.  I have read 58 books in total for the year thus far.

The five books I included on this list are books that I have read and reread several times. The reason for this, is I have found these books to be the most significant books to really understanding sales, people, and ultimately why people buy.

Are they the best sales books ever?  I don’t know.  It just really depends on what you are looking for.

What I do know, is this list is a great start for anyone who is in sales and for anyone who may want to do one of the things below:

  • to learn a process to sell more effectively
  • understand some of the reasons why people buy
  • learn a technique on how to overcome fear
  • how to differentiate yourself from your competition
  • learn techniques to be more persuasive.
  • understand people’s motives, understand your motives for that matter.

title: Rejection Proof; How to Beat Fear and Become Invincible
author: Jia Jiang
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jia-Jiang-Rejection-Invincible-2015-04-24/dp/B016KX651S/

What I liked most about the book: This guy was on a mission, or is on a mission, to overcome fear.  And some of the things that we are most fearful of.  Such as talking to people, doing things that could be humiliating, making yourself really, really uncomfortable. The author does it all.  And he tells you how it worked for him. You may have heard of some of his crazy ideas and stories already. I hadn’t, but I really enjoyed his strategy and his commitment.

Why you should read it: After I read this book, I immediately was more motivated to go out and do some of the things I was most fearful of.  I picked up the phone and called a CEO that had been putting me off.  I wasn’t scared of the CEO, or at least, I would have told you I wasn’t.  However, what is the worst that can happen.  There is no growth without a little fear, hesitation, and some discomfort, but that is also where the growth and success exists as well.

title: Spin Selling; Situation-Problem-Implication-Need-Payoff
author: Neil Rackham
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/

What I liked most about the book: First of all, this book was first published in 1988. At the time, it claimed to be the most well researched book on sales to ever be written.  Matter of fact, the book cover says that 35,000 sales calls, used by the top Sales Forces across the world, are included in the research for the book.  That alone gives it a lot of credibility.  Plus the examples included in the book gives you a word for word account of actual sales calls that were either successful or not successful.  So you learn a lot by reading this book.

Why you should read it: All sales people should read this book no matter what.  You will learn something that you didn’t know before. To pick one thing that I thought was most interesting, was the part on objections. As a sales trainer, this is a topic that is brought up the most in my training courses.  This book was the first that I have read that actually took a different approach on why sales people get objections.  And the way they write about why we get objections and how to overcome them. This is a process that sales people, as well as people who just want to get people to do things, such as employees or children, can also use.

title: The Challenger Sale; Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
author(s): Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Challenger-Sale-Control-Customer-Conversation/dp/B0073TG3LQ/

What I liked most about this book: Similarly to SPIN selling, this book was well researched.  I believe the sample size was something like 6,000 sales professionals were analyzed and researched.  I am not saying that I am research snob, however, the way it is researched and how the conclusions are come to, you can see how.  Many books, are just one persons opinion on how something should be done or sold.  A well researched book, is validated by more than one person.

Why you should read it: Everybody is looking for the one thing to separate themselves when selling their product or themselves. This books tells you, based on research, how the most successful sales people do this effectively. And it is most likely not the thing you are thinking.  I’ll give it away a little here.  The title of the book, is also what differentiates successful salespeople from every one else.  The sales person who is willing to challenge the thinking of the buyer, is the sales person who is most successful.  And that theory is validated in the research.

title: Hot Button Marketing; Push the Emotional Buttons that get people to buy
author: Barry Feig
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Button-Marketing-Emotional-Paperback/dp/B015QKCOBG/

What I liked most about this book: This was the first book that I had read, and still have read, that actually broke down the reasons people buy, and the reasons why we as human beings make decisions.  That is why this is a book that I think everyone should read. The sixteen motives are broken down with such great examples, that you will instantly start looking at your prospects in a new light that will help you achieve better sales results.

Why you should read it: Most of us look at purchasing decisions, and if you are in sales, you look at the buyer and try to sell to them logically.  We all know that human beings are more emotional than they are logical.  This book breaks down the reasons why we do what we do, and the true emotions and reasons behind it.  This information is critical to anyone who wants to be more persuasive in getting people to take action.  Whether you are in leadership, a parent, or in sales, this book will help you become more persuasive.

title: The Five Great Rules of Selling
author: Percy Whiting
Link to amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Great-Rules-Selling-Revised-Enlarged/dp/B00005VA8T/

What I liked most about this book: Years ago, I had a trainer who was training me to become a trainer.  He asked me to read this book.  I looked at the year it was published, 1957.  And I thought why should I be reading such an old school book.  How does this information even apply today?  Here is what I learned.  Selling hasn’t changed much since the beginning of time.  I never thought about how reading these old school books, and learning the techniques they taught back then could apply today.  After reading this book, I then set a new goal of reading more and more books by dead people.  You know what I mean here.  Old books. And by doing so, I have become a better sales person and communicator.

Why you should read this book: In today’s technology driven world we all have lost are ability to communicate as well as we used to face to face.  It is no ones fault.  It is what it is.  Technology has allowed us to not have to do it as frequently.  Because of this, it is more important than ever for all of us, especially sales people, to learn techniques, language, and style when communicating face to face.  This book provides language and processes on how to get in front of more people, and then what to say when you do.

I hope you find these books as helpful as I did. If you do, please share it with others.

To your success and your future.

 

My Top 21 books from the 300 I read in six years.

I have a confession to make.  I can’t honestly remember reading very many books through my years of formal education. K-12, and even college.  I am sure I did, or I would not have graduated, but the only reason I did was because I had to, not because I wanted to.

