[Book review] “Live it, Love it, Sell it”​

As I started reading Jules White‘s book “Live it, love it, sell it” I must confess that I felt as if this book was specifically designed for me.

Why?

Because I never considered myself to be good at sales. Leave alone the act of selling myself. I swear, I saw this as the greatest burden of my life.

Luckily, I came across a challenge (#3winsin2018) on LinkedIn (put out by Jules White and Sam Alsroré), which asked people to describe their greatest 3 wins in 2018. Whereas most people chose to do this in written, I took all my chances and made a video, in which I described all the bold moves I made during 2018, starting with my leap of faith, while having 2 young children. To my surprise, guess what? I won 1st place of this challenge, though I never did it for the prize. It was an amazing opportunity for me to just reflect over past year in a manner no-one pushed me to, until then. So, I understood that I was actually going in the right direction, towards my growth.

Part of the prize was this amazing book, that I received in my mailbox pretty soon after being announced as winner. And yes, I can proudly say that it’s signed by the author! But not just that. Having had the great opportunity to actually interact with Jules and discover her genuine way of being, I had yet another reason to increase my eagerness to open her book. Should I add the fact that she is the winner of a tough sales competition, called Dragon’s Den? Who would have ever thought I’d ever have the chance to speak to someone like her? LinkedIn’s magic…


"Live it, Love it, Sell it" front page with author's signature

What’s so special about this book?

Going straight to the point, let me tell you that the first thing that impacted me hugely was the first line written on the back cover of the book, which sounds like this:

Does the thought of selling your product or service make you shiver with fear or horror?

Back cover excerpt

Now, do you understand my confession from the beginning of this review? Not yet?

OK, confession #2. “Yes! Damn, yeah !” This is my answer to Jules’s question. Having worked in call centers and having been compelled to make cold calls was one of the greatest challenges of my life. Not to mention that I also tried door-to-door sales, in my 20s. And all that adventure left me with such a bitter taste! I considered myself doomed to sales failure forever.

As I began reading her book, as a writer myself, I was curious about the introduction, acknowledgements, foreword… You know, all those sections that people usually avoid reading as they seem boring. Well… Bubble bursting time: not boring at all! The foreword is actually very well written (of course, it’s by another gifted writer, from what I see!) but it’s put in such a way that makes you want to never reach the end of it. Oh, man! It finished, eventually! Well, life…

Anyhow, the acknowledgements section has so much HEART in it! And so does the introduction. So, if you’re one of those people who usually avoid these parts, please take a minute and just read them. I promise you won’t regret it!

Editorial aspects

Leaving the content aside for a moment, I would like to first make a few remarks from an editor’s standpoint.

Consequently, from a technical perspective, this book is for sure one I really enjoyed reading and I will recommend it to anyone, due to its clear structure and easy-to-understand language. The structure is simple: 3 parts x 3 chapters each.

The phrases are well constructed, on point, without useless details, yet having some “salt and pepper” here and there. The examples and exercises are of exquisite quality and very thought provoking – after all, this is what this book should do, right ? It helps people like me understand their fear of sales, how to deal with it and how to adapt the given advice to their own needs.

One thing that I always consider from an editor’s point of view is related to repetitions of the same message, under different forms. There is one thing that is repeated many times along the way, yet there’s a strong reason behind it (that thing can be found below, as one of my favorite quotes, and the reason will surface as you read the book). Other than that, I could not find anything to “scratch my retina”, so this detail brings additional value to this piece of writing, from my perspective.

As a reader, I enjoyed the flow of it. The first part revolves around mindset, part 2 is all about caring (a.k.a making use of humanity) and part 3 covers practical tips about the selling journey itself.

Content review

The following rows will bring you a few impressions about each part, as I chose to write this review literally in parallel with reading the book.

"Live it, love it, sell it" front cover

Part 1 – Live it

Moving on from the introduction, the first page of chapter 1 does what I never expected – tears down some myths. Even more, who did ever put an exercise for the reader on the first page? Well, Jules. She did. What better way to start such a reading than with a brilliant exercise.

