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Book Reviews


Book Review: Rise of the Revenue Marketer by Debbie Qaqish

Reviewer: James W. Obermayer

Rise of the Revenue Marketer book by Debbie QaqishDebbie QaqishAmazon: 
4.9 out of 5 stars. See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Kindle Price: $3.95, Hardcover $19.95, Barnes & Noble $3.95.

Five-Star Review on Amazon. I tried to leave a review on Barnes & Noble, but it was impossible.

Length: 228 pages. Publisher: BookLogix; 1st edition (October 22, 2013)

This is the best marketing book I have read. Ever. Period (real period). Written by Debbie Qaqish, there are ten chapters with contributions from 24 business-to-business marketers, not consultants. Launching with the question, "What are you going to do about revenue?" Debbie takes us on a journey to prove that, with will, there is payoff for marketers and their companies. The times they are a-changing in marketing, and Qaqish is on the forefront of those who know that marketing creates wealth and that there are now systems to prove it. This is not a book that holds all of its central ideas in the first 50 pages, while the other 168 pages exist to make the publisher happy. You have to read it all. With the quotes from 24 marketers, it's a fast read that will hang with you for your career.

Qaqish (pronounced Qa Qeesh) discusses the new role for Marketing, building a revenue marketing team, the revenue marketing model (p. 45), the marketing operations center (p. 201), and metrics that matter.


  1. What Are You Going To Do About Revenue?
  2. The Revenue Marketing Journey
  3. Operationalizing the Revenue Marketing Journey
  4. Building a Revenue Marketing Team.
  5. The Revenue Marketing Center of Excellence
  6. Revenue Marketing Change Management
  7. Marketing and Sales Synergy
  8. Metrics That Matter
  9. Selling The Vision (Note: read about the neat, undercover marketing campaign by one marketer)
  10. What's Next in the Revenue Marketing Playbook?

Slma-recommended-125x125Debbie is right. Nothing can happen if you don't make a good business case for revenue marketing, and she does a fine job on page 191 in the chapter, 'Selling the Vision.'

Recommendation:  Buy this book for your company president, sales manager and everyone on the marketing staff. 



Book Review: How to Market to People Not Like You by Kelly Donald

Reviewer: Paul McCord of McCord & Associates
The complete guide for B2B Marketers

212 Pages Retail $24.95 Amazon: $16.47 Kindle $9.59 Barnes & Noble $17.70 Nook $13.72

How to market to people not like you.Kelly DonaldWhen I received How to Market to People Not Like You: 'Know It or Blow It' Rules for Reaching Diverse Customers (Wiley & Sons:  2011) in the mail I wasn't sure what to expect based on the title.  Was this going to be a course in PC etiquette; a simple, common sense review of how to deal with people; or a serious attempt to deal with a serious marketing issue?

Although I found some of each of the first two above, what really dominates the book is very practical guidance on how to identify and connect with markets that you might not be reaching--or even comfortable with approaching at the moment.

In the first third of the book author Kelly McDonald strives to lay out a workable program to help you find and research new markets.  From learning how to get into the minds and discover the values of customers in a new market to learning how to communicate in their language, McDonald presents simple strategies that will help you change your marketing, customer service or other areas of your company to meet the wants and needs of the members of a new market.

The majority of the meat of the book is found in the remainder of the book where McDonald discusses specific market segments such as various age groups, women, various ethnic groups, gays and lesbians, rural markets vs. metropolitan markets, people with specific hobbies, interests or political views, and more and the specific quirks and values that you must be aware of if you want to successfully market to that group.

Each chapter is filled with short stories and examples of the ideas and principles she is trying to communicate.  For instance when discussing how a business might need to change in order to better serve the Hispanic market, McDonald relates a conversations she had with the sales manager of a car dealership who explained why it was important for the company to change its dress code for their salespeople during the heat of the summer from khaki shorts to khaki slacks (sorry, you gotta read the book to find out why), or what you must know about marketing to Boomers (I'm a Boomer, her observation is correct—and really painful for a Boomer to read).

The guidance in How to Market to People Not Like You is very straightforward, easy to understand, and for the most part easy to implement.  No matter what your product or service, there is probably at least one significant market you're missing which means you're missing sales—and very possibly big dollars.  More than likely you're missing more than just one potential market.

Pick up a copy of How to Market to People Not Like You at any fine bookseller and find out where you can be adding more sales and thus more dollars to your bottom-line.


Book Review: The New Experts: Win Today's Newly Empowered Customers at Their 4 Decisive Moments by Robert H. Bloom

Reviewer: Paul McCord of McCord & Associates
The complete guide for B2B Marketers

145 Pages Retail $18.95  Amazon: $13.50  Kindle $7.69  Barnes & Noble: $13.50 Nook: $7.99

Download the first chapter:

Robert H. BloomFor the last several years I've argued, along with many others, that selling and marketing are changing rapidly because buyers are changing. No longer is the salesperson needed to educate the prospect; marketing is having an increasingly difficult time breaking through the noise to capture the prospect's attention. With the immense amount of information every prospect has at their fingertips, many times the prospect knows far more about their issues and potential solutions than the salesperson they're dealing with.

In this new marketplace the question becomes how do you gain the prospect's attention and then put your product or service in first position.

The New ExpertsRobert H. Bloom in The New Experts: Win Today's Newly Empowered Customers at Their 4 Decisive Moments (Greenleaf Book Group Press: 2010) offers an answer to this problem. Bloom is the retired US Chairman and CEO of Publicis Worldwide, a global marketing services company and advises companies on their business growth strategies.

Bloom argues that technology has empowered buyers and "ultimately {their} loyalty died" because of the immense number of choices they now have along with an enormous amount of detailed comparison information, along with the ability to purchase anytime, day or night, and from a growing number of vendors, all vying for their business.

Consumer loyalty, according to Bloom, is a thing of the past. In today's marketplace companies can no longer count on loyalty from their customers, but they can still become the preferred product or service by creating Customer Preference. Customer Preference does not guarantee a sale as there are other factors at work, but preference opens doors, allowing you to charge a bit higher price and still get the business, to not have the exact desired color and still get the sale, to not have the best product and still get the sale, and to not be the best known brand and still get the sale.

Creating Customer Preference involves giving the prospect a real or imagined benefit that is different from and more valuable to them than those given by your competitors.

Further, Bloom argues, there are 4 decisive moments when you can make your business 1st choice for the prospect:

The Now-or-Never Moment—the first brief contact with the prospect

The Make-or-Break Moment—during the transaction process

The Keep-or-Lose Moment—the period when the customer is using the product or service

The Multiplier Moment—the chance to convert a one-time user customer into a repeat customer and gain a customer advocate and referral

Becoming the preferred product or service need not be expensive and can be accomplished by any size company since consumers, both business and individual, no longer care about who they purchase from—big or small; local, national, or online; old-line established or new start-up—as long as they provide the sought after benefit.

The New Experts is a very interesting read and provides a thought provoking argument about not only how buyers are changing but how companies must respond to the change. As Bloom states at the beginning of the book, the root for change is beginning to think like a customer, not a seller. Once we begin to think like a customer we can begin to understand the change in the marketplace and how to deal with it—at each of the 4 decisive customer moments.

The New Experts is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, and all fine booksellers.


Maximizing Lead Generation by Ruth P. Stevens

Reviewed by SLMA Staff
The complete guide for B2B Marketers

Retail: $24.99   Amazon $14.86  Kindle $9.00   Barnes & Noble $16.50  Nook $10.99


Maximizing Lead Generation206 Pages, Paperback, Published by Que Publishing. Que offers a Free on-line edition with the purchase of the printed version. Buy the book, get a free electronic copy.

This is an SLMA recommended book.    I always enjoy reading Ruth's work and this is no exception.   This the size of most B2B business books and it is a fast, comfortable read.  There are eleven chapters, nine "tips," three case studies and many charts, graphs and tables which are very useful as stand-alone teaching/coaching/proof statements.  The chapters are:

  1. The Case for Lead Generation
  2. Campaign Planning: You Can't Leave it to Luck
  3. The Marketing Database: Not Sexy, But Essential to Success
  4. Campaign Development Best Practices
  5. Campaign Media Selection
  6. Campaign Execution
  7. Response Planning and Management
  8. Lead Qualification
  9. Lead Nurturing
  10. Metrics and Tracking
  11. The Fast-Evolving Future of Lead Generation

Dan McDade, Author of The Truth About LeadsI especially enjoyed  Chapter 2 which has a Lead Requirements Worksheet (Table 2.3), Calculating Your Campaign Cost Per Lead (table 2.4), and Calculating Break Even Campaign Response Rates (table 2.5).   There is a lot to learn in Chapter 5 on Campaign Media Selection; some great tips there.  The time devoted in Chapter 7 to Response Planning and Management is worth the cost of the book alone.  There are some surprising stats from a table (8.6) on page 156 entitled "How B-to-B Marketers Implement Best Practices," reprinted with the permission of Marketing Sherpa.  It drives me crazy to see that CRM systems to manage the lead process are only used by 51% of those surveyed or that only 44% measure lead generation's contribution to revenue.  When will marketing management wake up to best practices that are in their own self-interest?   Oh, and I read Chapter Nine (How Nurturing Pays Off) twice.

Considering the SLMA staff gets 2-3 books a month to review, we pick and choose those that we think are the most important to our membership which is comprised of both sales and marketing members.  This book is worth the read and should be purchased in quantity (Staff and Senior Management).   SLMA Tip:  Place a sticky note and underlined parts you want people to review in the books you give away and they will be more likely to read it. 
About the Author
Want to hear Ruth live talk about her book?  Visit her on YouTube:
Ruth is a consultant on customer acquisition and retention.  She teaches at Columbia Business School and is Past Chair of DMA Business to Business Council and Past President of the Direct Marketing Club of New York.  She has been named by Crain's BtoB Magazine one of the 100 most influential People in Business Marketing.   Ruth has been elected as one of the 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management for three years running by the Sales lead Management Association and was also chosen as one of the 20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management in 2011.    Ruth resides is New York and is with eMarekting Strategy  tel: 212-679-6486  cell: 646-263-8162  Skype: ruthstevens

This review is from: The Truth About Leads (Paperback)


The Truth About Leads by Dan McDade

Reviewed by SLMA Staff
Available from Amazon: Kindle Edition $7.99, Paperback $14.95

The Truth About LeadsThere aren’t many books about lead management or even lead generation.  The Truth About Leads is a great read for you and everyone on your staff that is concerned about lead generation.