Then something significant happened. In my first real professional position where I had significant growth opportunities and the possibility to earn more money. I got promoted to a leadership position where I was now formally in charge of eight people.  I use the term “in charge” to mean working with, because that is what it was and is.  We work together, I just happened to have a different title.

At this time, I am now responsible for leading people.  As I look to my education for guidance, where I earned a Bachelors and an MBA in Business, I couldn’t recall one idea that really set me up for success in this new role.  I am sure there were several, but I was just taking classes and not applying the stuff, so it didn’t stick.  So I turned to the next best thing, which was reading lots and lots of books.  This time because I wanted to.

As much as I thought I hated reading, I really hated to fail even more.  So, I started reading any leadership book I could get my hands on.  This turned into a real passion for me.  I would have never thought I would become a big reader, but there I was, reading book after book.

I then had a mentor, an author, ask me this question:  He said “Do you have a personal development plan?”  My answer was a very clear, No.  Even though I was reading and attending seminars.  It was more random than planned. After he asked me that, I made it a point to make personal growth and personal development a strategy.  And by making it a strategy, it meant I must manage it and measure it for it to become a part of what I do.

All of this started happening in and around 2006 and 2007, but it didn’t become part of what I did until 2011.  Since 2011, I have been tracking how many books and what books I have read.  I also, have a very simplistic grading system where I rank the books on a scale of 1-10, by using asterisks. One asterisk means it was not a very good book, and ten asterisks means it was a great book.

Another simple way I grade the books I read is by highlighting the books on my spreadsheet that have had a major impact on my. In some cases seriously altered my way of thinking and changed my life.

Change my life is a rather big and bold testament.  Let me clarify.  What I mean is that these books shifted my way of thinking.  It challenged me in a way that no experience or other book had.  It usually took something that I thought I knew or had experience with, and gave me a totally different perspective on whatever it was.  These highlighted books are game changers for me.  They usually also gave me success in whatever it was I was doing at the time I read them.  These books help shape who I am today.

What is interesting as I finished up my 300th book this past week. I was surprised to see that only a handful of them were highlighted.  I have compiled

I am sharing that list with you here today.

Philosophy

As a Man Thinketh; James Allen https://www.amazon.com/As-Man-Thinketh-James-Allen/dp/1503055361/

Leading an Inspired life; Jim Rohn https://www.amazon.com/LEADING-AN-INSPIRED-LIFE/dp/1935944991/

Five Major Pieces to the Life puzzle; Jim Rohn   https://www.amazon.com/Five-Major-Pieces-Life-Puzzle/dp/0939490021/

Success Mindset 

The Wisdom of Andrew Carnegie as Told by Napoleon Hill; Napoleon Hill    https://www.amazon.com/Napoleon-Hill-Wisdom-Carnegie-8-2-2005/dp/B00HTJSNJU/

Think and Grow Rich; Napoleon Hill   https://www.amazon.com/Think-Grow-Rich-Masterpiece-12-Nov-2014/dp/B011T7M4SI/

If You’re not First, You’re Last; Grant Cardone     https://www.amazon.com/Youre-Not-First-Last-Competition/dp/0470624353/

Relentless (From Good to Great to Unstoppable); Tim S. Grover      https://www.amazon.com/Relentless-Unstoppable-Tim-S-Grover/dp/1476714207/

Business

Rich Dad Poor Dad; Robert Kiyosaki   https://www.amazon.com/Rich-Dad-Poor-Teach-Middle/dp/1612680011/

Linchpin (Are you indispensable); Seth Godin    https://www.amazon.com/Linchpin-Are-Indispensable-Seth-Godin/dp/1591844096/

Marketing

Hot Button Marketing (Push the emotional buttons that get people to buy); Barry Feig    https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Button-Marketing-Emotional-Paperback/dp/B015QKCOBG/

What Clients Love ( A field guide to growing your business); Harry Beckwith   https://www.amazon.com/What-Clients-Love-Growing-Business/dp/0446556025/

Selling the Invisible (A field guide to Marketing); Harry Beckwith   https://www.amazon.com/Selling-Invisible-Field-Modern-Marketing/dp/0446672319/

Leadership and Management

Coaching for Performance (Growing Human Potential and Purpose, the principle practice of managing and leading); John Whitmore    https://www.amazon.com/Coaching-Performance-Potential-Principles-Leadership/dp/185788535X/

Coaching for Improved Work Performance; Ferdinand F. Fournies   https://www.amazon.com/Coaching-Improved-Work-Performance-Revised/dp/0071352937/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485946404&sr=1-1&keywords=coaching+for+improved+work+performance

Primed to Perform (How to build the highest performing cultures through the science of total motivation); Neal Doshi and Lindsay McGregor    https://www.amazon.com/Primed-Perform-Performing-Cultures-Motivation/dp/0062373986/

Sales

Go For No; Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz   https://www.amazon.com/Yes-Destination-How-You-There/dp/0966398130/

Spin Selling; Neil Rackham  https://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/

The Challenger Sale  https://www.amazon.com/Challenger-Sale-Control-Customer-Conversation/dp/1591844355/

Productivity

Decide (Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, And Lead By example); Steve McClatchy,  https://www.amazon.com/Decide-Smarter-Reduce-Stress-Example/dp/1118554388/

Money

The Richest man in Babylon; George S. Clason    https://www.amazon.com/Richest-Man-Babylon-George-Clason/dp/0451205367/

Creating Wealth, Robert Allen https://www.amazon.com/Creating-Wealth-Retire-Allens-Principles/dp/1451631588/

I know for a fact that all three hundred books have contributed to my growth and to my success thus far.  I wouldn’t be the person I am today without investing the time in reading.  I have a goal to get to a thousand books read in ten years, and I can’t wait to hit that milestone.

