We know that successful sellers are able to provide value to each interaction they have with prospects and clients. If you want to provide value in conversations with economic buyers, you need to have Business Acumen. “Bottom Line Selling” by Jack Malcolm describes the observable behavior you need to display if you want others to be convinced that you have Business Acumen.
The first part of the book introduces you to the fundamental business concept of productivity including the velocity aspect and provides lots of actionable advice about what needs to be done to understand the customer as an organization, but as the saying goes: It is people not organizations who buy.
The second part of the book discusses how you can apply the situational knowledge gained by following the advice of the first part of the book. You will be introduced to different formal roles within a prospective or client’s organization and how to adopt your conversations accordingly so that your message is heard and your vis-à-vis will perceive the value you contribute to the conversation. The book then also covers the ingredients of a convincing written proposal.
You will gain the most value from reading Jack’s book by not being content to know more about what Business Acumen is, but to act on the advice. This will lead you to talk about the subjects customers care most about - how you can provide value to their business- and to refrain to start conversations with the topics you know most about – functions, features and benefits of your offering.
Sellers are at ease talking about their offerings, because they are better trained on this topic. Jack Malcolm provides you with the guide on how to increase the knowledge about your prospects and customers to become equally conversant on topics which are of foremost interest to your customers.
“Bottom Line Selling” is in its second extended edition. I found a few passages throughout the book where I asked myself whether the statements or references are still relevant for today’s economic climate. You should though not be bothered by this. The fundamentals covered in the book are very relevant for the current times.
Reading the book is thus time well invested if you want to start to differentiate yourselves from all those sellers who still try to stay in their comfort zone and are talking mostly about functions, features and maybe benefits of their offerings. Staying in this comfort zone implies the risk to become irrelevant to customers and prospects that have so much information at their disposition through the internet.