Self Help

People Buy You The Real Secret to what Matters Most in Business - Blount, Jeb

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Matheus Puppe

· 21 min read



Here is a summary of the Table of Contents for the book “People Buy You” by Jeb Blount:

The book begins with praise and endorsements from other authors. It then includes a title page, copyright page, dedication, and foreword.

It is divided into 8 chapters that discuss moving from simply providing information to building empathy with customers, debunking common sales myths, being likable, making real connections, solving customers’ problems, building trust, creating positive emotional experiences, and developing a personal brand.

Each chapter provides strategies, rules, and summaries related to the key topic. For example, Chapter 2 debunks myths about friends buying from friends and people buying from those they like. Chapter 3 discusses how to be likable through behaviors like being polite, nice, respectful, and minding your manners.

The book concludes with additional praise and endorsements for the content. Overall, it provides a framework and actionable tips for focusing less on sales tactics and more on developing genuine relationships and trust with customers in order to succeed in business.

  • The passage discusses how sales books and training have become overly complex over the past decade, trying to one-up each other with new approaches.

  • The author saw this trend toward complexity while having lunch with a friend and discussing how sales has become complicated.

  • The author believes success comes down to basic principles of human interaction that are often ignored. His first sales manager taught him to focus on basics like these.

  • Trends in technology, communication and specialization have transformed businesses but swung the focus too far away from important interpersonal skills.

  • While investments have been made to give salespeople more customer time, support staff more collaboration time, and leaders more employee time, often the focus on process and systems has replaced the basics of business - one person helping solve another’s problem.

  • The author advocates focusing on those basic principles of human interaction that drive everything in business and sales. Simplicity, not complexity, is what really matters according to his experience.

  • The trend toward specialization in business has meant that professionals rely more on personal relationships and brands than in the past. Their ability to advance and stay at the top depends on adaptability, embracing new technology, and building lasting relationships.

  • Training organizations have focused so much on systems and processes that they have given less time to teaching interpersonal skills that are important for building relationships and connections in business.

  • The author believes he needs to teach business people, especially sales professionals, how building relationships can be applied to their work through connecting with others to understand and solve their problems on a personal level.

  • Technology has both removed barriers to communication but also erected new barriers that inhibit personal interaction. This puts more value on traditional relationship building strategies in business.

  • The objective of the book is to teach practical, actionable skills for how readers can develop lasting relationships, become more influential and persuasive, and gain business success through getting others to like, trust, and buy from them. It is not about manipulation but about connecting with others.

Here are the key points summarized from the passage:

  • Myth #1 claims that people buy from people they like. However, the author gives an example of losing a deal even though the customer liked him, because the competitor had a better solution. Likability is important but not enough on its own.

  • Myth #2 is that you have to sell yourself. The author argues people don’t like being sold to, they prefer buying on their own terms. Attempts to sell yourself can backfire.

  • A truth acknowledged is that people won’t buy from those they dislike, unless absolutely necessary. The emotional connection is important.

  • The author advocates getting people to “buy you” by connecting with them emotionally and understanding their reasons/problems, not just relying on charm or selling features. The book provides tactics for this approach.

  • A core principle is that people make decisions based on emotions first, then justify with logic. The author’s approach focuses on cultivating the emotional connection and decision factors.

  • Being likable is the first and most important step to get people to buy from you. If you are not likable, people will not engage with you and you have no chance to build a relationship.

  • Likability opens the door to forming emotional connections with others. When people find you likable, they are more willing to have a conversation and share information about their problems.

  • The five levers of getting people to buy you are: be likable, connect emotionally, solve problems, build trust, and create positive emotional experiences. These work together to tap into human emotions and motivate people to take action.

  • Specifically, likability leads to connecting with others through building rapport and understanding. This allows you to uncover people’s real problems that you can then solve, which provides value. Solving problems, building trust through consistency, and creating positive experiences together anchor the relationship.

  • It’s important to focus sales efforts on qualified prospects who are able to buy, in order to benefit from using these levers to develop relationships. Sales activity is also necessary to drive business and commissions.

  • Likability greatly impacts how people perceive you, interact with you, and whether they are open to your questions or willing to give second chances. It determines how receptive others will be to you and your message.

  • First impressions are crucial as people make quick judgments about whether someone is likable within moments of meeting them. These judgments can last and influence future interactions.

