That’s what I asked myself when I was offered a copy of the book for review. Since I lean more toward the systematic selling style, and profess that a disciplined process is needed for an accelerated sales cycle, I initially steered clear of the request. But, fortunately, I reconsidered and had it sent to someone I know who is not only a fan of Harvey Mackay, but also one who would be practicing what he has read from Mackay in the past.
Don Kusterer, who has written reviews of other books we sent his way, was willing to take this latest book under his wing. I say that not only as jest, but also as fact; he would need to read it during his many coast to coast trips for business. Don is a guy who is the consummate road warrior when it comes to close customer contact. Unlike many of today’s virtual sales encounters, Don likes to understand the customer’s needs firsthand.
To expedite the book review process, I talked to Don on the phone, and asked him for any first impressions or notes he might have made along the way.
Don was quick to say, “I’ve been a fan of his since “Swim with the Sharks”. Struggling with time, to get through the beginning of the book, I found the nuggets (of wisdom) and sayings coming back from earlier books to be a redo, or so I thought.” Continuing on, Don wanted to suggest in fairness to Mackay, that he has read many books on selling, motivation, and sales psychology, so he couldn’t be sure where he may have first seen or heard them. Also, “In the same vein, when you’ve written as many books as Harvey Mackay, it is equally hard to keep the material fresh for fans.”
In Don’s mind, that’s not a problem with Mackay’s latest book. “As I moved through the chapters, sometimes only one or two at a time, my position and thought changed, too. Perhaps this was his purpose; to stir up the well-known things that we just don’t use on a regular basis, and bring them back from memory.”
Motivated to dig into the second half of the book with a new enthusiasm, Don emphasized “Following a breather in my business, when I reached Chapter 41 (“Watch Out for These Four Letter Words”), I felt this was definitely a must read for everyone who finds themselves engaged in any type of sales assignment or customer contact. It was here that I found a new stride; I found myself in a much more creative state of mind, jotting notes on paper and in the margins as I read. After all, isn’t that what an MBA is for, to develop the creative side of the student reader?”
Don’s home turf of St Louis began to creep in as we talked. “I recall someone recently describing the manager of the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, Tony LaRussa, as “Tony is always 2 innings ahead of everyone else.” That’s the way I felt about Mackay’s later chapters that bring forward today’s additional demands of CRM (Customer Relationship Management), and how to use the Internet and social networks to your advantage.”
Can someone like Don, with 40 years experience in sales and management in the health care industry, make use of this book? “It’s a book for both young salespeople and more seasoned pros alike. One could pick at the style, or perhaps the trite sayings, not to mention the staccato method of putting the book together, but in the words of the #1 Cardinal fan, the late Jack Buck, I would declare Mackay’s newest book as, "That's a Winner!” It’s an easy read; one that can be put down and picked up again without losing a beat.“
Backgrounder: Harvey Mackay
As the founder and chairman of the $100 million MackayMitchell Envelope Company, Mackay has become a well known author, syndicated weekly business columnist, has written six New York Times bestselling books (three #1s), and likely known best for the blockbuster “Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive”.