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The 10 Best Books to Read in 2010 – Part II

Last week I reviewed five of the 10 Best Books to Read in 2010. Here are the next five – a great collection of moneymaking ideas from the leading minds in sales.

The recent recession has caused many salespeople to go back and try ideas that have worked in the past. I say, not so fast; you don’t want to bet on ideas that are no longer working. Every idea has an expiration date, and every solution will eventually run into a problem. What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. Insight is perishable, and nobody has a monopoly on sales wisdom.

Ideas grow stale, just like bread. Yet many American businesses run on processes that are based on stale ideas. A fresh idea is like a new song that brings smiles to people’s faces; fresh ideas are life affirming. They generate momentum and vitality. That’s why the most successful sales organizations are engaged in a relentless pursuit of fresh ideas.

These five books contain fresh ideas to drive up your sales:

6. Playing Bigger Than You Are: How to Sell Big Accounts Even If You're David in a World of Goliaths by William T. Brooks and William P.G. Brooks

The Brooks Group has a long history of creating sales success for companies in a wide variety of industries. I’ve had the privilege of working with the late founder, Bill Brooks, who turned traditional sales training into an art while staying firmly rooted in science. The company offers turnkey services to sales managers who need help with selecting, hiring, and training their sales staff. The company also offers virtual sales training as part of its blended learning solutions.

In this latest book, father and son collaborated on this guide discussing how small or midsized companies can outsell big businesses. Readers will find many practical ideas, techniques, and principles that will empower them to approach and win large accounts with confidence. The book contains great examples so that readers will not only figure out what to do, but they’ll see exactly how to apply the lessons to actual situations. Reading this book will help you develop a greater appetite for pursuing bigger opportunities. If you want to grab market share away from bigger vendors, this is the book for you.

What do I think? The authors share real world expertise in delivering results for successful sales organizations. In a tough economic environment, the “big whale hunting strategy” can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line.

The downside: This isn’t a book for the “farmers” on the sales team, for they will be too timid to try the strategies suggested; however the “hunters” will love it.

More about Bill Brooks: Check out this classic, seven-minute video, in which the late Bill Brooks answers customer questions.

7. B2B Street Fighting: Learn the 3 No-Nonsense Negotiation Counterpunches To Achieve Unfair Advantage over the Competition by Brian Dietmeyer

During the past year, salespeople have had more than their fair share of tough customer objections. In his newly released e-book, expert negotiator Brian Dietmeyer quotes commission-threatening numbers from recent surveys about buying behaviors:
  • 91% increasingly price-conscious customers
  • 60% increased commoditization pressure
  • 80% increased irrational competitive behaviors

As a result, more salespeople are losing deals or closing deals that have razor-thin margins. The author offers a new blueprint for fighting back the tide of adversity. Readers will learn more effective strategies to win against commoditization, successfully avoid price cutting, and strategically prepare multiple equal offers to maximize their chances for success.

The value-proposition discussion is the best part of the book. The author encourages readers to ask tough questions, such as, “Who owns our company’s value proposition? What’s the connection between the value proposition and what our salespeople say and do at the customer level?”

Dietmeyer suggests that a value proposition isn’t like a statue that’s fixed and rigid; he compares it to a living, evolving value ecosystem. Value, he argues, cannot stand still. He advises readers to stop using a one-size-fits-all value template and create a “variety pack” by bundling the most appropriate parts to fit a specific customer.

What do I think? The book coaches you to approach negotiations proactively. The discussion around the value proposition alone is worth 100 times the cost of the book.

The downside: This book works only if you are willing to do the work. If you are, then this book will make you work harder, fight harder, and win more of those fights.

More about the author: Watch this four minute video interview with Brian Dietmeyer

Gerhard Blog Preview Image

More about the author’s company: e-thinkinc.com
To get a free copy of the e-book, mention this blog post and email Brian.

8. Becoming the Vendor of Choice: The Secrets to Powerful Retail Relationships by Rick Segel

This fast-paced and high-octane, idea-packed book is a terrific resource for those who want to become a most valued, must-have resource to retailers. This book will help you discover
  • how to think like a retailer;
  • how to become a bottom-line resource;
  • how to create promotions that pay;
  • how to make education appealing in person and online;
  • how to create store-focused co-op advertising;
  • how to help retailers sell online.
The concisely framed and practical ideas in this book will dramatically improve your retail business acumen, so you can get to the enviable level of “trusted advisor” to your customer. As you apply these ideas, you will deliver more value, and you’ll find yourself selling more without cutting your price. Get this treasure chest of ideas and you’ll never worry about your paycheck again.

What do I think? The author has a very unique perspective that comes from running a successful retail operation and speaking to thousands of industry insiders around the world. It is a must-read for anyone who sells to retailers.

The downside: Reading this book will make you realize (perhaps painfully) that in order to be successful, you have to wear many more hats than you wear now.

More about Rick Segel: RickSegel.com

9. Listen to the Dinosaur: The Fundamentals of Selling Haven’t Changed! by David M. Fellman

This book offers a fresh perspective on the fundamentals of effective selling. Dave is a frequent keynote speaker and talented sales trainer. The idea for this new book came from an attendee at a recent seminar who called Dave a dinosaur. He wasn’t offended, since Dave believes that many salespeople are looking for a new way to sell because the old way isn’t working for them anymore. Dave’s new book is based on the premise that the further away we get from the fundamentals, the lower our chances for success. The fundamentals come first.

What do I think? Dave reminds salespeople to never forget the basics. He reminds me of my math teacher, who taught us to use our heads, not a calculator, to work out a math problem. In this high tech age, we need to be reminded that an eye-to-eye conversation builds more trust than an online presentation.

The downside: I see no downside when it comes to reconnecting with time-tested sales wisdom.

More about the author: Watch this eight-minute video, in which Dave Fellman discusses price objections.

More about the author’s company: DaveFellman.com and DinosaurWisdom.com (This site will be live shortly.)

10. Selling to Zebras: How to Close 90% of the Business You Pursue Faster, More Easily, and More Profitably by Jeff Koser and Chad Koser

Selling to Zebras answers the toughest question sales leaders face: Why do my salespeople spend 85 percent of their time with prospects who won’t buy? The Zebra way helps salespeople identify the perfect prospects for their companies and develop a winning sales process that will help them close deals 90 percent of the time.<
This book will help salespeople be far more effective in 2010 by teaching them how to do the following:
  • score prospects before starting the sales process,
  • accelerate the sales cycle,
  • pursue bigger and far more profitable deals,
  • close more deals at the executive level.
What do I think? This is a book that will motivate you to eliminate useless prospects from your database, so you can invest your time chasing Brink’s trucks instead of garbage trucks.

The downside: When I first took a look at the book, I wondered, “What do zebras have to do with selling?” It took me a few moments to understand the analogy.

More about the authors: SellingToZebras.com

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Cesar Dulong

Very good recommendations.!
I would add Think Like a CEO by Mark Kuta, Heavy Hitter Sales Pyschology by Steve Martin and Selling Results by Bill Stinnett. Great books.

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