(Oh, well, you’ll need to discover it yourselves; I hate to ruin the pleasure of discovery, but I can tell you that it’s worth it. And I NEVER recommend something I don’t believe to be worthy.)

Going through the first chapter, she tears down some hundred-years-old dragons (the myths I mentioned before) in detail, with clear explanations of why they are no longer actual. As a hint, she highlights the power of word of mouth and social media.

In chapter 2, the reader gets a real introduction into the buyer’s mind. What’s fabulous about it is the fact that it opens our eyes towards our own buying habits. Everyday life has at least one buy, even if at no cost, and that is an idea (or advice). Of course, the chapter has a lot of brilliant insights and 2 interesting exercises which will certainly make you think about your own decisions.

Chapter 3 spoke to me on many levels, as it gives details about human interactions, making a parallel between friends / family and clients. You definitely need to read this, as the main focus is on the word “Understand”, which fully resonates with whomever wants to grow, especially as a human being. Another part which fully resonated with me in this chapter consists in the following 2 quotes:

“You choose your own relationship with fear” – whether befriend it and create an alliance or punch it in the guts. It’s a matter of choice.

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. I will be very transparent about this: it’s a phrase that has been told to me too many times lately (by different people, from different corners of the world), so you can imagine what a great impact it had on me to find it in this book too!

Part 2 – Love it

Part 2 of the book starts with knowing yourself. And what better manner to learn about something than starting with your own self? You nailed it, Jules !

You then get taken on the real journey of self-discovery, with practical exercises. But the purpose is extended to also stepping into your ideal client’s world. You will learn how to assess yourself and your client, with a soul.

One of the most beautiful quotes, from my point of view, which is sprinkled with various occasions along the reading (remember that I mentioned this at the “Editorial aspects” section?), is “Life skills are sales skills”. And Jules will prove it throughout the book, with her art of exposing facts. Beat this!

In the last chapter, part 2 brings up an extremely useful exercise, called “Hell to Heaven”, which will challenge your imagination. And the purpose is for you to understand better the adventure awaiting for you in the sales world.

Part 3 – Sell it

In part 3, as you may have probably guessed, the author presents the necessary tools to actually start selling, with the confidence gained over the previous 2 parts. This is the part I will keep some mystery around, so I’ll only say this: it’s NOT that typical section which can be found in any sales book. It’s meant for people who are openly willing to try new ways of approach. If you are ready for it, you will find tremendous value in the last pages of the book.

Conclusions

All in all, this write-up gets a score of 5 starts from me. And that’s not just because I received it as prize. If you still think like this, then you have not read or listened to anything that I have previously put out there. When I provide an opinion, I rarely involve feelings. I love objectivity, integrity and, guess what, truth.

Of course, all this review is solely my opinion and should be taken as such, but I will clearly state that “Live it, Love it, Sell it” has reached its purpose for me. I won’t say it makes wonders, because reading a book is nothing if you don’t actually digest and apply the advice. But it did radically adjust my perspective in regards to sales and I fully recommend it to people who are scared to get out of their shell and sell their service(s). But not only to them. I also recommend it to entrepreneurs, even if they have driven their activity so far based on “long-proven” techniques. Especially as an entrepreneur, caring about the relationships you build and how your client FEELS should be top priority.

I, for one, am tremendously grateful for the opportunity to read this book! *****

Article initially posted on LinkedIn, on Feb 10th, 2019

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The man, the moon and the casquette – Chapter 1 (full)

A simple man

During daytime, he’s a hero for the others. Yet, when the night-time comes, he walks dragging his feet towards what seems to be a lifetime in disbelief.

People adore him. People praise him. And people say that all the words in the world are not enough to thank him for his deeds.

But he finds it hard to believe. He can barely speak without blushing. He exudes confidence, but in his heart self-belief is terribly shaking. He’s been through a lot in the past, which prevents him to see his true value. He believes in everyone else but himself. When he talks to someone, the only words he can spread are of goodness. He has a blare around him to which people cannot resist. But he can’t see it…

When he gets home at night, he feels alone. He has no family around, no kids to brighten his life and his parents can’t accept him for being different than all the others.

