Apples to Apples: How to Stand Out from Your Competition by Dan Paulson – a book review


4 1/2 stars out of 5.

I’m honored that Dan Paulson invited me, as President of the B2B lead generation company Find New Customers to review his new book. This book held particular interest for me because I believe that commoditization is a hugeApples to Apples problem for most businesses. Prospective buyers are unable to spot meaningful differences.

With buyers unable to see real differences between company offerings, companies face pressure on margins and have lowered win rates. Think of a bushel basket filled with red apples. They all look the same. But one golden apple would stand out. This is also the concept in Seth Godin’s book, Purple Cow. And why when I was asked for the marketing take-away of the week on HubspotTV, I said “Think Different.”

Dan Paulson of InVision Business Development and Marketing LLC is experienced at helping companies overcome this dilemma. This book walks the reader through a process to help them uncover true differentiation.

One of the key things I look for in book reviews is where the book fits in the existing arena of books. Some books, like on social media and demand generation (not to mention the Civil War) are well-covered. But books that break new ground are of greater value I think. (We give half a star for this.) Dan’s book blazes new trails I think. This is a key topic for business leaders.

Dan introduces the topic by explaining that price differentiation is inadequate. He goes on to explain that change requires deep self-examination and that change must go deep. He emphasizes that your people are your brand. Dan introduces the Five Tasks of the Golden Apple in the book.

  1. Direction – your vision, mission and values
  2. Path – your strategy and innovation
  3. People – leadership, talent and culture
  4. Process – balancing standardization and flexibility with cultural alignment
  5. Measures – using data for diagnosis and predictions
I also like his “Know This” and “Do This” tips scattered throughout the book.
We give Apples to Apples 4 1/2 stars.
What do you think? We love comments and those who share.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancy Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

“If more companies listened to (Find New Customers) a lot more would be sold.” Dan McDade, Pointclear.

My review of the book, Maximizing Lead Generation | by Ruth P. Stevens


B2B Lead Generation | Maximizing Lead Generation – a book review

Update: There is now a free chapter of the book at Maximizing Lead Generation.

As the President of the B2B lead generation company, Find New Customers, I was excitedMaximizingLeadGen to be invited to review the book Maximizing Lead Generation by Ruth P. Stevens. Since this topic is the specialty of our company, we felt our insights might be valuable.

Before we jump into our review, we wish to note excellent books on the market today, such as Lead Generation for the Complex Sale by Brian Carroll and eMarketing Strategies for  the Complex Sale by Ardath Albee. In addition, Dan McDade wrote The Truth About Leads. So the topic is well covered.

Ruth Stevens

Ruth Stevens

That said, Ruth does a commendable job of covering a topic near and dear to the hearts of marketing and sales leaders (and CEOs and boards responsible for revenue results) In particular, I liked Chapter 3 – the Marketing Database, as this is an area not well covered by others books – and an area of real expertise by Ruth.

Ruth also has a well-written and easy to read style which I enjoy and she also uses lots of tables and charts.

This book is highly recommended as a comprehensive and complete guide to B2B lead generation.

Order the book now on Amazon.com.

We give it four out of five stars, mainly because it breaks little new ground.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancy Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

“If more companies listened to (Find New Customers) a lot more would be sold.” Dan McDade, Pointclear.

The Elevation Principal – Demystified


B2B Marketing |The Elevation Principle

Recently we had the pleasure of reviewing Mike Stelzner’s new book Launch. In this book he introduced the “elevation principal.” The contention is that you can grow your business without marketing by using this simple formula:Elevation Principal

Great Content + People – Marketing = Success!

But I think it is important to explain what is meant. Content + People = Failure, unless it is the right content and the right people.

Let’s define our terms:

Content – this is deeply engaging content that is personalized to the reader – her pains, her roles, her problem, etc. Take the time to research and understand buyers, so you can solve their problems with your content.

People – There are two parts to this.

  • Part one is the people who are your target customers. Your content is designed for them.
  • Part two is industry experts who can help you – as your prospective customers trust them.

