on July 19, 2014
I'm not happy that I have to give this book 2-stars because I am a big Jill Konrath fan...but I am reviewing the book, however and not the person.
Her first two books were beautiful reads. They were insightful, helpful and they provided great information and tactics.
Agile Selling to my disappointed seemed elementary. It seemed as it was a book written to fill pages of common sense knowledge.
For example: It attempts to teach you how to memorize information (writing on index cards). How is that innovative or new information? Most professionals, I believe whether in high school, college or the business world don't need to be reminded how to use index cards.
If you've read other sales books or Jill's past two books this book serves as a complete redundancy. It's basic knowledge anyone should know and provides little new, refreshing ideas.
on May 29, 2014
Agile Selling is a great new resource for sales people and for sales leadership. As a sales leader in both F500 and mid-market companies, responsible for teams ranging from a couple people to over a 1,000, I wish I had this book 10 years ago!
Sales leaders are a practical people and prefer practical advice. Agile Selling is a resource that helps us create immediate value and support for our most competitive asset - our sales team. Learning what’s most important quickly helps position us to win faster. While it is always about creating and delivering compelling value, time is of the essence. The learning strategies and framework in the book are easy and can be used today.
In addition to learning faster, the need for sales development and continually refreshing sales habits is critical to achieving sustainable, high performance. The success habits chapters give practical counsel and tools. Coaching, supporting and ensuring great habits are being exercised daily help everyone on the team win.
My favorite part of the book is about an agile sales mindset. Jill gives us a way to support a sales rep with their goals, their progress, how they process a problem or overcome a deal set back. Deal coaching is an art in of it self, but it begins and ends with expanding the conversation to solve, imagining possibilities and creating forward progress.
I highly recommend this book to sales leaders looking for ways to help their teams sell more, faster. Great book, thanks Jill!
on September 3, 2014
I’ve said it before: I’ve read a ton of sales books, including Jill’s two previous ones. I love to read sales books; I always walk away with something new. This time I walked away with a LOT new, especially in the areas of learning and adapting. Why should you read this book? Because it’s one of the best, most comprehensive sales books you’ll ever read. You’ll come away from "Agile Selling" with a whole new attitude about the learning process, to say nothing about receiving a set of skills to accomplish that learning. Ditto for adapting to the changes constantly taking place in the sales world. This book takes common sense to an art form.
You’ll also get a perspective about how your prospects/customers view you. It’s going to shock you, because, trust me, it isn’t pretty. More importantly, Jill is going to teach you how to turn that unhappy phenomenon around to your benefit.
After I read the book, I went back and read all the Amazon reviews and was astonished to see that one reviewer had listed a number of questions from the book that I, too, had marked off from a particular chapter. A coincidence? I don’t think so. Make note of these questions, they’re vitally important! Here they are, along with a few others I marked off:
1. What are the most challenging parts of the decision process?
2. How do you determine if a product or service makes good business sense for your company?
3. What piques your curiosity and gets you to even consider a change?
4. What does it take to get a contract for something like this approved?
5. How do you decide which resource is best for you?
6. Who are the people who need to be involved in a decision like this?
7. What problems might they be encountering with the current way of doing things?
8. In what ways is this decision maker similar to other people I’ve worked with.
9. Do you lose to “no decision” frequently?
10. Are competitors beating you up?
11. Are your existing customers growing?
I marked off dozens of questions that Jill poses throughout Agile Selling; these 11 are just a taste of the questions Jill proffers.
Do yourself a big favor—order Agile Selling now!
on June 3, 2014
Agile Selling is one of those books hat should be digested and not just read.
The ideas for being a consistent sales winner come at you fast and furious in Jill's short chapters.
She makes a point, supports it with a story and provides actionable tips to implement.
The Agile Mindset that begins the book was powerful and builds the case for our need to be agile in mind, spirit, and action!
Some of the specific topics that I believe every salesperson, leader, and heck, even my family would benefit from include:
- How to learn new information quickly. Yes, she found practical actions for us all to learn better
- Success Habits in Part 5 outlines very specific ways to be successful today and for the long-run.
I suggest that anyone with a team that needs to stay on top of their game use this book to help their people be agile. Take one idea a week and use it as a discussion starter in your meetings. Challenge each other and celebrate your agility.
Every word in the book is timely and relevant - what more can you ask for?
on June 26, 2014
This book is great for three different types of sales people. Its perfect if you have been at it a while and need to get up to speed on how the landscape in sales has changed. If your new to sales you should read this and then read it again in 6 months and in a year so more of it will make sense after you experience some action.
