Critical Book Review – People Buy You by Jeb Blount
Books on how to increase sales probably top in quantity of any business genre. For without revenue businesses or organizations cannot make payroll, pay their vendors, ensure fixed costs are covered while still having enough monetary reserves or profits.
Having been in sales for 30 plus years, I have always believed that who you are as an individual comes first before who you as a salesperson. In this book, People Buy You, Jeb really takes that belief and makes it very real as well as practical.
His common sense writing approach intermixed with personal stories reinforces that successful selling begins and ends with the authenticity of the individual. Using a variety of historical to contemporary resources, he weaves a very simple and yet compelling argument about what sales is not about selling, but far more about buying. The first product or service your potential customer buys is you.
After dispelling several well known myths about selling, he shares these five (5) levers with the reader:
- Be likable
- Solve problems
- Build trust
- Create positive emotional experiences
Each of these levers are discussed in greater detail in subsequent chapters.
What was incredibly interesting and very insightful was the over nine pages devoted just to the importance of smiling. In most other sales training coaching books, the reader would have been exposed to specific selling skills such as making a great case, asking open questions and let us not forget how to close the deal.
Blount pulls no punches in sharing his experience and freely admits to making some terrible mistakes. From these lessons learned, his premise about you being the most important factor in the buying decision making process is consistently supported and reinforced.
Another accepted behavior within the marketing phase of the overall sales process is the concept of establishing rapport. Blount suggests that this in its rawest form is pure manipulation. Maybe that is why I have always preferred building a mutually agreeable and beneficial relationship.
He discusses this is great detail in Chapter 7 where he showcases the importance of creating positive emotional experiences. I especially enjoyed his statement that has been said by many others that “It don’t cost nuthin to be nice.” Poor grammar and spelling aside, this is so very true. Sales Training Coaching Tip: My You can get more with honey than you can with vinegar.
The first seven chapters all lead up to the final chapter and that is devoted to your own brand. So if you want to be the Red Jacket, to stand out in the crowd, then this is a must book to be included in your professional development plan.