Dan McDade, Author of The Truth About LeadsWritten by prospect development expert and PointClear founder and CEO Dan McDade, there are 23 reviews of it on Amazon, it is available as a Kindle (I have both a Kindle version and hard copy).

I like his book because there aren’t many books just about leads in a simple do’s and don’ts format.  As I said in the book review (in the book) it isn’t filled with self-serving tripe.  It has a roadmap for improving lead generation and it makes a case for generating fewer leads.  For those new to direct marketing or even veterans there is a nice review on direct marketing basics.  There are eight chapters and I enjoyed it all.  Andrew Gaffney, Editor of Demand Gen Report recommends this book for anyone re-thinking their pipeline approach.  Rich Bohn the executive editor of like the simple clarity of purpose for people trying to revive their lead generation process. Dan completes this anecdote-filled tome with the top-10 actions B2B execs can take today to improve revenue results.
Published January 2011. Printed in the U.S.A.

This review is from: The Truth About Leads (Paperback)

Click to watch this video

Great Book About Lead Gen, January 25, 2011
By James A. Turner "Jamie Turner" (Atlanta, GA) - See all my reviews Length: 0:18 Mins

Dan's book is a real gem. So much so that I did a short video review of it. If you're interested in generating leads for your business, you'll want to check out this book. Bravo!







Iron Butterflies: Women Transforming Themselves and the World
By Birute Regine

Amazon $12.92 Barnes & Noble $13.17
265 Pages, paperback, published by Prometheus Books


Iron ButterfliesThis author's current email signature sums up this book in one line:  "When sleeping women wake, mountains move." Chinese proverb

During the recent 20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management nominations, I came across this book and downloaded the first free chapter to consider it before I purchased.  I devoured the first chapter and knew I needed the book, fast. 

Although this book is written to speak to women in business, it affects all women and can walk you through the transitions from what the author refers to as an Amazon, to a  Shape Shifter to an Iron Butterfly as we work through male dominated industries and old ideas about the roles of women.  She takes her readers on a gentle path of exposition, awakening and action so smoothly and tenderly you don't realize what she is building you up for until you arrive at the chapter that speaks to you.

Ms. Regine develops a relationship with her reader that allows them to get comfortable through the initial chapters and then she becomes more intimate by revealing more about herself and her profiled Iron Butterflies as the reader travel through the book.  What struck me is after reading the profiles of many of the 20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management, I noticed Iron Butterfly qualities in the testimonials men and women were giving about these successful women in a typically male industry. 

I not only recommend this book for women in business and in any relationship; but for the men who wish to lead them with a more productive style; abandoning the gladiator techniques that are falling away in this new era of women.



Celebritize Yourself The Three Step Method to Increase your Visibility and Explode your Business
By Marsha Friedman

SLMA RECOMMENDEDDirect from Author $19.95
Amazon $14.81
Barnes & Noble $14.66

175 Pages, paperback, published by Warren Publishing, Inc.


celebritize yourselfIt’s a celebrity world and Ms. Friedman’s advice is to create a personal brand in order to stand out in an increasing crowded marketplace.  This is a three step guide to use her formula.  Her three steps are:  Write, Speak and …. Well I want you to find out the third for yourself.    Much of the book is devoted to convincing the shy and reticent to step forward and use their ideas, books, speeches and articles to brand themselves. 

This book has eleven chapters packed into 179 pages.  The chapters are:

  1. Isn’t it Time You Walked Into the Limelight?
  2. The Joy of Becoming the Celebrity in Your Field
  3. Why Do You Want to Become a Celebrity?
  4. First, Know Thy Self
  5. It All Starts with a book
  6. From Community Celebrity to National Celebrity
  7. How to be a Great Radio or TV Guest and Quoted in the News!
  8. The Celebritize Yourself Quiz
  9. Find Your Media Niche?
  10. Now, Let’s Get started!
  11. The Big Payoff

The parts I find interesting are some of the interactive quiz pages that help you decide why and how to proceed in celebritizing yourself.  Page 29 has the “5 Reasons Why I want to be a Celebrity in my Field.”  You have to answer this truthfully.   The “Know Thyself” Chapter 4 is only 17 pages, but it gives you a self-assessment that is needed to do more than write and speak.  Chapter 9, “Find Your Media Niche, is solid advice.”  Throughout the book there are 74 “Celebritize Yourself Facts” which keeps the reader on track and which is worth the price of the book.  A few I like are:

Page 18: “Re-focus away from Hollywood or the Big Apple and turn it inward toward yourself, your product, service, or expertise, and your industry.”

Page 23:  “In our media-saturated world of high hopes and high tech, celebrity is nothing less than a prerequisite for success.”

Page 51: “Weaknesses are not the same as faults.  Often we confuse the two, but in fact, recognizing our weaknesses-and correcting them-can turn them into strengths over time.”

Page 109: “Above all you must be a cheerleader for your message.”

Page 127: “Your message is what will define you.”

Final assessment?  It is a must read for someone who can build their career around their abilities, messages, and create a following. 



Master the Art of the Sales Conversation: Rain Making Conversations
By Mike Schultz and John Doerr

SLMA RECOMMENDEDList Price $24.95 Amazon $13.99 Kindle $ 9.99
262 Pages

Book cover for Rainmaking ConversationMike Shultz and John Doerr make a great case for their statement that Conversations make or break everything in sales.

Every conversation you have is an opportunity to find new prospects, win new customers, and increase sales. Yet so many professionals and sales people struggle with generating initial conversations and moving them to the close. They make common mistakes that end up losing them deals.

Rainmaking Conversations by Mike Schultz and John Doerr provides a proven system that will help you master the art of the sales conversation so you can close more deals, bring in more revenue, and be more successful.

Based on their research, decades of experience, and in depth interviews with leaders of the most successful sales organizations, Rainmaking Conversations is a guide to sales conversation success. You’ll be introduced to RAIN, an acronym that stands for Rapport, Aspirations and Afflictions, Impact, and New Reality.

In Rainmaking Conversations, you’ll learn how to:

  • Build real rapport and trust from the first contact
  • Uncover the full set of prospect and customer needs (most advice only gives you half the story)
  • Understand and communicate your value proposition
  • Apply the 16 principles of influence in sales
  • Overcome all types of objections  (including price pressure) and move towards the close
  • Craft compelling solutions and close the deal
  • Avoid the most common mistakes that kill sales

The world-class RAIN SellingSM methodology featured in Rainmaking Conversations has helped tens of thousands of people lead powerful sales conversations and achieve breakthrough sales performance



The Laws of Charisma
by Kurt W Mortensen

Reviewer: Paul McCord

Hard cover list price:  $21.95
Amazon list price:  $14.93
Kindle Edition: $9.99

Laws of CharismaEvery once in a while I run across a book that I like and recommend, but isn’t complete, lacking some essential element.  One of those books is The Laws of Charisma: How to Captivate, Inspire, and Influence for Maximum Success by Kurt W. Mortensen (AMACOM: 2010).

The problem with The Laws of Charisma isn’t its thesis—that charisma is a combination of qualities that together, according to Mortensen’s definition, create “the ability to easily build rapport, effectively influence others to your way of thinking, inspire them to achieve more, and in the process make an ally for life.”

If we accept Mortensen’s definition of charisma, then the qualities that he lays out in the book make great sense as components of charisma, and further they are all qualities that can be learned to one extent or another.  Mortensen argues that by learning to effectively and genuinely use these qualities; even the least charismatic person can become charismatic to some extent. 

I don’t have a problem with his thesis although I believe that the true and very rare quality we usually call charisma is not a quality that can be learned or created.  Consequently, I’m not sure I’d define charisma as Mortensen has.  Nevertheless, I certainly believe that the qualities he discusses, if combined, will lead to a highly influential and commanding individual—just something short of those we think of as the truly charismatic such as JFK, Ronald Reagan, Caesar, Hitler (charisma can, of course, be used by the good and the evil).

Mortensen’s book delves into 34 qualities that he argues are necessary in combination to create what his version of charisma.  These qualities vary in complexity; a few are:

  • Passion:  The Transfer of Pure Energy
  • Humor and Happiness:  It Comes from Within
  • Self-discipline:  Willpower Equals Commitment
  • Focus:  Activity Does Not Equal Accomplishment
  • Rapport:  The Instant Connection
  • Motivation: Light Their Fire
  • Goodwill:  Charity and Compassion
  • Empathy:  Compassion Creates Friendship
  • Verbal Presentation:  It’s How You Say It
  • Nonverbal Communication: Gestures Trump Words

The issue I have with the book is that it lays out the 34 essential qualities in an equal number of short 4 to 6 page chapters. 
Each chapter deals with an essential quality using a set formula:

  • The chapter briefly lays out Mortensen’s argument as to why that quality is important
  • discusses in a paragraph or two why we often have a blind spot about our own lack of the quality
  • a very short application section that is filled with three to five bullet points about how to apply the quality
  • an example of some charismatic individual whose life demonstrates the quality
  • a self-assessment section where one can rate oneself on the quality on a scale of 1 to 10

Although the chapters are brief and quick and easy to read, they really aren’t “how to” chapters.  Mortensen lays the groundwork to establish the need for the quality, but really doesn’t give the guidance on how to acquire and build the quality.  In essence, The Laws of Charisma is an excellent overall guide but needs to be supplemented with 34 other books that will give meat to the question of “how to.”
Certainly no one wouldl need to supplement with a book for each quality, but a great many of these qualities are complex in and of themselves.  Few who are lacking in any of these qualities will intuitively know how to acquire and institute them without outside help—and very often much more help than three or four bullet points can give.
That being said, The Laws of Charisma is well worth the money as a guide to assessing your own charisma or lack thereof, and then helping you figure out what’s missing.  From there, you’ll probably have to do some additional looking for resources, but at least you’ll know what you’re looking for and why.



