Summer is the time for people to catch up on their reading and to compile their favorites into “Summer Reading Lists.” I personally like a variety of business, sales, design, and psychology (neuro-science particularly) books and have a stack of recent reads and another stack of books on my to-read list.

However, instead of writing a summary of my summer must-reads, I will do something a little different. I’ll tell you about one book I’m reading that I think everyone who has a role in Sales or Marketing would get value from. And I do mean “value.” The book I’m reading is called the Frugalnomics Survival guide: How to Use Your Unique Value to Market Better, Stand Out and Sell more.

No one wants to spend money. No matter how much they need or want something; it’s hard to let go of cold hard cash. First of all, people have limited budgets. And the longevity of their career depends on how wisely they spend both their dollars and their time. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is. Let me repeat that. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is. What matters, is how motivated your buyer is to take action.

Alinean sandingI love to build things and I have lots of power tools including an old sander that doesn’t quite do the job anymore. No matter how many advertisements I saw for sanders, I didn’t go out and buy one—that is, until I was hanging a custom sized door this weekend and needed to shear a little off the top corner. At that point, a sander was well worth the money in time and effort.

My door-install scenario is what’s known as a “trigger event.” Something triggered my desire and motivation to buy a new sander. Businesses have trigger events as well. Triggers like a lay-off, opening a new plant, presenting financial statements that don’t meet the market’s expectations (or that far exceed expectations) and other events, indicate when an organization might ascribe more value than usual to certain products and services.

Without these triggers, a value-gap exists. Value-gaps are what keep opportunities from closing and lengthen sales cycles. Value-gaps exist when vendors present on product, features, and price leaving buyers to figure out why they should care enough to change.

This leads me back to the book, “Fruganomics Survival Guide.” It’s written by Tom Pisello who is the CEO and Founder of Alinean and is known through his popular blog as “the ROI Guy.” Now Alinean is a software solution that helps marketers and sellers “design and deliver value to every customer conversation.” Alinean, as a company, is a client of Smart Selling Tools and their solution is one of our Top Sales Tools of 2015. I like and believe in what Alinean offers.

Here’s the thing though. When Tom said, “Hey Nance, I’m publishing a book on how to reshape your content marketing and sales conversations to get buyer attention, motivate interest, drive quicker decisions and reduce discounting,” I thought, “Oh no, here comes a sales pitch disguised as a book.” If you’re reading this Tom, which I suspect you will, it’s not you—it’s just that that has become the norm these days when it comes to “educating” our customers.

I should’ve known better because someone known as “the ROI Guy” better know how to deliver real value and not just pitch products and services and that is certainly the case here.

Here’s why I think everyone in Sales and Marketing should read this book.

  • It’s filled with valuable research statistics that you need to know from companies like Sirius Decisions, MHI Global, IDC, and more.
  • It explains why today’s buyer is as “cold as ice.” In control, Cautious, Economic-Focused. More importantly, it explains the impact on the bottom line in terms of stalled deals, longer sales cycles and more discounting. Of course, having a focus on value, you’d expect to see some quantification of that impact and indeed, Alinean estimates that the typical B2B sales team is missing out on an additional $3 million of revenue for every $1 million in quota. (go to to try out their Value Gap calculator).
  • It describes how Aristotle’s philosophies along with modern neuroscience help you apply the art of persuasion to the buying centers in the brain (not in a creepy way but in a value-gap closing way).
  • You’ll learn how to show value to different types of key decision makers.
  • You’ll learn the difference between Logos (the neocortex part of the brain), Pathos (the reptilian brain) and Ethos (the middle brain) and why all 3 have to be engaged in order to persuade.
  • You’ll come to appreciate the Greek terms Ponos and Chronos and how to incorporate the principles into value conversations.
  • You’ll get specific instructions on how to create a value matrix and how to apply it to your sales conversations.
  • You’ll get clarity on the content marketing-buyer disconnect (which I alluded to earlier) and how to create more effective content that motivates and rallies your prospects into action.
  • And you’ll even get insight into how to transition from product-led to value selling.

The Frugalnomics Survival Guide is one of those books you’ll want to come back to again and again as you head down the path to true value selling. No one likes to spend money, especially precious and limited budgets. Let’s consider the value of this book at 30 bucks… if you get just one good idea from it – which would be impossible not to have happen, it can impact your ability to hold a value conversation instead of a sales pitch which just could change the trajectory of your entire career or the success of your organization as a whole.