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Agile Selling: Get Up to Speed Quickly in Today's Ever-Changing Sales World
Agile Selling: Get Up to Speed Quickly in Today's Ever-Changing Sales World
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I’ll tell and prepare yourselves because it’s not going to be pretty. To buyers we are nothing more than “product ..., August 18, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
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


Nonstop Sales Boom: Powerful Strategies to Drive Consistent Growth Year After Year
Nonstop Sales Boom: Powerful Strategies to Drive Consistent Growth Year After Year
by Colleen Francis
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.70
28 used & new from $10.55

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best sales book of the year!, August 5, 2014
This one has it all!
Yes I’ll use the cliché, if you are going to buy and read and study and teach from and hand out one book this year, then it has to be Nonstop Sales Boom: Power Strategies to Drive Consistent Growth Year After Year because this book has everything you need to be a successful sales manager, successful sales person, successful sales team and yes a successful company.
Here are some of the facts of the business world we live in today:
• It is nearly impossible to get appointments
• Only 3% of sales occur due to cold calling
• The sales pipeline is never full enough leading to sporadic sales
• Sales people seldom meet their quotas
• There is very little customer loyalty
• Sales people are not as engaged as they once were
• Advertising the old way is brining fewer results than ever
Now okay does anyone want to stand up and argue with me about these facts?
No? I didn’t think so.
And that is exactly why I feel that Ms. Francis has written this year’s go to book about sales. Throughout the book she examines each one of these problems and more and shows us how to overcome them.
As an example in the very first chapter she list 14 reasons for sporadic sales. Here are just a few:
• Delayed buying decisions
• Emotional decision making
• Sales rep stress
• Missed opportunities
And the she addresses the issue and tells us what to do about it by developing your sales pipeline by doing the following:
• Identify the prospect
• Prequalification
• Qualification
• Solution design
• Evaluation
• Decision
• Negotiation
• Closed
The thing I like most about this book is that it provides the readers with all the modern day solutions they need to solve today’s problems. There are a couple of chapters on social media, a chapter on how to conduct a one on one meeting with a potential customer and a chapter on closing an order.
The author reveals that she is a close friend and protégé of sales guru Alan Weiss and uses his 4M approach to handling those one on one meetings.
• Maximum: what is the plan A for the meeting?
• Minimum: What is the least you want to get from the meeting?
• Move forward: taking the process to the next step
• Motivation: find a good way to motivate the buyer to make the sale.
The chapter on negotiations is worth the price of the book. In very clear and simple terms Ms. Francis shows the reader who to stand firm during negotiations. Always be ready to discuss price; never be apologetic, look the buyer in the eye and never move on the price without getting something in return and most of the time never move on price at all. Always hold firm.
One tip about your proposal that is especially valuable: “To increase your win rate on proposals, you need to present each one as a draft to every customer first.” This way you can get the customers feedback and in fact have the customer act as your advisor and help you develop the final version of your proposal. It is a great way to pre-negotiate… without negotiating, yet.
Okay I’ve given away enough already; it’s now up to you to get out there and pick this book up. It will be the best money you have spent on your career this year.


Conversations That Sell: Collaborate with Buyers and Make Every Conversation Count
Conversations That Sell: Collaborate with Buyers and Make Every Conversation Count
Price: $9.39

5.0 out of 5 stars changing the conversation, August 4, 2014
Changing the game of sales
Yes customers are people too. They are not merely targets, or prospects, or leads to be pitched to be poked and prodded at until they are convinced to buy something from you. No not at all we have to remember as author Nancy Beeke reminds us in her book Conversations That Sell that they are people, people who need to be treated as such. You have to talk to them in a way that is constructive, interesting, valuable to them and yes bi-lateral in short you have to engage them in the4 give and take of a conversation.
Lest you think this is too obvious take a minute and think about how you prepare for a sales call today. Think of all of the prep work you do in advance, think of how you are actually thinking about the person you are going to visit. It’s kind of like a hunt isn’t it? The person has become the prey, the target hasn’t she? Well this is the point of the book after all.
The book is written very logically with step by step instructions on how to succeed from the chapter on defining the types of buyers you are dealing with to creating collaborative solutions to a discussion of the very tools you want to have and finally with the last chapter which deals with the actual implementation of what you have read and learned really enjoyed the summary tips at the end of the book which can serve as such a reminder of what you need to do that I made a copy of them for future use.
This book is filled with what Bleeke calls Tiny Tips. Here is one that struck me as particularly relevant since so much of sales is about money. Sooner or later it all gets down to the price doesn’t it? So check this out:
Your personal beliefs about costs significantly impact the cost discussion. If you don’t believe your solution is worth the cost, neither will the buyer. To build you belief, in the “Whats and Wiifs” (the possible answers to objections) before having the buyer conversation. List the ‘What’s” on a piece of paper and ask yourself multiple “So What’s?” to identify the value associated with each “What”. This preparation will boost your confidence and lead to less discounting and fewer objections.”
I like this book so much that I am sending copies to the sales clients I coach. You should too.


