Paraphrasing Shia Labeouf on Jeremy Corbyn’s prime ministerial run, I have this to say on Dr. Allan Colman and his new book. “I like him. I like him in every way.” It’s rare for me to say this, particularly about a piece of fiction, even more so with a piece of nonfiction – often where I am being told what to do in a workplace setting. But Colman lives up to the doctorate in his name. With the release of The Revenue Accelerator: The 21 Boosters to Launch Your Startup, Colman achieves a sort of left-brain equivalent of what literarily entailed the narrative structure of Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules for Life.
He’s daring, uncompromising, and cuts through the white noise to present an almost overly concise view of how to succeed in business – particularly with the realization of one’s own enterprise – in the timeless echelons of workplace power. And like many leadership and business advice books today, Dr. Colman highlights such a process begins with the individual, and his or her ability to connect effectively with their environment. “Successful selling requires a careful analysis of what people buy and how you present yourself to them. You must directly address how your brand fits with your prospecting—are you known as one of the best or just one of the others? In other words, are you Kleenex or tissue? Are you Xerox or just a copier?” he writes analogously. “How can you get others to notice what you’re selling? By clarifying their needs and issues and discussing how your product or service is a good fit, you should have prospects ready for the next step, converting their needs to your values.
First identify someone’s need; then you can offer the value. When you ask a well-prepared question to determine their need, and they answer it, your response should be, ‘Here’s how we met that need in a similar situation. Would this work for you?’ Most likely they’ll say yes and see your value. In meeting their need, you are defining your brand for them. What else have you just done? You have converted their need to one of your values. Follow that process two or three times, especially with somebody who’s relatively new to your service or product, and you now have values in their minds that are yours—their ‘takeaway’ from you.”
It almost feels like subtle manipulation, a kind of emotional side-stepping set of techniques bordering on the heinous. But that’s good salesmanship. And if you know what you’re doing, and you know the process step-by-step and by heart, then there’s a fairly good chance you’ll have the potential to make strong progress towards the outcome you want. Dr. Colman uses Henry Ford as a pertinent example in this case. “(Henry) Ford built the first automobile. How did he convert
people to leave a horse and get into a car? How did he convince people to give up oats and hay and buy gasoline?” he muses rhetorically. “Initially, Ford focused on making the Model T a status symbol. Then, by building an assembly plant capable of turning out a large number of cars, car ownership soon became available for many more people. Remember this story because it will keep in your mind the importance of selling your values, defined by your brand, and converting their needs. With this story, also remember the following IBM quote that solidifies this whole discussion: ‘Sell what they need, not what you have.’”