If you’ve been in sales or marketing for a while, you’ll know just how much things have changed over the last few years.
However, not everyone has managed to keep pace with these changes.
This is no wonder because to do so very often means having the courage to challenge yourself on how you sell.
Sometimes, this even means turning conventional wisdom on its head!
I’ve been motivated to change my mindset by a number of inspirational speakers and writers. They captivate because they look at marketing from the viewpoint of the buyer and not the seller.
They stand firmly in the customer’s shoes and dare to point out the flaws in traditional thinking.
Beyond that they are entertaining, enthralling and enlightening. They get you to explore your mindset as well as get into the mind of those that you are looking to engage with and sell to.
The future belongs to those who are willing to see with new eyes and to act differently.
Here are 5 of the best books to help you to change how you sell in today’s marketplace.
Start with Why – Simon Sinek
Sinek states that there are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.
All too often companies try to manipulate human behaviour with their sales messages.
Typical marketing manipulations include reducing price, running promotions, using fear or applying peer pressure. They might bring in sales and even repeat sales, but they don’t earn loyalty.
Sinek makes the case that loyalty comes from customers who are inspired not by what your business does. But by why you do it.
As a result, they engage more deeply with you. In fact, they may even be willing to turn down a better product or better price to continue to buy from you.
Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help Not Hype – Jay Baer
Baer expands on a basic truth of marketing in the internet age. People are looking for help and not hype. Service and not selling.
If you sell something you can create a customer today. If you help someone you can create a customer for life.
“Youtility” is a simple strategy that is all about solving problems or providing useful information. In other words, help when customers need it – whether they need to buy or not.
This ensures that your business stands out from the crowd. Having bought into your business, It also means that potential customers will also buy from your business when the need arises. Finally, they will keep coming back for as long as you can help.
Contagious: Why Things Catch On – Jonah Berger
Using entertaining and illuminating real life stories Berger unravels the mystery of why certain types of content capture the imagination.
He identifies what causes campaigns to go viral and product sales to ignite. The key learning is that there are six basic principles that drive all sorts of things to become contagious.
Understanding these principles enables businesses, no matter how small they may be or how mundane their products may seem, to get their customers to spread the word to others.
In the digital age, word of mouth remains the most powerful form of marketing. Harnessing social media helps it multiply and eventually go viral.
The New Experts – Robert Bloom
According to Bloom the sales funnel is dead. Today’s buyers have become the “new experts” in every line of business taking complete control of the entire purchasing process.
To succeed, sales people have to learn how to think like a customer at the “4 Decisive Moments”. These are the:
- Now-or Never Moment (your first fleeting contact, usually via the web)
- Make-or Break Moment (does your customer buy, or not?)
- Keep-or Lose Moment (does your customer buy again and again?)
- Multiplier Moment (does you customer endorse and refer you?)
Sounds simple, but in reality this can be deceptively difficult to do.
International Sales and the Middleman – John P. Griffin
As old as the hills, this is a rare book on a sorely neglected topic.
Griffin packs it full of universal truths about the dark arts of successfully managing international distributors.
Disarmingly frank on the challenge of how you sell through the middleman and told in a no nonsense way from the voice of experience.
I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did. They might just transform your thinking and help you to market and sell better to customers who have instant access to information and ever-shortening attention spans.
Finally, there are 3 more books I’d recommend that will help you to become better at business.