His mother told him once, in a mocking voice:

“You’re just a man who can’t see beyond his selfish existence. You don’t get married, you’re already old to have kids. What’s going on with you? What will people say about the way you live your life in? You’re a shame to this family! All you do is stay on the streets all day long. But you can’t support your existence. You’re almost 40, for the mercy of God!”

This made him leave his parents’ house, for the second time. Because his parents don’t actually know what he dedicates his life to. They don’t care. And even if they did, they wouldn’t understand… Their vision on life is too old. They only see what “it always have been this way”.

But who is he, in fact?

Arian has small hazel eyes, light blonde hair, thin rebel eyebrows and his stature is the one of a 15 years old skinny boy, although his real age is 38. His mouth does not match the rest of his figure, as his lips are voluptuous and strongly colored in red. But when he smiles, his teeth shine like a diamond. Pure white and they are so straight that his mouth seems to be the most beautiful part of his body. His ears help us envision a man who is not handsome, his neck is long and his shoulders are curved ahead. His body is covered in some kind of shady-blue robe and his feet are outlined by a pair of black leather sandals.

At first sight, he may easily be labeled as a beggar to people who know nothing about him or his life. Regardless, he never goes unnoticed, due to his way of smiling to everyone. As an antithesis to his figure, his smile is so warm that it attracts people like magnets. Whenever he passes by, he leaves a trait of blessing behind him, which people cannot explain. Nonetheless, they let themselves wrapped in his blare…

You see… He’s so humble because he often thinks about the shallow image that people see. They see an ugly yet charismatic superhero. But he thinks to himself:

“I don’t deserve all this. I am just an apprentice of life, who never ceases an attempt to learn a difficult spell. What makes me so special in the eyes of all these people?”

He questions everything and he can never rest on the laurels people would build him a palace from. He can’t walk on the path of life by just doing what society wants him to. He’s been hurt for not fitting in with the cool kids, when he was younger. But now… Now he clearly understands the blessing of being different. But that’s exactly why he can’t understand why people like him so much. That’s exactly why, when complimented, his skin turns as red as a boiled lobster’s.

*****

A few years back…

In his early 20s, he tried hard to find his way, as per society’s rules. He took on a random job, he never graduated from university (though he forced himself to like chemistry and to see himself as a successful “lab rat”), he was never being invited to parties and he never managed to ask a woman out. He was shy. Some people may have called him arrogant because of this, but he would lose his words when talking to others. And society only agrees with shallow chatter and loud voices that say nothing.

Probably this is the reason why he never went on a date. Most certainly, this is why he would spend most of his afternoons, evenings and nights crying in his fists for not fitting in. And that’s exactly why his parents would deny him as their child. They were very jovial, always surrounded by a lot of people, having their house full of fake admirers who never questioned life or what their real purpose on earth was.

Arian disliked those meetups, as the house sounded like a never-empty club. He could barely rest his head on his pillow, as drunk people would invade his small room, looking for a place to puke in. But he didn’t have the courage to stand up for his privacy. He was afraid to voice his mind to his parents, because most of the times they wouldn’t even notice that he was there. His parents were too distracted with living “a rich social life” and they actually hated their kid for not obeying the rules of glamour.

Consequently, his life on the streets looked more appealing to him. He would leave the house first thing in the morning, while his parents were still sleeping after a night of deprivation. And he wouldn’t come back within the 4 walls of his room until he felt drained by the people walking in crowds. Or if he was cold. Or disappointed by the trends people would leave themselves prey to. There were days when he just wanted to embrace his pillow, stretch his legs comfortably in his bed and have a loooooooong restful sleep. Silence was his only wish and he soon realized the improbability of getting it if he continued to be hosted by his parents’ house.

This existence of his went on for 15 years in a row, without the slightest change, as he was too scared to do something about it. He would bite his tongue and cover his ears, but he felt miserable.

Until then… Until the year he turned 35. He couldn’t carry that burden on his shoulders any longer. He couldn’t Iive in a continuous state of ill mind. He was too tired of it. So, with his heart in his throat, he decided…

On a freezing cold 3rd of December day, he packed everything he had, carefully wrapped all his books in a piece of cloth, stole something from the fridge (which was too empty anyway), threw everything in a partially torn backpack and off he went. He never looked back. He had no idea where he was going or what he would be doing the next day. The only thing he knew was that he’s had enough and that he needed to look for himself. The REAL self!

