Three “Selling Fearlessly” Reviews By Pipeline Stalwarts
Today’s blog is an unabashed commercial for my new book Selling Fearlessly: A Master Salesman’s Secrets For the One-Call-Close Salesperson. I put two-and-a-half years of my life into this project, and with everything that’s within me I believe it’ll help any salesperson reach greatness. That includes pipeline salespeople selling the complex sale, as well as the one-call-close salespeople it was specifically written for. Many of my pipeline-selling colleagues in the sales-training/coaching business agree. Here are three reviews I hope you’ll take the time to heed:
Dave Brock: There are hundreds of new books on selling published every year. To be honest, not many of them offer a lot new. The better ones have some slightly new takes on very old ideas–but they provide some refreshing insights, approaches, or make you think about things a little differently. The majority, well, my Mom always said, “If you can’t say something nice…….”
The problem with all these books is they tend to approach things from the ideal. “Do this exactly as I say, and it will always work.”
The reality is things are seldom the ideal. Sometimes, you do everything right and things just don’t work out–we can’t get the customer to answer the phone, we can’t engage them in the ideal manner. However well articulated, and defended, in spite of all the value we create, the customer just wants the lowest prices. However, customer focused and great our solution is, we lose–and for all the wrong reasons.
I wish I could say that all my sales strategies just go perfectly. That I am never suffering for leads, that I can always get the customer to pick up the phone. I wish my pipeline was always perfect and healthy. I wish I could say the insight I provide in an opening call always causes people to immediately reach for a purchase order.
But I’d be lying. Like every sales professional, I strive to practice what I preach, but sometimes I fail–I make mistakes. Other times, I do things right and they come out with the wrong result.
The problem I have with so many sales guru’s and pundits, is the real world is often so different from the idealized world they portray.
Then I get to my friend, Bob Terson’s book, Selling Fearlessly. Bob is a fantastic sales professional. His “selling world” has been dominated by one call closes. It stands in stark contrast to my own experience–long complex sales cycles, with each call progressing to the close. I could never imagine a one call close.
Selling Fearlessly is really the reflections on the career of an outstanding sales professional. It’s filled with stories about the life of a sales professional. I could imagine myself along side Bob on Mound Road. I could imagine the sales campaign in Nashville, where despite everything he did, nothing was working. With each story, I could feel the frustration, sometimes despair. I could also feel the joy and celebration. With each story, my own stories started coming back to me, things I’d been through, successes, failures, things I’ve learned in my own career.
Bob captured the real life of a sales professional. The peaks and the valleys. All of us have them, we try to get more peaks than valleys, but we get both. But the true sales professional, those who Sell Fearlessly, persevere, learning from each situation, and growing.
As Bob tells his stories, he grounds them in great principles. Principles which enable the best to rise above everyone else, to perform, to produce great results, to build life long relationships, and to be proud of being a Sales Professional.
I’ve been around the block a few times. I’ve learned a lot about selling, but I learned a lot new from Selling Fearlessly. Some of what I learned came directly from the book and Bob’s great advice. Some of what I learned came from reflecting on my own journey and stories.
Selling is not neat and clean. Despite, how well we follow the advice of the so called experts, we all have our ups and downs. But Selling Fearlesslyis about persevering through all of those.
Jack Malcolm: As a specialist in complex sales, I rarely read anything that relates to one-call-close sales. I read Selling Fearlessly: A Master Salesman’s Secrets For the One-Call-Close Salesperson because Bob is a friend, but I’m recommending that you read it because it’s so good. By the time you finish it, you’ll probably feel Bob is your friend, too.
Terson did not sell complex systems to large businesses—he sold advertising on telephone book covers to small businesses, not what you would consider sophisticated sales. Yet, anyone who went on 12,000 sales calls during a 43-year career is bound to have learned a lot about selling, about consistent success, and about the psychology of persuasion. He also has a special gift for teaching, explaining and telling stories, which wraps the valuable lessons of a lifetime into a compelling and entertaining package.
In fact, Selling Fearlessly was a “one-call-close” for me, in that I read most of it through in one sitting while on a flight. But I have already started going through it again, because there are pearls of wisdom disguised as “common sense”, the kinds of things we all think we know but definitely don’t do enough of.
