The three books I have written are all maps. They provide an overview of the terrain and provide guidance on how you might find your way. In Chapter 5 of Eat Their Lunch, I reference my friend, Ken Wilber, perhaps the greatest map-maker of all time, as his Integral Theory includes more terrain than any other map, and it is sometimes referred to as a Theory of Everything.
The first time I met Ken, I asked him to advise me on map-making, and he looked at my work and helped ensure I had enough categories to be accurate, but not more than is necessary. That little bit of advice proved helpful. The map is not the terrain, and this means pruning to cover what is essential.
Map 1: Competencies – Be Someone Worth Buying From
The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need is a map of the competencies salespeople need to succeed in B2B sales today. It’s nine mindset attributes that make up a map of healthy beliefs and behaviors, something you might call character traits (Self-Discipline, Optimism, Caring, Competitiveness, Resourcefulness, Persistence, Initiative, Communication, and Accountability).
The eight skill sets in the second half of the book fill out the second major category, even though I broke the skills into 1st Generation (Closing, Prospecting, Storytelling), 2nd Generation skills (Diagnosis and Negotiation), and 3rd Generation skills (Business Acumen, Change Management, and Leadership).
What was left out? Emotional Intelligence (which is rolled up into Caring), and Passion, and Courage (which will find a home somewhere).
If you are struggling to produce the results you want, TOSG is a map to diagnosing what might be the root cause of your challenge and what you might do to improve. For example, you might be good at prospecting but lack the discipline to do enough of it to reach your goals.
Map 2: Consultative – Controlling the Process of Change
The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales is a map to the client conversations and commitments that move deals forward (Time, Explore, Change, Collaborate, Consensus, Invest, Review, Resolve, Decide, and Execute). There are two critical principles in the book: 1) You must trade enough value in exchange for the commitment to make it worth the client’s effort, and 2) You are responsible for controlling the process.
There are a bunch of small, but essential commitments that didn’t make it onto the map. You may have to acquire data or reports or signed NDAs or some other such thing. My hope was in providing all the major commitments that you could pick up the skills to gain these commitments effectively.
If you struggle to acquire the commitments that move deals forward or have clients go dark on you, this is a map to improving your control. It’s also an excellent guide for having difficult conversations, a big part of the territory for which TLAC maps out.
Map 3: Winning – Competing in the Red Ocean
Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition is a map of the competitive displacement, winning your dream client when your competitor has them locked down. The map here includes Level 4 Value Creation, Capturing Mindshare, Nature Campaigns and Pursuit Plans, Prospecting to Displace, Modern Discovery, Creating Opportunities, and Building Consensus. The last third of the book builds on everything that has come before it to provide a map of Creating a Preference, Becoming a Consultative Salesperson, Executive Presence, and Retaining Your Dream Clients.
If your role requires you to displace your competitor, this is the map to doing so, even though everything in this book will help you if you are in B2B sales.
These three maps cover much territory. If you are not producing the results you need now, you are likely to find the answer in one of these three books. Maybe you need to make your own maps, outlining the big pieces of the terrain you routinely have to cover and building a reliable path forward.