Customer Reviews: How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett: Lessons from the World's Greatest Dealmaker
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on December 30, 2012
After buying this book based on glowing reviews, I find myself in a slight state of disbelief as to the genuineness of those reviews. I found precious little in this book that is useful, or related to Warren Buffett, or "deals" such as purchases of businesses.

This book was written by two business consultants and discusses things that have nothing to do with what Warren Buffett is known for. It gives Warren Buffett lip service, and then goes on in various directions that barely are related to Warren Buffett's investing and management style.

For example, it talks about selling personal services to big corporations, how to run brainstorming committees, team building, the list goes on and on. A lot of management and motivational buzzwords (such as "tiger teams", "murder boards", so on). None of that has much to do with Warren Buffett.

I feel that they used the name of Warren Buffett in order to sell a book that has precious little with the person whose name is on the title of this book.

In addition, I find the actual business advice to be shallow and unoriginal.
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on February 28, 2013
I bought this book thinking it would have more insights into Warren Buffet's tactics for deal closing. Although it repeatedly quotes Warren Buffet's Ways (or famous statements he's made which are readily found on the internet) there is no indication the tactics described in the book are Warren Buffet's. They appear to be those of the authors.

I have a business of about 10 employees and was looking for some good tips but all the information is for companies probably in the range of 100 employees + and who are focused on mergers and acquisitions. If that's the size of your business I can see that this book would be valuable.

I came away from reading the book with very little new knowledge for myself as a small business owner.
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on December 23, 2012
This is a book about the art of closing a large deal. The author has experience in this area. Before the age of 40 he "had headed four corporations, each of which [he] took from annual revenues of less than $15 million to more than $100 million." This book is an instruction manual for the business person that wants to grow their business exponentially.

This is for sales people, for executives, for CEO's, for entrepreneurs, and for innovators; everyone that wants to make their mark in business. That was the best takeaway for me - there are so many pieces of this process that I'll be able to use individually, outside of a specific deal, and I will be a more effective businessman as a result.

There are 18 Chapters or Lessons, that the author learned from tracking Warren Buffet, and I split those up into the steps toward winning a large deal. Those steps were:
1) Choosing your target - don't swing at everything
2) Craft a compelling solution that address the major concerns of Time, Money & Risk.
3) Speak the language of a dealmaker - don't speak like a manager to a CEO.
4) How to get an executive at a target prospect to call you back.
5) Building a team to engage your prospect effectively by predicting and addressing their concerns.
6) How to deal with the problems and people that will stand in your way.
7) How to close the sale AND secure the deal.

I was so impressed by the content of this book that I bought it for all my top customers. The first step in growing your territory is partnering with your clients to grow their business, and I'm confident this will make them stronger.

I identified one of the key takeaways from each of the chapters of the book. In order to fully understand them, it is best to read them in the context of the chapter, but these valuable nuggets are part of the treasure you'll find:

