Sunday, March 07, 2010

Book Review: Three Steps to Yes - Sales for Poets

Part way through his short and readable book I decided Gene Bedell was just the sort of cheerfully cynical sales gunner I've been looking to learn from - albeit not to imitate. That was when he wrote of meeting his Prospect's "personal needs" by "arranging for him to make the keynote speech at an important industry meeting".

Or, you could, you know, slip your Prospect a thousand dollar bill. It's just a matter of degree.

By the time I was done though, Bedell had persuaded me that he's not nearly as amoral as I first thought. Yeah, he really has to win -- but he likes his Prospects to win as well. Including the Prospects reading his book.

Amoral gunner or admirable entrepreneur, or maybe a bit of both, he's written the sales book for me. In Bedell's words I'm a Poet, I ain't got a sales gene in my body. I'm so bad my specialty is covert persuasion, by which my ideas and proposals are delivered by indirect and untraceable paths.

After reading Bedell's "Sales for Poets" book though, I can see about a dozen ways to change what I do. Even if I can't execute on all 21 of his key recommendations at once, I can surely double my persuasiveness by just getting to average on 3-4 of 'em. I intend to work on a different 3-4 each month over the next year.

I wouldn't have wanted to read this book 10 years ago, but if I had my life would have been different (not necessarily better of course, but certainly different). It's a powerful paeon to persuasion, and, as the title suggests, a good complement to the classic book on negotiation "Getting to Yes".

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