This is a book for script readers, folks new to sales, those weak on value selling, and sales folk who can’t close. Successful professional sales people know most everything in this book innately. The behaviors and methodologies discussed within is either part of their personality or disciplines they learned long ago. Fundamentally, Jeb Blount tells us that people buy from people they like. Then he shows those that might not be likable enough how to become an ultra-high performer by leveraging emotional intelligence.
You might say, “Mike, you seem likeable enough. Why would you read this?” Believe it or not, I am natively an introvert. In my younger years, I overcame that by being obnoxious. Having matured a bit while leveraging the training provided by Toastmasters and the knowledge hard knocks provide, I’m a bit more palatable to most these days. I am just as comfortable saying, “Put down that coffee. Coffee is for closers” as I am quoting Tommy Boy’s quip, “You can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking your head up a cows butt, but wouldn’t you rather take the butcher’s word for it.” I do realize those are both on the obnoxious end of the spectrum. I just wanted to work them into this review.
Anyway, I picked this book up because I like the type of sales people that disrupt my expectations and I wanted to know why. The book is really an extended look at creating rapport with the major types of stakeholders of which sales people often cross-paths. If you ever read Instant Rapport by Michael Brooks (not me) you know most of what is covered in this book.
Where Mr. Blout adds value is by discussing what he calls Ultra-High Performer (UHD) Intelligence. It breaks down types of “intelligence” required to be a great sales professional. My weakest, as potentially with most who are reading this, is the emotional intelligence (EQ). Part of EQ is controlling your emotions. I wear my passions and frustrations on my sleeve. The bluntness can be disturbing to some. The understanding of how my behavior affects others is the second half of EQ. I am weak here as the goal is to have only positive outcomes. Good thing I am not currently in sales.
The other sections I enjoyed significantly were those on disrupting buyer expectations. This is Blout’s “flip the script” strategy. This is a great way to blast through barriers such as unbalanced price expectations or even just getting your foot in the door. He does spend time discussing methods to increase buyer commitment by creating a series of small commitments. These are things like setting a follow-up appointment, scheduling talks with additional gatekeepers, or even just having a lunch. You may already be familiar with these tactics as I am. However, it is always nice to be reminded of the psychological methods sales folk use. As a buyer, it helps to shut those attempts down. It helps us understand why we like certain sales people better than others. Ultimately, it explains why many only buy from people they like.
Personally, I love the lunch invite. Feed me and I’ll listen to your spiel. On the flip side, act like a jerk, and you will never hear from me again. That goes for anyone you pull into the discussion too. A reasonably recent example is from an interaction with a printer vendor. The territory rep was doing just fine. Her boss got involved, he acted like a child, and they lost the sale. His EQ was terrible.
In closing, this book was a good read. While a good portion of it will be review for even a mildly seasoned sales person, there are several excellent nuggets that make it worth the read. I get a great deal of sales calls. Half of them are good. Most of them never make it past the voicemail. A smile really can be heard over the phone. Your voicemail should be clear, concise, and bookended with your name, company, and phone number. Your passion should be evident. The people that do those things have a high EQ as they show that they value my time. I will return the favor.