3 Sales Takeaways from Youtility by Jay Baer

An unusual book review now. I guess it loosely comes from the genre known as ‘inbound marketing’.

Whoa! I can hear your screams. What is a salesy guy doing reading Marketing?

Is it a case of ‘know thine enemy’ you ask? Am I getting into bed with the devil?

Well. No. In the same way that I often try to persuade the business-to-business community to amend their seemingly held belief there are so few ‘decent’ salespeople out there, perhaps the same approach holds true for marketeers?

Just like the population of our selling nation, surely marketing cannot be all bad apples?

I was drawn to this book because I’d heard that its prime focus was on properly understanding the problem you are solving, to genuinely get on the prospect’s side of the table. I am totally an advocate of this thinking myself.

I thoroughly enjoyed the examples cited. Half-way through there was a mini-summary of 18 of the case studies used up to that point. The ideas they triggered for me were legion.

You’ll be pleased to find that as a happy offshoot, there are a number of highly relevant sales points made we can develop.

Just as Marketing has irreversibly changed in our social media world, so will selling. If it hasn’t in your sector already. A raft of ways of using blogs, videos, podcasts, apps, forums, microblogs and social network profiles to (often pro-actively) answer questions that not long ago would be considered commercial suicide are now how you protect and increase the value of your secret ingredient x.

Here’s 3 ways how ‘youtility’ can help you get ahead of the game.

A. Are You A Pitchopath?

“success flows to organisations that inform, not organisations that promote”
“stop trying to be amazing and start being useful”
“the difference between helping and selling is just two letters but those two letters now make all the difference”

I love these three (of many similar) quotes. As the old solution sales adage goes, telling isn’t selling. As the book subtitle suggests, if you focus on the hype you will lose. Rather seek to help and you will prevail.

B. The Start Of The Bid Is No Longer When Your Grubby Forecast Registers The Lead

The 2011 Company Executive Board surveyed 1,900 b2b buyers. Key finding, “customers will contact a sales rep only after independently completing 60 percent of the purchasing decision process”. Wow.

He evokes a “Zero Moment Of Truth” concept. It is the commercial version of flight-or-fight, as in to buy-or-bail, but crucially, one that happens before your prospect even enters sales funnel; “the balance of persuasive power is moving from promotion to information”.

What’s also new, is that if 60% of a buying decision is done before ever talking to prospective suppliers, then is the converse becoming increasingly likely? Namely, that we must conduct 60% of the selling before ever speaking with prospects? And if so, how are we managing the shift on our patch?

C. Trusted Adviser Gains More Momentum

“If you can build a platform where you become the trusted expert, you can literally sell anything”. Joe Pulizzi, author of Get Content, Get Customers is quoted as saying. Work out all the questions you could be asked, and answer them. Up front. Potential customers are not interested in what you sell, as much as what you know.

Are you sought out for your knowledge transfer?


There’s also an interesting reference to “atomizing” content. Don’t just lazily re-post the same thing on different platforms, re-imagine it and change for each one. Who needs a feed that’s just a bland links list.

Given that I specialise in helping b2b firms avoid new product launches gong the same way as ones before (ie all initial fanfare yet no follow-up Sales), I adored this observation; “too many businesses break out the champagne just because something new was created”. Just like said launch, “Youtility should be a process, not a project”.

I gathered a great list of actions for my tenner personally, but if I had to single out one phrase that I’d aim to adapt as being at the heart of my endeavours, then it’d simply say ‘be useful first, and amazing will look after itself’.

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