The New Age Seller

We are all salesmen whether our jobs explicitly says it or not, we are always selling or trying to sell something, we sell ourselves using our C.Vs to employers, we are selling the gospel to others, we always selling. Duct tape selling discusses the new rules to selling in the 21st century – the information age where brochures are almost extinct and sales people have to knock harder and on more doors to get even an audience much less close a saleTosan A.

#BOOK REVIEW: DUCT TAPE SELLING|JOHN JANTSCH|PORTFOLIO/PENGUIN|2014|248 PAGES

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As the book’s subtitle states – Think like a Marketer, Sell like a Superstar – Duct tape Selling is about creating the persona, mindset, skill set and actions of the successful sales person in today’s selling environment.

 Traditionally, the marketing team decides the message to be passed about the business or product while the sales teams close the sale and manage relationships, thereafter the after-sale team (customer service or operations) handle the process after the sale has been made. This usually alienates the salesperson from some parts of the marketing and the after-sale process. Duct tape Selling purports that to be successful in the new selling environment, the sales person cannot relax and relegate things that affect the customer journey to other units as he is in charge of building, growing and developing relationships and referrals. He has to own the process.

To the sales professional, to stay relevant, you must have prospects looking to you as an adviser, a teacher, time-saver, problem solver, and guide on life’s journey

The book is divided into 3 parts. The first part addresses the mindset of the new age salesperson, the second part talks about the skills needed to be successful at selling in the new way while part three focuses on training others in the new model of selling.

LEARNING POINTS

There is a lot to learn from changing one’s mindset of sales, hence the first part is packed and well worth the investment in helping the interested salesperson see a new way of selling. It explains the concept of listening perceptively, beyond the active listening to listening to things the customer may need but don’t even know yet. It strongly recommends sales people to get involved in some known ‘marketing’ processes like defining their ideal customers and creating personas for them. It further suggests ways to train existing customers to provide suited referrals that meet their criteria.

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I love the idea of the ideal customer because however egocentric it sounds, it does feel like one knows or understands the goal of selling, the type of customers to attract before even beginning the sales process.

Building a reputation as a salesperson is very personal for the new age salesperson as it positions them as professionals, and with some extra work, an authority in their field. He explains that process from as simple as creating a powerful bio to teaching and consistently sharing useful authentic or collaborative content that builds and solidifies the reputation of the sales personnel.

Most importantly considered is the shift from popular sales tunnel of getting lots of leads and narrowing down to a few closed sales to working on the big picture by creating a customer experience journey and taking into consideration the steps involved in a Marketing Hourglass.

Understanding the marketing hourglass involves understanding or buttressing the customer journey. It behoves on us to provide the answer to the question – How can we make the buying experience fun, effective and convenient?

A sale is not a sale until the customer gets an AMAZING result

Part two talks more about the practices and the new activities that the new age salesman will be engaged in. These are the skills and tactics required to deliver in the new sales environment; most of these skills are not regular sales activities but more suited to the marketing department but if the sales people have to butt in the activities of the marketing department, they will have to become authorities in their territories and amongst their customers which takes some new skills such as

  • Writing
  • Speaking and presenting
  • Partnering with others.
  • Mining networks

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Part three explains the need for managers, CEOs and sales team heads to consider the new practices and process of selling when hiring and appraising sales staff. Training sales team on how to effectively understand how to combine both sales and marketing hourglass.

Ambiverts are the new personality type for sales people not extroverts.

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Tosan’s take: I loved the first part of the book more than any other part because it opened my eyes to a new meaning on what selling was really all about. I was glad to know that teaching and educating was part of the whole customer journey and even though sometimes it may seem like those things are not getting you the deals with some people, they do eventually get you the deals with your ideal customers. I was also really impressed with the amount of social apps and tools suggestions provided in the book, also some new ways on how to use older tools – facebook, twitter etc.

Dislike: At some point I was wondering if the book was written for writers, bloggers or speakers rather than sales people. The author spent a lot of time (and with examples) on how to improve the listed areas to ensure you build a solid reputation as a professional. I am all of the above yet would not have thought to get more information on being better at all three from a book I read to help improve my sales. Unfortunately, If you are new to any of these skills, you could get either bored or overwhelmed with the details provided on them.

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