Supercommunicator: Explaining the Complicated So Anyone Can Understand
Supercommunicator: Explaining the Complicated So Anyone Can Understand
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars aA gem of a book, July 30, 2014
One of the greatest gifts that anyone can have is the ability to communicate. This is especially true when it comes to subjects like technology. An Wang of Wang Computers said years ago that “A true genius is a person who can make difficult things seem easy.” The reason the late Carl Sagan of “Billion and Billions” fame was so successful because he was able to take difficult and seemingly boring subjects easy to understand and yes fascinating.
Now in this new book by Frank Pietrucha you can learn to do the same thing. You can learn how to explain anything in an easy to understand manner.
Think how important and effective this can be to your business. If you are in sales for example and are able to describe your products and all of their benefits in a way that your customers are going to understand you will be that much more successful. Think about it marketing is all about effective communications.
Through a number of very pertinent real life the author demonstrates how you can take complicated things and make them seem easy. The first example he uses is how to explain Higgs Boson. It doesn’t get more complicated than that right? The author shows how by what he calls, “delivering meaning” in other words making your explanation meaningful to your audience he was able to explain this complicated discovery so that everyone could understand not only what it was but more importantly why it was so meaningful to all of us. So for those of us who did not understand the importance of this discovery here is how he explained it so that we would all get it.
“The discovery of the elusive Higgs boson confirms the theory that scientists have been using to understand how the universe works. Physicists are celebrating this breakthrough because it can lead to other significant findings like the discovery of quantum mechanics did almost a century ago. Quantum mechanics lead to the invention of many of the twentieth century’s most notable technologies…like cell phones, computers and even the atomic bomb. The discovery of the Higgs boson could me equally important…if not more so. It can lead to innovations we can’t yet imagine.”
Okay now we get it…now we know what the fuss was all about.
The book is filled with tools we can use to also become “Super Communicators” the author shows us how to use his simple guidelines effectively. Here are a few of his basic guidelines:
• Lead with the conclusion
• Use Big words sparingly
• Combat jargon use
• Avoid acronyms
• Short sentences and short paragraphs
• Sync your message to your audience’s culture
• Make it error free
And the one guideline that is the most important, humanize your message. In other words make it relatable to your immediate audience.
I have yet to find a book on communications that addresses these very important issues in such an effective way. It provides all of us who have to communicate…which is all of us whatever field we are in with the tools we need to be better communicators.
Check this out and start your journey to becoming a super communicator; then start getting your point across


Redefining Operational Excellence: New Strategies for Maximizing Performance and Profits Across the Organization
Redefining Operational Excellence: New Strategies for Maximizing Performance and Profits Across the Organization
by Andrew Miller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.59
41 used & new from $16.54

5.0 out of 5 stars What Operational Excellece Really Is!, July 29, 2014
What’s the problem with Lean Manufacturing? What’s the problem with Six Sigma? Easy they do not include people. They take into consideration only processes rather than people they are only a small component of Operational Excellence rather than the entire solution.
According to Andrew Miller in his new book, Redefining Operational Excellence: New Strategies for Maximizing Performance and Profits across the Organization, “Operational Excellence is about empowering employees to use judgment on the front lines. But often an organization uses methodologies that preclude having to use judgment. The methodology (Lean or Six Sigma) becomes a crutch.” And to me said methodology creates a “leave your brains at the door” mentally when it comes to people. And this is why I love this book.
Full disclosure I have always been vehemently against any process methodologies that attempt to “lobotomize and “robotize” people. I am a great believer in people and t her amazing things that they can accomplish. I have always believed that Six Sigma, Lean and every other theory of the month ideologies were bad for business so that is why I am in full agreement with Andrew Miller. And if you feel the same way I do then you will too.
When I saw this book come across my desk my first reaction was “Oh, oh here comes the next version the latest ideology of the month,” but once I opened the book I honestly could now put it down. This guy makes sense. This guy has brought the people to the table which is what has always been needed.
Miller had me from the very first paragraph when he writes, “Operational Excellence is the relentless pursuit of doing things better. It is not a destination or a methodology but a mindset that needs to exist across and organization. Operational excellence is not about perfection or performing activities. It is about dramatic improvements and financial growth.”
I believe that the author has it right when he says, “Fix the process then implement the technology.” So many times we want to implement new technology into a flawed process. It just does not work. If the basic structure is not sound then technology will only allow you to make “bad decisions faster” Why don’t people get that?
One of the biggest problems with programs like Lean is that they want to treat everything as though they are the same. They assume that the people are the same and even the customers are the same; which of course they are not.
“Instead of focusing on standardization, organizations need to focus on customization. Every customer is different and requires a different solution. Organizations need to focus on learning more about their customers and on collaborating with them to provide the best solutions.” And to that I say a big Amen and thank you to Andrew Miller.
If you agree with what the author is saying in his book then you need to read it to get the facts and strengthen your arguments against the “Leaners” in your organization. And if you find yourself not agreeing with his theories then you’d better get out there and get this book right now because it’s critical to you, your career and your organization that you see the light, and sooner rather than later.