The moment he set foot outside of his parents’ house, he felt relieved. He felt like all the burden of living in the dim light of grey skies fell off his shoulders. He knew that a new beginning was to be unfolded in front of him and, in that very moment, he looked up to the sky, closed his eyes, opened his arms as if he was about to receive someone for a hug in his arms and clearly spoke:

“I will accept whatever comes to me. Challenges, lessons, happiness or sorrow. I am now open to draw my own path and I surrender my entire being to the will of the higher power. I now know that everything happens for a reason and I am seeking for the most valuable asset of my life. People think that peace of mind is a myth, but I know it’s not. I know that there must be more than what people want to see. I FEEL that all my questions will be answered, at some point. And I want to pass along what I will learn.”

And so, while walking further and further from the house, his thoughts seemed to gather up in an explosion of joy. His entire being had circuits inside and the spark of new beginnings installed in his heart. The hazel color of his eyes was so bright! And his mind would start to only host the blessed belief in a sunny life.

No more grey. No more sadness. No more feeling lonely. And no more parties and loud voices of people with no value.

He had a way of loving his parents… Or was it just the respect for giving him birth? He used to question this frequently. But in that moment, he knew that – regardless of his love or respect for them – he needed to set himself free from their chains of hate. And he always had the golden key. But he was afraid to use it. He was scared of the “what if”. He was terrified about living on his own. And, being very honest to himself, he was scared of being judged for being different. He never thought about himself as being special, but different. Because the inherited definition of the word “special” would suggest a person of great success, with a brilliant mind.

However, his parents never told him. They used to hide from him the fact that he was a genius. He never found out about the results of the IQ tests he passed in an exquisite manner when he was 7 years of age. And by the age of 10. And again by the age of 16. His parents had him tested a lot, as they had average IQs, they got jealous of his high level of understanding life and they secretly wanted him to fail, in whatever he did. All the test results would suggest a not-so-ordinary future and that was too hard for his parents to accept. So, in continuous attempts to put him down, they would always tell him he was no good; that he was a mistake of fate; and that he would never be accepted by his peers.

The morning he left his parents’ house was freezing cold, but the fire that ignited in Arian’s being was so intense that he couldn’t feel the adversity of the weather. Once he made the decision to embrace acceptance and let himself in the hands of the Almighty, his footsteps gained a security he never knew before. He felt his fists getting clenched against his will, as if he was about to fight back against rusty doctrines. He held his head up high and it was the first time when he understood that he has always been better than the life he was exposed to.

The road in front of him was covered in snow and icy bits every here and there. But, as he started moving, lifting his feet covered in heavy winter boots, it was as if even the sun wanted to come out from behind the clouds, to accompany Arian on his self-discovery journey.

After 1 hour of wandering and defeating the cruel weather, he found a place where he could rest his body for a few minutes, while having breakfast and a cup of hot tea. When he opened the door, he saw an old lady (must have been around 80) who greeted him with a tender voice:

“Be blessed, child for choosing to stop here. Please, come inside. I will prepare the best table for you and I will bring you our chef’s specialty. What about a cup of hot chocolate as well?”

Arian was so pleased with the greeting that he could hug the old lady had he not been afraid of the lady considering his gesture as inappropriate. No-one ever greeted him like that before! No-one would ever ask him what he wanted! And no-one has ever offered him the best place to stay at. So, by witnessing this, he knew that his decision of accepting everything coming his way was the best he has ever made!

“I would like a cup of tea instead, please. If it’s not too much of a bother” Arian replied.

“Of course. Whatever you wish. Any preference on the flavor?” the old lady asked.

“Mint would be great, if available” Arian said.

As the lady was already heading to the kitchen, she asked over her shoulder:

“Why are you outside on such a cruel weather, son?”

Arian thought a few seconds before he could answer. He wasn’t sure if he should tell the lady his real reason, so he said (as to himself):

“I have some urgent stuff to attend…”

“I didn’t hear that, young man” the lady said.

