One – What’s special about this month’s book?
Two very special things about this month’s book:
One – Hot off the Press! Freshly published on 23 June 2020
Two – ‘Virtual Selling’ is a phrase many people are googling as the post-Covid world navigates pandemic-proof sales processes.
Two – Book Details for ‘Virtual Selling’
Author – Jeb Blount
Publication Date –23 June 2020
Publisher – John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Three – Who is Jeb Blount?
Started in 2007 (see pg 13), Sales Gravy has a simple mission: ‘We help sales organisations, sales leaders, and salespeople, win.’ Their training supports all parts of the sales process – SDRs, Account Executives, Field Sales (yes, you will eventually get back out there!), inside sales, account managers, and customer success teams.
Jeb is also a prolific writer of twelve books, including Fanatical Prospecting, Sales EQ, Objections, and Inked.
It was only 3 or 4 months from Jeb’s first inspiration until he completed ‘Virtual Selling’ – pg 359. At more than 350 pages, this is the longest book reviewed so far by Magnify Sales Book Club. The details in each chapter are obviously gems of knowledge built up over years of sales success. Whether you’re a seasoned sales professional or a business owner who just got landed with growing revenue to stave off post-Covid losses, this book has practical strategies and tips that you can implement now in your business. And to help you keep selling – lockdown or not.
Four – What is the book’s premise?
That virtual selling is a key part of how we should all be selling, in conjunction with whatever face-to-face selling or networking your business has in place. As Jeb says, ‘Virtual selling is simply leveraging virtual communication channels in place of physical, face-to-face interaction’. – pg 19
More than this, virtual selling is an add-on to all the face-to-face selling you’re already doing.
‘Since the tools, technology and platforms already exist and every salesperson is engaging in some level of virtual selling, this is not a showdown between virtual selling and face-to-face selling.’ – pg 20
- Video calls
- Video messaging
- Telephone calls
- Interactive chat
- Text messaging
- Voicemail and audio messaging
- Social media
- Direct messaging
- Snail mail
Jeb wants us to apply ‘virtual selling tools more effectively to engage and connect with other humans while boosting your sales productivity.’ – pg 20
‘Virtual selling is the new normal. There is no turning back.’ – pg 5. Jeb Blount sees a future where virtual selling is here to stay, even when Covid-19 is over ‘(at least not while we are alive on Earth)’ – pg 11. Virtual selling should be an enhancement to your existing sales processes, not a complete replacement of everything you’ve been doing up until now.
Five – Does the book deliver on its premise?
Yes. This is a book you’ll go back to, time and time again, as you focus energies on improving each aspect of your sales process.
Even better, Jeb is so committed to helping readers improve your sales, that the book gives online access to almost $1,000 worth of sales resources. Yes, you’ll need to buy the book and read it to gain access!
Six – What is the author’s voice like?
Straight up. Confident. Telling it like it is. Cheering you on in your sales journey.
And honest. Like this quote from the chapter on Video Calls:
‘I’ve made a ton of bad videos. Bad audio. Bad lighting. Bad framing. Over time, though, the more I did it, like everything else in life, the better I became. … here is no easy button, though. You must make the choice to face this obstacle again and again. You must allow yourself to feel embarrassed and make mistakes until the camera becomes your friend.’ – pg 62
Jeb Blount comes highly recommended from September 2020’s author of Tactical Pipeline Growth, Mark McInnes. Exactly as Mark said, Jeb Blount tells you what to do and how to do it to be successful at sales. So, you can take confident, decisive actions to improve your virtual selling.
Seven – Any memorable quotes?
Two Magnify Memorable quotes are especially noteworthy.
‘When you relentlessly adhere to basics and fundamentals of sales excellence, you will bend win probability in your favour.’ – pg 348
‘Each day of my professional life, I’m approached by salespeople who are looking for Jedi mind tricks. … The real secret to effective virtual selling is not a sexy, cool Jedi mind trick. It’s something much more boring. It’s faithfully executing the sales process.’ – pg 334
CHANGE OR BE CHANGED
‘If you fail to rapidly adopt and assimilate omnichannel virtual selling into your business development, sales, and account management processes, you will either become extinct or be replaced by a robot. That’s a brutal and absolute fact.’ – pg 49
SALESPEOPLE – IT’S YOUR JOB TO TALK TO PEOPLE!
