Summary of Agile Selling by Jill Konrath

BookSummaryClub Blog Summary of Agile Selling by Jill Konrath

Whether you believe it or not, salespeople have incredible talent. They have to always be on the job, promoting their products and closing the deal. The approach they take to accomplishing the sale changes all the time. Why? Well, a single approach will not work on every potential customer. Besides this, the market is always changing and so are their target audiences.

Thus, it is important for salespeople, both experienced and new to the game, to be able to adapt quickly to changes. They each have different goals but they both have to be able to learn quickly in order to adapt to changes when they occur. So, want to know how to be a great salesperson?

In this book summary readers will discover:

  • Success as a salesperson means being an agile learner
  • Key strategies to simplify the learning process
  • Preparation is key
  • Brush up on your communication skills
  • It’s an ongoing process – don’t stop

Key lesson one: Success as a salesperson means being an agile learner

People might think that a good product sells itself but it does not work that way. A product needs to be sold and for that to happen, salespeople are needed. However, salespeople have to be knowledgeable about their products and their potential customers. In addition, since the realm of sales keeps changing, they have to constantly update the way they sell their products. This could mean anything from new techniques to the use of new technology. 

As a result, salespeople have to be adaptable to achieve their goals. They have to keep up with a constantly changing market and customers who can simply find details of a product online. It is therefore crucial for salespeople to be agile learners if they want to keep up with customers and increase their sales. They have to gain the relevant skills and absorb product knowledge quickly in order to succeed.

An important thing for salespeople to possess to learn quickly is the right mindset. They have to be able to put aside all the negative thoughts and feelings to move forward and stay motivated. Without having the right mindset, fear and doubt will stop them from making any real progress. A salesperson has to be positive and confident to make a sale. This is something that author, Jill Konrath, knows all too well. She found herself stuck and unable to close deals with large companies even though she felt confident with her sales strategies. Instead of getting disheartened, she took a step back and re-evaluated her sales tactics. Her success with that strategy inspired her to write this book. 

Thus, it is important to remember that failure is not a reason to give up. It gives you the perfect opportunity to learn and grow. So, when you first start out your journey to becoming a better salesperson, don’t let yourself become discouraged if you find yourself failing. Look at it as a way to learn from your mistakes and begin to set small goals that you can work towards. This will keep you motivated as you achieve them and let you know what works and what does not. 

Key lesson two: Key strategies to simplify the learning process

The amount of information you have to learn as a salesperson can be daunting especially if you are just starting a new job. It is impossible to learn everything overnight. However, you can make matters easier by using a few simple strategies. 

Firstly, you need to keep everything organized by creating mental folders containing all the information you need to learn. The information should be separated accordingly with each subject having its own folder. This makes it easier to access when needed. You can have folders for products, target customers and sales skills. Mental folders also ensure that you are learning in the correct order. For example, you need to know what products you will be selling before determining which skills are needed. 

Secondly, you can link the information you are learning with things you are already familiar with. This makes the information easier to remember, Lastly, try imagining yourself as the buyer. It is more effective than you realize. By imagining yourself as the buyer, you gain a new perspective and make you an effective salesperson. 

Also important to remember is that when you start a new job even experienced sellers need at least eight months to perform as well as others who are already accustomed to the job. Don’t be too hard on yourself and stick to learning the basics first so that you have the knowledge to speak to others in your field. These basics include insider language which you can pick up in conversations, your buyers and the status quo. The status quo just refers to what’s the normal actions and products that your buyers are using without your new product.

Key lesson three: Preparation is key

Once you have the necessary information, what should you do next? Well, you should prepare. If you want to achieve your sales goals you cannot make the mistake of relying on your charm, you have to prepare accordingly. Each time you meet a potential new customer, you have to be prepared to not only present your product but also to answer their questions. 

A good way to check if you are ready is to have a little test run with a friend or colleague. This will alert you to any gaps in your presentation. You can even have it recorded so that you can go over it later. Another way to prepare is to observe other experienced salespeople when they deal with customers. You will be able to watch how they interact and learn. If you prefer to prepare on your own then try planning out the flow of the conversation you will have with the customer. You can even think of ways to redirect the conversation if it deviates from the flow you desire. In this way, you are thoroughly prepared for all outcomes. 

In essence, you should be prepared for anything. This will enable you to not be caught off guard or to be taken aback by any questions. It does not guarantee that it will not happen, but you will be more likely to handle it well if you are prepared.  

Key lesson four: Brush up on your communication skills

Your communication skills are one of the most important skills you can have as a salesperson. You have to be able to lead a conversation, not just selling a product but providing the customer with a personalized sales experience. 

Thus, you should aim to do some research on your potential customers in your prep work. By doing this, you will show your customer that you cared enough to find out what was important to them. It will also help the conversation flow better during your meeting. Additionally, by employing this strategy, you can figure out how to satisfy your customer’s needs from the product. This makes it possible for you to personalize your pitch to them, talking to them about the products they could benefit from and not the full range available. 

You also need to be aware of their body language when you communicate. You can look out for signals that they might be bored, surprised or defensive. A simple awareness of these signals can let you know when you need to change your approach or ease up a little. Every little bit of communication helps strengthen your skills and prepare you for your next sale.

Key lesson five: It’s an ongoing process – don’t stop

There will never come a point where you are so ahead of the sales game that you need to stop learning. In fact, you should attempt to hone your skills every single day. 

First of all, you have to keep yourself motivated. In order to be a successful salesperson, you have to remain inspired and positive. It has even been proven that optimistic salespeople outperform pessimistic ones! So it is best to keep a positive outlook and attitude in everything you do. Also, try not to focus on the money and how much more sales you can achieve. Instead, move your focus to the great products you represent and how they will benefit your customers. 

Obstacles will arise and you can aim to think of them as a level to conquer in the sales game. In this manner, you can work through them easier and even make the challenge seem like a fun activity. You should also aim to eliminate the bad habits that take you away from your work. The first step in doing this is to identify them. Once you have, you can work to eliminate these bad habits and replace them with good ones that allow you to stay on course. 

You have to be able to learn daily to make it in the sales world!

The key takeaway from Agile Selling is:

To be a successful salesperson takes more than just charm. You have to be extremely knowledgeable about your products and your customers. This is true regardless if you are an experienced salesperson or just starting out in a new job. In order to achieve this, salespeople have to be agile learners able to adapt quickly when needed. This is the only way to be able to thrive in an ever-changing market and evolving society. Continuous learning is thus required to be a successful salesperson and will benefit you for as long as you intend to be one.

How can I implement the lessons learned from Agile Selling:

If you lack confidence in your new job as a salesperson, try a bit of role play with your friends, colleagues or even family members, Recording this interaction will further help you as you can see how you come across while delivering a pitch or attempting to communicate with others. You will be able to pick out things that need more preparation or if your body language needs to be adjusted. Preparation in this manner is a powerful tool, so don’t underestimate it!

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