Marketing (The Brian Tracy Success Library)
Marketing (The Brian Tracy Success Library)
Price: $3.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the Brian Tracy Success Library So much great information in such a little book A great bargain ..., July 2, 2014
Marketing: From the Brian Tracy Success Library
So much great information in such a little book
A great bargain of both time and money
Okay I have to admit that after ready four or five of these books from Bran Tracy’s Success Library I’m hooked. Of course I am always a sucker for simple well written and informative books, Books I consider a true bargain when it comes to not only my money but my time. In his unique style Tracy slams more information and business guidance in this little volume than a whole shelf of other marketing books.
This is of course a book about marketing and he really lays it on the line. If you know a young person who is thinking about getting into marketing this is the book to recommend. If you are a person who is new to marketing this is the right book for you. Or if like me you are an old hand at marketing emphasis on the word “old” this one still packs a punch.
I love the idea that people but emotion. If you were going to summarize all marketing in one phrase it would be this…people buy on emotion. They buy things because of the way it makes them feel. Not the way the product makes them feel although that is often a close second…or maybe third we cannot forget buyer’s remorse, but the way they feel buying the product. The joy of buying, the joy of feeling that they are making the right decision that’s the thing.
Chapter 16 which, the “hit them where they ain’t” chapter is worth the price of the book. This is where Tracy shines as he describes how to differentiate; how to offer your customers “something better, faster cheaper.” He describes how to do this by offering more than your competitors, offering something new. I also like that throughout the book he emphasizes offering more value rather than a cheaper price because this is truly how god marketing works. It’s all about the value.
Check this little book out, thumb through it, read it, give it to your sales and marketing guys. Dare I say it is the one book on marketing you don’t want to be without.


The Art of War for Small Business: Defeat the Competition and Dominate the Market with the Masterful Strategies of Sun Tzu
The Art of War for Small Business: Defeat the Competition and Dominate the Market with the Masterful Strategies of Sun Tzu
Price: $7.69

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great classic renewed, June 13, 2014
Finally this book is explained and put into everyday terms that applie to those of us in the modern world. Just as it says author Sheetz-Runkle has taken this ageless book on war…and business and brought it into the 21st century.
The author has done a masterful job of taking these lessons and applying them to today. From “choose the right ground for your battles” to “strike your competitors’ weakest points” to “build and leverage strategic alliances” she has successfully transported Sun Tzu’s teachings into today’s world.
Some of the examples from the book: “The better you are acquainted with your adversary’s design, the less likely you will be to fall for a lure”
And this little gem for choosing the right market, “Choose the right ground for your market. Go where opportunity is, but the competition is not.” which of course is the bases of all good small business strategy. Or in our own words find and niche it.
Look full disclosure here I have tried to read the original Art of War many times and have not been able to get through it. Not because it’s a big book which it is not but mainly because I just could not get into it, so it was with some trepidation that I approached this version. But alas my efforts were rewarded, this was so readable and interesting that I got through it like a hot knife through butter and yes I got it. And for that I thank MS. Sheetz-Runkle.
She has taken a 2500 year old classic and made it a modern day classic. Pick this one up and you will not be disappointed I promise you.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 16, 2014 10:39 AM PDT