  • While some people are naturally likable, others must consciously practice behaviors that make them more likable such as smiling, having good manners, showing enthusiasm, appearing confident, and being authentic.

  • Smiling universally signals friendliness and connection. It puts people at ease and makes them more forgiving. A sincere smile humanizes interactions and conveys genuineness.

  • The story illustrates how a dentist’s smiling manner helped ease a patient’s anxiety and fear due to previous poor experiences, making the patient feel welcomed, relaxed and willing to receive treatment. Appearing likable through smiling was crucial to connecting with the patient.

  • The author felt uncomfortable at the dentist initially but felt at ease due to the dentist and staff being kind, respectful and making him feel acknowledged. This made him a loyal customer.

  • People generally respond in kind to how they are treated. If you smile at someone, they often smile back. By being polite, respectful and kind to others, even if they are upset, they will usually calm down and respond positively.

  • However, most people are not smiling because they are focused on their own thoughts and problems rather than others. As customer-facing professionals, consciously making an effort to smile and think positively can influence how likable you appear.

  • Good manners, politeness and respect are important for likability and career success, even though rude behavior is common. Treating all people, regardless of status, with kindness and following basic etiquette gives you an advantage.

  • The passage describes how people would literally kill for this man and do anything he asked without question, not because they were forced to but because they genuinely wanted to please him.

  • There is an extreme level of loyalty, devotion and desire to help him among these people. Whatever he asked of them, no matter how big or dangerous, they would willingly carry it out simply because he was the one requesting it.

  • Enthusiasm is an important tool for salespeople, as lack of enthusiasm makes one just a clerk.

  • Most people do not work in glamorous industries, so it’s important to find something to be enthusiastic about, like focusing on solving customers’ problems rather than mundane products.

  • If there is truly nothing to be enthusiastic about, it may be time to find a new job. But often, one can “fake it till you make it” by acting enthusiastic to eventually become enthusiastic.

  • Developing confidence is key to sales success. Self-confidence comes from a balanced belief in oneself and abilities, without arrogance.

  • Fear is natural, but overcoming fear through small steps each day builds courage and confidence long-term. Developing courage helps improve confidence.

  • Maintaining enthusiasm and confidence is difficult given the fast pace and pressure of modern sales jobs. To combat this, one must invest in themselves mentally, physically, and spiritually through continuous learning, self-care, and recharging. This helps maintain a positive attitude.

  • Jennifer was able to close a big advertising deal with a car dealership on her first day as a salesperson for the school newspaper, despite the owner previously refusing to advertise due to a dispute.

  • Through listening to the owner vent about his frustrations with the newspaper’s lack of responsiveness and respect, she was able to understand his real problem and calm him down.

  • By empathizing with his situation and offering to be his main point of contact going forward, she solved his problem and gained his trust, leading him to place an advertising order.

  • True connections are characterized by feeling comfortable revealing real problems and secrets to someone who listens without judgment.

  • In business, making a real connection allows people to feel comfortable unveiling their true problems for a salesperson to solve, rather than hiding issues. Listening is key to uncovering opportunities and closing deals.

The summary highlights how Jennifer was able to connect with a difficult prospect through active listening, understand his perspective, and solve his problem, gaining his business as a result. Making real connections through listening is positioned as important for uncovering sales opportunities.

  • Rapport is a popular concept in sales training that emphasizes techniques like matching body language and vocal patterns to influence the other person’s behavior. However, these techniques are too complex for most people to effectively use in real business situations.

  • Attempts at contrived rapport building often come across as awkward, manipulative, and insincere. Buyers are not fooled by lame attempts just to check a box on a sales process.

  • The key is connecting by focusing on making the other person feel important through listening. Listening is a powerful way to make people feel valued and appreciated.

  • Most people don’t truly listen because they prefer talking about themselves. But listening gives the other person space to talk and feel important. This builds connection in a simple, genuine way.

  • Questions are important for connecting because they allow the other person to talk. Easy, open-ended questions that interest the other person help break down barriers at first meetings before delving into deeper questions.

  • Asking easy, non-personal questions at the start of a conversation helps the other person open up and feel more comfortable. This allows you to build rapport and gain trust.