But then she showed up with a plate full of food and the hot cup of mint tea. The joint smells of the meal hypnotized Arian and he could barely wait to settle his hunger. But he was somehow ashamed, because the lady was observing him.

“My name is Rada” the woman said, to loosen up the atmosphere a bit.

“Nice to meet you, madam” Arian said. “I am indeed pleased to have stopped here. I have hardly ever seen someone as kind as yourself” Arian continued, just before having the first bite of the breakfast.

“Please, call me Rada” the old lady said. “People see me old and they feel compelled to call me madam. But I was never fond of this word, young man. What is your name?”

“Please excuse me for addressing to you in a manner you don’t enjoy. It was never my intention to…” tried Arian to apologize to the lady.

But he didn’t finish the sentence, when Rada said:

“That’s OK. Don’t worry about it. Now let’s chat as old friends. Would you like that?”

“Uhmm… Of course” Arian mumbled.

He didn’t know for sure what her intention was. He felt weird about all this sudden offer of friendship. But then he recalled his decision, made that very morning – “I will accept whatever comes to me.” The moment he recalled that, he felt at ease and replied:

“Actually… Uhmm… Yes, I would love that. I never had a friend… And… Uhm… My name is Arian, ma…”

“Rada. Remember – Rada, not madam. I am very happy to be your first friend” the old lady replied. “Now, eat. We can chat after you’re done. I have a feeling that we have a lot to talk about, my dear friend.”

Arian was caught barehanded here. He didn’t know how and if to react to the old lady’s reply. So he chose to do as she recommended and didn’t make any other sound until he finished everything in his plate.

He just left the fork off his hand when Rada was already near him.

“I hope you enjoyed the meal” she said. “I made it for you with all my love and I hope it will give you the necessary strength to carry on with your journey.”

Arian was confused. Rada previously said that she wanted to talk to him and now she just wanted him gone? But Rada didn’t give him more time to think about what she said, as she continued:

“But not before you tell me what your story is. I want to learn more about you. You seem lost, yet I get the sense that you are a very nice young man. What’s your truth, Arian?”

That question was a first for the young man. No-one asked him what was in his heart before. No-one actually seemed to have even noticed him, as a human being. He felt uneasy, but for some reason he felt he could trust her. Or was it the need to finally speak his mind? In any case, he started:

“Well… I… I just left my parents’ house. Too much noise… I just couldn’t resist any longer. I always felt rejected. I always felt like I never belonged there…”

“I did the same when I was young, Arian” Rada replied “I know how painful it is to not have your own spot. I know how hard it is not to be accepted for who you are. And I know exactly how it feels to be willing to find yourself”

“You… You did the same?” Arian asked with a surprise in his eyes that almost made the old lady laugh. But she just couldn’t laugh and make him feel bad.

“Yes, Arian. Well, not exactly, but I will tell you my story later on.” Rada said. “So I completely empathize with you… You know what? You can stay here, if you wish. I won’t charge you for hosting you, all I want is a true friendship. I want to learn what happened and I want you to never hide anything from me. Because I want to help you. There was no-one there for me in my early days of despair. I had no shoulder to cry on and not an ear to hear me out. But I want to be here for you and teach you everything I learned in the last 60 years. Will you take the hand I’m lending you?”

Arian was shocked. Both by the old lady’s confession and by the offer. He was never offered a shoulder, needless to say about a helping hand. Yes, he wanted to take her offer, but he was afraid of becoming a burden for the old lady. And he was fairly pretty afraid of revealing the pain in his soul, as he has just met Rada.

While he was going through all these emotions and just before opening his mouth to answer, Rada said:

“I also know how hard you find it to trust me. I felt the same. And don’t you worry about being a burden for me, young man. You will not become one. You will help me out around here. I can teach you how to cook, amongst others; I can teach you how to treat this place as if it was your own; and I will teach you how to treat customers and the personnel with love, regardless of your inner hurt.”

Rada already had something in mind, from the moment the young man came in. She had a gift. And that gift was to sense the energy of people entering her place.

Https://andradasworld.com