BOOK REVIEWJUST SELL IT!
Jan 20, 1997 12:00 PM, By James BeckhamBeckham is principal of Audio-Video Corporation, Amarillo, TX.
Ted Tate, Just Sell It! Selling Skills for Small Business Owners, John Wiley & Sons, 1997; 224 pp; $24.95, hardcover; $14.95, paperback
I'm a nuts and bolts kind of guy. Don't bore me with philosophy, just give me the facts and tell me how to use them.
I've read my share of sales improvement books, and many have been a sure cure for insomnia. However, Just Sell lt! by Ted Tate not only kept me awake while reading, it also kept me awake during part of several nights mulling over the ideas he presented.
The book is factual, to the point and full of real-world examples of how to be a better seller. No esoteric philosophizing here, no beating around the bush. In fact, the book is so crammed with ideas that reading it felt a little like being in a tiny boxing ring with Sonny Liston and nowhere to escape the punches. With each page I turned, I was hit with ideas for improving my sales. I would turn another page and get hit with two more powerful punches, along with examples of how to apply them. Quite frankly, I could only take this book in small doses because I was trying to absorb all the ideas presented.
Whether you are a small business owner, a seller or someone who trains sellers, buy this book - now. If you only have room in your library for one sales manual, Just Sell It! should be the one. If you are a startup business owner or run a small electronics business, you need this book and its ideas to help you survive and thrive. I wish I'd had this book 20 years ago when I started.
Whether you are an experienced seller or own a large business, Tate will still challenge you and give you great ideas for improving your sales.
Let me tell you some of the great stuff in this book.
First of all, the author understands our business, having owned and run a small security and fire alarm business that he grew into a large company. Tate also worked for large corporations and now spends his time as a consultant, lecturer and college professor. However, Tate still remembers his roots and what it takes to do system selling. As Tate puts it, "In every one of those businesses, I was responsible for sales in some manner."
This book claims to be aimed at small-business people who must learn the art of selling to succeed, as well as salespeople, sales managers and executives involved in any kind of negotiating. With that mission statement you would expect a 1,000 page tome. Just Sell It! turns out to be a very readable 276 pages crammed with 1,000 pages of extremely useful information.
The dilemma for small-business people, as Tate points out, is that they can ill afford and usually cannot find competent salespeople. The problem is how to run a business, help with installations and do the selling yourself. Without sales, your business dies. If you can't afford salespeople, the job of selling falls on your shoulders.
This book shows small-business owners how to get past fears about selling, learn to sell easily and efficiently, and set goals and use time management to reach those goals.
Some real gems of advice can be found in Just Sell It! for owners of any size business. Tate presents compelling arguments for all owners to be involved in selling or, as he says, "By making sales calls and having sales interviews with potential customers you'll be able to see areas where your business is strong (and weak). Most importantly you may see areas of potential growth or perhaps potential problems you never thought of." Tate follows that advice with questions to ask potential customers to get the maximum information during each sales call. This is great stuff!
The book is written in the order of a sale, from learning your product to prospecting, qualifying, making the presentation and closing. Time management chapters are to the point and will give you a guilty conscience about work patterns that don't generate income. A self-evaluation section includes simple forms to use for self-help and avoids any philosophical ruminations.
My favorite chapters were the sales and prospecting chapters. Many of the techniques presented were like old friends. Some methods were ideas I use daily. Other ideas were totally new or clever adaptations of techniques I had heard before. Tate even includes telemarketing scripts that can be used almost verbatim for the contracting business.
Seasoned sellers can benefit from the 26 closing techniques and the examples of how to make the closes work. I also learned from Tate's steps to prevent buyer's remorse.
One chapter, "Service will Make or Break You," reiterates what I have preached for years: Selling service is a good source of revenue for your sellers and your company. Selling service not only keeps your technicians busy and provides much needed income, it generates plenty of sales of replacement products for customer-owned systems that break.
The two chapters on closing techniques alone are worth the price of the book. Another chapter, "What One-Call Closing Means to Your Bank Account," is full of ideas on how to actually make a one-call sale.
I learned some good lessons from Tate's many illustrations of words and phrases that affect the sale. He gives dozens of examples of words that qualify how to find out who is the decision-maker and gives a list of words that trigger rejection in your buyers.
Tate obviously understands people and what prompts them to buy. The book includes subtle suggestions, such as how to quote a price in words that are less intimidating, and practical sections, such as what motivates people to buy.
The last section of the book is a reference list for government information, time management resources, a telemarketing dictionary and desktop publishing resources.
Finally, for those of you who work for someone else and are considering starting your own business, read the chapters titled "If You Were My Best Friend" and "Strategies for Success." As Tate puts it, "I've been there. I've run a small business and done the selling. The mistakes I made in those early years could fill another book. I just wish someone would have told me then what I'm about to tell you." The advice Ted Tate offers in these two chapters will pay you back a thousandfold for the $16.95 you spend on the book.
Would I recommend this book? I think I have. Besides, I'm ordering copies for all the salespeople who work for me.
As Ted Tate puts it on page four: "There are three kinds of people in the world: Those who MAKE things happen, those who WATCH things happen and those who WONDER what happened."
This book can help you avoid becoming one of the latter.