My belief is that if you do the basics well you will succeed. In sales and sales management that rule applies. Interestingly enough so Mike Weinberg shares that same belief. In his new book New Sales. Simplified. The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and Business Development (AMACOM: 2013) Mike makes it very apparent that selling is not a highly complicated activity.
New Sales. Simplified. covers the basics in no-nonsense way. Weinberg lays out a simple formula for growing and developing your sales pipeline based on proven actions and strategies that have been the foundation of sales success for thousands of highly successful sellers.
Don’t confuse simple with easy. Weinberg presents a simple, straightforward, effective and proven process for finding and connecting with quality new business.
The book starts out reviewing the primary reasons salespeople fail—from not having a clear path to success to being good corporate citizens to being “prisoners of hope,” as well as 13 other key stumbling blocks that prevent sellers from being successful. An interesting element of the discussion of the 16 paths to failure that Mike identifies is that although many are easily identified as negative, such as not being able to gain the prospect’s attention or having a negative attitude, others are often considered to admirable, such as being ever ready to pitch in to help or being eager to take care of their accounts, but are in reality equally destructive to sales success.
Next Weinberg tackles a very real but most often overlooked deterrent to the success of sellers—the company’s leadership. Far more often than companies want to admit, the attitude in the executive suite is the root sales problem, not the sales force itself. Just as he did with individual salespeople, Mike identifies the major walls companies create to discourage and/or prevent the sales team from being successful—and as with individual salespeople, often these walls are rooted in negative attitudes and a lack of clear focus.
New Sales. Simplified. focuses on the essential actions a sales person must take in order to turn finding and developing new business:
- Selecting Targets. “The proactive new business hunter requires a strategically selected list of appropriate target accounts in order to launch the attack.” Finding new business demands action, not reaction, Weinberg argues. And the action required is highly focused and selective. New Sales. Simplified. shows you how to develop target accounts.
- Developing a Solid Sales Story. “A compelling, differentiating, client-focused story is a prerequisite for new business development sales success.” The sales story as Weinberg says isn’t about you or your company; it’s about your prospect, about what it means for them. If your sales story can’t pass the prospect’s “so what” test (and even if it can), these two chapters alone are worth the price of the book.
- Developing Connection Expertise. Weinberg teaches you how to connect with your identified targets—and, yes, using the hated, dreaded phone is one of the tools Mike teaches you how to use effectively. As with developing a solid sales story, this section on how to effectively connect with targets requires several chapters. Weinberg doesn’t simply deal with using the phone to connect and set an appointment. He gives an in-depth discussion of how to create successful face to face meetings with prospects.
- Taking Control of Your Sales Business. To this point New Sales. Simplified. But no matter how proficient at finding and connecting with targets you become, it’s worthless if you don’t create the atmosphere that will allow you exercise your skills.
Unfortunately, if you don’t create that atmosphere, no one will do it for you. In fact, most everyone, including your manger and company will be unintentionally conspiring to prevent you from doing the things you know you must do to be successful.
Mike gives you the real workable tools you need that will allow you to finally take control of your sales business and control your sales destiny rather than being controlled by circumstances and the busy work that can destroy your career.
If you’re not where you want to be in your sales career if you’re pipeline isn’t as robust as you want, or if you are new to sales and are looking for real guidance and not just useless hype, New Sales. Simplified. you should pick up a copy immediately and read it.
Just stirring it up!
PS: Thanks to Paul McCord for sharing his insights.