The absolute best reason to read this book is if you are thinking this: "I've been at my sales job for 3-5 years. I'm underpaid and have the talent to offer but I'm worried about the challenges of moving on." This book will give you the confidence and the game plan to learn a new market, company, product line etc. Break out of your comfort zone and move up in the world with the help of this book!
on August 18, 2014
This book that changes everything
Sales people: do you know what you are to your customers? Do you know what you represent to them? I’ll tell and prepare yourselves because it’s not going to be pretty. To buyers we are nothing more than “product pushing peddlers who don’t bring any value to the decision process. They claim that all we do is ask stupid questions, offer minimal insights and give boring presentations. The last thing they want to do is waste their precious time caught in a meeting with another self-serving sales person. They’re simply too busy for that. You may think that you’re different. Buyers don’t”
I am quoting from a great new book called Agile Selling: Get up to Speed in Today’s Ever-Changing Sales World by Jill Konrath. I’m going to be talking a lot about this book this week because I think it is one of the most important books on the subject of sales in this brave new world that I’ve read in a very long time. Ms. Konrath does not only tell it the way it is… and it’s not very nice by the way, but she goes on to tell us what to do about it…and that’s the good part.
She spends a lot of time showing the sales person who is smart enough to buy and read this book how to create value, how to create interest enough in the sales conversation that the customer is going to be not only interested in what you have to say but also what you have to sell.
This is all about the sales effort from prospecting to the actual sales call. Yes, that sales call and how to get the most out of that call.
Here is something I got from the book and something that I also really believe. Your customers want you to know their business. They don’t really care about your business. All they care about is what you can do for this business. This means that you have to study their business. You have to do know what they do. You have to know their place in the market. You have to know how their product works; what it takes for them to be successful and how you with your product can help them be successful.
“Buyers expect you to understand their business, direction, challenges, processes and relationship history. The expect you to provide value. Every single interaction is evaluated to determine if it is worth the time or effort. Buyers want ideas, insights, leadership and guidance to assess whether changing (to your product or service) makes sense and how to do it best… Meeting them where they’re at. You’re expected to provide what the buyers need, when they want it and how they want it, quickly.” Konrath goes on to say.
Does this sound like a big challenge? Maybe, maybe at first but like we all should know by now but progress only starts once we leave our comfort zone.
The long and short of it is that you have to engage your customers. You have to learn about your prospects and the best way to learn from them is to interview them.
Here again from the book is a list of questions that you should always ask your prospects:
• What piques your curiosity and gets you to even consider a change?
• Who are the people who need to be involved in decision like this?
• How to you determine if a product or service makes good business sense for your company?
• How do you decide which resource is best for you?
• What are the most challenging parts of this decision process? Why?
• What does it take to get a contract for something like this approved?
In short know your prospect’s journey so you can align with it.
Let’s switch gears and talk about your sales collateral for a minute. Do you have the right tools to successfully sell your products to the right customers? Ms. Konrath suggests reverse engineering your sales material making sure that this material truly reflects your value proposition. In order to do this correctly you need to understand exactly what it is you need to provide to your customers. The first thing you have to do is go to their web site. Look at their material, look at what they are selling, look at their white papers and other information they are providing to their customers and learn what is important to them.
These are just a few of the examples of what you can learn by reading this book, but you get the idea. This is not sales 101 as it used to be, this is a whole new way of selling, of approaching the customer and of being successful. If you’re truly serious about growing your business and expanding your customer base, you’ll buy and read Jill Konrath’s, Agile Selling: Get up to Speed in Today’s Ever-Changing Sales World
on June 3, 2014
Jill Konrath has hit another homerun with her latest sales book titled Agile Selling: Get Up to Speed Quickly in Today’s Ever-Changing Sales World.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I’m not a fan of sales books. It’s me, not them. My eyes glaze over with their too-frequent cliches wrapped around a choice morsel of useful content.
So, when I say Jill’s hit another homerun with her latest book on selling, then you understand how this praise carries a little more weight.
At the same time, I have pre-existing bias in favor of Jill's work. That's based on experience. I’ve known Jill for 6 or 7, 8 years; I lose track. She was a guest on my radio show to talk about one of her other home runs: SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today's Frazzled Customers. You can listen to our conversation here. Since then, she’s shared many great tips and perspectives on selling with her blog and newsletter. I’ve used them, they work. And even those I don't put to use immediately, I still nod my head as I read them, thinking Yeah, that's good. That's really smart.