Business Intelligence Success Factors
by Olivia Parr Rud

Reviewer: Paul McCord

Hard cover list price:  $49.95
Kindle Edition: $24.95

Business Intelligence Success FactorsWhat is Business Intelligence (BI)?
According to BI is "an umbrella term that refers to a variety of software applications used to analyze an organization’s raw data. BI as a discipline is made up of several related activities, including data mining, online analytical processing, querying and reporting." says it is "a broad category of applications and technologies for gathering, storing, analyzing, and providing access to data to help enterprise users make better business decisions. BI applications include the activities of decision support systems, query and reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP), statistical analysis, forecasting, and data mining."

Cal State Monterey Bay says it “Normally describes the result of in-depth analysis of detailed business data. Includes database and application technologies, as well as analysis practices. Sometimes used synonymously with "decision support," though business intelligence is technically much broader, potentially encompassing knowledge management, enterprise resource planning, and data mining, among other practices.”


The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance
by George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson

Reviewer: Paul McCord
Own the Room: Business Presentations that Persuade, Engage, and Get Results

List Price: $22.95

Seldom do I review a book that has been on the market for years, much less decades. But I ran across my old beat up copy of the Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance: Earning What You're Worth in Sales and decided since the book was in such poor condition I'd order the newest edition. After reading it again, I thought I'd do my small part ot encourage as many sellers and sales leaders as possible to pick up a copy and set aside some time for some serious - and potentially highly productive reading.

Authors George W.Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson are psychologists who have spent decades researching one of the key barriers to sales success - call reluctance. The Pychology of Sales Call Reluctance: Earning What You're Worth in Sales (Behavioral Sciences Research Press, Inc: 5th Edition 2008) is designed to help sellers and sales leaders recognize the issues that are keeping them from prospecting effectively and to overcome them.

Dudley and Goodson argue that sales call relucatanct isn't as simple as the fear of rejection it is so often clamed to be, but instead can be any one or any combination of twelve different issues that prevent sellers from fully engaging in prospecting.



Own the Room: Business Presentations that Persuade,
Engage, & Get Results
By David Booth, Deborah Shames, and Peter Desberg

Reviewer: Paul McCord

Kindle Edition:  £10.15
List Price: £12.74

Put a classically trained actor, an award winning director, and a clinical psychologist together and what do you get?  Why a book that should be on every seller's bookshelf, of course.

David Booth, Deborah Shames, and Peter Desberg, the authors of Own the Room: Business Presentations that Persuade, Engage, & Get Results (McGraw Hill: 2010), are not the typical authors you'll run across when looking for a book that can help you increase your sales and income.  I wouldn't be surprised to learn that none of the authors can define the Puppy Dog Close, write a top notch cold calling script, or coach you through the negotiation process with a tough customer. 

They don't know sales; they know people, they know presentation, they know how to connect with others.  They know how to use words, body language, voice, props, and silence—all the things that we sellers use every day, usually with little grace and less control—to gain and keep someone's attention.  More importantly, they know how to turn attention into genuine interest. 

Own the Room isn't going to close deals for you, but it is going to give you the opportunity to close deals by showing you how to really engage your prospects and make presentations that will bring the prospect along with you; and frankly, you can't sell if your prospect has turned you off and is daydreaming about what they're going to have for lunch—or the relief they'd feel if they could throw you and your damned PowerPoint presentation out the window.

From your opening sentence—you've got 30 to 60 seconds to grab (or lose) your audience's attention—to your closing remarks, Own the Room gives solid, tested and proven guidance.  Guidance is what you  get in Own the Room, not just tips and tricks, and because the authors are giving guidance and I'm dense, I sometimes wished they'd been more concrete and said"Thou shalt do this in exactly this way" instead of giving an example of the concept and leaving the rest up to me.  

Booth, Shames, and Desberg take on all aspects of the presentation from preparation to dealing with stage fright to using PowerPoint to using physical movement to make your point to how to make effective team presentations.  The book seeks to be comprehensive in scope without smothering you with needless detail.

Whether your make presentations to a single potential buyer or to a room of thousands at a formal dinner, you'll walk away from Own the Room with some very practical guidance that will make your presentations more effective—or very likely, transform them altogether.  Either way, you'll sell more of whatever you're selling.

Paul McCord, a leading Business Development Strategist and president of McCord Training, works with companies and sales leaders to help them increase sales and profits by finding and connecting with high quality prospects in ways prospects respect and respond to.  An internationally recognized author, speaker, trainer and consultant, Paul's clients range from giants such as Chase, New York Life, Siemens, and GE, to small and mid-size firms, as well as individual sales leaders.  He is the author of the popular Sales and Sales Management Blog ( 
Copyright: Paul McCord, 2009



Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear
By Dr. Frank Luntz

Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People HearSLMA RECOMMENDEDPaul McCord, Reviewer

Imagine knowing the words, ideas, and concepts that influence people to buy, to make a choice, to solve a problem, to commit to your solution.  Imagine being able to write or say something that immediately strikes a nerve; that people will remember and act upon.  Imagine having the power that moves prospects, coworkers, employees, better yet, your spouse to your point of view.

Few of us in sales and marketing are writers--that is true wordsmiths.  Few of us think we have the talent to be.  Most of really don't aspire to be.  But all of us yearn to—we must—influence those around us.  We must be able to persuade, to move men and women to make choices—to pick up the phone, to exert more effort, to sign the contract, to buy the product, to commit to our goals, our vision, our solution.  And most of us, if we're honest with ourselves, are simply tossing darts, hoping that eventually we will hit upon a phrase or a sentence that hits the mark.

Although we may never become a Faulkner or Hemingway, we can learn to use words in ways—or at least we can learn the words--that impact our audience.  Instead of writing our typical drivel that hangs together loosely, which we vaguely hope will strike a nerve with someone, we can learn to tighten up our communication by learning what people really react to—and why. 

Dr. Frank Luntz has given us a good gulp of these gems.  His New York Times best-selling book, Words That Work (Hyperion, 2007), lays out his finding about words, ideas, concepts.  Luntz is a linguist that gets it—who can take research and translate into a format that we simpletons can not only grasp, but actually use in our everyday lives.

Certainly, if you're a political junkie as I am, you'll love the book for its insights into how politicians influence the electorate.  Luntz gives example after example of both the words that have worked and the words that have flopped.  But don't think of Words That Work as just a political book.  It is, of course.  But it is also a sales book, a marketing book, an everyday life book.

Some have been put off by the fact Luntz is a Republican pollster. If you don't like his politics, don't let that stand in your way. He gives positive and negative examples from all political points of view, but more importantly, if you view it as a political book as many have you will miss the message of the book.

If you really want to improve your ability to communicate—whether in marketing, sales, or changing your kid's minds, you'll find a great deal of meat in Words That Work.  From"The Ten Rules of Effective Language" to corporate and political case studies to understanding what people really care about, Luntz lays out the words, phrases and concepts and backs them up from his studies with thousands of everyday men and women from across the country.



Follow That Customer: The Event-Driven Handbook
By: Egbert Jan van Bel, Ed Sander, Alan Webe

SLMA Staff Reviewer
Pub: Racom Communications

Follow that customerFor as long as there has been commerce, sellers have tried to predict what people, and their customers in particular, wanted to buy. That's what made the early direct mailers of the 19th century so revolutionary. Salespeople had always kept track of individual customer preferences, but now here was the ability to track and identify customer preferences on a mass scale. Then came the database and CRM revolutions. Database marketing and predictive modeling have made it possible to make the right offer to the right customer.

The Next Revolution: EDM

This book is about the next revolution. Event-Driven Marketing (EDM) adds the important dimension of the right time. Marketers now have the ability to make that right offer to that right customer at the right time--at exactly the moment that customer develops a need for your product or service. The result is the same as each of the preceding revolutions: increased response and conversion rates and improved profitability of marketing investments.

Follow That Customer! is the first complete handbook of EDM. It covers everything from theory to process management to profitability calculations, database analyses, and legislation. In addition it has seven real-world cases that bring EDM concepts to life. Follow That Customer! is a must-read for any manager, marketer, or entrepreneur who wants to be more relevant, productive, and successful.

What Others are saying about:  Follow that Customer!

Follow That Customer!
To me Event Driven Marketing (EDM) is the ultimate marketing machine. Target the right message on exactly the right moment at the one customer fitting that message. For sales, services, information or win-back . . . Hey, I love EDM!
A.J. Nyhuis
Program and Change Manager
ING Bank

van Bel, Sander and Weber provide the next step in the evolution of direct marketing. Event-driven Marketing takes the critical elements of consumer's behaviors and helps turn them into actionable programs. Wonderfully readable, yet concise and focused. Great information for direct marketers wanting to move to the next level.
Don E. Schultz
President, Agora
Emeritus, The Medill School, Northwestern University

The authors have discovered the central flaw in most direct marketing: That it is based on past behavior. Event-driven marketing is about future behavior—the kind triggered by events. And we're not just talking about birthdays. This compelling new book is filled with both B2C and B2B case histories. You'll learn how well-timed event marketing can move customers into the sales funnel. You'll learn how to leverage EDM through mobile devices. And you'll find out about the changes you need to make to exploit this marketing phenomenon.
Ray Schultz
Former editor of DM News and Direct
President, TellAllmarketing

EDM takes direct marketing beyond the world of traditional campaigning and into the more complex—and more effective—world of managing ongoing customer relationships, in a way that is both welcomed by customers and more profitable for marketers. I particularly appreciate the authors' inclusion of several useful methods for measuring the ROI on multi-touch programs—a vexing challenge in much of B-to-B marketing. Also, their introduction of the notion of scoring and scorecards to predict the likelihood of an event, to identify target audiences appropriate for EDM treatment, will be a boon to marketers everywhere.
Ruth P. Stevens
President, eMarketing Strategy
Adjunct professor, Columbia University School of Business

Follow That Customer! Is an excellent contribution to the literature on marketing and not to be missed! It puts the customer centre stage, which is exactly where he/she should be in any marketing strategy."
Alastair Tempest
Director General

CRM (customer-focused entrepreneurship) is about balancing the value of the customer and the value for the customer. Even Driven Marketing is about the right timing of customer contact and therefore bridges traditional marketing and CRM. This book is a unique travel guide to follow your customer's journeys.
Wil Wurtz
CRM Association, Netherlands

Alan Weber is a master database strategist and this book adds another chapter to his rich teaching and writing history. This book demonstrates that event-driven marketing influenced by life-stage changes is at the center of the next generation of marketing.
Jack Schmid
J. Schmid & Assoc. Inc.




