Articles From the October 1994 Unification News
Book Review - You'll Never Get No for an Answer
Reviewed by David & Deanna Cooper
You'll Never Get No for an Answer Jack Carew, pub: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1989
Whenever I browse a book with a view to possibly reading or purchasing it, I try to feel the congruity between the author's values and the Divine Principle. I am interested in sales as a vocation, but more importantly I am always on the lookout for ideas to improve my effectiveness as an emissary of True Parents and the Unification community.
This book is based upon an approach to selling that Carew calls "positional selling," an approach he claims is far superior to the normal "technical or facts-only" approach. Carew goes on to describe ten strategies which can help anyone wishing to sell any kind of product, to break the cycle of frustration experienced by many salespeople. "Positional selling," he says, "is not about what you sell, it's about you as a salesperson."
The first strategy is entitled "Taking the Lead." It describes the delicate balance between maintaining confidence and internal subjectivity over the process, on the one hand, and at the same time internally feeling and externally conveying the sense of equality with the customer, on the other.
The second strategy is "Stop Looking Out for Number One." His description of the necessity of trying to understand the customers' needs, values and viewpoint, rather than simply trying to bulldoze them into acceptance or burying them with technical facts, is a direct parallel to the Principle concept of laying a foundation of substance. The attitude one projects at first meeting is the biggest impression we bring to the presentation, and the mental and emotional chemistry we bring to forming it is the underlying foundation of his whole philosophy.
The third strategy is "Invest in the Relationship," meaning what to do when the customer gets emotional and even cuts off from you. Carew says to fall back into a listening, acknowledging, exploring and responsive (LAER) mode. This advice would be equally helpful in getting back on track after a marital argument! If you are committed, then you will invest whatever it takes to patch things up and make a new start.
The fourth strategy is to "Bring Your Energy into the Relationship." This relates to the work a salesperson must do before he approaches a customer. You must believe in your product and be totally united with it; then, when you meet the customer, they will feel your enthusiasm and passion for the product.
The fifth strategy, "Getting Organized," really struck a chord with me. How can you ever know if the presentation is progressing if you don't have a clear goal and subordinate milestones to measure your activity by? How can you improve your presentation if you don't have written, measurable goals. Just to approach someone hoping that "this time someone will buy my product" is an open invitation to be frustrated, and there is no way you can refine your technique. To be effective in sales, you must do your homework. Who is the customer? Can you find our the name of the responsible person in advance? What business are they in? Are they expanding? Are they close to bankruptcy? How long have they been in business? Are they large enough to have national accounts?-etc. Begin keeping a file, recording everything you can: everything you do, every person you meet, and what results you had. From these records, at any time in the future you can "build" on what you did before, reflect on new approaches with different products, and save yourself the hassle of doing the work over again.
The sixth strategy, "Finding the Area of Opportunity," makes for fascinating reading. Mr. Carew amplifies the text with some simple visual mnemonics which help you to keep track of your place or position during the heat of a presentation. Basically, the book describes examples of first finding out where the customer is at right now and then leading them to listen to your presentation as the solution to their problem or present need. To rush in trying to "just sell" will almost always meet with resistance if not outright rejection.
The seventh strategy follows on from the sixth in similar fashion. Called "Making the Customer a Part of the Solution," it again parallels a section of the Principle-that of shared responsibility- because the author correctly recognizes that people are only committed to solutions in which they have a shared or vested interest or responsibility. For example, how many times have you tried to sell a product where the customer agreed to buy it but didn't have the money right then and invited you to come back later. When you went back, they had changed their mind or their boss changed their mind for them. If they had been "sold" correctly, they would be trying to sell the product to their boss, even in your absence.
The eighth strategy, "Assuming Responsibility," is again the attitude which keeps the direction of love (or service) flowing in the right direction. If you fail here, you will lose your position and everything will fall apart. It is refreshing to read Principle concepts couched in secular terms as seen through someone else's eyes; at least, that's how I experience it.
The ninth strategy, "Put it in Writing," is not a repeat of the fifth, but a valuable discussion about how and why to follow up on a commitment to buy.
The tenth strategy, entitled "Becoming the Only Choice," has a lot to do with creative visualization and accepting your own intuition. You'll have to read the book to understand what I mean.
Overall, this book really inspired me, and whenever I think about it, I feel more empowerment and resolve to put the ideas contained in it to work in many areas of my life. Mr. Carew is not suggesting a rigid script whereby you can be successful through following it. On the contrary, the book encourages flexibility and dynamic application and development of your own personal style. Even though the book is about "salesmanship", don't let it limit you. These ideas are equally useful applied to childraising, teaching, marital disagreements, public relations, engineering project management, etc., to name just a few.
For example, I feel that our movement, in order to overcome any image problems standing in the way of our efforts, needs to embark upon an incredibly ambitious campaign of advertising. Advertising through books reaches only those people who are moved to buy the book and read it. We need to bite the bullet and invest heavily in mass media, like television advertising and prominent newspapers.
The True Parents have create an impressive foundation across so many areas of life at very high levels, in some cases. If people could be made aware of these projects and the altruistic motivation and purpose behind them, I cannot see how people's perceptions wouldn't change. Perhaps reading this book will help to inspire us on an institutional level as well as individually.
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