Be agile or you will lose touch with your buyers - sales will spiral down - have they already? Agile is not just fast, it is a methodology for software development and project management where you do shorter amounts of work and assess, change, and improve. It's seems unusual these days when a new business book talks about much in the way of new strategies or tactics. Sales Expert Jill Konrath is releasing this week her new book, Agile Selling - Get Up to Speed Quickly in Today's Ever-Changing Sales World. It is a different sort of book. Instead of talking about specific tactics within email messaging or voice mail strategies, Konrath's third book (my favorite so far) speaks to the mindset of anyone in business who is responsible for growing revenues. Times changed, buyers changed, and many sellers have NOT changed. Within the powerful pages (250 to be exact) Jill discusses how sellers need to learn so many things any time they are in a new position, promoted, or presented with new products and services. How those sellers respond every time helps define their success. Jill got the idea for writing the book when a client asked her to explain just "how" she was so successful. That's like asking the award-winning baker why the cake came out perfectly. These things are often difficult to explain, so Konrath set out on a journey to learn more about how the brain works, about success, and how this all ties in to business building. Before I go further, let me say that I like this book so much I am recommending all of my on-boarding clients buy it for their new reps as a welcome gift which is really a guide to assist them in their new role. I appreciate the short chapters with heading you can flip to in any order. Let me give two examples of why this is a must read: There are smart recommendations that support how the brain works. If you are a salesperson or business executive focused on revenues and you live a life of constant distractions, it is hurting you in the wallet, most likely. Konrath cites in Chapter 50, "Eliminate Distractions", how distractions consume an average of 2.1 hours a day. You thought you were smart multitasking, didn't you? Instead use the methods she discusses to gain focus. Part 3 is over 60 pages focused on different strategies to learn new information quickly. Why rapid learning? It is a skill that everyone in business needs to succeed. Another strategy Konrath recommends for people new to a position is to find the successful "upstart" - that person who has not been with the company more than a few years yet has found ways to be successful. Ask them questions that will tell you how you can go about your prospecting or whatever role you have. These ideas seem obvious, but put all together they are a recipe for success in business building:
- Knowing how and when to ask for help
- Keeping your boss in the loop about the things you learn
- Purge your pipeline - get rid of those opportunities you know are not qualified and won't come to closure
- Change sabotaging behaviors - Konrath cites a formula for success in Chapter 55.
If you know of a new sales rep, a seller with new products and services, a rep in a slump, or a business owner wanting sales growth, you cannot go wrong learning more about Agile Selling. It's officially available on Thursday, so Jill has some special bonuses if you order this week. Disclaimer: Jill is a good friend of mine, and I would never write a positive review recommending readers read a book or a post for any other reason than what you can gain. Your time is valuable and you cannot get it back. I only recommend top-notch books, blogs and tools that are simple and help you win. This is top-notch - so says Seth Godin, Dan Pink, and others. What are your thoughts about the speed of learning in sales and marketing roles? Do you and your colleagues think of themselves as lifelong learners? Why or why not?
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
Lori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.