If you’re a sales leader, it’s hard enough to find time in the day to read – let alone pick the right book. I’ve looked myself, and there are literally hundreds of sales books on Amazon! How do you choose? LiveHive is making it easier for you in a new blog series called “The Scribe – Sales Leadership Book of the Month,” that highlights the latest and greatest books for sales leaders.

February features renowned sales author and expert Jill Konrath talking about her new book Agile Selling. Learn more about Jill’s book in this QA – and sign up for a chance to win a free copy below!

Q: Why did you write Agile Selling?

Jill Konrath: Every salesperson I talked was struggling to keep up with today’s ever-evolving sales world. Buyers’ expectations were changing. They wanted to work with salespeople who were knowledgeable about their issues, industries, obstacles, initiatives, and more. Plus, decisions were increasingly more complex.

At the same time, salespeople needed to know more – fast. They were under intense pressure to deliver results in ungodly timeframes. They needed to master social media, sales acceleration technologies and new skill sets … all while trying to meet quota.

Since I write books to solve problems, I thought long and hard re: how I could help. The one thing I know intimately is rapid learning – how to achieve mastery in record time. So that’s what I wrote about!

Q: Did the idea behind the book change as you began to write it?

Jill Konrath: From the onset, Agile Selling was about shortening a person’s path to proficiency. That never changed. However its working title was Chewing Rock, based on a delightful story of my African safari you can read here: The Wisdom of the Elephants.

When I was almost done writing, my publisher decided change the title to Agile Selling. Because of that, I had to reframe the entire intro to the book. I’m glad I did.

Q: Would sales leaders be interested in Agile Selling?

Jill Konrath: Only if they wanted to shorten their rep’s ramp time!

Seriously. Since sales productivity is a huge issue today, it’s a must read for sales leaders AND salespeople.

Q: What are your one or two key takeaways from your book that you’d like to share with sales leaders?

Jill Konrath:

#1. Your onboarding process sucks. You’re trying too hard to cram everything you can into your new hire’s brain in just a few weeks. This only makes things worse for your rep – and ultimately you. Spread out learning over time, focusing on need-to-knows first.

#2. Hire agile learners. Your job will be a whole lot easier if you find people who are challenged by learning new things, who turn failures into valuable growth experiences, and are always working on the edge of their comfort zone.

Q: What message from your book do you think will be most shocking to sales leaders?

Jill Konrath: Most people have no concept about how to rapidly master new subjects or skills. They don’t even know it can be done.

Everything I share in the book is 100% research based by cognitive scientists, neuroscientists and psychologist. Plus, I personally used all these strategies when I was selling and consulting.

Q: What was the worst/best part about writing this book?

Jill Konrath: Writing books is hard work. Agony, really – for six months. As an author, I’m constantly asking myself how I can convey my message in a way that’s easy to understand AND enjoyable to read.

The best part is seeing it in print. It’s like giving birth to a baby. I want to show my beautiful child to everyone I see! Also, sometimes when I read my books, I’m amazed at how smart I sound.

Q: Can you describe your book’s style? How does it differ from other sales and business books?

Jill Konrath: People love to read my books because they’re focused on emerging sales challenges and filled with fresh sales strategies.

Agile Selling is the first and only book to talk about rapid learning for salespeople. It’s filled with practical advice that’s shared in short, easy-to-read chapters, with tons of examples.

Q: Did you learn anything about yourself through writing this?

Jill Konrath: Yes, surprisingly. Early in my sales career, I used a number of “silly” strategies to prevent me from failing. I never told anyone about them because they were embarrassing.

Yet while my researching my book, I discovered that I’d unwittingly bumped into approaches that scientists were just proving to be effective. For example, before cold calling, I’d sing a song with lyrics that literally told you to “hold your head erect and strike a careless pose so no one will suspect you’re afraid.” It helped me feel confident before I walked in. When I listened in on Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk, I discovered the science behind my actions.

This happened to me repeatedly. I was amazed that I’d bumped into so many good approaches by myself.


Sign up now to get a chance to win a free copy of Agile Selling.

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