  • Common ground questions about shared experiences, backgrounds, interests etc. are also easy starting points. But be careful not to dominate the conversation - redirect back to asking them questions.

  • Prepare in advance by researching the person and looking for accomplishments or topics they will enjoy discussing. Praising their achievements builds self-esteem and approval.

  • Really listening is difficult but crucial for strong connections. People are self-absorbed by nature and spend 95% thinking about themselves. You must make a conscious effort to give the other person your full, undivided attention.

  • Active listening behaviors like making eye contact, acknowledging what they say, summarizing, and using silence demonstrate you are paying attention. But the core is becoming genuinely interested in understanding the other perspective.

  • Overcoming the habit of talking requires discipline but pays off in better relationships, sales success, and career outcomes by truly understanding others’ needs. Listening is the key to building strong connections.

Here is a summary of the key points about active listening and maintaining connections:

  • Active listening requires genuinely focusing your full attention on the other person by turning off distractions and self-centered thoughts. It takes practice and self-evaluation to continuously improve.

  • Maintaining eye contact, listening deeply by observing body language/tone, asking follow up questions, and using supportive phrases keeps conversations flowing and builds stronger connections.

  • Remembering and using names is important as it makes people feel valued. Developing techniques like repetition and association can help with name recall.

  • Staying connected long-term requires continued efforts like learning personal details, offering praise, and acknowledging life events.

  • Communication tools like email and voicemails also require etiquette to avoid damaging relationships over time through poor messages. The focus should be on how the other person feels they are valued through ongoing attentive listening and engagement. Maintaining connections is a key part of one’s likability, reputation and ability to develop trusting relationships.

  • Connecting with potential customers is important for building rapport and understanding their real problems. Effective listening is key to connecting and making others feel valued.

  • The salesperson thought they had a big new account locked down based on an expiring contract. They put together a standard proposal presentation with all the typical marketing elements.

  • However, when the CEO unexpectedly joined the meeting, it became clear the presentation was not impressing them and they had seen similar ones many times before. The CEO voiced frustration that past vendors all promised the same things but failed to deliver.

  • Realizing the standard approach was not working, the sales manager took an unusual step - he forcefully slammed the proposal on the floor to get everyone’s attention. This demonstrated the sales team was willing to abandon their typical tactics and really listen to understand the customer’s problems in a new way.

The key lesson is using standard proposal presentations is not always effective. To truly solve a customer’s problems and connect with them, one must be willing to ditch conventional approaches and listen to understand their unique needs and perspective. An unconventional action from the sales manager signaled a willingness to do things differently.

  • Bob handled a difficult sales meeting more effectively than the protagonist had previously. He smoothly defused a tense exchange and got the meeting back on track.

  • Bob asked thoughtful questions to understand the client’s needs and problems. He involved different departments to gain a thorough understanding.

  • Based on what he learned, Bob proposed a tailored solution that addressed all the client’s issues. The client was impressed and signed on as a new customer.

  • This was an important lesson for the protagonist. Previously he had assumed he knew what the client needed without truly listening. Bob showed the value of connecting through questions rather than pushing one’s own agenda. Asking the right questions leads to understanding problems and closing deals. The protagonist was grateful for this learning experience.

The key lessons are the importance of empathy, listening to understand others’ perspectives, avoiding assumptions, and using questions to uncover real problems rather than just pitching solutions. This leads to satisfying both parties’ objectives through problem solving.

  • Effective salespeople get below the surface by asking questions that uncover their prospects’ hidden problems and issues, not just asking surface-level questions.

  • It is important to first connect with the prospect on a personal level before transitioning to problem-solving questions. Questions should focus on learning about the prospect’s business and problems, not pitching your own product.

  • “Dual-process questioning” involves maintaining strategic objectives while also engaging the prospect emotionally. This allows you to identify real problems below the surface through fluid, flexible questioning.

  • Salespeople should develop a repertoire of “go-to” questions they can pull from naturally in different situations, like “worry questions” to uncover emotional hot buttons. Both open-ended and closed-ended questions have their place. Regular questioning is key to uncovering problems and closing more sales.

In summary, effective sales relies on asking the right questions to understand prospects at a deeper level, discover hidden problems, and link solutions to those specific problems. Developing go-to questions and dual-process questioning are important skills.