As I always say.  If you want to earn more, you first have to learn more.  This learning must include reading, doing, attending seminars, taking courses, finding a mentor, etc.  All of these learning efforts will help you get where you want to go, much quicker than you could ever do it on your own.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

The one book on thinking you must read

Years ago, my mentor turned me on to a little gem of a book. This little book had such an impact on my life, that since then I have read it no less than three to four times a year, because of the words that the author brilliantly put together in this masterpiece.

Like many of us, as you start out the new year, you have big goals and desires to make changes in your life.  These changes are all being driven by one thing, your thoughts.  What you think about is what controls you.  This books lays out how powerful your thoughts are.

The book itself is barely one hundred pages, but with words and concepts as powerful as they are, anything longer would have been just taking up space.

If I haven’t convinced you by now to read the book.  Maybe reading the following quotes and excerpts from the book may encourage to read the book.

Another one of my favorite authors and best-selling authors Napoleon Hill said “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”  This quote says a lot in a few words.  However, the book by James Allen tells you exactly how and what to think.

James Allen: Born November 28, 1864 – January 24, 1912 was an author and philosopher. His philosophy on writing was very simple and it is one that I live by myself today.

“He never wrote theories, or for the sake of writing; but he wrote when he had a message, and it became a message only when he had lived it out in his own life, and knew that it was good. Thus he wrote facts, which he had proven by practice.”

As a Man Thinketh can be purchased online or at any bookstore.  There are usually several copies of the classic on the shelves.  You can also go online and type in the title and a free PDF will usually pop up.  I would encourage you to get the hard copy of the book.  The words are too powerful to read only online.  You will want a copy of this book in front of you that you can constantly go back to and highlight different words and concepts that strike you every time you read it.

Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from the book.

There can be no progress nor achievement without sacrifice, and a man’s worldly success will be by the measure that he sacrifices his confused animal thoughts, and fixes his mind on the development of his plans, and the strengthening of his resolution and self-reliance. The higher he lifts his thoughts, the greater will be his success, the more blessed and enduring will be his achievements.

In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results. The strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Chance is not. Gifts, powers, material, intellectual, and spiritual possessions are the fruits of effort. They are thoughts completed, objectives accomplished, visions realized.

Every man is where he is by the law of his being; the thoughts which he has built into his character have brought him there, and in the arrangement of his life there is no element of chance, but all is the result of a law which cannot err.

Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.

Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.

The body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. At the bidding of unlawful thoughts the body sinks rapidly into disease and decay; at the command of glad and beautiful thoughts it becomes clothed with youthfulness and beauty.

If you would perfect your body, guard your mind. If you would renew your body, beautify your mind.

As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man of weak thoughts can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking.

The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do. Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step.

My hope is that one of these excerpts provoke a strong desire in your mind that you have more ability than you ever thought.  These words hopefully inspire you to take action towards your goals and make the changes you need to make to have the year you have always wanted to have.

To your success and your future.

James Allen: As a Man Thinketh, 1903

Decisive; How To Make Better Choices in Life and Work; summary and notes

As a reader of lots of books, I sometimes find it difficult to remember everything that I want to remember from a book.  I am like most people in that I highlight or circle certain parts of text when I am reading an actual hard copy of a book.  Something I have done for years, is take those notes and put them in my journal.  Well, now instead of putting them in my journal for only me to see, I have put them here so you get the benefit of them.

This book summary is not really a summary.  It give you the gist of the book.  But this summary is really my highlights and my notes that I pulled from the book.  The information I thought was cool and important. I hope you find it to be useful as well.

Decisive (How to make better choices in life and work); by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.  Click here to purchase the book from Amazon.

This book is one that I have looked at many times over the last two years, but I always thought to myself.  I make good decisions, what could I possibly learn about decision-making?  So I never bought the book, until now.  I have to say, this book has taught me a lot, and my hope is that you read my notes and decide to buy the book.

Decisive:

Four Villains of Decision Making:

  • Should I do this or that?  Instead ask yourself, is there a way I can do this AND that?
  • Be aware of the conformation bias and do whatever you can to fight it off. Confirmation bias is when we think or know we believe a certain way, our minds immediately look for information to confirm what we already feel or believe.  It happens to us all more frequently than we would like to admit.
  • Short term emotion: When we make decisions based on emotions only and don’t seek out a different perspective.
  • Overconfidence: People think they know more than they actually do about how the future will unfold.
  • You encounter a choice. But narrow framing makes you miss options.
  • You analyze your options. But the conformation Bias leads you to gather self-serving information
  • You make a choice. But short-term emotion will often tempt you to make the wrong one.
  • Then you live with it. But you’ll be overconfident about how the future will unfold.
  • Then I personally would add a fifth: You become too attached to the decision from an ego perspective that you won’t change the decision. (not in the book)

Sometimes the hardest part of making a decision is knowing that there’s one to be made.

In the book the authors recommend this process:

WRAP:

W   Widen your options
R    Reality Test your assumptions
A    Attain distance before deciding
P    Prepare to be wrong

Opportunity Cost with decisions:  Everything comes down to opportunity cost.  What am I giving up when I make this decision.