Own Your Future: How to Think Like an Entrepreneur and Thrive in an Unpredictable Economy
Own Your Future: How to Think Like an Entrepreneur and Thrive in an Unpredictable Economy
by Paul B. Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.07
44 used & new from $8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a must read book for our times, June 13, 2014
This is a rare book that shows you how to think and act like a true visionary, an entrepreneur someone who swings for the fences with wild abandonment….no wait a minute not at all, that’s not true according to the authors of this book entrepreneurs don’t swing for the fences at all in fact they are some of the most risk-averse people in business today.
Instead great entrepreneurs employ what the authors have dubbed the ALBR method of growing a business from an idea. This stands for Act, Learn, Build and Repeat. Put another way this is a system of trial and error, here is how it works. You take a good idea, or product or service. You try it out a step at a time applying the ALBR system; if things are working you continue you on the next step, if they are not working exactly like you thought you make adjustments and worst case scenario it is not working at all you move on without having risked your life’s fortune.
It all makes good sense in the end. What I like about the book was that the authors demonstrated how you could start a business safely, by that I mean with some security. By using their methods four friends were able to start a small business and still keep their day jobs. The business is steadily growing and someday it will reach a critical mass where it will be able to sustain them.
One interesting chapter was about “doing what you live and the money will come” They busted that myth pointing out that this is not always true and that quite often in fact whatever you love is not really a money maker. And in many cases doing what you love will not allow you to support your family so you have to keep that day job. But not all is lost because doing something you love in the end will make you happy, even if you do it for just a few minutes a day. So if you wanted to be a painter or a writer, be one even if it doesn’t support your family and you have to keep your real job it will still make you happy. And who knows in the long run using the ALBR system you might just gain enough traction to get somewhere with your dream.
The most important thing about this book is the timeliness of it. With people losing their jobs, with older people fighting ageism in the work place and with young people straight out of college having a hard time finding this book is particularly important and pertinent as the authors do spend a great deal of time sowing the reader what to do when these to help meet these challenges. They show us how to use our skills to provide a product or service no matter no matter how small and then using their system grow that business with the very minimum of investment dollars.
This is a good book for these economic times and a great book for those of us who find themselves at a career crossroads.
If you’re one of these people…and who isn’t, you need to buy and read this book.


The Innovative Sale: Unleash Your Creativity for Better Customer Solutions and Extraordinary Results
The Innovative Sale: Unleash Your Creativity for Better Customer Solutions and Extraordinary Results
by Mark Donnolo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.60
62 used & new from $4.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Finally someone gets it!, April 18, 2014
Good things happen when you mix a little right brain with some left and this is what happened with author Mark Donnolo. An accomplished and talented artist Donnolo decided to get an MBA and join and enter the world of business. Although he loved his art and had a passion for creativity he also loved the world of business. He quickly found himself at a distinct advantage because he was able to apply his creativity to the world of business…most particularly sales.
In this unique book on sales the author shares with us the solutions he has developed over the years by applying his creativity hence innovation to the sales process.
“It’s time for serious sales people to think differently,” He says, “We can track sales leads and dollars sold until our pipelines burst. But the sale happens when we connect to the buyer and offer something they need in a way our competitors cannot.”
All I can say to that is thank you Mark.
As a long time sales consultant I have been saying the same thing. I have been known to strenuously object when a LEAN guru tells me that he can apply those principles to the sales process. I have fought long and hard against those left brained theorists who think that all you need is a process to get things done. You know who I’m talking about those guys that think that everything would work so much more smoothly if we could eliminate people from the equation!
In this book Donnolo proves again and again that it takes people, very innovative and creative people to be successful when it comes to sales. The only way a sale is made is when one person convinces another person to do something. Sorry but all sales are personal that’s just the way it is. And if you are ready to agree with this theory then pick this book up and learn how you can do it.


Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary
Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary
by Steve Curtin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.99
55 used & new from $4.15

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for those who care about customer care, April 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A Great read for Customer Care
Okay so I’m a sucker for books about customer service. I look for and read them every chance I get. And I have to say that this is one of the better ones. Especially when you take into consideration how well written and organized this one is.
Here is something to think about when considering customer service is job function versus job essence. Job function is what it takes to do the job, the words on the page of a job description. Carrying bags for guests is the function of a bell hop for example while the essence of the job is what surrounds the job things like, making the guests welcome, making sure they have everything they need to be comfortable in their room; making sure that you do something special and remarkable for that customer. That is the essence of the job and that is the essence of great customer service.
In the words of the author, “Job essence is indicated in employees’ personality, creativity, enthusiasm, passion and unique flair.”
The author not only gives specific examples of good and poor service but he also does it in a way that inspired and inspired me to not only think about but also develop my own idea for better customer service in my own business.
Here are some of the 7 ways:
1. Express genuine interest
2. Offer sincere and specific compliments
3. Share unique knowledge
4. Convey authentic enthusiasm
5. Use appropriate humor
6. Provide pleasant surprises
7. Deliver heroics
Curtin delivers chapters on each of these steps and then caps it off with a final chapter on going from ordinary to extraordinary. My particular favorite chapter where the author states: “With so much poor customer service around great customer service becomes truly outstanding.”
And this final bit of advice, “Exceptional customer service is never a happy accident that a company stumbles into. It is always the result of intention and design.”
And to that I say amen.


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