  • The questions asked during sales interviews were not organized in a useful way and didn’t match the speaking style of the person being interviewed.

  • To develop better questions, the next step is to shadow top salespeople and learn about their questioning methodology, including what questions they ask in different situations and with different people.

  • It’s important to organize one’s own list of questions according to different contexts like the sales cycle stage, buyer’s job title, product type, problem, or situation. Questions should be written in one’s own speaking style.

  • Practicing the questions is key, even if it feels awkward at first. Carrying the list and reviewing it before calls helps with memorization and internalization over time until questions become second nature. Connecting with buyers emotionally by demonstrating empathy opens the door to deeper questioning and problem solving.

  • Building trust is essential for selling high-cost, technical products over the phone where face-to-face interaction is not possible. The salesperson focuses on developing a personal relationship and being consistently reliable in follow up and service.

  • Trust takes time to develop as customers get to know the salesperson as a person. The salesperson starts small with one customer and gradually builds more business through excellent service and referrals.

  • Trust is the foundation of business relationships. It is earned over time by keeping commitments, delivering on promises, and making the other person feel important through small acts of service. Inconsistent behavior undermines trust.

  • Status quo biases people toward staying with existing solutions rather than changing, even if change is needed. Trust helps overcome this bias and reduce fears about new options. The salesperson’s goal is to build enough trust to overcome preferences for the status quo.

  • One is always representing their brand through their actions, even outside of work. Consistent professionalism is important for maintaining trust and credibility.

Salespeople often make the mistake of assuming they have more trust in a new business relationship than they actually do based solely on likability and charm. However, trust must be earned through consistent actions like keeping promises, meeting deadlines, being prepared, and having pristine sales materials.

Prospects and clients are always observing a salesperson’s behaviors and actions to determine trustworthiness. Going above and basic expectations through small acts like returning emails promptly or solving client issues while on vacation helps build trust over time. Paying attention to details and getting little things right avoids damaging trust through minor mistakes that accumulate.

Perfection is key to winning - most contests are decided by slim margins, so maximizing performance in every area gives a competitive edge. A salesperson’s support team can also help build trust by providing high-quality resources and solutions to client problems through teamwork and leveraging specialized expertise. Trust is earned through observable consistent actions, not just words and charisma.

Delegate key tasks to your support staff so you have more time to spend developing relationships. To utilize your support staff effectively, plan the sales process upfront by mapping it out and answering questions about decision makers, competitors, products, and your engagement strategy. Use a methodology like Miller-Heiman’s Strategic Selling.

Provide consistent and ongoing communication with your support staff. Communicate regularly to keep them engaged and the deal moving forward. This demonstrates you care and keeps you connected to those helping you. Regular communication also allows you to provide feedback and appreciation, motivating them to work harder. Too many salespeople fail due to lack of communication.

Treat your support staff with respect. Take time to get to know them individually, understand their incentives and preferences. Give them the same respect you’d want. Thank them for their work. Your relationship with them is critical for delivering on commitments to clients and building trust.

  • Business relationships require trust as a foundation, which is built through consistent, reliable behavior over time. One inconsistent action can damage trust.

  • In business, you are always “on stage” and must carefully control what behaviors and actions others observe. Self-discipline is important to manage impressions consistently.

  • Creating positive emotional experiences for others through kindness and thoughtfulness causes them to feel an obligation to reciprocate through the Law of Reciprocity. This builds strong connections and motivates extra effort.

  • While not expecting anything in return, sincerely doing kind things for others without an agenda often results in repayment and rewards down the line, either directly or indirectly.

  • Relationships need to be “anchored” through ongoing appreciation and care, like how ships are anchored to the seafloor, to prevent drifting apart over time. Neglecting clients risks losing them to other competitors. Leaving a positive impression encourages ongoing business.

  • The passage discusses the importance of creating positive emotional experiences for customers, clients, employees and others in business. Small acts of kindness can go a long way in building loyalty and trust.

  • It tells the story of legendary football coach Bear Bryant, who sent a autographed photo to a restaurant owner after having a good meal. Years later, that small gesture led a recruit to choose to play for Bryant after the owner’s grandson was influenced by how much he respected Bryant. This illustrates the power of small gestures.

  • It emphasizes the need for discipline and follow-through to actually create positive experiences. Suggests using tools like CRM systems and assistants to help stay organized and remember important details.