EX:  If I chose to spend my money to go on a vacation for four days.  The cost is the money for sure.  So what else could I have done with that money instead of taking the vacation. You could have paid off debt, you could have saved for retirement, you could have purchased something that you really needed.

We make opportunity cost decisions all of the time. Some are not too costly, because you never actually feel them, but what if your budget truly is limited.  Your time is truly limited. Then weighing in opportunity cost is critical.

A study in the book shows that when presented with the actual opportunity cost of something, people make better decisions.

Example from the book:

Imagine that you have saved your money to purchase a video.  The video is $14.99. It has your favorite actresses and actors in it. You have always wanted to see the movie and you have actually been thinking of purchasing it for quite a while. 

The researchers asked people to check A or B.

A) Buy this entertaining video
B) Not by this video

Given the choice, 75% bought the video and only 25% passed on buying it.

Later the researchers asked a different group of people the same questions with the same scenario. Except they asked it this way.

A) Buy this entertaining video
B) Not buy this video. KEEP THE $14.99 FOR OTHER PURCHASES.

Do we really need to be reminded that if we don’t purchase we can do something else with the $14.99?  Apparently so, because the results were different. 45% decided not to buy the video.  Simple reminder helped twice as many people not buy the video.

How would these reminders impact your decision-making?

When making a decision force yourself to find other options, because it is very clear that we can find different options when we are forced to do so, and we make better decisions.

Ask yourself this question:  If all of the options I am currently looking at disappeared what would I do instead?

When pursuing a project a manager can ask for three different options.  Multi-tracking as it is called in the book. This does several different things for the employee when you multitrack.

1st. If you only have one option that you have put all of your eggs in to.  It makes it harder to get over your ego when you get feedback on that one option. Its harder to hear the truth.

2nd:  It does a way with politics. Because if you have several people working on a project pursuing different options, it helps keep egos open-minded.

Prevention mindset versus promotion mindset. In a study of 4,700 public companies decisions during recessions in 1980, 1982, 1990, 1991, 2000 to 2002.  A group of researchers studied the decisions the leaders made at these companies during these tough times. They found that the leaders who did a fair amount of prevention such as cut backs, layoffs, cutting expenses as needed coupled with investing in talent, training, new products, etc. fared better than the companies that just did one or the other.

Most companies focus on too much of either prevention or promotion.  Both can be detrimental to decision-making and success. You have to combine both.

When faced with a problem another way to apply a decision-making process to making better decisions, is asking who else has faced this problem before?  Ask others. Secondly, researchers and scientists looked at analogies to find the answers to a lot of issues.  Analogies have a way to make the problem more clear and it proposes certain ways to address the problem or decision that needs to be made.

Ask yourself “What would have to be true” for this to work.  This question framed up this way allows people to dissent without sounding disagreeable.  When providing feedback just ask “What would have to be true for this option to be the very best choice?”

When we assess our choices we automatically take the inside track.  We have to condition ourselves to look at it differently.

We are really bad at predicting the future.  All of the so-called experts get it wrong most of the time.  Stop trying to predict the future an instead use other tools where possible.

The one they recommend is ooch when possible.  Meaning if you can ease into the situation without going all in, do so. For examples: all studies show that leaders are really bad at interviewing and a so-called “great interview” with a candidate usually ends up being a bad hire.  A better predictor is actual work or grades from school, more so than an interview. Instead of hiring someone can you offer them a short-term contract and see how they do? This is called ooching before making the full decision, test it out.

Researchers have discovered over and over that people act as though losses are from two to four times more painful than gains are pleasurable.

In one study researchers gave half a class on a college campus a coffee mug with the university’s log on it. The students who weren’t given a mug were asked, “How much would you pay for the one of those mugs?” On average they said $2.87.

The surprise came from the students who’d received the mugs.  Asked what price they’d sell the mugs for, they reported they couldn’t part with them for less than $7.12.

Five minutes earlier, all the students in the class would have presumably valued the mugs at $2.87. Yet the students who received the mugs grew attached to them in the span of a few minutes.  The perceived pain of giving up their new gift made it unthinkable to sell at $2.87.

Loss Aversion is a real thing.  Think about it.  As the research suggests a simple coffee mug causes people to want to charge two an a half times the price of what they would have said it was worth.  This makes the point that when it comes to decision-making that we all are more worried about what we lose versus what we could gain.  This causes us to not make a decision usually and stick with the status quo.  We have to find a way to fight this.

Researchers have confirmed over and over again that when we give advice to others that we think about the bigger picture pretty easily, but when we think of our own decisions we get stuck in the weeds.  That is why it is so important to get an outsiders perspective.

The authors suggest that when you have a decision to make ask yourself this question “What would I tell a friend in this same situation to do?”

When it comes to decision-making we all must make our priorities list.  By doing this it allows you to make decision better and quicker.  If you don’t know what your priorities are or values then when put in a situation you wont have any guard rails that can help guide your decisions.

Our calendars are great scoreboards for our priorities.  Jim Collins the author of “Good To Great” says this. When it comes to prioritization and managing your time, everyone needs a stop doing list.  What do you need to stop doing.

We can’t control the future, but with some forethought, we can shape it.

Prospective Hindsight: Is a term that the authors used when thinking about a decision.  Here is their example:

How likely is it that an Asian American will be elected president of the United States in November 2020? Jot dow some reasons why this might happen. 

Prospective Hindsight spin on this.

It is November 2020 and something historic just happened: The United States just elected its first Asian America president.  Think about some reasons why this might have happened. 