‘I subscribe to a basic sales truth: The more people you talk with, the more you will sell. If I’m an evangelist for anything, it’s talking with people through as many channels as possible, building emotional connections and helping them solve problems.’ – p 28
AND IT’S YOUR JOB TO INTERRUPT PROSPECTS!
‘Let’s get back to reality. Salespeople who don’t interrupt prospects have skinny kids. As a salesperson, you’ve got a choice to make: Interrupt or start a new career at your local coffee shop making minimum wage.’ – pg 183
‘If you are one of the many salespeople who are quick to say, “My customers like it better when I use email,” I’ve got a message for you. The “my customers like it better when I use email” trope is primarily a bullshit story that YOU keep telling yourself to justify why YOU are not talking with people.’ – pg 167
Eight – What are some insights I can get from reading this book?
SUCCESS COMES FROM BLENDING COMMUNICATION CHANNELS
Success comes from blending Synchronous and Asynchronous Channels – pg 23
Synchronous Channels (Talking with People)
- Face-to-face (not virtual)
- Video calls
- Phone calls
- Live chat
Asynchronous Channels (Talking at People)
- Video messaging
- Direct messaging
- Voice mail
- Social media posting and commenting
- Snail mail
PHONE PROSPECTING KEEPS YOUR SALES PIPELINE FULL
‘If you want the peace of mind of a full pipeline, if you want sustained success in your sales career, if you want to maximize your income, then you’ve got to interrupt prospects.’ – pg 182
‘The number-one reason for failure in sales is an empty pipeline, and the number-one reason salespeople have empty pipelines is that they fail to pick up the phone.’ – pg 182
THE ADVANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA DOES NOT MEAN DITCHING THE PHONE
‘Social media is not a panacea. The social channel enhances, elevates, and sometimes accelerates your virtual selling efforts. But it is not a replacement for a complete system that fully leverages all virtual communication channels – synchronous and asynchronous – in concert to achieve your sales goals.’ – pg 306
‘There is no other tool that will connect you to people faster, deliver better results, fill your pipe more effectively, and help you cover more ground in less time than the phone.
Salespeople who ignore the phone sub-optimize their productivity and cheat themselves of cold hard cash. The humble telephone is the most versatile virtual selling tool. Period.’ – pg 166
SOCIAL MEDIA HAS TRANSFORMED THE SALES LANDSCAPE
‘For the sales profession, social media is the most important technological advancement since the telephone. LinkedIn has profoundly impacted the B2B sales profession.’ – pg 303
‘When you combine social media direct messaging – Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn – with messaging apps including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Viber there are more than four billion people using direct messaging.’ – pg 275
REMEMBER TO ASK FOR THE MEETING, OR THE SALE, OR THE NEXT STEP
‘Asking is the most important discipline in sales. You must ask for what you want, directly, assumptively, assertively, and repeatedly. In sales, asking is everything. When you fail to ask, you fail.’ – pg 341
Nine – How relevant is this book right now?
This is a book for our time. Is Covid over? What will 2021 hold? No-one knows, but it’s sure to include varying levels of virtual selling. Thanks Jeb! This book provides an excellent path through the overwhelming virtual selling options to help you create a sales process that works for your business.
Ten – Did the book live up to expectations?
Yes. Hearing a lot about Jeb Blount, there was a huge expectation! The detailed explanations, frameworks, and honest assessment of the range of virtual selling tools make this book a keeper. Yes, will most definitely be re-reading and continuing to take decisive action.
Eleven – Who would you recommend this book to?
Everyone navigating post-pandemic sales and business development. Along with everyone who is now forced to assess the resilience of your sales processes. Mostly though – everyone who wants to enjoy and succeed at virtual selling.
Twelve – Who should buy this book?
- New salespeople should buy it so that you’re not tempted to ignore the phone and other more traditional sales channels.
- More experienced salespeople should buy it to sharpen their virtual selling skills and enhance your existing sales processes.
- Sales and business leaders should buy it to develop best-practice virtual selling champions who confidently advance your business development in this brave new world.
Thirteen – Where can I buy this book?
Order from Mighty Ape here.
Fourteen – Recommended snacks to accompany reading this book?
A straight-up, honest, no-holds-barred sales book requires snacks that confidently stand in their own space. And that blend the best of old and new (a bit like virtual selling and traditional sales methods!).
So – apple cider, a couple of potato-topped mince pies, followed by ganache-dipped shortbread. Go back for seconds – this is a long book full of deep learning!