Actually, this book is less about "selling" than it is about establishing and then nourishing relationships, not only with clients and prospective clients but also with almost everyone else within a given marketplace. For example, vendors, service providers, and strategic allies. Moreover, it is one of the few books I have read which focuses almost entirely on the marketing and sales of services which are, paradoxically, both "invisible" and experiential. (Schmitt has much of great value to say about this in Experiential Marketing as do Pine and Gilmore in The Experience Economy and Wolf in The Entertainment Economy.) Beckwick shares an abundance of information and advice, duly acknowledging various sources from which he has obtained some of the material. I do not damn him with faint praise. His own contributions are first-rate. In "Summing Up", he provides a brief but precise discussion of various sources which he commends to his reader. This has much greater value than does the standard bibliography. And there is a value-added benefit, his sense of humor, which is indicated by some of the section titles such as "Anchors, Warts, and American Express", "Ugly Cats, Boat Shoes, and Overpriced Jewelry: Pricing", and "Monogram Your Shirts, Not Your Company." Throughout the book, he includes more than 100 of what I characterize as "business nuggets" which are directly relevant (indeed illuminating) within the context in which he inserts them.
For whom will this book be of greatest interest and value? Obviously, those now involved in marketing, sales, and other areas in which there is direct and frequent contact with customers. Beckwick reveals himself to be an astute observer of human nature. What he suggests can be of substantial value to any organization in which business relationships, including those which are internal, are less than desirable. Everything he suggests combines common sense with a sensitivity to others' needs and interests. Indeed, almost everyone in almost any organization (regardless of size or nature) must constantly be "selling" various services to others within and beyond that organization. First, they must establish credibility, then trust, and finally obtain agreement to cooperate, if not collaborate. Almost all relationships succeed or fail because of intangibles. Beckwick examines them within a business context but, in process, suggests wide and deep implications relevant to all other areas of human experience. This is an immensely practical as well as thoughtful book.
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