The Marketing Performance Measurement Toolkit
By David Raab

6 X 9 hardcover , 304 pages
Pub: Racom Communications Marketing Performance Toolkit

We recently reviewed Marketing Measurement in Action. While providing a little more of the"30,000-fot view," this book has many similar positive qualities and could be a good companion piece. Specifically, it is well-written and explains a complex subject in an easy-to-understand presentation In the past some books and other information products were described as"a consultant in print" or"a your consultant in a box."  This one doesn't, but it could."Do- it-yourself consultant" could be another moniker.

The subject is what is on everybody's minds these days. CMOs and CEOs have been very interested—maybe more so than ever--in measuring marketing performance and determining marketing productivity.  And for good reason: the general economy is in crisis, and falling marketing productivity and response rates area a considerable threat to company (and executive and investor) welfare.  This is more than just a bad month or a bad quarter.

That is one of this book's special strengths. Most savvy executives realize that the answer isn't going to be found in the"one magic formula or magic number" or some one-size-fits-all theory, and this book responds to that need to get serious. Like a solid business analysis, it begins (in Chapters 1 and 2) by focusing on the basic questions: What are the goals of your   projects?  What are their scope, and what has to happen to be successful. The next two chapters show how and what kind of necessary background information about the company to ensure that recommendations are both specific and achievable.

In the next four chapters, the focus shifts to the specifics of marketing performance measurement.  Chapter 5 shows how to use the"Balanced Scorecard" approach to defining your business strategy, while Chapter 6 shows how to align marketing plans and your measurement project with that strategy.  Together these chapters ensure that your new system measures the right things with the right target values. Chapter 7 describes the types of measures available, Chapter 8 describes some of the advanced analytic techniques in more detail, and Chapter 9 provides advice on selecting the best metrics for your own situation. Chapter 10 describes important technologies used in marketing performance measurement solutions. Chapters 11 and 12 provide advice on vendor selection, project implementation, and ongoing enhancements. The book concludes with a comprehensive Appendix providing hundreds of examples for specific applications and an exhaustive Index for reference.

By the end of the book you have the overall framework for crafting your own marketing performance measurement kit. But perhaps most important is that each chapter includes of the book includes handy, easy-to-use  worksheets that will enable you to craft your own customized measures and reports for your organization's projects.



Marketing Metrics in Action
by Laura Patterson


Cover of Marketing Metrics in Action by Laura Patterson$24.95
6 x 9 papes 158 pages
Publisher: Racom Communications

Talk about marketing accountability has become almost commonplace. And most marketing executives"get it." They understand the need to know the numbers.
The real question is,"Which numbers?"

Marketing Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization goes a long way in helping marketers get it. It answers the persistent questions and addresses everyday problems with a balance of sound theory and technique and practical application.

When faced with the prospect of learning many marketing execs gird their loins, contort their faces, and roll up their sleeves as they prepare to attack a 450-page tome filled with tiny type, massive equations, and incomprehensible technical explanations that have little connection with most forms of marketing and sales reality. In short, something painful that may or may not help.

Not here. The book's 12 chapters are from 10 to 20 pages each, with one exception: Advanced Analytics (Chapter 8) is 35 pages long, but at least you've been warned. Overall, the organization is logical, from Setting goals to Defining scope, Understanding the business to Using external information, Defining strategy and aligning your marketing plans with it to the types of metrics (and advanced analytics), and how to select the ones that are right for you. This is followed by solid advice on how to selecting technology and vendors and, finally, implementing everything you have learned successfully. A concluding"Final Thoughts" brings the page count to a trim 217.

Then comes the remarkable part for those who might want more: a 55+ page appendix of Sample Metrics organized by type (Financial Metrics, Brand Metrics, Consumer Metrics, etc.), Use and Efficiency, and Function—all in easy-to-understand explanations.

Then comes the only mice type in the book: an 18-page index, remarkable for a book of this length, but, with the length appendix, making it a great reference work as well as a handy how-to.

A summary follows. Throughout the book the author, a veteran of marketing on both"sides"—the client side and the consultant side—explains how to make marketing metrics work for you. First, every company's product makeup, competitive situation, resources, and internal strengths and weaknesses differ. So do its needs for particular metrics. It is necessary to be able to identify which metrics matter to your organization's circumstances.

Next it is necessary to create a culture of accountability. Everyone in the organization has to be –and be seen as being—on the same side and on the same page. Finance can't be seen as"the enemy," and Sales and Marketing need work especially hard to coordinate their efforts. And this sense of accountability needs to extend from the C-Suite to the customer service and order entry people. Everyone must be on board.

With buy-in from the entire organization, using quality approaches and sophisticated ideas has a much better chance of success in the marketplace. A metrics audit will help establish where you are now, and mapping will enable you to align processes to better develop a practical dashboard. Chapters on systems and tools and skills and training, with important contributions by key industry thought leaders, conclude the main body of the book. As mentioned previously, an extensive glossary and appendix end the book.

Newly minted MBAs, flush with confidence, are often heard to say,"Forget that other stuff. Just give me your number. Tell me what metric you're using." Marketing Metrics in Action does much more than just give you a number or a one-size-fits-all formula. It provides smart advice for identifying which metrics matter most to your organization and practical guidance for putting all the sophisticated marketing tools to profitable use in your company.

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The Zero-Turnover Sales Force,
by Doug McLeod

Paul McCord, Reviewer

If you are looking for a purely objective review of The Zero-Turnover Sales Force: How to Maximize Revenue by Keeping Your Sales Team Intact by Doug McLeod (AMACOM: 2010), this probably isn't the review for you.  Seldom does one read a book and think"wow, I could have written this" because the author's train of thought is so close to your own.  Well, Doug McLeod is apparently my long-lost identical twin.

The Zero-Turnover Sales Force doesn't promise zero-turnover, of course, but it lays out a strategy to radically decrease turnover in the sales force to the point that it may be effectively zero-turnover. 

How does one go from a 20, 30, 40% or more turnover rate to almost none?  And what is turnover costing you? Eliminating turnover isn't easy, says McLeod, but it can be done IF sales management and the CEO both buy into the appropriate actions that will eliminate the primary reasons salespeople leave.  And with a simple exercise he demonstrates just how much turnover is costing you and taking away from your bottom-line.

McLeod first addresses the underlying question: why salespeople leave.  He argues it isn't money; it isn't a lack of advancement opportunity; it isn't a quest for change.  It's—well, the way McLeod puts it is"they don't quit the job, they quit YOU."  Salespeople quit because management isn't giving them what they need.  In other words, turnover isn't salesperson induced, it's management induced.

Not exactly what most of us managers want to hear.

The issue starts, according to McLeod, during the hiring process.  Management doesn't probe to discover what the prospective seller is really looking for in a company or a sales position.  McLeod says we have to ask questions and keep asking until we have at least some idea of what the potential employee is looking for—and if we can meet their expectations.  It's those unfulfilled expectations that ultimately lead to turnover.

Equally necessary and as likely not to happen is probing to find out why our salespeople leave us.  Seldom does a manager ask a seller who resigns why they're leaving.  The why they leave is just as important as the why they start.
McLeod discusses what he calls"The 12 Assassins of Sales Force Stability" which are:
Weak Recruiting
Straight Commission
Cold Calling
Unfocused Training
Sales Meetings
Fuzzy Goals and Unrealistic Expectations
Inattention to Top Sellers
Hesitation and Impatience with Young Salespeople
Disorganized Ride-Alongs
Unrest in the Trenches
Time as an Enemy
A Website That Doesn't Sell

I'm sure that you'll agree with some factors on the list, maybe question others, and adamantly disagree with still others.  However, before taking exception to any of the factors McLeod identifies, I'd encourage you to grab a copy of The Zero-Turnover Sales Force and listen to his arguments because he lays out a case that can be well argued and defended.  Most of us, however, will have experienced for ourselves the deadly impact of many, if not all, of these issues on salespeople.

And McLeod's solutions?
The solutions to most of the issues are contained within the issue themselves.  Unfocused training demands an analysis of the training the manager and company provide and revamping it to make sure it is both focused on real needs and is consistent with sales process of the company.  Disorganized ride-alongs require the manager carefully plan each ride-along and utilize the time wisely.  Cold calling demands that the company find more effective and productive ways for the sales team to find and connect with quality prospects.

With each issue McLeod identifies the solution—change training from unfocused to focused—and gives specific action steps to take to make sure you've not only eliminated the problem but have turned it into a company positive.
You'll never reach zero-turnover.  But you can radically reduce your turnover by recognizing where the real turnover issue lies—with the management team—and constructively and positively addressing and eliminating the management created issues.  McLeod shows you how to get on track to putting a ton of money back on your bottom-line.
The Zero-Turnover Sales Force is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, and all fine bookstores.

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Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play
by Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig

Paul McCord, Reviewer

Kindle Price: $18.99 Print Version: $25.34

Let's Get Real or Let's Not PlayThe key to success in sales is, according to Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig, authors of Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play: Transforming the Buyer/Seller Relationship (Portfolio: 2008), helping the client reach their goals, that is, putting the client's success first.   Nice, but hardly a novel sentiment.

We've all read dozens upon dozens of books telling us that we must put the client first.  Nothing new here. 

The problem with all those other books is they haven't given us a workable way to deal with the unspoken but paramount issue separating clients and sellers and preventing us from truly putting our client first—fear.  The client's fear of being taken advantage of and our fear of losing a sale. 

Creating a way, a path, for us to work with our clients in a format that eliminates the ingrained fears of our clients and ourselves is the primary contribution of Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play.

The authors begin their journey in creating a process that will allow us as sellers to really seek our client's success first and foremost by outlining their 5 key beliefs:

  1. Consultants (sellers) and Clients Want the Same Thing.
  2. Intent Counts More than Technique
  3. Solutions Have No Inherent Value
  4. Methodology Matters
  5. World-class Inquiry Precedes World-class Advocacy

The authors argue that these five key beliefs set the groundwork for a process that will allow sellers to deal with prospects and clients in an honest, straightforward manner where we can work with them to really discover their issues and needs, gather the hard information we need to create a solution that puts our client's success above all else, and we can do these without the fear of wasting our time and resources pursuing non-business.

