Normally my monthly book review covers only one book, but I've managed to read Jeffrey Gitomer's classic collection; The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Gold Book of YES Attitude and The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way in precisely that order.
I read one or two of Gitomer's books in my 20's, but I wasn't ready for the message. It's true that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear, and I can now read Gitomer's books in my 30's without as much angst about his ego and arrogance as a salesman. To this day, I maintain the opinion that if you can sell "anything to anyone" you're not a sales person, you're a con man! But, this guy does 120 seminars in a year he's on stage selling to audiences all the time! He has created one of the most influential tribes on the planet, and therefore, his theories do apply to his own success.
On the other hand, there are people who sell "nothing to nobody". They think likes are sales that their products will sell themselves and "if I just create something that's popular, the rest of it will fall into place." Nope. That's impossible.
So here's my main takeaways from the collection.
The Little Black Book of Connections
How do you climb the ladder without stepping on people's backs? It's a compelling question about how to earn the respect of a powerful mentor without begging and how to build stronger relationships with customers, bosses, colleagues, vendors, friends, and family. It's about being in the same room with powerful people and being comfortable and how to connect and disconnect. Language (written, verbal, physical) are the instruments in saying the right things to the right people in the right circumstances and environment to make the right impression.
The Little Red Book of Selling
Why do people buy? Another great question. Why do you buy? How rational are you when making a decision to trade your money for a product/service. Did the salesperson or brand influence you more than the product itself, or vice-versa. The book demystifies the buying principles for salespeople and that understanding why people buy is "all that matters". This book is best to be read in intervals there's a lot to take in. It's actually quite a manipulatively clever book in helping sharpen a salesperson's skills.
The Little Red Book of Sales Answers
There's not much new in this book about sales wheel; Gitomer just shows the reader how it turns. Whether you've been in sales for five weeks or five years, a suite of Sales 101 questions are answered, for example "How do I make a cold call?" "When do I ask for the sale?" "How do I get referrals?" He succinctly answers these questions with a mix of common sense and hard-won experience. He doesn't provide shortcuts or a magic sales formula. It's a good little handbook for anyone who has a career in sales.
The Little Gold Book of YES Attitude
This book is 100% me. According to Gitomer a Yes! Attitude is better than just a positive attitude as it helps you to formulate your responses in a positive form. This is a golden study guide to help anyone including teenagers - develop a truly positive attitude. I loved this book.
The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way
Ok. This is where I saw it all come together for me. Green means go. In my sales career, I've always had to be on the go tapping into the necessary gifts/strengths/habits to find the connections that get to the Why and the Yes. Phew! One thing is for sure, the emphasis on "language" is prevalent more in this book than any other. So, in order to get your way, you must speak, write, present, persuade, influence to sell your point of view to others. How sharp are you with your physical, verbal and written language? This one is worth a read.
If you are involved in any kind of marketing, sales or networking this collection should be on your booklist or bookshelf. Yes, it's a fair bit of of reading, but when you read 5 books in a month, you feel a great sense of achievement. And, keep in mind that Homes that are worth over $500,000 are designed with bookshelves from the beginning. You see, the wealthy understand the power of reading and applying knowledge.
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