Gold Nugget 1: "Make deals with the kind of people you would like to be in business with."
Gold Nugget 2: "Developing a solution and a message that have an impact on the entire company, not just one department."
Gold Nugget 3: "Never go after the company, Always go after the deal."
Gold Nugget 4: In order for large companies to trust you, they want "safety and credibility."
Gold Nugget 5: "Big people with big problems don't buy little solutions."
Gold Nugget 6: "The big dealmakers want to hear about money, time and risk. These words are part of the language of big deals."
Gold Nugget 7: "What prospects do make deals on is what they can sell [internally] and defend later."
Gold Nugget 8: "Prospects for your next big deal expect you to have a relevant and valuable understanding of their problems so that you can discuss their general context immediately."
Gold Nugget 9: "You eliminate the fear by including on your team the people from your company who are best equipped to give in-depth answers to all the questions that are being raised."
Gold Nugget 10: "If you show any incompetence in your normal day-to-day dealings with your prospects, they will note trust you to be competent in carrying out your solution."
Gold Nugget 11: "Identify your known vulnerabilities."
Gold Nugget 12: "You must think in terms of what your prospects will value, rather than in terms of your product or service."
Gold Nugget 13: "Enrich your deal-making practice sessions further by adding one or more broken plays to the meetings you're practicing."
Gold Nugget 14: "You want to ask questions, but just like a good attorney, you have to know the answers before you ask the questions."
Gold Nugget 15: "As you receive these questions, you want to be helpful, thorough, and responsive. You also want to use this as a reconnaissance period for your own gathering of information."
Gold Nugget 16: "Your ability to make your prospect feel comfortable and unafraid about buying from you is what lands you the deal."
Gold Nugget 17: "The thoroughness of your solution in terms of how they get from here to there will determine whether they are willing to actually take the necessary steps to buy your proposal and move forward now."
Gold Nugget 18: "You now spend at least one-quarter to one-third of your time in research."
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on April 7, 2013
The authors Tom Searcy and Henry Devries do a great job synopsis of explaining key principles and effective strategies which they call the Warren's Way to making a deal. The premise revolve around business schools like to make things complicated and real the way to warren deal is simplicity. The book emphasis on knowing the numbers (make sure they are the correct ones), make deals with people you like to do business with and when its time don't blink!

Focus on solving Bigger Problems for Bigger People: Pitch to the highest level executive; It breaks down like this: Manager's problems revolve around price, service, and quality; Directors are measured on numbers both in and out of budget. Their problems are about yield, throughput, and ratios. It's the Executive whose problems involve speed to market, first-mover position, and bottom-line impact. Pitch to the executive!
1. Identifying your prospect or prospects
2. Knowing your prospect's biggest problems
3. Pitching to the highest-ranked people in your prospect's company
4. Developing a solution for your prospect's biggest problems
5. But right at the start, let's have the money discussion.
6. Talk in terms of money, risk and time.
7. You must use the people who can best take fear off the table, no matter who they might be. And very often, they are not salespeople--or even people in your industry.

Quotes from the book
1. The only way to get love is to be lovable!
2. To do it--to set the bar higher in your sales life--you must have a plan.
3. Bad Deals at Good Prices Are Still Bad Deals
4. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you'll drift in that direction.
5. It pays to be active, interested, and open-minded, but it does not pay to be in a hurry.
6. If You Smell a Bad Deal, Do What You Can to Get Out Gracefully
7. Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.
8. Buffett says, "We don't get paid for activity, just for being right."
9. And may you be a half-hour in heaven before the devil knows you're gone.
10. "Lose money for the firm, and I will be understanding", testified Warren. "Lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless."
11. You got the deal! Congratulations! You're set, right? Only a rookie believes that.

Key Points to Remember
1. Never go after the company. Always go after the deal.
2. Like Warren, be ruthless about the preparation, pick your team early and assign roles
3. Whatever it is, that roadblock has the power to stop your deal. It becomes a factor that controls your deals.
4. Make sure you are talking to the right people who can make the deal.
5. The last step is always slippery. The deal making is never over until it is over.

Small book about 200 pages. Definitely worth a quick read!
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on October 4, 2013
This book could easily have been written from reading news reports, and probably was. No insight at all. Don't waste your money. Spend a few minutes googling Warren Buffet and you will get anything of interest. Gave up after about a quarter of the way through.
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on March 28, 2013
It's rare that a book is so bad that I echo another reviewer, Majorie Cheng, who writes, "A total waste of time."

It has promise to be a good book. It starts in a logical place: what motivates us to make deals like Warren Buffett? From there it moves into guidelines for making such deals, with chapters like "Deal Only with Dealmakers" and "Victory Favors the Ready."

Tucked away in Appendix A is a list of "101 Warren Ways." These also pop up as callouts through the book and this list is the only reason to buy this book.

The "101 Warren Ways" connect to one of two significant problems with How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett. First is that the book lacks an overarching organisational structure. This stops the author's message from getting through and makes it challenging to learn anything.

The second problem is that the author touches on hundreds of subjects but goes into depth on none. These things combined mean you can't grasp an earlier point before you're shuttled onto the next one.