Khalsa and Illig devote almost half of the book to discussing how to qualify an opportunity because the qualification process sets the stage for remainder of the process.  As sellers, we must make sure that we a pursuing a legitimate business opportunity.  We cannot afford to waste our time and energy pursuing non-business.  Consequently, we have to qualify based on Opportunity (is it worth pursuing); Time (reasonable and adequate); People (who does what and is it the right mix); Money (can the client afford it); and Decision Process (who, what, when, and how decisions are made).

Exploring each of these areas reveals whether or not we should go forward.  Naturally, getting a green light in each area means we go forward.  A red light in any area means there isn't a viable business opportunity now.  The real key is looking out for and understanding how to handle yellow lights—situations, questions, and issues that must be fully and honestly investigated to determine whether they are actually red lights or can be clarified into green lights.

The last half of the book is dedicated primarily to discussing how, when and where to present the solution proposal.  At the crux of the proposal is its purpose—to enable a decision.  Everything has lead up to this, the decision enabling meeting.  The authors walk us through the process of creating a meeting plan that leads naturally to making the purchase commitment.  Although useful and well laid out, I found this part of the book to be less compelling than the first half that dealt with qualifying.

The process Khalsa and Illig layout is thorough and workable if not seeming a bit cumbersome at times (the"Quick Reference Guide" in the appendix 16 pages long, hardly ‘quick').  It does, however, address the fear issues that keep sellers and clients from working together to clarify and address core issues with which the client is struggling. 

Designed for and well worth the read of any salesperson or sales leader engaged in the complex sale, the book is also worthwhile for salespeople and managers engaged in any relationship driven sale, even for those engaged in consumer sales as many of the observations are applicable in numerous sales environments.

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Crush Price Objections: Sales Tactics for Holding Your Ground And Protecting Your Profit
by Tom Reilly

Paul McCord, Reviewer

Kindle Price: $16.47 & includes wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet

Cover of Crush Price ObjectionsPrice.  We salespeople are always thinking price because we think our prospects and clients are always thinking price. But we're not really thinking about price, we're fearing price.  We're always looking for ways to take price out of the equation, which for most of us means trying to figure a way to come in with the lowest price.

Tom Reilly argues in Crush Price Objections: Sales Tactics For Holding Your Ground And Protecting Your Profit (McGraw Hill: 2010) that not only do we need not fear price, but that for the most part price is an issue only because WE make it an issue.

Reilly opens the book with his"ten realities that shape the landscape of selling a price-sensitive environment."  Here is a taste of Reilly's realties:

            #1  You Will Hear Price Objections

            #2  You Will Lose Business Because of Price

            #5  Some Price Objections are Fake

            #8  Salespeople Create Their Own Misery

            #10  Attitude Drives Behavior

Although I've only given half of the 10 realities, you should have an idea of where Reilly is going based on these 5 alone.  Despite the fact that you'll lose business due to price, you alone are the key to overcoming and successfully selling your products and services without blowing your profit margin. 

Chapter after chapter hits on why we sellers are more often than not the creators of the price objections we hear, or as Reilly puts it,"price objections are self-inflicted wounds."  To bolster his argument, Reilly gives the results of business-to-business buyer priority studies which have consistently indicated that cost is not only not the top buyer priority, it has never been one of the top 5 issues for buyers in any study his company has done.

OK, so price may not be the killer we sometimes think it is—if we know how to deal with it.  So, how do we deal with it?

Fully 70% of the book is dedicated to giving you the tools, techniques, and strategies necessary to defeat price objections.

Reilly really does take a comprehensive approach to dealing with price objections from helping you to mentally prepare to handle them, to understanding your buyer's motivation, to questioning techniques to probe for potential price issues, to helping your buyer look beyond the immediate price to the long-term value of your solution.

Reilly argues that to successfully deal with price objections, one must have an operating philosophy from which to work and to create a price philosophy, you have to work from a set of principles that will guide you in dealing with pricing issues. He then lays out a set of 15 price principles.  A smattering:

#1  Someone Else's Opinion Does Not Make Your Price High

#3  No One But You Cuts Your Price

#7  Preparation Is the Key to Your Success

#9  Never Assume Your Price Is Too High: Maybe the Competition Is Desperate

#12  First, Buyers Test Your Price, Then They Test Your Resolve

#14  Salespeople Cut Price Because They Can

These principles, along with the other 9, are the framework within which you determine how to address price.

Although having an overarching philosophy founded on a set of principles for handling price objections sounds great, there is still the very practical issue of HOW to deal with an objection. 

Reilly doesn't leave you hanging. He sets out a four step method of dealing with objections as they arise:

1) clarify the objection
2) classify the objection
3) decide how you will respond
4) respond to the money objection.

According to Reilly, price objections can be classified as price-based money objections, cost-based money objections, value-based money objections, game-based money objections, and procedural-based money objections.  Understanding what type of objection you're dealing with is key to understanding how to deal with it.  A third of the book is devoted to laying out strategies to deal with each of the above five money objections.

If you're dealing in the business-to-business realm and finding price to be a thorn in your side, get Crush Price Objections—it really will help you hold the line more often, even if you deal in a product or service that is becoming commoditized. 

If you sell to consumers don't think this isn't going to help you also because it will.  Many of the same strategies used in business-to-business sales are just as applicable to consumer sales.

Don't continue to let price objections destroy your pipeline and/or your profitability. 

Crush Price Objectionsis available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million and all find book sellers


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Dirty Little Secrets Why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it!
By Sharon Drew Morgen

Paul McCord, Reviewer

If you've had to respond to RFPs—even just one—you know that RFPs do, in fact, suck.  Lots of books have titles that don't work well, are misleading, or weak, but RFPs Suck is a title that speaks to the soul of anyone who has fought—and probably lost far more often than won—the RFP system.

Price: $18.99  Or less with major book stores.  Available as a Kindle Book.   Available from the author at

Change is difficult for most of us and especially difficult for an organization full of individuals.  Some of us resist, others encourage, others sabotage.  If we want our organization to get change right, we've got to involve everyone who will be affected by the change and allow them to prepare themselves, their departments, and the organization's systems to handle the change in an orderly manner--or everything turns to chaos, and if chaos is an anticipated result, we simply won't institute the change no matter how potentially beneficial that change may be.


Buying creates change. 
Whether purchasing a new product, replacing an existing vendor, or instituting a new program or service, when your prospects contemplate purchasing your products or services, they and their organizations are going to undergo significant change.  Often that change never happens (that is, you don't make a sale), not because your product or service doesn't solve a real issue they have or because it won't improve their sales or because it won't improve productivity or reduce expenses.  In fact, a great deal of the time purchases of products and services that have these very positive results are not made because the company can't handle the change—yep, even  extremely positive change—the product or service will create.

What does this mean for sellers?  It means the way we sell is all wrong—or at least the way we deal with the concept of selling is all wrong.

Sharon Drew Morgen in Dirty Little Secrets: why buyer's can't buy and sellers can't sell and what you can do about it (Morgen Publishing: 2009) changes the whole concept of the sales process.  We sellers have been taught that we find a suspect, qualify them as a prospect, connect with them, identify a problem or issue, develop a solution, close the sale.  Morgen says that this vision of selling is all wrong because it doesn't take into consideration the change management issues that must be dealt with before our prospects can commit to making the purchase.

Sharon Drew Morgen
Author Sharon Drew Morgen

According to Morgen, when our prospects disappear—when they say"I'll get back to you" and never do, where they've gone is to deal with all of the behind the scenes issues they must deal with prior to making the commitment to purchase.  Why do most of them never get back to you?  Morgen says because they have not been able to get the people or the systems within the company in alignment to make the purchase.  Worse, all of this change management stuff is stuff that we as sellers have little knowledge or understanding of.

If all of this change management must take place before we can consummate a sale and it's all out of our hands, is there anything we can do to either speed up the process or help the organization manage the change? 

Yes, Morgen says, we can help facilitate the change by engaging the company—our buyer—with the Buying Facilitation method.  This method, whose primary tool is Facilitative Questions, helps get all the necessary players within the company on board and leads them through thinking through the changes necessary to make the purchase possible.

Sound mysterious?  This isn't rocket science but it's a far cry from light reading.  Fortunately, Morgen makes it easier to understand by dividing the book into three sections. 

The first section lays out the change management issue from the buyer's perspective.  She gives us insight into the changes a purchase necessitates—from its impact on individuals to company politics to systems.  She gives a great example of what a buyer must go through when making a simple purchase of a couple of extra dining room chairs (I'll leave it to you find out on your own by reading the book why it's so difficult to sell a couple of chairs).  
Section two goes through the process from the seller's point of view, demonstrating where our traditional sales process has left us and our prospects high and dry.
And the third section details the Buying Facilitation method skills.  Buying Facilitation is about change management, not selling.  It is the precursor to selling, not a replacement for it.  It involves its own set of skills that don't replace your selling skills but instead allow eventually using those selling skills more effectively and closing more sales.

If you really want to begin to understand why your closing ratio is so low, if you really want to know why those prospects never get back to you, if you really want to know what your selling process is missing, read Dirty Little Secrets.

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RFPs Suck: How to Master the RFP System Once and for All to Win Big Business
by Tom Searcy

By Paul McCord, Reviewer

If you've had to respond to RFPs—even just one—you know that RFPs do, in fact, suck.  Lots of books have titles that don't work well, are misleading, or weak, but RFPs Suck is a title that speaks to the soul of anyone who has fought—and probably lost far more often than won—the RFP system.

RFPs Suck - Kindle version - Tom Searcy
RFP's suck - paperback - Tom Searcy

RFP's Suck: How to Master the RFP System Once and for All to Win Big Business by Tom Searcy (Channel V Books:  2009) is designed specifically for small to mid-size companies seeking to compete with their large competitors in the game of responding to the Request for Proposal or Request for Quote that is so often the vendor selection method preferred by major companies and by government agencies.

Searcy is a veteran of the RFP wars having won over 1.5 billion dollars in business through the process.  He's turned that experience into a lucrative consulting/training business.  Now, he's taken the next step and turned it into a book.