The book is in four sections, with about a dozen short chapters in each that tell a story or make a valuable point. Each chapter is opened by an apposite quote. My favorite is “Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open,” quoted in chapter 4. Another quote dovetails beautifully with my own Bottom-Line Selling approach: “Treat your role strictly as a fiduciary responsibility and you’re on the right path to selling glory.” (I planned to steal that one, but when I tried it out on my class full of salespeople today, I had to explain what “fiduciary” meant.)
Part I is about the selling life, and the Mound Road story that opens the book (and Terson’s career) introduces us to the man who is our mentor and guide for the rest of the book. Everyone will draw their own lessons from Part I, but for me the key is the importance and dignity of the sales profession, especially since we’re all salespeople in some way.
The next three sections cover one leg of “The Triangle”, made up of mental attitude, work habits and salesmanship. Part II, on mental attitude, is mostly full of ideas that we already “know”, but constantly need reminding of, such as motivation, belief, and persistence. The key takeaway from this is that you don’t have to be born with a natural aptitude for selling; as long as you’re willing to work hard, take responsibility for your own and your customers’ results, and develop a tenacious belief in yourself despite disappointment and rejection, you can create a successful and rewarding career for yourself.
Part III is full of practical advice about work habits. Terson was way ahead of some of the current thinking on applying lean methods to selling—codifying and standardizing his work processes and following them consistently week by week, year over year. Although it would not be possible in today’s rapidly changing world, I found it fascinating that he only made three changes to his selling process in 43 years!
Part IV is about salesmanship. If you have any experience and success in complex sales, you’ve heard of his techniques before and won’t agree with all of them, but occasionally we need reminders that planning, developing relationships and challenging your buyers sometimes needs to be supplemented by the ability to communicate convincingly, deal with objections, and close a wavering decision maker.
Selling Fearlessly will enthrall, teach, and inspire you.
Mike Weinberg: I just finished Selling Fearlessly – A Master Salesman’s Secrets for the One-Call-Close Salesperson. For the bottom-line types, let me get to the point: Buy the book. If you’re my age (45) or younger, I insist you read it. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that you need it.
Robert Terson, who is simply “Bob” to those that know him, is a gem of a man and a true sales pro. He’s been around the block — a few thousand times — and has much to offer. I read his refreshing new book on a few recent flights and finished it at home this past weekend. It’s not only an easy, fast read, but it captures you. Packed with short story after short story, all from Bob’s extensive sales experience, Selling Fearlessly is highly entertaining. I laughed out a loud a few times (yes, while on a plane). I cheered. I even got choked up on more than one occasion. I truly enjoyed it.
Why such a strong endorsement? Because Bob’s an experienced professional who spent decades on the road earning a living. And we can all learn from him. He shares important truths about perseverance, commitment, discipline – all things that appear to be in short supply among today’s generation of salespeople. He tackles the basics from a wise veteran’s perspective, offering valuable insights on presentations, rebutting objections, and your rights as a sales professional. He coaches the reader about attitude and work ethic. Bob reminds us what is necessary to win – in sports, in life, and yes, in sales. It is a much needed message.
Why? Because there is a youthful arrogance permeating our culture today. It’s everywhere – in the media, in business, in the church, and certainly in sales community. Many are convinced that everything has changed, and have turned their backs on the basics. We think we know better. The “old” truths no longer apply. Those old guys are dinosaurs that don’t have a clue. I’ll be first in line to confess. Twelve years ago I thought I knew everything. Today, not so much. I not only realize how much I don’t know, but regularly decry the lack of mentorsand mentoring relationships. There is much to be learned from those with some gray hair and tons more experience. I’ve personally benefitted from Bob’s wisdom and believe you can too.
Let me be clear: Bob Terson’s approach is way different from mine. And it’s been 20 years since I’ve been involved in the type of “simple-sale” that Bob describes in the book. I know most of you reading this review are not the “one-call-close” salesperson that Bob was; what you sell is likely way more complex and your sales cycle is probably closer to one year than it is to Bob’s “one-call.” It doesn’t matter. Get the book. Read the book. Glean wisdom and tips and perspective from this veteran of the street who wants to help you sell fearlessly. Learn from his mistakes and his successes. And incorporate a handful of the timeless truths he presents. I promise you’ll be more successful if you do.
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