Brett Clay is the “Jedi Master” of change! Following some chats I enjoyed with Brett 5-6 years ago, during a period between highly successful sales/marketing roles he held in Seattle and Silicon Valley, it’s clear he’s devoted almost every waking moment of his life since then to his primary passion — the desire to fully understand the complex forces of change and how they impact our lives, our business decisions, and can be harnessed to maximize our personal success and productivity.
Drawing from these past several years of intensive research and self-reflection, Brett has recently published his second book, entitled Selling Change: 101 Secrets for Growing Sales by Leading Change. This book, a more concise and portable version of his earlier work, Forceful Selling, takes the reader on a fascinating tour through the many powerful forces that drive companies and individuals to make purchasing decisions — and provides step-by-step guidance on how savvy sales professionals can identify these dynamics, leverage them, and use them to partner with companies in new and profitable ways. Not only does Brett share multiple anecdotes in the book from his own personal experience, in terms of how he’s succeeded in “impossible” sales situations by applying change management techniques, but he also demonstrates an encyclopedic knowledge of the “change” arena in general and weaves together many great quotes and insights from leading thinkers on the subject, both past and present.
I think the excerpt from the back of the book sums up its premise perfectly: “In an era of globilization and Internet commoditization, salespeople are in danger of becoming irrelevant. In this Darwinian environment, the traditional approach of selling solutions to problems no longer creates profitable differentiation. To survive, salespeople must become agents of change and help customers achieve their goals, rather than simply solve their problems. This new, change-centric approach is the next evolution in selling, enabling you to develop deeper, more profitable customer relationships and become more agile and adaptive to changing conditions.”
Is this book simply for sales professionals? Far from it. While it’s true that Brett’s main focus is on this particular segment of the business population, the lessons he teaches apply in many additional ways to the rest of us non-sales types, as well. In fact, in a presentation of his that I attended earlier today, he drew many parallels between the challenges that salespeople face each day and the corresponding challenges that job hunters typically encounter. Above all, he emphasized that just “chasing the bus” and reacting to changes in one’s environment is not usually the most successful strategy. It’s far more effective, he maintains, to get out ahead of the inevitable changes, see them coming, and adapt to them as early as possible in order to give yourself a competitive advantage.
At any rate, Brett’s latest book is a very passionate, thoughtful, and thought-provoking read, and you can order it (as well as access tons of other useful change-related content) via his website, www.sellingchange.com. He’s got a local book signing coming up, too, next week on Thursday, 4/22, at 6pm at the Barnes & Noble in Bellevue if you want to “meet the author” and hear him discuss some of his philosophies in person. More details about that event can be found on his site, if interested. And lastly, if you’re really a glutton for punishment, you can click here to also listen to a podcast interview he recently conducted with me on the subject of career-related change, as part of his Internet radio show, The Actuation Zone!