RFPs Suck is a short, direct, to-the-point guide to giving you and your company the advantage you need in order to compete in a process that is, as Searcy says,"not built for you."  The system is built for and caters to large vendors, not small to mid-size companies.  In fact, Searcy says, in many cases rather than giving you a chance to compete, the system is designed to keep you out.

Can you as a small to mid-size company compete in a system that is built not only to cater to your large competitors but to keep you in your place? 
According to RFPs Suck, you certainly can—IF you learn how to recognize and take advantage of real opportunities, avoid those where you have little or no chance of winning, and construct a proposal that gives you the winning advantage.

RFPs Suck is a short, direct, to-the-point book that wastes little space.  You won't find lots of tangents, filler stories, or attempts by the author to become the next Hemmingway or Faulkner.  Instead, Searcy concentrates on laying out in concise chapters the guidance you need to become an RFP expert:

  • How to recognize a real RFP opportunity—and how to recognize and avoid dead ends that can cost an arm and a leg in both time and money
  • How to determine if your company is ready and capable of competing
  • How to ‘read' an RFP to discover the real motive for issuing it 
  • How to stand out from the crowd and give yourself the necessary advantage to win the battle
  • How to write the RFP from cover letter to the addendums
  • How your proposal will be evaluated and how to get it into final consideration
  • Detailed examples of responses to RFPs with an analysis of the response

In only 143 pages Searcy takes you from beginning to end in evaluating and responding to an RFP or RFQ and shows you how to create a winning proposal and does it very well.
In a world where RFPs are becoming increasing important, knowing how to create a proposal that gives you the best possible shot at getting the business is crucial—and surprisingly simple (simple, not easy).  Whether RFPs are a regular part of your business or just an occasional pain, RFPs Suck is a guide book you really shouldn't be without.

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Convergence Marketing: Combining Brand and Direct
for Unprecedented Profits
by Richard G. Rosen with Jane Rosen


Reviewed by James Obermayer, Sales Lead Management Association/Sales Leakeage



If you consider yourself a brand manager or a brand creator, you must read Richard Rosen's book. If you believe yourself to be an expert on direct marketing and shy away from anything that smacks of brand, you must read Rosen's book.

Cover for Convergence MarketingConvergence marketing respects branding with all of it's goals and then makes a case for deliberately using and integrating direct marketing's aggressive tactics into brand tactics to create sales. By introducing his Rosen Velocity Scale he inserts into language and lexicon a thinking process that the neophyte and the most sophisticated marketer can grasp and instantly use.

While Richard has used this as his approach to brand and direct, until I read his work and actively used it with clients in attempting to separate branding and direct marketing, I didn't understand the power of the Rosen Velocity Scale. For instance, in my own client discussions I would ask them,"How aggressive do you want to be?" I contended they could use traditional print media while using direct methods to create stronger and more measurable responses. I talked about it and diddled in with it, but he has actively proven how do it so it works.
It was while meeting with a client that I decided to venture into explaining the Rosen Velocity Scale and how to grade promotions from V1 to V10 (pure brand to pure direct). The client immediately grasped the concept and said, we need to be in the V6-V8 range.

Before I give too much away, there are three parts to the work:

  • Part I: Convergence of Brand and Direct: The Setup, why it's needed.
  • Part II: Measuring the intention and Success: Process Tools and Practical Applications
  • Rosen Velocity Scale, Sales Cycle, Ask and the Offer, Value, Real Time Accounting, the Brand Interaction Accelerator
  • Part III: Performance and Balance: Case Studies and the Last Word.

For me, Chapter Four is the gold mine, with 31 pages devoted to the Rosen Scale and a perfect step by step example/case study from TaylorMade Golf products. I like the"Ask and the Offer" Chapter (6), but my results orientation drove me to spend time rereading the"Real Time Accounting" chapter ( 8).

This book will have an impact on both brand and direct practitioners that will last throughout their careers. I recommend buying two copies. One to read and keep and one to immediately give away to someone you have as a client, peer, subordinate or boss (ok so that's five copies). Once they understand the concept, your life will be easier because now you have allies as you embark on, Convergence Marketing; Combining Brand and Direct for Unprecedented Profits.


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42 Rules of Cold Calling Executives
by Mari Anne Vanella

42 Rules of Cold calling executives

I had doubts about a book on cold calling.  After all, books on calling techniques are as common as biographies of Abraham Lincoln.     While I have met Mari Anne Vanella I assumed her new book would be interesting but predictable.   I was right on the interesting part, but wrong on the predictability portion.    This is a book that has interest for salespeople and anyone selling or just trying to contact high executives.   Mari is founder and CEO of the Vanella Group, Inc., a company that prides itself on high-touch, high quality telesales and lead generation services.

The book has 94 pages and is difficult to put down.  It is a handy reference book for sales and marketing people.   Its easy-to-read format has allowed me to stuff the book into my computer bag and take it out when I am at airports, Starbucks, and waiting rooms.  It is an idea laden book.  I especially liked chapters 16 (See Every Prospect from the Prospect's Perspective) 23 (Don't Let the Telephone Change Who You Are) 32 (Connect the Dots) and Chapter 39 (Don't Focus on a Single Contact).

42 Rules for Cold Calling Executives a great primer for your inside salespeople or your marketing manager.  I am impressed that this isn't just a sales book, but a book and on building relationships.    Buy it with confidence and give it to anyone that makes a living offering money making solutions to senior executives.

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TOPGRADING FOR SALES, World-Class Methods to Interview, Hire and Coach Top Sales Representatives,
by Bradford D. Smart, Ph.D., and Greg Alexander

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Reviewed By: Sales Lead Management AssociationSM Staff Reviewer

One of the most consistently trying tasks of a sales manager is to hire the best and the brightest salespeople he or she can find.  With the failure rate of sales reps averaging 40%, hiring new reps is the most challenging task a sales manager encounters.    Do it poorly and the manager costs his company as much as $600,000 for each mis-hired rep (with a base of $100,000).    Do it right and the sales manager will hire fewer new reps, reduce training and recruiting costs, and boost company sales faster than anyone thinks is possible.  This is what Smart and Alexander's book ,  Topgrading is all about .  Simply stated, it is hiring "A Players," and leaving the rest to your competitors.

This book gets a fast start by giving away the secret sauce on the first page of the introduction with "The Ten Links in the Hiring Chain."    Every link has a page number reference for forms and clear how-to-do-it instructions.   From a Topgrading Score Card to a talent review form and ways to analyze mis-hires, the sales manager that uses these methods will have a clear roadmap to screen and hire representatives. 

The chapters are short, to the point, fast reading nuggets of how to standardize the process.   There are only six chapters and five appendix's which have all of the forms you need.  The authors promise that if you use their methods and tools in chapters 1-5 you will double your hiring success.  The chapter titles are:

  • The Joys of Having A Player Sales Reps
  • Analyze Your Sales Team
  • The Best Sales Rep Recruiting Methods
  • The Best Sales Rep Hiring Methods
  • The Best Sales Rep Coaching Methods
  • How to Get Started: Topgrading Resources

After reading the book I tested out some of the assumptions about the cost of mis-hiring on several company presidents.   To a person every one confirmed that mis-hiring a salespeople cost them from $400,000 to $600,000.  The answer was always swift and unequivocal,  but each was also stumped for answers on how to solve the issue.    I am convinced that the methods in this book will solve the problem. 

These Concepts work for more than just hiring Salespeople!

My thoughts in reading this book are that these methods apply just as surely to other job titles, not just salespeople.  Need a marketing manager?  The Score Card Concept works just as well; so does the work history form, and the interview guide, etc.

Other books by the Authors:

 Bradford D. Smart

  • Topgrading: How Leads Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching, and keeping the Best People

  • The Smart Interviewer: Tools and Techniques for Hiring the Best

  • Smart Parenting: How to Raise Happy Can-Do Kids (with Kate Smart Mursau, Psy.D.)Greg Alexander
  • Making the Number: How to Use Sales Brenchmarking to Drive Performance

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The Profit Maximization Paradox
by Glen S. Petersen

By Paul McCord, Reviewer


It can be dangerous having a marketing book reviewed by someone from the Sales side—we tend to view things from the sales perspective which is often at odds with Marketing.  And that ‘at odds' happens to be exactly what The Profit Maximization Paradox (BOOKSURGE Publishing, 2008) by Glen S Petersen is about—more specifically, how to turn that ‘at odds' into cooperation and a coordinated  plan that benefits marketing, sales, and most importantly, the company and its customers.

 The Profit Maximization Paradox is another in a long line of books that address the divide between Sales and Marketing and seeks to establish a format for bringing the two departments together.   A short, easy to read book, The Profit Maximization Paradox isn't a step-by-step guide.  Instead, Petersen reviews the problem and tries to point out in more general terms where the solution to the problem lies. 

 In chapter 5, Marketing/Sales Disconnects, Petersen quotes some anonymous commenters on the disconnect between the departments, one of which pinpoints, from a sales perspective, the issue succinctly:

  "Marketing believes the sales force is myopic, i.e., too focused on individual customer experiences, insufficiently aware of the larger market and blind to the future."

 There's the rub—the two functions have a vastly different view of the world.  Marketing addresses the market from a macro point of view while Sales must view the market from a micro point of view.  The above quote by a marketing person illustrates the disconnect in stark terms—Marketing expects Sales to view the world from Marketing's perspective, not from the real world of sales.

 The reality of sales is that salespeople don't have the luxury of taking a broad view of the marketplace.  Salespeople don't deal with the ‘market;" they deal with a prospect, an individual human being with specific needs, wants, and issues.  Their job isn't to appeal to an idealized prospect with the general characteristics of X, Y, and Z.  No, they must deal with a flesh and blood prospect that may or may not conform to Marketing's conception of what a prospect should be.

 On the other hand, Sales tends to view Marketing as theoretical and out of touch, a pestering gnat to be swatted away, not an ally to help identify and close sales.   Marketing, for many in sales, are the uppity know it alls who couldn't close a sale if the prospect literally took the paperwork from them, filled it out and handed them a check. 

