What You’ll Get When You Read The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need
“When you hold yourself to a higher standard than anyone else can imagine, you always soar above the mark others have set for you.”
The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need.
We hear Gary Vaynerchuk and Grant Cardone breathlessly imploring us to hustle, hustle, hustle.
There is, they say, something wrong with us if we aren’t forever scrambling from thing to thing, CLOSING that deal. Racing. The problem is that most of us don’t want to be Gary or Grant. We’ve got different problems right now. Or maybe we are on a different path with different priorities.
And we know that work has diminishing returns. You need to be white hot and intense when you’re in it, but after that? We need downtime, rest, recreation. And if our lives don’t have joy and mirth, why do we sell at a high level?
Isn’t the point of work, of a profession to enjoy your time?
Is there another way to be a top performer without making yourself into an iconoclast- or worse: a self-parody, or a huckster?
And you’ll learn precisely how to do that when you read Anthony Iannarino’s new book THE ONLY SALES GUIDE YOU’LL EVER NEED.
If you’re a professional seller, this is the book you want. This is the right one.
The book opens with an audacious claim: that it’s the “Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need.”.
Many books make bold claims. But most of the time when you read a book like that, you’re left feeling empty, wanting. This is partly because the salesperson lets his ego get in the way. The other issue is that truth is, making a field guide to sales is hard. Sales is hard, teaching effectively is hard.
THE ONLY SALES GUIDE YOU’lL EVER NEED is the true successor to the Sales Bible by Jeffrey Gitomer (which remains a must-read). It improves on Gitomer’s ideas– because Iannarino exhibits more patience than Gitomer when it comes to dialing in the nuance.
He teaches the specific skills in a specific way. He gives you a guide to selling more. It’s a more complete book –a more real book that doesn’t sugarcoat just how hard it is to perform in sales.
This book is divided into two parts: the Mind-Set section and the Skill Set section. The Mind-Set of a salesperson is their foundation, the “table stakes” that you need to play in the game of sales. We’d make some additions here.
The “Skill Set” section covers the activities that you need to learn, like prospecting, like negotiating. Each of those is given a reasonable bit of treatment so you can check your pulse and see if you’re getting a passing – or failing – grade in that area.
For me, this is the book that provides the best simple negotiating framework I’ve ever heard. It’s sales-specific, it’s congruent. And it was so strong I wrote it on my wall:
This is what I look at when I make the many sales calls I have to make. Because I realize that not every deal that’s possible is a good deal. And that I can’t get whittled down one thing at a time.
The other highlight – for me- is Anthony’s deep respect for sales, selling and salesmanship Anthony has. He’s more than utilitarian in nature. In the tech firms that I serve, there’s an underlying belief that salespeople – the frontline infantry of their companies – are somehow “just” salespeople and intellectually inferior to the engineers, designers, and other people that “do the brain work.” I’d challenge almost any engineer to develop the skills it takes to perform at a high standard.
But Seriously, What’s Wrong With This Book?
OK, so by now you realize I love this book. I think it’s fantastic. So what’s the knock on it?
The biggest worry with this book is that Anthony doesn’t use pyrotechnics to sell his points. He doesn’t overstate, and he doesn’t build hype around his lessons. There will be no “cult of honest, fierce competence” like there’s a cult of hustle or a cult of being a HardCore Closer.
I worry that his understated, simple honesty may cause people to undervalue his material. Salespeople think they “already know everything,” and “don’t need a remedial book” of this type. And because Iannarino is much more about substance than style. It’s thus likely that a lot of what he teaches is going to be ignored by the people that will most benefit: sales vets that haven’t developed all of their skills.
The other issue – and it’s related- at times, Mr. Iannarino comes off as a bit professorial in his tone. He’s right about nearly everything, but he largely skips the war-stories and the bon-mots in favor of congruent, comprehensive, and nuanced explanation.
(I spoke with him privately and his professorial tone is no surprise: he is an adjunct professor at Capital University in Columbus, OH.)
Quotes and Notes
The book is full of highlights, here are some of the points he made most effectively:
“Even when things are unequal, relationships still win.”
“You need to anticipate your client’s needs instead of waiting for them to tell you what they want.”
-P 75, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need
“You can no longer just be a salesperson, you must also be a business generalist.”
“When you are a strong competitor, you take responsibility for your losses.”
“Remaking yourself doesn’t happen overnight. It requires time and effort.”
“Success in sales isn’t situational.” -P 4
“You must collect some good stories to tell.” -P 151.
“Despite what you might think, horrible, fire-breathing dragons are good.” -P 149
“Once you urgently need to prospect, it is usually too late to do anything.” -P 143.
“The more Desperate you are to fill your pipeline with opportunities, the more difficult it will be to do so.”
“The greater risk for you as a salesperson is that you will have the skill set but not possess the character necessary to create lifetime relationships.”
“Sales is all about getting commitments from your prospects.” -P 16
“You can’t listen to a client if you are focusing on that voice inside your head.”
“Remember that planning and improvisation are not mutually exclusive.”
“Today, Influence hinges much more on good, solid character.”
“Keep a record of the value you create.”
“Create value before you claim any.”
John Wooden was never a flashy guy. He coached UCLA to 10 national championships in a 12 year period by starting with the fundamentals – down to the most basic level of how to properly tie your shoe. Reading The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need is like being coached by John Wooden. When you read it, and when you apply it, it’s a certainty that you will increase your sales.
Over at my other company, Simplifilm, we put “only negotiate once,” in play, and that helped us land one of the best deals we’ve ever gotten.
There can be no doubt that Anthony wrote this book for himself. He’ll re-read it, not out of vanity, but out of a desire to get better. The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need is the wellspring of information that every salesperson needs to fortify themselves with after the wins and after the losses. This is the book that should be required reading everywhere.
Because it tells the truth. Because Anthony respects you – as a salesperson and as a thinker.
Go buy this book. Today.
Here are the links to buy this book: