Sprout!: Everything I Need to Know about Sales I Learned from My Garden 9781576752074: Alan A. Vengel, Greg Wright.

This is a book that helped defined my sales career – it let me enjoy the process and build stronger, mutually rewarding partnerships at the same time.

At the time I was frustrated and some-what “burnt-out” with focusing on financial measures. I had become focused on the traditional transaction/product driven approach:

  • The constant pressure on end of month/quarter/year closing and discounts (and the resultant reduction of margins to achieve short-term results)
  • Customer communications and Account Management calls based on trying to sell the new, extra whiz-bang modules – and “buy it now” offers.

I also remember that I was in the process of buying a new car – initially I was dealing with a smart young sales rep who listened, asked questions and worked hard to understand my needs. When things were getting serious in came the sales manager – he just wanted to close the deal and proceeded to hijack the process from the young sales rep who had built up a great rapport with myself & my wife. Mr sales manager proceeded to tell me what I should buy and that I needed to sign-up there and then to get a good deal. At this point I was looking at this whole situation and relating it to my own approach – when dealing with the young sales rep the process was enjoyable because it was aligned with how I wanted to buy – I didn’t feel I was being sold to and whilst I wanted a reasonable deal I also appreciated the efforts that this young guy was going to provide a great “solution”. On the other hand Mr sales manager was more interested in achieving his numbers for the month than my situation.

The outcome – I told Mr sales manager that I would not be buying that day and that he should butt out and let his young sales rep show him how it should be done or I would walk away. The young guy got the sale – before month-end – and we both got great insight.

So back to the book … my business partner at the time, Deborah Miller from Acuere, gave me a copy and it just totally resonated – the Sales Garden metaphor was a really simple, logical way understand and apply the key messages. It also really complemented and “gave permission” to focus on the CustomerCentric Selling® process as a healthy framework. There are little “Sales Seeds” all the way through the book – at the time I pinned these up on my wall and it all re-energised me.

I’m going to read the book again now that I  have rediscovered it and I’m feeling re-energised already!

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

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