It’s critical that you find the right people to help you. I suggest every business compile a “List of 20” – the 20 key people who can help your business.

Make sure your list contains “sneezers.” (Sneezers, a term coined by Seth Godin, are the ones who spread colds) In the

Mari Smith

Mari Smith

online world, these are people who write blogs, create videos and speak at events. A great example of a sneezer in the social media world is Mari Smith (pictured)

Marketing Messages – This means to stop the company-oriented product shilling.Can the sales pitches.

We hope this helps explain the Elevation Principle in this new book.

What do you think? Have you read the book? Would you add anything to what I said? We love comments and people who share.

Stop Marketing in the Dark – a webinar presented by Act-On Software. Special guest speaker Jeff Ogden of Find New Customers. (Click title to learn more and sign up.)

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers and in his long career, has worked for a few of the best and many of the worst – bosses anywhere. This is why he is looking to share key ideas.
To learn about Jeff, please click Who is the Fearless Competitor?

Find New Customers helps companies (with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses) to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to lead generation companies like Find New Customers.

Find New Customers can certainly help your business dramatically improve the flow of sales-ready leads to salespeople.” Paul Dunay, Buzz Marketing for Technology.

A review of the book, Pitch Anything, by Oren Klaff


As President of the B2B demand generation company, Find New Customers, and a prolific blogger, I’m often invited to do book reviews. But after doing quite a few, one grows jaded a bit – so we ask tough questions.

The two questions I ask every time I do a book review:Pitch Anything

  1. Does the book bring fresh insights and perspective?
  2. Is the book well written and easy to read?

Only a book that gets a “Yes” on both questions gets a 5 star review. (Note that one very popular book on social media failed to get a 5 star review because it was too academic – it failed question 2.)

A VERY interesting and different book on person to person executive-level contact. The book is Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff. Frankly, the ideas in this book could apply to any seller – buyer interaction – even a job interview. Ideas like “people want what they can’t have” — applies in job interviews too. (As you read on, imagine saying these things to an interviewer….)

We give this book 5 stars.

This is how Pitch Anything opens.

__

“Here’s the “big idea” in 76 words: There is a fundamental disconnect between the way we pitch anything and the way it is received by our audience. As a result, at the crucial moment, when it is most important to be convincing, nine times out of ten times, we are not. Our most important messages have a surprisingly low chance of getting through.”

  • The methodology uses the acronym STRONG
  • Setting the frame
  • Telling the story
  • Revealing the intrigue
  • Offering the prize
  • Nailing the hookpoint
  • Getting a decision

Brain Science

Mr. Klaff introduces the concept of the “crocodile brain.”Brain In this illustration, the crocodile brain is the center stem. Around it is the mid-brain. and the outer part is the Neocortex.

Let’s illustrate how these brain parts work: The way the brain works is a key concept from the book.

  • When you are walking to your car and you hear someone shouting, you first act reflexively with a bit of fear. (croc brain)
  • Then you see the person yelling, try to figure out who he is and place him in a social context (mid-brain)
  • Finally, you figure it all out and realize nothing is wrong. It’s just a man trying to get his wife’s attention. (Neocortex)

The croc brain handles base level reactions. The midbrain handles logic and the Neocortex solves complex problems. He uses this concept to share an innovative thought about how a meeting works.

The croc brain is used first, and up to 90 percent of your message is discarded before passing it on. Unless your message is presented in such a way that the croc brain sees it as new and exciting, it is ignored.

Finally, you figure it out by using the problem-solving part of your brain, the neocortex

A key idea from the book – you must appeal to the “croc brain” first. (A data laden presentation does NOT appeal to the croc brain.)

Frames

A very important concept in the book is the concept of “frames”.  A frame is a person’s perspective – encompassing their intelligence, values and ethics. Each person has a frame. But when frames come together, it’s not friendly. It’s a death-match. Frames don’t merge. They don’t blend. They collide and the stronger frame absorbs the weaker. Simply put, to win at frames, you must take control and impose your stronger frame.

