#36/111: The Knack

What is it about?

What should you know before starting a business? Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham try to answer this question. They focus on some topics from money management to hiring. The Knack is especially targeted at former sales persons.

Key points?

Know your metrics: Most sales people focus on the sales volume only. This doesn’t work for your business is your profit margin is too low. Brodsky recommends to calculate your profit margins by hand to get a feeling for the numbers.

Search a niche in an old market: You should focus on an old market because you don’t have to generate demand and often the leading companies are pretty rigid. If you can find a niche which undermines these companies, you can earn a fortune.

Keep your old customers: You already know that it’s easier to sell to your existing customers than to new ones. So try to generate more profit from them.

Build a culture:  You will reach a point where it is impossible to do everything by yourself. If you hire people try to hire for cultural fit. This way you will trust them more and they will know what’s important for your business.


The first quarter was extremely good. He told a story from two friends of him who wanted to start a business and he explained lots of steps and how they developed their company. Sadly, stories of other people decreased and it become more and more egocentric. The name of the book is a bit misleading, maybe it would be better if it was named “My Business Life by Norm Brodsky”.

#28/111: Questions That Sell

What is it about?

Selling more expensive products is more than just selling cookie cutter solutions. Paul Cherry helps you to find out what your customer wants and what he really wants.

Key points?

Let the customer do the talking: Often salespeople try not to lose control and decide to do the talking. That is a bad habit and happens often. Instead ask good(!) question and let your customer do the talking. You will learn much more about her and her company.

Ask good questions: A key feature of good questions is that it encourages people to think. For example: bad – “How old is your company?”, good – “How did your company change in the last 10 years?”

Help to quantify the problems: After you gathered information about their company and their problems ask them questions about the impact of these problems. “What does it mean for your company that your vendor supplies you two months too late?”,  “How much money are you losing on this per year?”, etc. Don’t try to sell your product at this point.

What do they really want?: Often there’s is more than just the product, there are personal implications. What does it mean to your customer when he can’t reduce the costs? What would happen if he could change the company to the better? Often people want more appreciation, security or success. Try to identify these key attributes and help your customer reach his goals.

Not everybody will buy from you: It’s simple. If a prospect don’t want to hear about your product or don’t have to power to make a decision, don’t bother her. Just leave and talk to another person in the company or go to the next prospect.


Questions That Sell contains a lot of exercises and two long case studies which makes it a great workbook. I like the clear and non BS approach which helps you to deepen the learning material. If you need selling at some point this book will improve your ability.

#11/111: Go-Givers Sell More (including a Special)

What is it about?

Bob Burg and John David Mann describe how to change your way of selling. They focus on five laws which are based on giving value first and also to be able to receive value by others.

Key points?

There are five laws: Law of Value (i.e. give value to others), Law of Compensation (reach people and build relationships), Law of Influence (help people to reach their goals), Law of Authenticity (you are your most valuable product) and Law of Receptivity (be open to receive).


This book takes the selling out of sales. It is pretty intuitive: You can’t force an other person into selling your product. The best thing you can do is provide value (e.g. understand their problem, help them to get what they really want) and build a genuine relationship with them. It is not bad if they don’t buy your product. In building this relationship they may recommend you to their friends. Make your opponent feel good.

The other important thing is that doing good and making money aren’t opposites. Chris Guillebeau also emphasized it. And it is true. This is the Law of Receptivity, don’t be inhibited to make sales. Don’t be inhibited to get help from others. Give value, get value!


Hurray the first 10% are done! But I wouldn’t writing this now without you, the people who read this blog, thank you for your precious time. Especially Ahmad Taleb who is promoting this blog on twitter and Mike McGee who effortlessly reblogged a bunch of my posts. Thank you guys, you are awesome!