Internet and digitization has transformed Consumers preferences.  Post-2000, we’ve seen many memorable failures, including Blockbuster, Borders Books, Hummer, The Sharper Image, and Polaroid.   Leading brands such as Kodak, Blackberry and Nokia toppled from the pinnacle with massive loss of market share.    

 This change is happening at an accelerated pace and sales professionals must adopt accelerated learning.   Having said that there are five channels of learning.  They are ….

  1. Attending training session: Challenge is Time and location
  2. Mentors and Coaches: Challenge is Expensive and Time
  3. Rub shoulder with industry Gurus so the new thinking might rub on you: Challenge is time, location, availability and reach. ( Attend Meetup Groups meets)
  4. Online learning platforms such as www.www.lynda.com; coursera.org; www.allison.com and so on: Challenge is Net access bound
  5. Finally read relevant books on the subject written by the Gurus and supported by research.

I find reading relevant books the short cut to accelerated learning and then creating experiences by applying that learning.  Hence I would recommend four revolutionary books for the sales professionals.    I assure you that after reading these books you will wonder how did you survive not reading them earlier.  

  1. THE CHALLENGER SALE: Challenge: What Sales Profile to wear: This book identifies five sales profiles and brings out plus and minus of every profile.  It also identifies a winning profile for the Sales professionals and why?  A 5-Minute Summary Of “The Challenger Sale” Book To Read  (http://blog.hubspot.com/sales/challenger-sale-summary) .  This book identifies five sales profiles and brings out plus and minus of every profile.  It also identifies a winning profile for the Sales professionals and why? Challenger
  1. “INFLUENCE: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSUASION: Challenge: How to Influence and win over customer: The book identifies 6 principles of influence that is leverage in winning others to your way of thinking.  It also emphasizes that our brain is a lazy organ that adopts short cuts to wriggle through the decision maze.  The six short cuts are  Like, reciprocity, Social Proof, Scarcity, Authority and Consensus and commitment.  Numerous research studies given in the book can be applied in lubricating selling  and close more sales.
  2. MADE TO STICK: Challenge: How to write proposal that are shortlisted and emails that are read: Sales involves writing proposal, email and pitching your ideas to the customers.  This book will Coach  sales professional to structure the content for maximum impact.  Or in “Made to Stick”  lingo it provides a simple guidelines to create content that sticks.  This is a  6 point formula acronym as SUCCES – Simple, Unpredictable, Credible, Concrete, Emotions and Story.  SUCCES are the 6 hooks and more hooks you incorporate in your content the better your message sticks in the customers mind.
  3. BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY: Challenge: How to position your products with competitive advantage: The book identifies that majority of the businesses, work in Red Ocean which is where all the competition is. Everyone is fighting for the limited pie thus creating a read ocean.  Very few companies operate in Blue Ocean making competition irrelevant.  It provides simple formulae to create Blue ocean strategy wherein you are the champion of the market.
  4. SOCIAL SELLING: Challenge: What is Social Selling and how to initiate: 90% of the customers don’t take cold calls.  55% – 70% of the sales cycle is completed before customer calls in the sales.  Buyers who use social media make more frequent purchases and have bigger budgets.  And answer to the changing paradigm is Social Selling.  I have not yet found a GOOD BOOK ON SOCIAL SELLING.  But don’t be left behind, get on to Social Selling bandwagon.EY_Slides