Now, as all experts and all-stars do, she’s upped her game to meet today’s new challenges. And she’s generously shared with us how she did it. So ... now you know. Knowledge is power and Jill’s book can make you a powerful sales success.
Like every good sales pro, she lays the ground work for her pitch, starting with testimonials. And wow, what a list of endorsements, all of them stars in their own right: Anita Campbell, Vernes Harnish, John Jantsch, Oren Klaff, Todd Henry, Seth Godin, Daniel Pink. They’re cheering her work, her solutions, her writing and this her latest book. 21 other experts, all-stars in the business world, offer testimonies for Jill and Agile Selling.
Rightfully so as I found out.
Then she sets the reader at ease with her introduction. It’s humble, honest, helpful and directed to me, you, the reader and our world. See? That’s just like Jill: humble, honest, helpful and looking at squarely at her audience, right in the eyes.
The first part of her introduction wows. The second part charms and disarms. You think, okay I thought, She’s walked in my my shoes, she knows my world, my challenges ... I can trust her, learn from her.
Then she closes the sale without even asking for the order - describing the world we share and how her book will keep us afloat as we learn the steps and practices of Agile Selling. Personalizing it, keeping us in mind, she points out key chapters:
Personally, I know chapter 6 can save your life ... so could chapter 15 or chapter 50.
If I read that in any other book, I would close it, put it aside and never look at it again. And if a sales rep said that I would smile, acknowledging his/her cockiness but thinking ... Really. You know?
If your book's so great, why'd you have to tell me? Think I can't see it?If you're product's so great ... if you're so confident then why the overkill?
But reading it in Jill's book, in the context of her great introduction, I'm thinking:
Cool. Jill's helping me out, saving me time, cutting to the chase. I'll go check it out.
She’s organized the book into sections with clear titles and crisp, concise writing filling the short, focused chapter. You’ll like that if you’re looking for snippets and steps that can help you do what the title promises. Again, she’s writing for you and your needs.
I handwrote most of this review in a flurry last week. The book arrived. I opened it up, flipped through a few pages and reading a few here and there. One page led to another. I read through the testimonials, the introduction, the list and titles of her chapters. The more I read the more I smiled and thought:
Wow. The writing is smooth, the content's well-organized. Her examples are spot-on, the imagery is stellar. It’s far more than a sales tutorial. You could apply her lessons and tips and resources to other areas of your business.
The next thing I know I’m scratching out this review with a pen and notepad. An hour later I took a breath, looked around and thought:
That was refreshing.
Good writing is always refreshing. But when you add purpose and solutions and resources ... well, that's a book everyone should read.
There you have it. You should read Agile Selling: Get Up to Speed Quickly in Today’s Ever-Changing Sales World.
Oh. What are the topics with Chapters 6, 15 and 50?
6 is titled: Transform Sales Problems
15 is titled: Build on Buyer Insights
50 is titled: Eliminate Distractions
She's right. What she wrote could, and should, can save our life in sales. That's just three chapters.
Again, you should read Agile Selling: Get Up to Speed Quickly in Today’s Ever-Changing Sales World.
on May 30, 2014
Jill Konrath’s new book Agile Selling is not a traditional sales book. It is about Metacognition, helping sellers to reflect on how they learn and giving practical advice what needs to be learned and how to do it efficiently to achieve Situational Credibility. Understanding the concept of “Situational Credibility” is foundational for any seller wanting to stay successful in the future.
To be motivated to reaching Situational Credibility requires first an understanding why agility is critical. Part 1 of the book provides the answer to the “Why”.
In Part 2, you discover that having the right mindset is a prerequisite to become agile. Mindset is a recurring theme in Agile Selling. Chapter 29 in Part 4 (Focus on Personal Best) and Chapter 60 in Part 5 (Pick the right Role Model) provide significant additional guidance on how to focus on realistic goals that are reachable and avoid frustration and stagnation usually experienced when focusing on “BIHAG”. Striving for the “Big Hairy Goal” rarely leads to the desired results.
Should you be skeptical whether a book with so many chapters is the right thing for you, don not worry. They are all small junks of relevant information following the author’s own advice to cut the topics to be learned in digestible junks.
I personally found it helpful to read the book from end to end. In this way, I could immediately see connections to related chapters in different parts of the book. Being able to make connections is another advice Jill Konrath provides for a successful learning experience. The short chapters of the book allow you though not only to deep dive straight into a subject but also make it an effective guide to refer too often when faced with a specific challenge. The place of this book is probably more on your desk or in your briefcase than on your bookshelf.