This is the crux of the whole book. Frames are what happens below the surface of every business meeting you attend, every sales call you make, and every person to person business communication you have.

The beauty of frames is that they are simple. They require little talking and almost no technique.

To illustrate the power of frames, let’s look at a story in the book.

Huge money center bank. Meeting with senior executive for one hour only.  Very expensive to fly everyone in, but worth millions if they win it.

They were escorted into conference room and extended pleasantries with Steve (the executive) and his team. Steve proceeded to spend 15 minutes talking about himself. Finally, after 22 minutes had been burned, they handed out the materials and began the pitch.

After talking for a time, the presenter glanced over at Steve. He had flipped over the pitch book and was tracing his hand. Oh no, we’ve lost him!

How would most salespeople handle it? It’s bad, but most would ignore it and soldier on. But using frames, the presenter realizes he is getting a power frame distrupter. What he does next is different.

Steve, gimme that.” as he pulled the pitch book away. Looking at Steve’s drawing intently, he says”Hold on. Wait a sec. Now I see what’s going on. This drawing is pretty damn good. Forget the big deal for a minute. How about you sell this to me. Name a price.

That was unexpected. Steve was stunned. And the deal was back on track. Surprising turns delivered with humor, are the perfect change.

Other ways to control the frame….

  • Prospect “Thanks for coming in. I have only 15 minutes.”
  • You “That’s okay. I only have 12.”

Hopefully, you get it now. Challenge the situation, but do it with a smile on your face. Very disarming for prospects. “When you are defiant and funny at the same time, he is pleasantly challenged by you and instinctively knows he is in the presence of a professional.

Here’s a situation all of us have encountered. You set a big meeting and you’re all ready to start – you’re just waiting for “Mr. Big.” But then Mr. Big’s assistant pops in and says “Mr. Big just called. He cannot make it to the meeting for another hour. He says to start without him.”

No one can tell the story as well as you can. You must speak to Mr. Big.

Here’s what the author usually says:

So you guys are asking me to delay the start? Okay, I can give you 15 minutes to get organized. But if we can’t start by then, let’s call it a day.” You simply need to say “I can wait 15 minutes, but then I have to leave.

A common situation is the Customer who says “Hi. I only have about 10 minutes to meet with you, but come on in.

Salesperson: “I really appreciate your time. Thanks for fitting me into your busy schedule.

That is the common way salespeople work and is business etiquette – but it is the wrong thing to do.

You: “No, I don’t work like that. There’s no sense in rescheduling unless we like each other and trust each other. I need to know – are you good to work with, can you keep appointments, and stick to a schedule?

Target “Okay. You’re right about that. I sure can. Let’s do this now. I have 30 minutes. Come on in.

You’ve just broken the target’s time frame, established that your time is important, and now he is giving you his full attention.

There is a lot more good stuff in the book.

In addition to being a popular book reviewer, Jeff is President of the B2B demand generation company Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies who have 150 to 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses to design and deploy world-class B2B demand generation programs.

The book, Pitch Anything, by Oren Klaff | The Power of Frames


I was invited to review this book and we will publish a review soon. But dear readers, we can quickly sum up the “Frames” concept with a video clip. The author shared it with me.

Note in this video how the prospect starts to impose his view, and how Don Draper takes control right back This in a nutshell, is the concept in the book.

Click on the image to play the YouTube video. Would love to hear what you think of this approach.

Don Draper

Don Draper of Mad Men

Stay tuned for our review.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers and is considered by many to be one of the top experts in Lead Nurturing. He’s appeared on radio shows to discuss lead nurturing and scoring and wrote 7 Keys to Successful Lead Nurturing.
To learn about Jeff, please click Who is the Fearless Competitor?

Find New Customers helps companies (with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses) to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to lead generation companies like Find New Customers.

Find New Customers can certainly help your business dramatically improve the flow of sales-ready leads to salespeople.” Paul Dunay, Buzz Marketing for Technology.