 Compounding the issues between Sales and Marketing is the way each department is compensated.  Marketing is compensated by salary and bonus—a longer-term strategy, while Sales is compensated by commission, a very short-term strategy.

 Petersen argues that with very different perspectives and objectives, it is unrealistic to expect Marketing and Sales to come together to solve the divide.  According to Petersen, "it is unlikely that the VPs of Marketing and Sales are going to unilaterally decide to abandon current behaviors in favor of new roles and accountability that will undoubtedly change existing budget allocations and headcount."

 So, are the two departments left forever to their own devices, feuding and wasting resources and opportunities at the expense of the greater good of the company?

 Petersen not only doesn't believe that an option, he believes there is a real solution to the issue—one that can only be resolved through the intervention of the CEO.  Trying to patch up the differences between the departments will accomplish little, if anything.  What is needed isn't a truce or even a little more cooperation between the departments, but a radical change in the business model that can only be accomplished through the leadership of the CEO. 

 The change that Petersen sees is a process that "starts with the customer and progressively creates a number of perspectives that help the organization to rally around a specific strategy and tactics.  The organizational driver becomes the profitable delivery of customer value."

 The Profit Maximization Paradox isn't the final word in the struggle to bring about a real working relationship between Sales and Marketing.  But it can be a beginning.  Petersen is certainly right that past attempts have failed, that the perspectives of the two departments are so divergent that left on their own they will not—cannot—come together.  With that in mind, a higher authority must take the reigns.  Mandating change won't work—but very possibly a new vision, a new focus that encompasses and coordinates each department—and the rest of the organization as well--might. 

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"PeopleSavvy For Sales Professionals" 
by Dr. Gregory Stebbins

By Paul McCord, Reviewer

People SavvySeldom do I read a book that I consider to be dangerous.  Certainly, there are books that once read, you think, "Wow!  I hope a new salesperson doesn't get hold of this and think this is what sales is all about."  We've all read the books, the ones that advocate heavy doses of manipulation, browbeating the customers, twisting their arm, hog tying them until they give in.

 Nevertheless, PeopleSavvy For Sales Professionals (Savvy Books, 2007) by Gregory Stebbins, Ed.D. is a dangerous book of a different kind, a danger that Stebbins immediately acknowledges in his introduction.  PeopleSavvy deals with the psychological strategies and techniques of selling and developing trust—strategies and techniques that can be used to help create a bond--or to manipulate and deceive.

 In the right hands, the book can open new ways to build relationships quickly.  In the wrong hands, it can reveal ways to out fox, out maneuver, and out and out manipulate.  The responsibility for the information's use lies with the reader, Dr. Stebbins has simply shown how understanding your prospect's behavior and thinking can help you connect—and an unfortunate byproduct is to show others how they can manipulate.

 Stebbins' thesis is that if your prospects don't trust you, you cannot sell effectively.  That thesis springboards Stebbins in a discussion of how you can read your prospect's movements, her words, how he dresses, what she has on the walls of her office—even the position of the items in his office, and use that information to build a deeper connection more quickly with the prospect, gaining their confidence and trust at the same time.

 Although the book is quite detailed on the ‘how' to read your prospects behavior and the other telltale signs to help build trust, Stebbins breaks trust into two parts and feeds them to us in bite sized  morsels. 

 Trust is comprised of ‘Rapport', which itself is made up of compassion, connection and credibility, and ‘Deep Trust,' which is comprised of competence, commitment and consistency.  Stebbins takes the reader through each of these individual components of Rapport and Deep Trust and how each must play a role in developing a relationship of trust with your prospect.

 He then journeys through how motivation, communication and behavior can reveal the avenues to developing the rapport and trust you must have to develop a lasting relationship with your prospect.

 From mirroring behavior to matching speech patterns and words to understanding personality types to how the prospect thinks and operates, PeopleSavvy covers the gamut from not only understanding your prospect's behavior, to how they think and why they think the way they do. 

 Filled with stories and examples, PeopeSavvy is an easy to read—harder to apply—book whose insights, strategies and techniques are grounded in the works of those, including Stebinns, who have spent years studying sales, marketing, and industrial psychology.

 If you want to understand how to get inside the head of your prospects and clients, PeopleSavvy will help open the door to their minds.  Whether what you learn is dangerous or not depends on your intent and use.

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"On the Art of Writing Copy", 3rd edition,
by Herschell Gordon Lewis

 Click here to learn more!Author of more than 25 books on advertising, Lewis has been one of the most highly regarded direct response copywriters of the past half century—the Master Writer. This is his Master Work.

In On the Art of Writing Copy, the author covers the entire landscape of persuasive communication—from print to broadcast to Internet to direct mail (his special province). The book's organization reflects real-world practice. Especially important, he structures the book around objectives rather than media types and functions and then interlaces examples from different media. A few of the chapter titles tell the story: "Digging for Constants in a Changing Media World,"  "Clarity: The bridge linking Art and Science,"  You, Me and What Makes Us Respond," and How and When to Use—and When Not to Use—Celebrities."  Twenty-five similarly oriented chapters, plus a chapter of "A Tip a Day"…for a month, a "Compendium of Rules," and a glossary, appendix and index round out the total book.

The result is a compendium of communications tactics and strategies that can be used to build campaigns in the most sensible way—from your objective to your idea and execution.  In addition the book's big format allows the designer to use full pages to show illustrations for the reader's best understanding.

I recently reviewed Print Matters: How to Write Great Advertising. This would be a great companion to that book. Print Matters is concise and condensed. This book is more expansive and through. Together they would make great book ends in a sales or ad person's professional library.   Buy it and enjoy.

Reviewed by SLMA Staff Reviewer

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Secrets of Question Based Selling,
by Thomas A. Freese

By Paul McCord, Reviewer

Secrets of Question Based SellingHow do you connect with and engage prospects and clients?  How do you gather the basic information you need in order to create interest and curiosity?  How do you find and highlight their needs or wants?  How do you determine what your prospect is thinking and what concerns they might have?

 More than likely you use questions, at least to some extent. 

 Since you're already using questions and since you've been taught to never ask a closed-end question and you've mastered the art of the open-ended question, why should you pick up Thomas A. Freese's, Secrets of Question Based Selling: How the Most Powerful Toll in Business Can Double Your Sales Results (Sourcebooks, 2003)?  Because much of what you've been taught about questions and questioning is just flat wrong according to Freese. 

 Secrets of Question Based Selling (QBS) is obviously a book about questions and the art of using them to engage your prospect.  But it is far more than a book about questioning; it's a book about effective selling and how to use questions to prick interest, discover information, engage and feed the needs of multiple participants in the decision making process, get past gatekeepers, get a return call when you leave a voice mail message, and to close the sale.

 QBS isn't just a book about questions.  Naturally, Freese discusses questions and questioning in great detail.  He lays out a number of types of questions and their uses.  He gives examples of both effective and ineffective questions.  He relates stories of question success—and question failure.  He addresses erroneous traditional question training such as to ask open-ended questions only.  He demonstrates the power of a well-crafted question--and how ill conceived questions lead to self-inflected wounds.

 However, if you look at Secrets of Question Based Selling as a book about questions, you miss the power and essence of Freese's message.  At its core, QBS isn't really about asking questions.  It's about understanding human nature and formulating a sales process that emanates from understanding who people are, how they think, how they respond, and what captures their attention and addresses their needs. 

 Secrets of Question Based Selling is one of a long line of books written over the past two and half decades that tries to set out a rational, workable, effective sales process for the complex sale.  The complex business-to-business sale has been the primary focus of sales process trainers for the last decades with little attention given to the less complex business-to-business and business-to-consumer sale. 

 Although designed for and directed toward the complex sale, many of the strategies and techniques in these sales process books are applicable to other types of sales situations although the authors seldom, if ever, address those situations.  Freese, to his credit, doesn't ignore the vast majority of salespeople who are not engaged in complex solution selling.  He gives examples from the less lofty world of sales and even an example or two from the world of the one-time close sale. 

 The sales process Freese sets forth covers the gamut of prospect contract, from initial call to the close of the sale.  The primary tool used is questions but the foundation is an understanding of how people respond during the process of considering a purchase of any type, any size—and that basic human nature is the same for the company contemplating a twenty million dollar purchase as the couple contemplating a twenty thousand dollar purchase. 

 Whether you sell health insurance in a one-time close sale to mom and pop or the most sophisticated high tech services to Fortune 50 companies, Secrets of Question Based Selling is filled with gems that will help you connect with your prospects.  You may not choose to adopt the entire sales process Freese presents—the process in its entirety isn't right for everyone or every situation, you cannot read the book and not walk away without having improved your ability to engage your prospect and your clients—and earn more money.


High Probability Selling, by Jacques Werth and Nicholas E RubenHigh Probability Selling,
by Jacques Werth and Nicholas E Ruben

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By Paul McCord, Reviewer

 Why in the world would I be reviewing a book that's been on the market for more than 15 years? 
Why not stick with far more recently published items? 

Legitimate questions.  Ones I asked myself when I began to think seriously about writing a review of the book. I had read the book a number of years ago.  When I received a new copy of High Probability Selling (Abba Publishing, 2000) by Jacques Werth and Nicholas Ruben, I had no intention of writing a review—wanted to keep the reviews to more recently published stuff, after all the book has had a decade and a half to prove itself. 

 Yet, when I began to skim the book, I was reminded of some of the influences it has had on my thinking over the years, so I decided to read it again in detail.  As I did, the idea of writing a current review became stronger and stronger until—well, here it is.

 When I first picked this book up several years ago, I almost didn't get past the first couple of pages.  It had, in my opinion, too many things going against it:  it was self-published (at a time when self-publishing was worse than not being published at all); the text was presented as a conversation between a salesperson just learning High Probability selling and others in his company (sorry, this format still drives me nuts); and the print was too large for a ‘serious' book (not "See Jane Run' big, but almost twice the size of a standard business book big). 

 A trite basis to make a judgment on a book?  Of course.  But I was only judging whether or not to read it, not whether it was good or not.  Hay, I was young and foolish.  Now, I'm much older—and still foolish, but now I have the laugh and frown lines to indicate my foolishness has been well earned. 

 Nevertheless, despite what I saw as the book's immediate drawbacks, I read it.  And I'm certainly glad I did.

