This post offers no explanation as to why I believe sales is broken, so if you want to understand, I recommend you read these two posts:
I am concerned about the state of B2B salespeople because so many of them do not create the value their prospective clients need. I worry that this harms the salesperson, their families, their clients, and their company.
Many salespeople spend their time on LinkedIn, consuming content about how to write a cold email or some new trick to improve a cold call. We overemphasize the importance of cold outreach without recognizing that, should the salesperson acquire a first meeting, they have too little to say, none of it hitting hard.
Every day, people post about the books they have read. Most of these helped them improve some important sales skill or character trait, like confidence. While these books can be helpful for the salesperson, they do nothing for the salesperson’s client.
Not to put too fine a point on the main idea here, many, most are reading the wrong books. Having published four books on the modern sales approach and one on sales leadership, I am grateful people read my books. However, I know for certain that salespeople would benefit from reading books that help them create value for their clients and improve their sales approach.
Being One-Up or One-Down
Being One-Up is a concept that suggests the salesperson knows more than their client, due to their knowledge, their experience, and what they read. A salesperson is One-Down when their client knows as much or more than the salesperson.
At one point, I realized I knew a lot of things my clients didn’t know. Some of it was my knowledge and experience, but a large part of what I was able to share came from my reading. The more I was able to share, the greater my relationship with my clients. I was reading and researching for my clients.
Reading is important and can be a tremendous factor in your ability to help your prospective clients. Reading a popular book because other people are reading it may help you, but the most useful books will provide you with a greater understanding of something that will be valuable for your clients.
Introducing the One-Up Book Club
I have spent a great deal of my life helping develop salespeople with modern sales methodologies and frameworks that improve their sales approach. But there has been something missing that I am now going to rectify.
To ensure that you are One-Up and better read than your clients, I am inviting you to the One-Up Book Club. The first three books will allow you to see something invisible to others and understand its implications. Book club members will be invited to participate in online conversations that can help them maximize what they learn from the reading. Everyone reads at their own speed and pace. Even though members will get a reading plan, they won’t have to worry about keeping up. Our conversations will remain available online after they occur.
One of the goals of the One-Up Book Club is to encourage people to read excellent, relevant books that they might otherwise overlook. At 700 pages, the first book is a monster, but well worth reading. Reading it with the club will give you the support and encouragement you might not find on your own. The conversation about the book will also help you make sure you pick up on the most important elements and apply them to your work and life. Like all of my friends, you are going to thank me for introducing you to the first book. (And if the length is daunting, know that the next two books will not be nearly as long.)
Book Club Levels
There are four levels in the One-Up Book Club.
- Tier 1: A limited number of people who want to invest in a richer experience, including bi-weekly meetings.
- Tier 2: A small group with extra benefits and a monthly meeting.
- Tier 3: The standard benefits, which most people choose.
- Tier 4: The least expensive option ($3.00 a month), which aims to make it easy for people to participate and improve their ability to help their clients.
There are three investments required to commit to this program. First is the investment in the program, which ranges from $3 a month to $100 a month. Second is the investment in the books, which you can purchase wherever you choose or borrow from the library. But the real investment is your time, reading the books and turning your learning into insights that you can use in your sales approach.
A disclaimer: We are not going to read my sales books, even though I believe they will help you improve your sales results.
Teaching You How to Read a Book
You know how to read, but you may not know how to read a book in such a way that you are able to learn, retain, and process the information. We will start this program by showing you how to read a book. Many of these reading and note-taking strategies are similar to what you should have learned in high school or college, but it’s likely that you didn’t, so they will be new to you.
What you learn in the book club will prevent you from having to re-read books to review the most important takeaways. I am sensitive to doing the same work more than once. To ensure you can get the most out of this experience, we’ll start with these reading and retention strategies. This will result in your being able to use what you learn and connect it to ideas from other books.
If you want to join the One-Up Book Club, you can register your interest by completing the form below. Around 100 people are already on the list!