Thursday, June 07, 2007

Success Book Reviews - Gitomer on Persuasion Part 1

I’ve been reading master salesman Jeffey Gitomer’s Little Green Book of Getting Your Way: How to Speak, Write, Present, Persuade, Influence, and Sell Your Point of View to Others. The book, at least the part I’ve read so far, appears to be geared toward improving presentation and persuasion skills, particularly in selling.

I am impressed with what I have read so far. A few of the more fascinating ideas are, if not counterintuitive, then certainly unobvious. For instance

Persuasion starts with excellent listening. With your ability to discover and ask the right questions.

When one thinks of it, how can you sell anything to anyone if you don’t know their problems? If you don’t know what they want to buy? At a deep level, persuasion is consultative, involving an empathy and study of others’ situation and needs.

In my previous career in a creative field, I noticed that I was almost the only one taking notes in client meetings. Sometimes it was not so much a client’s stated needs, but a turn of phrase, or perhaps a description of what was said in THEIR client’s meeting that allowed me to conceive of targeted solutions. To a carpenter, all solutions might look like a hammer, but we cannot think in such black-and white terms. We need to creatively engage with the client to find unique solutions. Only then can the client persuade himself to buy.

Persuade Yourself First. Gitomer contends that persuasion comes from people who believe in themselves: yourself, your product, your company. I have a friend who is a world-class salesman. One of the reasons he is so good is that he knows that his company provides one of the best solutions in the country for his particular niche. Not only that, but he has educated himself about the entire product production process, so he knows how to get great results from his suppliers. And he can also depend on himself to watch over things: he knows he takes an “ownership approach” to everything he sells. Naturally, this strong belief, which is grounded in hard-earned reality, allows him to project confidence and reliability to his million-dollar clients. It all starts with belief in what you are selling. And that includes YOU.

But Gitomer doesn’t stop there. He tells us ho to make OURSELVES a better product before we can persuade others. He mentions Credibility, Stature, (previous) Success, and Reputation. In my current field as trader, I have found that the books that help me the most are written by…duh…great traders! Although there are a lot of books by great seminar leaders, famous people, guys with great websites, etc, I have found that I have learned the most from those with demonstrated previous success.This point is particularly important coming from a salesman like Gitomer. The core of sales is delivering results, not "selling" in the commonly-understood sense. That’s why an ex-president or person of similar stature can command a speaking fee 100 times more than a person who has been speaking for 25 years…but who hasn’t truly accomplished nearly as much. It’s the credibility. The previous, demonstrated success. The reputation.

If we work on ourselves first, the selling comes a lot easier.

More in Part 2


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