The second way it is asked gets you to think differently about the scenario.  It asks you in a way to make you feel different about it. The authors suggest that you approach situations like this.  Work backwards from the decision, this allows you to think about it more clearly.

Use trip wires to help you make a decision.  A trip wire is simple. It is built-in system that tells you when to act.  Example: A lot of people have heard the story about Divas in the music industry or in certain professions.  That they require certain items in their dressing rooms, certain food, etc.

One famous incident of this is Van Halen.  Van Halen was one of the biggest bands of all time.  When they were touring back in the early 1980’s their concerts were unbelievable. Their elaborate stage designs, pyrotechnics, and everything else that went with their performances made them legendary.  Traveling around the country setting these elaborate performances up required them to contract with various companies in a local market where they were playing a show to help them achieve this.  The contracts they had with all of the specifications of what was required to set these stages up, were like books.  But to ensure that it was done correctly every single time. Van Halen set a trip wire into the contract.  There was no way for the band to actually check to ensure everything was done like it was supposed to be done. So this trip wire helped them do this.

In all of the contracts Van Halen required a bowl of M&Ms’s on the stage with all of the browns M&M’s taken out of the bowl.  This was the trip wire.  Instead of checking every single thing with the stage and all of its production.  They could just walk over to the bowl of M&M’s, if the company actually read the contract.  No M&M’s, they really didn’t read the contract. M&M’s and brown ones included, means they didn’t read the contract either.

This trip wire that Van Halen used allowed them know when they needed to check closer or not.  This is what a trip wire can do for you.  It lets you know when you need to do something immediately.

Boundaries are necessary because of people’s tendency to escalate their commitment to their choices.

I highly recommend this book for people to read.  All of us our making major decisions on a daily basis in our work or in our personal lives.  How much thinking are we actually putting into those decisions?  The chances are not enough.  This book has equipped me with a few other things to do and be aware of when I am making decisions.  Most importantly conformation bias.

I hope you found this book summary to be helpful.  If so please share with someone you know.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selling the Invisible notes and summary

There are times when I read a book that really changes the game. Either the information in the book does it, or the excitement I get from reading the book does it. In this case, it is both.

I have now read three books by Harry Beckwith. They are all very similar. The book Selling the Invisible which is a New York Times Business bestseller and rightfully so, is by far the best. I guess that is why it is a bestseller.

Like all of my quasi book summaries and notes. Below are my highlights from the book. My takeaways so to speak.

These notes are directly pulled from the book. Read the damn book though. If you want to change the game in sales and in marketing, read the book.

Almost three in four Americans work in service companies.

America is a service economy with a product marketing model. Services are not products, and service marketing is not product marketing.

When you buy a haircut you cannot see it before you buy it or try it out. It is a service.

Most prospects are shaking with worry. Your marketing must start; with a clear understanding of that worried soul.

Most doctors do not buy pacemakers; they buy that expert pacemaker salesperson who can go into the OR and advise on the device, procedure, and programming. Pacemaker buyers buy a service.

If you sell software, your core product is the software, but that critical part of your product is all the augmentations, the documentation, toll-free services, publications, upgrades, and support and other services. Your users are buying a service.

Faced with products just like their competitive products, today’s product marketers typically have two choices; reduce cost or add value.

This book is all for all those service marketers: the 80 percent of us who do not manufacture products and the other 20 percent who do.

In such a complex world there is nothing more powerful than simplicity.

This is a how to think book.

The core of service marketing is the service itself.

Get better reality.

Too often service, sucks.

Before you write an ad, rent a list, dash off a press release— FIX your service.

The Average American thinks he isn’t”, someone once said. Psychologists have proved it. We think we are better than we are. When researchers asked students to rate their ability to get along with others, 60 percent rated themselves in the top 10 percent. Ninety-four percent of university professors say they are doing a better job than their average colleague. Most men think they are good-looking.

Most companies think they offer great service. The chances are they are not.

Marketing is the brains of service marketing. If the brain fails, the heart soon will fail.

Stage 1 of business: meet acceptable standards

Stage 2 differentiation of your product because competitors have entered.

Stage 3 (few companies enter this stage) Go beyond what customers ever thought about. Disney. Apple. Lexus with heated seats and all of the other bells and whistles. Surprise the customer.

Create the possible service, don’t just create what the market needs and wants. Create what it could love.

People won’t tell you what you are doing wrong. Your prospects won’t tell you. Clients wont tell you, Your spouse won’t tell you. So how do you improve? ASK

Phone surveys produce more revealing information than in person surveys. On the phone people are willing to open up and give their real opinion and the information you need.

Don’t ask someone what they don’t like. People don’t want to answer because they won’t want to admit that they made a mistake.

Everyone in your company is responsible for marketing your company.

So much of what passes for brilliant insight in helping a company is reporting what everyone in that company could see, if only they could still see clearly. It’s hard to see the real scope of your business. Ask for help.

The walls in a business do more than keep the cold air out. They seem to block out clear vision of the world.

Every act is a marketing act. Make every employee a marketing person.

In planning your marketing, don’t just think of your business. Think of your skills.

People don’t buy hamburgers from McDonald’s, they are buying an experience.

Find out what clients are really buying.

Clients are experts at knowing if they feel valued

In most professional services, you are not really selling expertise, because expertise is assumed, and because your prospect cannot intelligently evaluate your expertise anyway. Instead you are selling a relationship. And in most cases this is where you need the most work. If you’re selling a service, you’re selling a relationship.