I may be wrong, but I can't see how anyone gains from this book. It should never have been published.
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on February 16, 2016
Overall good book. Many quotes from the Warren Buffett's philosophy. In regards to deal making, some things are really from the Warren Buffett experience, others are from the author's. Good to read and have an idea about the how-tos of deal making.
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As the title of this review suggests, I take issue with the title of this book because it makes an implied promise with misleading implications. That said, this book offers material that can of substantial value to decision makers, not only to investors. Consider this list provided by Tom Searcy and Henry DeVries in their Introduction: great leaders such as Warren Buffett "love" their customers, what they sell, what they do, and their people. Searcy and DeVries identify four investments that illustrate how thoroughly Buffett does his homework and then cite some important statistics concerning demographic market segments they view as their targeted readers. For example, "The 22.6 self-employed professionals, consultants, and business owners who make deals to land clients and contracts."

These are among the dozens of passages in the book I found of greatest interest and value. By listing them, I hope to provide least some indication of what Searcy and DeVries cover in their narrative.

o "Warren Way #31," Learn from Others (Pages 4-6)
o How to Know What the Right Deal Looks Like (16-17)
o Try This Approach (22-23)
o Start with Your Dream Deal List (26-29)
o The Name of the Game Is to Find That Dealmaker (33-35)
o How Rocky Will Your Deal Path Be? (50-52)
o On Hunting Elephants (69-70)
o Finishing Off the Elephant (77-79)
o Look Inside Your Company (85-87)
o Murder Boards and Hot Washes (92-96)
o Fight for Your Way (108-109)
o How to Prepare for Unpredictable Problems (115-116)
o Don't Delay, Because Time Kills Deals (133-135)
o Run the Race to the Finish (142-151)
o Fear Shows Up (155-157)

Throughout the book, Searcy and DeVries briefly identify the "what" of dealmaking but devote most of their time and attention to explaining the "how" of doing it successfully. Readers will also appreciate their provision of "Buffet Bonus" sections at the conclusion of chapters; also "Warren Way" quotations throughout the book, many of them selected from Buffett's remarks at Berkshire Hathaway's annual meetings.

Here is a brief excerpt from Lawrence A. Cunningham's Introduction to The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America (Second Edition). The business philosophy it delineates and the values it affirms reveal a great deal about the reasons for Buffett's success:

"The CEOs of Berkshire's various operating companies enjoy a unique position in corporate America. They are given a simple set of commands: to run their business as if (1) they are its sole owner, (2) it is the only asset they hold, and (3) they can never sell or merge it for a hundred years." With regard to investment thinking, "one must guard against what Buffett calls the `institutional imperative.' It is a pervasive force in which institutional dynamics produce resistance to change, absorption of available corporate funds, and reflexive approval of suboptimal CEO strategies by subordinates. Contrary to what is often taught in business and law schools, this powerful force often interferes with rational business decision-making. The ultimate result of the institutional imperative is a follow-the-pack mentality producing industry imitators, rather than industry leaders - what Buffett calls a lemming-like approach to business."

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out the aforementioned Essays volume as well as Alice Schroeder's The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life and Ronald Chan's Behind the Berkshire Hathaway Curtain: Lessons from Warren Buffett's Top Business Leaders.
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on November 2, 2012
I was all set to read an informative, rather dry business book and found an engaging page turner that talked about people and emotions along with sound business strategies. My book had so many corners turned down as lessons to go back to and then found the authors did it for me at the end of the book.
I found the book to be broken into easy to read chapters that combined the human condition, lessons and useful tools for anyone doing business...and Warren is no longer a mystery, he is my new hero.
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With this book, you don't have to be a billionaire like Buffett to make lucrative deals. The authors show you step by step how to incorporate Buffett's winning practices into your own sales process.

As a Business Development specialist, I especially appreciated the chapters on dealing only with deal makers and getting to deal makers. The authors spell out what your prime prospects are thinking, what matters to them, how to appeal to them, and how to break through.
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