1. Selling From The Heart by Larry Levine
If you are unfamiliar with Larry, he was a copier salesman in LA and really built strong relationships with his clients. I first learned about him through a couple of podcasts and started following him on LinkedIn. When he started up his podcast, I started listening to it, and I still listen to it weekly. When I heard the “Selling From The Heart: How Your Authentic Self Sells You!” came out, I ordered a copy and put it in the reading queue.
Larry exudes what a good salesperson should be. He often says, don’t be “an empty suit.” What that means is you need to be authentic and genuine, don’t walk in with the sole purpose of making a sale, or as he says, “having commission breath.” Ultimately you want to come to a place where you want to help clients, or in other words, “sell from the heart.” To do this, you have to build relationships with clients, be it in person, over video, or on social. Larry says you have to build relationships before you can sell someone. Your clients need to make sure that they know who you are, and you know who they are. You don’t want to be the person who walks through the door once a year at renewal or just at the holidays who is dropping off the tin of cookies. Even worst, they think that you are there just there to sell them something.
What I took away and what I try to do with my clients is that I want to know you by name. I want to know about your family. If you see me in the grocery store, I want you to come up and speak to me, and I want to feel like I can do the same thing. Not like, "Oh God, there's that Chad guy. He's going to try to sell me something here in the middle of Walmart."
2. They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan
“They Ask, You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today's Digital Consumer” (TAYA) has to be one of the books that changed my thought process and outlook on what I do. If you have been around me longer than 10 minutes and the subject of content marketing or what I do, you will probably hear me reference it.
To me, the book is one of the best marketing books out! If you do any kind of research or a poll on social, you might see Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow” pop up as a must-read. I have read both TAYA and “Purple Cow.” However, having read TAYA, I would read a passage and be like, ok, this is the TAYA concept. I am thankful that I had checked the book out from the local library while it was on order. Needless to say, I shipped the book back because I didn’t care for it. Now I don’t mean to discount “Purple Cow.” What Seth Godin says may resonate with you. However, I have deep blue-collar roots. While Marcus has risen to be an influential figure in the sales and marketing world, he is still a pool guy, so he says!
3. Revenue Growth Engine by Darrell Amy
The third book in my trifecta is “Revenue Growth Engine: How To Align Sales & Marketing To Accelerate Growth.” Darrell co-hosts with Larry on the Selling From The Heart Podcast. I like Darrell’s book because it is a culmination of the two previous books I mentioned.
The bottom line is that “Revenue Growth Engine” gives you a good summary and consolidation of “Selling From The Heart,” and “They Ask, You Answer” with a healthy dose of how to bring it all together to really get a good return on your investment which will help a business grow.
Bonus: Start With Why by Simon Sinek
“Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek has completely changed my mindset on how I approach a prospect. I have always felt like I had a “givers gain” or pay it forward mindset because I don't want to just sell anybody my services. The book helped me clarify my mission and it has helped Cube Creative solidify the company as a whole. I can proudly now say that I help small businesses grow by helping them to build and manage their online presence. I even start conversations with prospects by asking if they want to grow their business, why they exist, and why they do what they do.
Essentially if you're starting a business or thinking about starting a business, you need to read “Start With Why” so so that you can ultimately decern and know why you want to do what you do. If you're struggling in your career or in a company where you feel like you're struggling, you should also give it a read.
Depending on your role or background I would recommend starting with “Selling From The Heart,” then “They Ask, You Answer.” If you are short on time, then you should read “Revenue Growth Engine.” However, I think you will get more out of it by reading it last as it will help tie in the key aspects and topics that you may not realize when you read the others.