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Weekend Reading for April 25th, 2009

As the recession drags on interminably, we sales professionals need to consider when we might expect a recovery and what that recovery might look like. Then, we must act accordingly.David Wessel in the Wall Street Journal: Long Odds? Three Scenarios for the Economy’s Path

Money Quote: “Bottom line: The odds favor a long slog.” As much as we might hope for a U-shaped recovery and rocketing growth, that scenario seems unlikely. If it is, in fact a long slog, how do we act accordingly, knowing that we face a continued decline in spending, tightened budgets, and continued pricing and margin pressure?

Jill Konrath at Selling to Big Companies is hosting a Sales Stimulus Webinar series. One of her webinars features Jeb Blount. Read Jeb”s short article: Sales Stimulus: Seven Rules for Outselling the Recession. I agree with much of what Jeb suggests here, especially tips 3 (upgrading your skill sets), 4 (focusing on fundamentals, and 5 (moving faster).

In the same spirit as Blount’s third tip (upgrading your skill set), Gavin Ingham suggests that you Read for 15 Minutes. Gavin says: ”

When I give motivational speeches
and talks at conferences I often ask the audience, “So, hands up if
you’re reading a book on sales, business or personal development at the
moment.” In an audience of hundreds, usually only a handful raise their

When I then ask, “Hands up if you’ve read a book on sales, personal
development or business in the last month” the response is usually
little better. Often I finish up by asking, “OK, so hands up if you’ve never
read a book on sales, business or personal development” and the
response is overwhelming with the vast majority of the audience raising
their hands.

Sharpening your mindset, your skills and your competitive edge has
always been important but with today’s challenging lifestyles and in
today’s difficult economy it is essential. If you want to get and stay
ahead of the game you need to read. Everything you could ever want to
know about pretty much anything is written down and available for you
to read, digest and use to get the results that you want in your life,
but so few people take advantage of this.

I recommend quadrupling the commitment from 15 minutes to a full hour each day.

John Baldoni writes on John Madden’s retirement in Five Things John Madden Teaches about Leadership, but I believe his thesis is just as easily applied to the sales profession, especially the fact that Madden was intimately knowledgeable about the game, but also his ability to tell stories. All of his points are excellent, but this is my favorite:

Tell stories. Madden imbued his broadcast narratives
with heart. Digressing momentarily from the action, Madden would spin
picaresque anecdotes of players and coaches that gave viewers insight
into players as characters who were sometimes funny, odd, even tragic
but always very human. He also punctuated his calls with old fashioned
expressions like “boom” and “pow,” a style that annoyed some but also
heightened his everyman aura. Bosses who tell stories are those who can
communicate a sense of humanity to the job that encourages followership.


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100 Ways to Succeed in Sales: #4 Love a Good Fight

100 Ways to Succeed in Sales: # 3 Differentiate

100 Ways to Succed in Sales: #2 Use Every Method of Prospecting

100 Ways to Succeed in Sales: #1 Prospect Daily

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