All people crave one thing, and this is appreciation. Before you try to satisfy the client, understand and satisfy the person.

With a few exceptions, companies are not battling to share that market. They are battling to create it: to get prospects to want to use their service instead of doing NOTHING or performing the service THEMSELVES.

If you implicitly criticize your competitors, you aggravate your worst problem: the prospects doubt that anyone in your industry can provide the service and value the prospects needs. Your real competitor is often sitting across the table.

Go where the competition ain’t. It isn’t only location it could be in a vertical.

Every service company should have a director of technology who studies and regularly tells management how new technologies can be used for competitive advantage.

Be second to none in all of your technologies.

Service businesses are about relationships. Relationships are about feelings. In good ones, the feelings are good, and in bad ones, they are bad.

Work performs a social function, most people want to be in office for the social interaction.

Even if you can identify and predict people’s attitudes, it’s not that helpful, because behaviors don’t always follow attitudes.

There are two tragedies in life: One is to not get your hearts desire. The other is to get it.

Accept the limitation of planning.

Second: don’t value planning for its result. The greatest value of the plan is the process, the thinking that went in to it.

Third: don’t plan your future. Plan your people. Develop people and skills.

Tactics drive strategy.

Todays good idea almost always beat tomorrows better one.

It appears that organizations actually are subject to the law that governs sharks: If a shark does not move, it cannot breathe. And it dies.

Think dumb.

Too often the path to perfection leads to procrastination. Don’t let perfect ruin good.

Any ideal might fail. If you’re doing anything worthwhile at all, you’ll suffer a dozen failures.

Most organizations work like groups of apes which we evolved. The alphas dictate what the group does and thinks. Alphas are not better at making decisions, they are better at taking control.

Appeal only to a prospects reason, and you may have no appeal at all.

People choose what seems most familiar. We tend to choose the one we hear the most about. even though the truth is that more people die from stomach cancer than car accidents.

This is because of human trait called attribute for getting. You have to make yourself familiar to your clients.

People don’t look to make the superiors choice, they want to avoid making a bad choice. Forget looking like the superior choice. Make yourself an excellent choice. Then eliminate anything that might make you a bad choice.

People remember the first and last impressions, but forget the middle. The rule of last impressions is reflected in dozens of ways. Consider apologies and forgiveness, for example. The last impression a person makes, by apologizing, often obscures the persons memory of the event that led to the apology.

Build quality into your service but make it less risky too.

The best thing you can do for a prospect is eliminate their fear. Offer a trial period or a test project.

Rather than hide your weakness, admit them. Tell the truth event if it hurts, it will help.

The more similar the services, the more important the differences.

You must position yourself in your prospects mind.
Your position should be singular: one simple message.
Your position must set you apart from your competitors.
You must sacrifice. You cannot be all things to all people, you must focus on one thing.
Stand for one distinctive thing that will give you a competitive advantage.

Rather than sacrificing opportunities, a narrow focus creates opportunities. To broaden your appeal, narrow your position.

In your service, whats the hardest task? Position yourself as the expert at this task; and you’ll have lesser logic in your corner.

We as people associate and judge. We assume prettier people are smarter and more put together. But it isn’t always true. That is why it is important to say one thing you are good at, because people will associate with many.

If people see differences in products such as catsups, flour, pickles, and sugar which are all identical, then people will definitely see differences in your services.

No company can position its self as anything. You can focus on one thing, but ultimately the market and the customers put you in your position. Dont fight it.

Avis knew they couldn’t be number one. So instead they said they were number 2. And said “We try Harder”. This allowed their business to grow.

Positioning Statement:

Who are you:
What business are you in?
Whom do you serve?
What need? What are the special needs of the people you serve?
Against whom: With whom are you competing?
Whats different: What make you different from those competitors?
SO: Whats the benefit: What unique benefit does a client derive from your service?
Example: Bloomingdale’s

Bloomingdale’s
Fashion focused department stores.
trend conscious, upper middle class shoppers.
looking for high-end products
Unlike other department stores
Bloomingdale’s provides unique merchandise in a theatrical setting
make shopping entertaining
Choose a position that will reposition your competitors, then move a step back toward the middle to clinch the sale.

You are what you are.

If no prospect can describe your position, you don’t have one.

If you think you can afford not to focus, think of Sears.

No matter how skilled you are, you must focus your skills.

Timberland was struggling in the early 1980’s. The company made a good boat type shoe and priced it below the leader, Topsiders. A great product for the price, but not a good business. Then Timberland did something fairly simple. It increased its price to be well above Topsiders. Sales boomed. Dont assume logical pricing is smart pricing. Maybe your price, which makes you look like a good value, actually makes you look second-rate.

If no one complains about your price, it’s too low.

If almost everyone complains, it’s too high.

Fifteen to 20 percent of people will complain about any price. Some want a deal. Others are mistrustful and assume every price is overstated. Still others want to get the price they had in their mind when they approached you, because it’s the price they hoped for an already have budgeted in their mind. So throw out the group that will object no matter what price. Then ask: In the remaining cases how often do I encounter resistance. Resistance in 10 percent of the remaining cases for a total of 20 percent is about right. When it starts to exceed 25 percent, scale back.

Setting your price is like setting a screw. A little resistance is a good sign.

If you are the high-priced provider, most people assume you offer the best quality. If you are the low-cost provider, most people assume you deliver an acceptable product at the lowest cost, also a desirable position. But if your price in the middle, what you are saying is “We’re not the best, and neither is our price, but both our service and price are pretty good.” Not a very compelling message.

