You surely cannot release a book these days without a tweet video. Amy Franko demonstrates this with her Oct ’18 launch of The Modern Seller. What I also learned, enticed by its title for sure, and from the accompanying podcasts I listened to in happy preference to then leafing through the trailed pages, was that you cannot launch any endeavour without considering the four elements any such effort must contain.
These she lists as Goals, Mindset, Network/Ecosystem and Habits. For instance, why waste all your energies on birthing some great step forward, only for you to have no ready and primed ecosystem or network to unleash it into?
This “framework for building relationships” forms part of what she labels the Social Dimension of Modern Selling. I note too how this contains her “3 Rs”. Maybe she’s unaware of the classical British educational meaning of these. Amy talks of Relationships, Reputation, Results.
‘Social’ is one of five dimensions. She lists these in the order; Agility, Entrepreneurial, Holistic, Social & Ambassador.
I did wonder, relative to the author’s experience, [& note that this can be a useful informal exercise chatting away with supportive prospects to describe a set of features or characteristics relevant to your bid], on what would be the collective noun for dimensions. A gravity of dimensions? Or perhaps, to be a little playful; a subatomic, mirror, pressure, plane, string, expectation, mystiverse, or how about an Einstein?
Amy talks about uncovering the emerging skills behind the skills, where the modern seller is different. Yet I struggle to see how these are especially “modern”. This book is stated to be particularly not about technology. A standpoint I can admire. Yet when have salespeople, and especially the type of complex, solution, b2b commercial salespeople from whose ranks the author learned her craft inside first Big Blue, then Lenovo, not had to embrace the technological leap of their day?
Her three-pillared definition of the modern seller means to be successful we must be a recognised differentiator for selling our wares, needing to be utilised to empower the full value of what we provide, and personally viewed by our clients as a competitive advantage for them.
If these were the dimensions from all-time which are most applicable to today, then that would hold merit. That’s not quite how these are pitched though. Your inference is very much that these are fresh for the moment.
For instance, you could have as a Sixth Dimension something like Automation. I choose this specifically because the author (laudably) says her idea is not about technology. Knowing which tasks to ‘automate’ – aka ‘outsource’ or even (whisper it) ‘delegate’ – is nothing new. Yet is super-charged with the vast array of “tools” now at a seller’s disposal.
Which got me thinking, what would a true new Dimension be? Maybe it is an anti-tech angle. But again, this could apply to any stage of commercial selling down the ages. Then there’s plenty of relatively contemporary buzzwords you might apply; dna, process, flat-pack, unpack, refit, reassemble, yoda, crypto (…kidding).
I was reminded too of what the French kind of call your métier. A cousin of purpose perhaps, where you have a craft which drives you on to always be honing it ever upwards.
As a footnote aside, the host I listened to mentioned three tidbits worthy of note:
it’s not the words that you say it’s the music you play
you’ve a relational bank account, but then what happens when you want to make a withdrawal?
“leaders all sell, they must sell their vision” (which is interesting because does this suggest that leaders are not implementors?)
Still, whatever the merits – and there can be such for a tome on proper selling – this rejiggling of the areas in which a solution seller must focus feels in need of, dare I say, modernising. For instance, I personally would’ve liked to know a whole bunch more about her product launch framework. And that alone I suspect would make for a more focused, dynamic and better, piece of work.