  • Shares an anecdote about a salesperson who had ribs from a restaurant the client missed shipped overnight to where they met, creating a very positive experience that led to winning the client’s business.

  • The overall message is that consistently creating positive emotional experiences through acts of kindness and attention to detail can build strong, long-lasting loyalty and trust with customers/clients.

Adam is a sales executive who was trying to close a big deal with a purchasing manager named Cheryl. Cheryl always talked proudly about her daughter playing basketball at the University of Kentucky.

To build a connection with Cheryl, Adam had an idea. He ordered a University of Kentucky logo basketball and asked Cheryl if her daughter could autograph it for Adam’s daughter. Cheryl was thrilled by the gesture and excited to ask her daughter.

When Adam next met with Cheryl, she handed him the autographed ball with a big smile. Though Adam still had to develop a strong proposal, this personal gesture helped build trust and rapport with Cheryl. Adam ultimately closed the deal.

The story shows how listening for emotional clues can help uncover opportunities to create meaningful positive experiences for others. Adam’s small act of asking for the autograph tapped into Cheryl’s pride in her daughter and made her feel important, helping him succeed in winning the contract.

  • The passage describes an experience where the author hired a business coach to get objective feedback on how they were perceived by clients, associates, and friends.

  • This “focus group” provided both positive and negative feedback which was difficult for the author to hear, as it revealed flaws they were previously unaware of.

  • Working with the coach, the author learned the importance of managing their “personal brand” and interactions in a way that improves how others perceive them.

  • Building a strong personal brand takes continual self-awareness and making adjustments based on others’ feedback. It’s shaped more by actions than words alone over time.

  • Having likable interpersonal skills, connecting well with others, being a problem-solver, and being trustworthy are key to positively influencing how others perceive your personal brand through experience.

  • Developing consistent messaging, positioning, and online/offline presence helps manage reputation when others haven’t directly interacted with you yet.

So in summary, the passage emphasizes how impactful others’ perceptions are to professional success, and provides insights into developing a strong personal brand through ongoing self-reflection and relationship management.

The passage discusses managing your personal brand and reputation as a professional. Some key points:

  • It’s important to be reliable and keep your promises. Admit mistakes and apologize when needed. Others should feel they can count on you.

  • Make an effort to create positive emotional experiences for others through kindness, consideration and bringing them joy. People should look forward to interacting with you.

  • Be aware of how others label or describe you, both formally and informally. Controlling behaviors in your control helps manage perceptions.

  • Dress professionally and control your online presence. Appearance, credentials, associations impact your image.

  • Become an expert in your field through continuous learning from books, training, seminars and staying current on trends. Read for 15 mins daily.

  • Leverage free resources like podcasts and online content while commuting to develop skills and expertise.

  • Build your reputation as an expert by demonstrating knowledge through writing, public speaking, teaching and coaching others.

The key message is managing one’s personal brand requires self awareness, reliability, expertise and positive relationships with others.

The passage discusses various ways for professionals to establish themselves as experts and build their personal brand online. It recommends volunteering to teach and mentor others as an effective way to demonstrate expertise. Public speaking at industry events is also suggested as a way to showcase knowledge and gain recognition. Writing articles, blogs, and having an online presence through a personal website, LinkedIn profile, and other social media allows one to establish an authoritative body of work that is findable online. It’s important to regularly monitor and curate one’s online profile and presence to ensure only a positive professional image is portrayed. Constantly working to enhance skills and reputation helps maintain status as an expert, even after achieving success. Managing one’s digital brand requires ongoing effort but pays dividends in establishing credibility and visibility as a subject matter expert.

The message emphasizes the importance of continuous self-improvement and never becoming complacent. In the fast-paced 21st century, there is no time to rest on past wins. One must always look to raise the bar higher through small adjustments. As NFL quarterback Steve Young said, the goal should be competing against oneself through daily self-improvement. Real winners constantly analyze their performances to find ways to get better. It is this relentless focus on constant self-betterment that separates good from great. In business especially, an individual is their most powerful asset. Remaining likable, solving problems, and creating positive experiences for others requires constant vigilance. Ultimately, people don’t buy products or presentations - they buy the person behind them. Success comes from always striving to improve oneself.

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About Matheus Puppe