ARE YOU SAVVY?
This sales book certainly promises a lot and one wonders whether the author, Florida-based E.F. Suarez, can deliver within its hundred pages. The author has 20 years of sales and management experience under his belt.
Unsurprisingly, and right away in the book’s Introduction, Suarez brings in a fallacy, namely criticizing “draconian regulations.” The hyperbole aside, regulations are good for sales for two reasons. Firstly, regulations necessitate compliance and reporting, which often amount to sales and secondly a lack of regulations inevitably lead to excesses in the system, which diminish or collapse economies and, subsequently, business. The plights of the Enrons and Adelphias of the world in 2000-2001 or the recent sub-prime mortgage bubble debacle are obvious examples. Yet, the myth lives on.
The Savvy Salesperson spotlights both selling skills (hunter) and territory planning (farmer) because, the author contends, these are elements one can control. Then, without a hint of mockery, Suarez notes that his content addresses real sales and not marketing conjecture.
The book features plain language, although the recurring word ‘creditability’ is less than popular in the vernacular. There are also fragmented sentences, the use of ‘sales person’ versus ‘salesperson’ (the book’s title notwithstanding) and ‘sites unseen’ versus ‘sights unseen.’
What about the meat of the matter? Is the book basic? Possibly, but the basics are important and to Suarez’s creditability he actually has sold and, more importantly, remembers how it is as he wrote the book. He presents applicable points – as elementary as they may occasionally be or as unheralded as they often are – and discusses concepts that are practical and relevant. In an ocean of sales books, there is some good advice within.
Anyone would guess they are coming and so the sports analogies soon arrive. It is frankly not a yoke on this side of the pond, but Americans, North Americans, just cannot stay away from a baseball analogy here or a football metaphor there. It is a cliché however and a concern when authors and instructors don’t even realize what a wide swath of audience one leaves behind: men who don’t follow millionaires, women who don’t either, the world where most people have never even heard of the Saints or Vikings (or have only of the actual ones).
One interesting section of this book is its discussion of prioritizing accounts based on potential. This is a major downfall of salespersons (activity versus achievement) and not a minor concern of sales managers either. The author’s, and the book’s specialty, is ‘route sales’ obviously and travelling from customer to customer. Here the concept of travelling based on a customer’s potential is of extra concern. Pages 63 and 64 offer good advice for analyzing and evaluating prospects and buying potential in as an educated manner as possible even if customer has not given the salesperson answers in this regard and the buyer and seller haven’t spoken. The author makes a case for potential analysis and forecasting based on history and the previous actions or reactions of the buyer and customer. On the flip side, the opposite is this reader’s sentiment regarding page 87’s statement that a salesperson must always be prepared with an answer for customers’ answers, question or objection. The art of psychology makes such a feat impossible. The concept of active listening and genuine rapport makes it inadvisable. This is especially pertinent in the era of information and empowered buyers. On the other hand, the author has reserved a web page called www.therightanswerinc.com.
The Savvy Salesperson is more a book of general sales and account management advice and less a script or process like Sandler or SPIN would be. Then again, there are many examples and topics examined, which is best practice sharing at its core.
*This book was sent to me compliments of the author or publisher