Cutting costs require little imagination.

There is nothing unique about pricing. Be unique.

What is talent worth and why is some worth so much? What can you reasonable charge?

Dont charge by the hour. Charge by the years. Pablo Picasso.

If your primary selling position is good value, you have no position. Value is not a competitive position. Value is why every service company promises. In services, value is a given. And given are not viable competitive positions.

If good value is the first thing you communicate, you won’t be effective.

if good value is your best position, improve your service.

A name like Creative Design contradicts itself. The name after all, could not be less creative.

Never choose a name that describes something that everyone expects from the service. The name will be generic, forgettable, and meaningless.

If you need a name for your service, start with your own.

A brand is more than a symbol. In the publics eye, a brand is a warranty.

Customers will buy brands sight unseen, so brand names are less expensive to sell.

As time shrinks, the importance of brands increases. And time in America is shrinking; companies have down sized their staffs and upsized the workloads of all the survivors. This people need shortcuts every waking minute. They turn to service and brand products.

Your greatest competition is not your competition. It is indifference.

Saying many things usually communicates nothing.

Give me one good reason to buy. Not Ten. You can’t sell a confused person.

People are interested in other people, and their stories.

Stereotypes: Accountants are humorless. Lawyers are greedy. Collections agencies are bullies. Doctors keep you waiting. Attack your first weakness, the thing you are known for.

37 percent of people say doctors lack a genuine interest in their patients. But patient view the relationship side as so critical, there’s even a name for it, bedside manner, they think medicine is failing as a service.

How often are you looking for the best service? The best baby sitter, the best dry cleaners, the best tax adviser? Not often. How often do you know the best when you find it? Never. How long are you willing to look for the best? (not long) Nobody is looking for the best. You aren’t. So convey that you are good and people will buy.

People notice marketing communications that refuse to strain the truth because people notice the unusual, and understatement is unusual.

People hear what they see. Let them see greatness.

People trust their eyes before they will every trust your words.

The industry that best understands the importance of visualizing the invisible offers the least visible service of all. insurance. Prudential has its Rock Of Gibraltar. Travelers as its Umbrella. Allstates has its good hands. Transamerica has its tower. Each uses a visual metaphor. Make sure people see who you are.

Restaurants are not in the food business, they are in the entrainment business. People go there for the experience.

If you are selling something complex, simplify it with a metaphor.

Of course you are committed to excellence. People don’t listen to clichés. Get rid of them.

Get to your point or you will never get to a close.

Most presenters don’t know what their point is. Tell people one thing. Why they should buy from you instead of someone else.

There is no such thing as an uninteresting subject, only an uninteresting person.

Find out what they want.

Find out what they need.

Find out who they are.

Missions statements are for you. Keep them private.

Revlon founder said this: In the factories we make perfume. In the Stores we sell hope.

People are buying happiness or the hope for it.

Dont make a client think you can do more than you can actually do.

A customers expectation is the GAP between what the customer expects and what the customer gets.

There is no such thing as too often, too grateful, too warm, or too appreciative.

Say PM and deliver AM.

To fix sales people, fix your message. If they don’t believe, it is your fault that your marketing doesn’t make them believe.

Sales is risking yourself. Nobody likes to risk themselves, but that is what sales people do daily. Rejection.

Services are human. Their successes depend on the relationships of people. People are human, frustrating, unpredictable, temperamental, often irrational, and occasionally half mad. But you can spot patterns in people. The more you can see the patterns and better understand people, the more you will succeed.

REMINDER: BUY THE BOOK.

To your success and your future.

What Clients Love; book summary and notes

Whenever I read a book that is impactful to me, I like to write down my notes and highlights that I took from the book.  When I do this, it allows me to read the book again, because I have to go back to the book and basically read it again, and extract my highlights from the book.  You are lucky because I share these notes with you.

I recently read What Clients Love; A field guide to growing your business. This book was written by the bestselling author of Selling the Invisible Harry Beckwith.

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.com/What-Clients-Love-Growing-Business/dp/0446556025/

Below, in bullet point format, are my quick notes I took from the book.  I hope you enjoy.  I also encourage you to find the book and read it as well, it is really that good.

