The first "business to business" sales book I read, Getting to VITO (The Very Important Top Officer): 10 Steps to VITO's Office by Anthony Parinello, sparked my outside sales career. My years of inside sales experience prepared me for the sales process, but outside sellers need to create the sales process. VITO showed me how valuable time is for top decisionmakers and laid out a step by step process to get together with them. It helped me implement my letter & follow-up call campaign, which I incorporated into a daily routine to make it a habit.
Later sales training followed Buyer-Approved Selling: Sales Secrets from the Buyer's Side of the Desk (The Approved Series) by Michael Schell. This book teaches people how to sell by sharing the buyer's point of view. It not only points out the negative aspects of "Cold Calling," but it also shows how ineffective approaches further inconvenience the potential customer. I really enjoyed reading this book & made it cover to cover in only a few days. As an outsider to the industry, I needed this book to show me how buyers think and how they prefer to be approached.
Business to business sales usually features longer buying cycles, which Buyer Approved clearly demonstrates. While its telemarketing tips opened many doors for me, I continued to seek new ways to get more appointments. My company requires reps to spend entire days on the phones setting appointments, and I needed to increase my effectiveness. I next found Cold Calling Techniques That Really Work by Stephan Schiffman. This book simplified everything for me. After many calls, I ended my days with too few appointments on the board. I read Schiffman's book in one night, and it reminded me to ask for the appointment. Seems easy, but when you're on the phone, it's easy to forget.
Later training sessions encouraged me to read Gap Selling by Keenan. The audiobook motivated me to fill the "gap" between my clents' problems and my solution. Going against the "friends buy from friends" mantra I often heard repeated, Gap Selling says people don't buy from people they like. They buy from people who solve problems. Keenan's motivational voice makes this a quick read and an inspirational listen.
Gap Selling assumes you are doing the prospecting work required to fill a successful pipeline of future sales. For salespeople who forgot about the power of prospecting, Keenan recommended the following books as refreshers: High Profit Prospecting by Mark Hunter and Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount. The work I am doing now will reap rewards months in the future, so the lack of immediate results can sometimes peck away at motivation. Whenever I lose focus, I fire up one of these audiobooks to keep me going. Constant prospecting is the only way to keep sales flowing. If the pipeline ever dries up, it's usually the result of a break in prospecting.
I next needed to learn how to market myself on a budget. I explored the bookshelves of my local Barnes & Noble writing down title after title before deciding on the Guerrilla Series. Page after page of these books reveal some of the most clever guerrilla marketing strategies. Every day I try to use a new publicity technique, and these books keep the ideas flowing.
I waited too long to follow Dave Ramsey's advice. Until I found him I looked to too many money experts that emphasized leverage and not avoiding debt. Dave helped me realize that you are not financially free until debt is behind you and you have some money in the bank. If I haven't given you a copy of The Total Money Makeover yet, get yours on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/3abcfTX
After following Dave Ramsey to get my finances in order, it was time to take the next step and plan for retirement. In my 20s and even my 30s, I didn't think about it enough. Once I hit the big 4-0, retirement began to feel ominously close. Retirement is coming whether you like it or not. Thankfully Retire Inspired by Ramsey Personality Chris Hogan, gives you a step-by-step plan for each age group. Pick up your copy on Amazon: https://amzn.to/30L9B4m
The first finance book that gave me an epiphany, Rich Dad inspired me to focus on spending time and money accumulating assets, not liabilities. Before my Rich Dad moment, I was accumulating debt and leasing new cars every few years. After, I learned to live frugally and appreciate value over flash. I realized my real-life dad was my rich dad, and I wish I would have absorbed his lessons earlier in life. Get your copy on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3kH0xpg
At times, self-help and motivation will draw my attention away from those around me. We go through life making friends, not just making money. As a joke based on a comment I made about myself, some friends got me the book How Not to Be A Dick. I feared others saw me as self-centered. How Not to Be A Dick can keep one from becoming a mean-spirited, self-serving individual who thinks and acts as though everyone else can only be understood in terms of their relationship to himself or herself. It's funny and should be obvious, but sometimes I need a reminder that the world does not revolve around me.
I admit I was older than I should have been before reading How to Win Friends & Influence People, but it grounded me at a humbling point in my career. Until then, I had gotten by on charisma alone. If I wanted to take my career to the next level, I needed to study how to be a better human. The main lesson I took was remembering people's names. People like to hear their names, and that one seemingly simple act can take you many places. If, like me once, this book has not yet found you, get your copy on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ksIK57
My wife gave me Outliers for my 45th birthday. It's an inspirational read, and like other Gladwell books, it breaks down studies that help explain what most would call inexpiable. If you follow the data, the universe is not as mysterious as historically thought. Not only are there a series of coincidental events, but there are also specific causes behind what happens. Grab Outliers on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3aeeaaH