Part 3 advises the reader how to acquire knowledge about the customer situation. This is a recurring activity needed every time you are engaging in a potential deal.
Knowing your company’s capabilities how to add value to the detected customer situation is the second aspect of knowledge you need to acquire. Be prepared not only to learn new things but also to leave behind “Gobbledygook” you might currently use in your communications with customers.
In part 4, the reader will find tips how to acquire the necessary skills needed to demonstrate Situational Credibility. I especially appreciated that the author makes us aware that acquiring knowledge is different from acquiring skills. While you need specific tactics how to preserve the knowledge learned, frequent practice in the form of role plays is needed to stay fit on the skills. This is an aspect often overlooked in many sales training curricula.
Part 5 provides a compilation of success habits for agile sellers. As in other parts of the book, Jill refers to personal experiences on how she coped with certain situations. As the author is conscious competent, the book does however not drop to the dubious level of suggesting simple imitation of behaviors that brought the author success.
Although the primary audiences of the book are individual sellers wanting to increase their individual effectiveness, sales enablement professionals and sales managers can also gain valuable insights on how to help their sellers to get Situational Credibility. Sales enablement professionals might re-think their training curricula, whereas managers might reconsider their approach to goal setting.
Jill has done it again, providing the sales community with a book which is probably even more relevant than her previous books. A thing extremely difficult to achieve given the praise “Selling to Big Companies” and “SNAP Selling” enjoy.
on May 29, 2014
Basic selling skills and product knowledge, important as they may be, are no longer enough. Agility is the underlying imperative for sales success.To be an agile seller, you need to first be an agile learner.
This is a key point in Jill's book. The speed at which you can learn (new products, new customer segments, new sales strategies, new markets) is the differentiator in today's modern world of selling.
How can you master agile learning and turn agility into your competitive advantage? Read this book. Jill continues her tradition of using stories, giving examples, even sharing her own experiences (both successes and failures) to make the point about what’s required to be an agile seller and why.
Most of the book, however, is devoted to "how." There’s no way you can read this book and not have a clear understanding of what you need to do or not have an action plan to achieve it. There is absolutely no fluff in Jill’s book nor is there any academic gobbledygook.
She gives real ideas for real sellers along with insight on how buyers really buy and what really matters. For example, if you want to understand the REAL value you bring to customers check out chapter 17 on how to “Reverse Engineer the Business Case.”
Want to know how to make new information stick and ramp up quickly on new products or new markets; read chapters 9- 15.
Want to know what to do with new information and how to act on it? You'll get engaging, practical and fresh ideas that are specific and actionable. Starting from the beginning with the “why change” marching on through the habits of success and ending with tips for continuing your newly developed momentum.
This is an interesting and motivating book, whether you're an experienced seller who wants to jump-start success in a new sales position, a new salesperson who hasn’t yet figured out what it takes to succeed, a struggling salesperson who wants to take your game to a new level, a committed entrepreneur who has a tough time getting new clients, or you’re like me and you enjoy learning and reading thought-provoking ideas and fresh thinking about what it takes to succeed in sales.
Indeed, if you buy-off on the idea that agile learning is an imperative for successful selling there’s only one logical place to start. Get your own copy of Agile Selling and learn what you need to do to be successful in the shortest possible time.
on August 25, 2014
I read this book over time and soaked it in, applying the methods along the way. One of the great secrets of top sellers is the ability to learn quickly but deconstructing how and why this is done, has been somewhat hidden as a success factor, until now. Jill breaks new ground here with a synthesis of unexpected observations that transcend improving oneself as a business person and bridge into the realm of personal development. This is a foundational book and one that many others must rest upon. From organizational strategies, to knowledge retention techniques, gamification and grit-building, it's full of profound advice. It's clear to see the blueprint of how Jill thinks about life which has made her so successful and influential in an incredibly competitive field. I'm thankful for Jill for getting me started on an agile path of voraciously consuming so much amazing sales material. Her syllabi are worth their weight in gold in and unto themselves! With the pace of technology accelerating, applying these methods in the field will keep you constantly ahead of the curve. Jill also hosts the top sales strategy group on LinkedIn and has an awesome blog and newsletter, as you know. Since brevity remains the soul of wit, you won't find a pithier or more concise delivery by any thought leader in the space. Yet again, a compendium of immediate actionable wisdom that produces results for beginning, intermediate and advanced sellers. She covers a unique topic that I haven't seen in any books on sales: how to recharge!