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Agile Selling Book Summary: Strategies and learnings

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

Let me be totally honest before starting this blog post.

I have never done Sales in my life.

While in most cases, people start off with Sales and then eventually venture into Marketing.

In my case, I’d say, I took a rather different route of starting off with advertising and then moving to Marketing.


When I look back, I feel having some amount of Sales experience would have benefited me in the long run.

Nonetheless, I learned a lot about it during my MBA, and the greed to learn more never gets too old.


While Zig Ziglar has always been motivating, pushing people to work towards making their sales pitch better, there are other renowned authors out there too.

One of them is Jill Konrath.

She is a sales strategist, speaker, and author of multiple sales books.

One of her books is Agile Selling, the book we will be analyzing in today’s blog post.


The book takes into account the fact that, unlike other job roles, when it comes to Sales there is no room to learn.

You are expected to join in and learn on the way to your first sales pitch.

And that’s where the book comes in, it gives you crisp actionable tips on how to be a fast-track learner.


I am dividing this post into two parts as follows:

1. Concepts learned

a) Six Rapid Learning strategy model

b) Distinct stages of your Customer’s Buying Journey

2. My top 3 learnings from the book


Let’s look at part 1, the Six Rapid Learning strategy model


As mentioned earlier, the book includes direct actionable points to learn, one of them is the six rapid learning strategy.

The image below captures it in brief

Agile Selling by Jill Konrath

Now let’s look at each of them and understand what they mean


1. Chunking

It’s important to understand that in this rapidly changing environment, most often than not you come across a lot of data.

But its important to not overwhelm yourself with tonnes of data.

Instead, break it into smaller chunks, this is the process of Chunking.

In fact, even your brain prefers it, when the data is cut into smaller parts.


2. Sequencing

Once the information is segregated into smaller chunks, now its time to decide which one’s must be tackled first.

Prioritizing the smaller chunks based on urgency or importance is the process of sequencing.


3. Connecting

This is the process of combining old knowledge that you possess with the one you have gained recently.

It’s about connecting your “mental folders” with the new set of skills that you wish to learn.


4. Dumping

Too much information can overload your brain in a way you don’t wish to.

So here you take away all the parts from the new data,that are not of your interest and dump it away.

This doesn’t mean excluding it completely but rather storing it somewhere else, where it doesn’t bother you.

This way only the most required data remains with you


5. Practicing

For salespeople especially, it’s extremely important to practice all the new skills acquired. It's nothing new, we know the more we practice things, the better it is for your brain to retain.

You can indulge in role-playing which helps you practice your new skills in the best possible way


6. Prioritizing

Lastly, prioritize.

Here comes the question of isn’t multitasking a good thing?

Yes, it is, but it depends.

Multitasking more often than not degrades the quality of the result of individual tasks that you need to accomplish.

It’s always better then, especially when it comes to Sales, to ensure that you take one thing at a time, ensure maximum quality, and then proceed with the next.


Part 2 is the Customer Buying Journey


Different selling skills apply to the four distinct stages of your customer’s “Buying journey” as mentioned in the image below:

Agile Selling by Jill Konrath

Let’s understand each of them


1. Prospect Acquisition

Having a normal conversation as against an engaging one makes a lot of difference.

It’s important to have engaging conversations with your prospects about your products and services.

Skills required: Networking, Prospecting, Targeting and Reaching


2. Opportunity Creation

This involves understanding how your product or service fits into your prospect’s life.

How can you create an opportunity for them to explore in the form of your product?

Skills required: Questioning, business-case development


3. Winning the Business

After you have understood the gap in your customer’s life, that your product can fill, it's important to understand why they should choose you.

Let’s take an example: In case you are selling internet data packs, and you are very well aware of your prospect’s needs, it's important to know why they won't choose a competitor brand.

Here it becomes crucial to highlight to your consumers that you are the best out there. That’s how you will win the business.

Skills required: Presenting, Negotiating, Differentiating


4. Account Management

Long gone are the days when a sales process ended with a purchase.

Now, if you do not take care of your customers after the purchase, he/she is bound to move to a competitor.

So you need to solidify your presence and keep your customers happy

Skills required: Customer service, proactive problem solving


Now let’s look at my top 3 learnings from the book:


1. You might have a lot of experience, but the minute you think you have got it right, things change!

Sales is this one area that is constantly evolving.

We no longer have consumers visiting stores, looking for a salesman to guide them.

They prefer online comparison tools and are technologically savvy to ensure they make the right decision.

So as a salesperson, you cannot move ahead with previously determined plans, it's about looking at it from a fresh lens to figure the way forward.

If your consumers have evolved, you should too.


2. If it’s not personal, it’s not a sales pitch

Imagine you have a sales pitch prepared for a particular set of clients together.

This comprises all your product attributes, company legacy, etc. you go ahead and pitch this to your clients.

While a few might convert to sales, most won’t.

This is because your pitch needs to be personal to the prospect.

What’s in it for me?

This question should hold maximum importance.

So do not go around pitching the same stuff to all your clients.

Make them feel special, and the results will definitely show up.


3. Let go of any false hope. The longer a deal stays in your pipeline, the more likely it is for it to never convert

Working in the sales department, I think one of the most crucial questions that you need to ask yourself is how easily are you affected with negative outcomes?

This is important because if you are the kind who easily gives up after one set back, this is probably not the right profession for you.

At the same time, hoping for a positive outcome is a good way to go about it, but there has to be a limit.

You cannot keep waiting for a long time to convert a sale, it’s a waste for both you and your prospect.


The book provides you with a perfect blend of Agile learning and the principles of selling.

If sales excite you, this is definitely a great starter book for you to explore!

 

Also read: Blue Ocean Shift: The much needed entrepreneurial move


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