  • Forget benchmarking. It only reveals what others do, which is rarely enough to satisfy, much less delight, todays clients.
  • What has made companies in our industry successful? Leads you to the old answers, which ends you to copy and refine rather than INNOVATE.
  • Next time you ponder strategy, ask:  If I ran a competing firm, how would I beat ours?
  • If you were starting business from scratch, what would do differently?  Now do that.
  • plan around what you can predict; what people love.
  • Listen more rests on a flawed assumption: It assumes people say what they think.  They do not.  People often say whatever will make them look good to the person asking the question.  Almost no one confesses to drinking too much fudging expense reports. Thousands of men who teared up watching The Remains of The Day insist it was a silly chick film. The second flaw: listen more is the assumption that people understands themselves well enough to reveal themselves accurately.
  • Of all life’s mysteries, we are most mysterious to ourselves.
  • Life happens at the level of events, not words, the noted psychologist Alfred Adler once said.  Trust Movement.  Nothing else.
  • We overvalue research, particularly when its conclusions are expressed in quantified form.
  • Overconfidence bias. Whenever you are certain of something, you are wrong 15 percent of the time.
  • Not moving inspires more not moving. Dynamic people require a dynamic environment.
  • The company that waits for guarantees is doomed.
  • Do something, if only because doing produces learning, and learning is perhaps a service business most valuable asset.
  • A mission statement is a PURPOSE statement.  Call it that.
  • A mission is your higher purpose. Visions by contrasts are selfish. Visions are your long-term aspirations for your business, not for those that you might serve. to be the best regarded, most profitable, or most reliable for example.
  • JFK’s vision was a man on the moon.  Peace was his mission.
  • Avoid being NICE too much.
  • Like concealed priests, anonymous interviewers get more truthful answers.
  • We want good products, on time, from people we trust.
  • The economy is new, but the people are old.
  • We still love things that we can see and feel.
  • AS NOBEL winning economist Herbert Simon said, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.
  • Speak visually, we often cannot hear words, but we notice images.
  • Our expectation changes our experience. Social Scientists call this expectancy theory. People experience what they expect to experience and see what they expect to see. Our challenge in marketing especially invisibles, is to shape those expectations.
  • Intrude in people’s lives and you risk losing them forever.
  • Publish anything and everything because you never know what could happen.
  • Only in writing do you discover what you know.  Anne Beattie author.
  • Nothing teaches like writing.
  • Americans tend to mistrust academic credentials and scholarly writing and presentations.  We disdain the person who speaks with too much authority. We cherish humility, even in people we suspect may be brilliant.
  • The clearer the communication, the more expert the communicator is looked at.
  • Clarity cuts through fog and conveys your value to a prospect. Clarity assures the prospect that you will not cloud the issue or confuse the sale.  Clarity moves the prospect from confusion, which aggravates every persons ear of the invisible to confidence. Clarity breaks down mistrust. Clarity wins.
  • Prospects often tell service providers “We will get back to you.” Sometimes this means they are not in position to decide.
  • Mark Twain’s rules on adjectives.  Leave them out.  Replace excellent with proof.
  • We always weaken whatever we exaggerate.
  • Using you also compels you to think about those prospects.  You start becoming more client focused because the word directs your focus toward them.
  • Specific words such as crystal bowl and strawberries paint clearer pictures–a key task in selling things people cannot see.
  • If you cannot describe what make you different or excellent in 25 word or less. Fix your company.
  • A theory is not complete until you can explain it to the first person you meet on the street.
  • Edit your message until everyone understands it.
  • Admit a weakness. People who reveal something negative about their service win more business. Psychologists insist this can be easily explained. We assume that people who reveal a weakness are inclined to tell the truth, even when the truth can hurt them. Which means we can trust.
  • How the best sales people sell in order: Themselves, Their Company, Their service or product. Price.
  • Stories help humans understand ideas. the oldest hardwired neural pathway in the human brain is for stories.
  • Your audience includes four people: The TOP dog and three associates.
  • Remember to always present your people well, before your product. Only use slides to present a point you cannot express well.
  • A legendary football coach said three things can happen when you pass a football. And two are bad.  The same principles applies for presentations.
  • Thirty Slides don’t show that you know more.  It shows that you don’t have command over the material you are trying to explain.
  • Three points, three words each.
  • FAMILIARITY breeds attraction.  The  more you hear something, the more you like it.
  • Remember what your brand is:  Gerber tried to do adult food.  People couldn’t buy it.  Because Gerber Adult food sounds awful.
  • It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.
  • It is not what you communicate, it is what gets communicated.
  • You respond more strongly to seeing an American Flag than you do reading the following two words “American Flag”  The Nazi flag invokes more anger than the word Nazi.
  • A first principle of business and marketing: Everyone believes that their industry is unique. You must approach every client with this in mind. 
  • People prefer specialists over generalists.
  • To seem special sound it.
  • Your company name should name you, not describe you.  Example: Wells Fargo Bank.  Now it is just Well Fargo.  CNN removed television from its title.  It is just CNN.
  • Uncommon names stand out more than anything else.  SPANX
  • Whoosh appeals to your senses.  It sounds better than wind.
  • If you’re dressed for golf, be sure you are golfing.
  • Casual policies attract causal employees.
  • Thomas Edison wore ties even when he was cutting his grass.
  • If your professional clothes feel uncomfortable, change clothes.
  • Efficient means cheap, and compared to most forms of marketing, mass communicating looks cheap.
  • Cheap efforts produce cheap results or worse.
  • When you buy a product, you purchase something tangible. When you buy a service, however, you buy the people who perform it.
  • You buy products based on your feelings about the product, you choose your services based on your feelings toward the providers.
  • To connect with your clients, make connections for them.
  • Two Basic principles: A service always involves more than a the exchange of something tangible for money. You must build more into a service warmth, connection, friendship, rest, status, or community. People will pay extra for a feeling of a community.  Ask Starbucks.
  • Sociability: is necessary for human survival. Adults who isolate themselves from the world are more likely to die at comparatively young ages. We have a central dependence on others.
  • Whenever you try to satisfy a client, this feeling dominate the transaction, that persons need to feel important.
  • Efficient customer service tools tell them. My time matters more than you.
  • Relationships are the most powerful form of media today.
  • If a prospect is most interested in cost you will never be happy and always be vulnerable.
  • Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.
  • One does what one is, one becomes what one does.  Robert Musil.
  • We do what we say,  and then we become what we do.
  • Your words will become your behavior. Your behavior will become your habit. And your new habit will reward you. At the end of the year, everything will be different: you, those you touch and your business.
  • Passion, inflamed by belief and purpose, wins.

Please share if you found this summary to be beneficial to you.

To your success and your future.