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How to sell from the heart

book review May 14, 2023
Book review of "Selling from the Heart" by Larry Lavine

What do most books for sales professionals have in common? They teach a lot about the business side of selling. It seems difficult to add a unique take which is not just another acronym of a sales methodology or a new summary what we already know in different words. Larry Levine found that unique hook towards a more genuine approach in his book “Selling from the Heart”. And it even started a movement!

Larry is a seasoned technology sales expert who knows his profession from the ground up as a door knocking junior to becoming a sales manager leading others in their journey from a sales rep to a sales professional. In times of information overload, he is missing the authenticity and empathy in the way many sales reps approach their job. Running a podcast under the same title already for six years, Larry and his business partner Darrell Amy invite various experts to share their tips celebrating the human connection with buyers avoiding empty suits.

The first section of the book uncovers the real you with a good portion of self-reflection to be aware who we really are. In the second section Larry adds the sales skills around that authentic person we are now more aware of. The key chapters of this part are about consistent prospecting, servant-led sales leadership and content that creates conversations. The book ends with a shorter chapter called “No more empty suits” which is also nicely pictured on the book’s own website. This book is the best recipe to ensure we wear an authentic suit being comfortable in our own skin and leading with the heart and the courage to be human in a sales world full of facades.

“Selling from the Heart” is full of useful quotes which can stand the test also outside of their original context. This one resonates well with me as a foundation: “A true sales professional takes ownership of everything they do as they facilitate the buyer’s journey.” Talking about personal branding regularly, I agree with “Everyone has a brand; either they don’t know it or they don’t know what to do with it.” And despite the ever growing hectic and speed at work, Larry is right with “Today’s sales economy is based on the credible and heartfelt relationships you form, and this takes time.”

This book is highly adaptable for the own practice of every seller and sales leader. Larry has a fine art to address weaknesses of the reader straight to the point and gives examples how to improve. He basically offers the mirror in the view of our customers and starts a reflection to change our own behaviour. A range of relatable examples and stories from his vast experience wakes up our interest to change.

I believe in the art and science of true connections between humans, be it from vendors to partners or to end customers. The combination of reading the book and listening to a couple of podcast episodes underlines what is missing these days. Curious sales professionals find a lot of inspiration of little things to change until they realise some massive shifts are possible and turn into compound growth. This book is also special to me as I met Larry in Melbourne at an event hosted by Bernadette McClelland just before finishing the script.

The book delivers a range of influential ideas for future business book authors. The structure of two parts underlines the transformation of a fundamental change first before adding sales skills on top of that. Stories with or about others are written in bold to show an insightful additions to the flow. The summaries at the end of each chapter are well understandable and can also act as a reference. From publishing this book by himself in 2018, becoming a top influential sales book author, he just announced a new version with broader distribution with Barnes & Noble, that is an inspiration for aspiring authors to follow the same way.

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Q&A with Larry Levine

1. What was the deciding moment to write this book?

My wife and my dear friend, Darrell Amy (my podcast and business partner) knew I wanted to write a book. What I didn’t know is they believed in me more than I believed in myself in writing the book. In a rather long car ride from Little Rock, Arkansas to Austin, Texas, during the summer of 2017, Darrell convinced me, or should I say wore me down, and it was that conversation “Selling from the Heart” was born. We already had a podcast, by the same name, but the book was going to bring this all to life.

2. How long did it take from concept to launch?

I started to write “Selling from the Heart” in November of 2017, finished it on a plane ride back from Melbourne, Australia in May of 2018, and the book was released in September of 2018.

3. How did you perform the research to create the practical content?

There was no research done for the book. I poured into “Selling from the Heart” all of my knowledge, insights and 30 years of on the street sales experience (four decades worth) selling copiers in the Los Angeles, California marketplace. I earned a PhD in street smarts and people knowledge from getting the you-know-what kicked out of me selling copiers my entire sales career. The content inside “Selling from the Heart” is real, relatable and relevant.

4. What was the biggest challenge along the process (and how did you overcome it)?

One huge challenge I had to overcome was my limiting self-doubt. In other words, who would buy the book and why? What helped me along the way is I built an engaging community around “Selling from the Heart”. As people started to read, I soon started to see the reviewed, the messages, the social posts and what the selling world was saying about “Selling from the Heart”. This helped me come to grips with my self-doubt. To be quite honest, the still plays with me today.

5. What was your own reflection along the journey?

The journey into writing and bringing “Selling from the Heart” has been quite the experience. I have learned more about myself in my 50’s than in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s combined. I allowed myself grace to go on the inner journey to my heart. In doing so, I believe it reflected in how I wrote “Selling from the Heart”.

6. What is the outcome in having this book available?

The book is written in two halves. The outcome in the first section is to guide you to uncovering your authentic self. The second half takes one on a journey to unpack the skills necessary to have your authentic self-sell you. These are practical and relevant skills to propel one to greater sales success.

7. What would you advise others about writing their book?

Just do it! In all sincerity, first discuss with close friends, mentors and people who have been down the book writing journey. Gain their feedback, share your why in why you would like to write the book. And most of all, assemble a team to help you bring your book to life.

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Larry Levine: “Selling From the Heart”, Morgan James Publishing 2023, ISBN 978-1636981741 (Paperback) or 978-1518916786 (Audiobook)

More about the author and the book: www.sellingfromtheheart.net and in this video


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