 The basic thesis of High Probability Selling is—sell prospects who want to buy what you are selling and don't bother with the others.  Earth shattering, right?  Hardly.  Yet, how many selling processes try to do just what High Probability Selling advocates against?  How many processes are geared toward trying to convince prospects that they really need or want what you're selling, whether they really do or not?

 As common sense as High Probability Selling is, it goes against the grain of so much that is commonly taught in sales.  There's no overcoming objections, no closing, no wrestling an appointment out of a prospect, no pressure to buy, no confrontation, no rejection. 

 So, what is there?  There's a progression of process that is constantly examining the prospect to determine whether the chance of making a sale is high or low.  If the chances are low, the salesperson politely goes his or her own way, seeking a more high probability prospect. 

 The basic idea is a good one, though probably not appropriate for all industries and situations.  High Probability Selling makes a few assumptions: 

  • There are so many prospects available who want to purchase your product or service now that you need not waste time with prospects who aren't currently ready to buy

  • All prospects will qualify, more correctly disqualify, themselves quickly.  Those who don't answer your questions appropriately are low probability prospects, so move on. 

  • Persuasion of any kind, in any situation is bad, bad, bad.  Worse than bad.  Hannible Lechner-evil bad.

  • Allowing the prospect to disqualify himself quickly is good for the prospect as it is for the salesperson.

  •  Most everyone can think of situations where the above assumptions are wrong.  However, in most situations we salespeople find ourselves, they are quite reasonable.  The exceptions are rare and most are situation specific exceptions rather than industry specific—with the obvious exception of the first assumption where there are many industries with a very limited and often tightly knit group of prospects. 

 The above attributes of High Probability Selling are not what I consider the books greatest contribution.  As I mentioned earlier, the book has had a good deal of influence on my thinking.  That influence comes from a concept the book describes as establishing a customer's Conditions of Satisfaction. 

 For the last decade or two, more and more companies and individual salespeople have been touting their ability to exceed their client's expectations.  So many companies and salespeople spout the words that you'd think there couldn't possibly be a dissatisfied customer in America.  Nevertheless, few if any of these companies and salespeople can possibly exceed their client's expectations because they have no idea what the client expects.  Why?  They never ask.

 No so with High Probability Selling.  More than anything else in the book, I appreciate Werth's and Ruben's emphasis on establishing in writing exactly what the customer wants and expects.  Exceeding a customer's expectations?  Finally, yes you can.  You can if you implement the Conditions of Satisfaction section of the book because you will be one of the few salespeople or companies who really know what your customer expects.  You can because you know, where your competitors can claim but always fail because they have no earthly idea what an individual customer expects.

 Not only does establishing the client's Conditions of Satisfaction allow you to finally meet your client's expectations, more importantly, it flushes out any unrealistic expectations.  No longer will you discover to your dismay in the middle of the process that your customer had expectations that you could not possibly meet.  Those days of sales falling apart or leaving a customer angry can be over.

 Whether you fully adopt the process or not, few will be able to walk away from High Probability Selling without having to seriously consider their current sales process in light of what is presented. 

 Dated book?  Yes.  Still worth the time and effort?  Absolutely.

 Copyright 2008, Paul McCord.  May be reproduced without change, with proper attribution and brief bio.  Notice of when and where article is to appear to


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What The Customer Wants You to Know, by Ram CharanWhat The Customer Wants You to Know
by Ram Charan

Paul McCord, Reviewer

 We live in an increasing commoditized world.  Almost any product or service you can think of has been or is in the process of being turned into a simple commodity.  And the heart of commodization is, of course, price.  Who can produce the best at the cheapest price becomes the driving question for consumer decisions—and the supplier's decisions as well.

 Ram Charan's central question in What The Customer Wants You to Know (Penguin Group, 2007) is how can a company break out of the commodization spiral and set themselves apart as a premium supplier with premium pricing—and thrive.

 Charan's solution is a sales process he calls Value Creation Selling (VCS).  A distinctly business-to-business sales process, VCS in essence takes Solution Selling a new level—and adds layers at the same time.

 Selling as currently practiced, says Charan, is broken, outdated, and ultimately a losing proposition for companies using any traditional sales model.  The solution is, naturally, VCS.

 Rather than focusing on discovering a customer need and creating a solution to the need, VCS seeks to discover not only the customer's problem but also how that problem affects the customer's revenue and profitability and then seeks to create a solution that adds revenue to the client company.  In other words, the supplier becomes a partner with the client to help the client increase sales, increase revenue and increase profitability.  By thus showing the prospect how your solution not only resolves a need but also adds value to the company's bottom-line by helping to increase revenue, you become not only the preferred vendor, but the preferred vendor with a premium price.

 The crux of VCS selling is a team approach with the salesperson as the team leader.  The team will consist of individuals from a number of departments, from marketing to finance to legal, all working together to gather a great deal of detailed information about the prospect, the way the prospect currently does business, the prospect's financial situation, and even the prospect's customers.  The goal is to understand the prospect's business so well that a solution can be tailored for the prospect that impacts the prospect's bottom-line by not only possibly decreasing costs associated with their current need—but that actually adds revenue in some manner.

 This team approach requires the salesperson to take on new roles, learn new skills and develop keen analytical and diagnostic abilities.  It requires developing multi-layered relationships within the prospect company where the salesperson and team members not only identify decision makers but also influencers—and develop relationships based on trust with them all.  It requires a new view of what selling is, what a solution is, what a prospect's needs are.

Charan's process is long-term.  According to his experience in helping companies convert to a VCS sales process, the conversion will take about three years from start to a fully functioning VCS company.  In addition he warns, the conversion process not only takes dedication and patience, it's expensive.

 And the sales process itself takes much longer than most company's current sales cycle.  If you currently have a long cycle—it will get longer.  If you currently have a relatively short cycle, it will become much longer.

 The value of VCS according to Charan is threefold:

  • Higher pricing and profitability

  • More loyal and committed clients

  • Implementing a process that is difficult, long-term and costly means few competitors will have the patience and dedication to compete on the same level

 Again, being upfront, Charan readily admits the process isn't for every company or every market.  Only after careful evaluation can companies make an informed decision as to whether they want to travel down this road.  But his promise is that if the process has been well thought-out, the commitment unwavering, and the buy-in to the program universal from the CEO down, the process will change not only the focus of the company, it will change the fortunes of the company like no other process can.

 Even though the above may make it sound like What The Customer Wants You To Know is another book for the complex sale, Charan gives examples of the use of the process from a number of industries, from complex sale industries to mass marketed consumer product suppliers. 

 In the end, Charan's process is interesting.  Not only will it only be implemented by a few companies, in reality it can only be implemented by a few.  The commitment, costs and patience needed to implement the process and wait for the payoff will prove to be too costly for many, too unwieldy for others, and too complex for most.  In reality, CVS is a process that is probably suited for smaller companies engaged in highly complex sales.  Trying to rebuild a large corporation would more than likely prove to be a nightmare, and seeking to convert a company in a short cycle, highly commoditized industry would probably prove to be more costly than its worth. 

 Yet even with these limitations, the book is worth reading.  Although the process may not be adopted, many of Charan's observations about the current state of sales and prospect interaction are worth the price of the book alone.

Copyright 2008, Paul McCord.  May be reproduced without change, with proper attribution and brief bio.  Notice of when and where article is to appear to


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Metaphorically Selling by Anne Miller

"Metaphorically Selling"
by Anne Miller

By Paul McCord, Reviewer

Do your presentations grab your listener—or send them into a coma?  Are they filled with charts, data, facts and figures—or do they show your prospect why they should invest in your product?  Do they make your listener yearn for relief from the agony of the presentation–or light up their eyes with interest and enthusiasm?  

How deeply you touch your prospect will determine just how well your presentation will communicate.  If you kill ‘em with boredom, you lose; if you get them involved to the point they see and feel your words, you stand a great chance of winning.

If you're in sales, your life is filled with presentations—whether presentations to group or one-on-one with prospects, clients, and management.  

Unlike most books on presentations, Anne Miller's, Metaphorically Selling (Chiron Associates, 2004) isn't a manual on making presentations, rather this great little book is a guide to making your presentations move your prospects by showing them what you want to communicate through the use of metaphors and similes.  

Miller demonstrates through the use of real-world examples, as well as her own use of metaphors, how how you communicate is as important as what you communicate, maybe even more so.  For example, she shows how a very simple metaphor saved Chrysler from permanently closing their doors; how she won a major training contract by using the company whose business she was seeking as the core of the metaphor that won her the business; how Southwest Airlines diffused anxiety over the retirement of Herb Kelleher by use of a metaphor; how a metaphor helped the family of Karen Silkwood win their case against Kerr –McGee; and many others straight out of real life.

And don't think of metaphors and similes as simply words.  Miller shows how props, pictures, slides and other media can be used as effective metaphors also.

From the opening of your presentation to the close—and everywhere in-between, Miller shows you how to change your presentations from ordinary to highly effective with the use of the simple metaphor.  Metaphors aren't just for English class anymore.  Now they're your ticket to more sales.

 You can find Metaphorically Selling at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Copyright 2007, Paul McCord.  May be reproduced without change, with proper attribution and brief bio.  Notice of when and where article is to appear to

Paul McCordAbout the Reviewer
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Paul McCord is a leading authority on prospecting, referral selling, and personal marketing.  He is president of McCord and Associates, a Houston, Texas based sales training, coaching, and consulting company. 

His first book, Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals (John Wiley and Sons, 2007), is an Amazon and Barnes and Noble best-seller and is quickly becoming recognized as the authoritative work on referral selling. 

His second book, SuperStar Selling: 12 Keys to Becoming a Sales SuperStar will be released in February, 2008.  He may be reached at or visit his sales training website at




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The SLMA Recommendation is not a guarantee of the products use or reliability and we take no responsibility for the warranty, expressed or implied by this recommendation.  The recommendation is an opinion similar to product reviews.



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Nothing happens until a sale is made. You can't make a sale without a qualified sales lead. These two simple statements explain why sales leads are the lifeblood of every business organization, regardless of product or service. Author, James Obermayer, President of Sales Leakage Consulting and a 25-year sales and marketing veteran, gives real, everyday practical meaning and utility to all of the typical sales and marketing aphorisms. 

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