Anthony Iannarino is an expert in B2B Sales and Marketing and an Executive Sales Coach and Consultant. Anthony is President and CSO of SOLUTIONS Staffing, Director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, and author of The Sales Blog.
There aren’t many salespeople or sales organizations that don’t wish for a silver bullet that would make producing sales results both easier and faster. Well, there is a silver bullet, but it’s only available to those that are willing to pay the price.
That price is reading.
Reading is the Fast Track to Business Acumen
The fastest way to improve your sales results is to be more of a value creator for your clients and your dream clients (prospects). And the fastest way to be more valuable to your clients is to possess the business acumen, the situational knowledge, and the ideas that make a difference in their businesses.
You can learn to understand how business works, you can learn the fundamentals by reading. There are dozens of books on business that can provide you with the equivalent of a 400 level college class for a few bucks and a few hours of your time. Try The Discipline of Market Leaders by Michal Treacy and Fred Wiersama. After reading it, you will have a greater understanding of the framework that underlies your client’s decisions. You’ll understand how they think about their business.
But you don’t have to read something as academic as Treacy and Wiersama’s little masterwork on business models and strategy. You can learn countless business lessons by reading Walter Isaacson’s new biography on Steve Jobs. It’s a biography, but it is also a history of the personal computer industry. The biography, as entertaining as it is, teaches countless lessons on business, including the importance of design, the importance of marketing, the importance of timing, as well as how one passionate leader who refused anything short of excellence can make a difference—and define a generation.
Reading about business in any form helps you to think like a businessperson. It introduces you to business issues and ideas. It builds your repertoire, improving your ability to understanding and your ability to converse with business people.
Read What Appeals to You
Almost anything you read can benefit your sales effort. If you don’t want to read Jim Collins, find something that appeals to you; you’ll find ideas and lessons that you can apply to your sales efforts, if you look for them.
Try Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers) or James Surwiecki (The Wisdom of Crowds). These books, and dozens of others like them, help you to understand your world. They help you to understand human psychology. They provide a foundation for understanding how and why some decisions are made.
If you want to improve your ability to sell, there aren’t too many things that will benefit you more than reading. Turn off the television. Shut the laptop lid. Pick up something that interests you and read.