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*A Book Review*

You, Inc.

By Harry Beckwith and Christine Clifford Beckwith

by Michael C. Gray

June 6, 2007

You, Inc. is a collection of ideas about how you can sell yourself more effectively.

Life largely is selling. Whether we admit it or not, all of us have been selling from the time we were small. We sold Mom and Dad on why we should have that neat new toy or those cute, fashionable shoes. We sold Grandma and Grandpa on why we should spend the night at their house. (An easy sale!) We might have sold a teacher on why we deserved a better grade. (You never did that?) We sold ourselves for that first job and later promotions. We sold our mate on why we were great marriage candidates. We sold our children on why they should avoid drugs and premarital sex.

Rather than a detailed explanation of the selling process, You, Inc. is a series of very short lessons to improve selling effectiveness. You won’t get the same emotional investment and involvement as with How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling. Instead, each morning you can read one lesson to work at putting into action that day.

The authors, who happen to be married, are interesting in their own right, and certainly qualified to write on this topic. Harry Beckwith is the author of Selling the Invisible, which I have also reviewed. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University, and got into marketing after being a lawyer. He became the creative director of the advertising agency Carmichael Lynch, and now is the strategic director of his own marketing consulting firm, Beckwith Partners. Christine Clifford Beckwith is the sales director of Beckwith Partners, and President and CEO of The Cancer Club, which produces humorous and helpful emotional support products for people with cancer. Christine was the Senior Executive Vice President for SPAR Marketing Services, and the top salesperson in the retail services industry for over eight years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994, and wrote about her experiences in several books: Not Now ... I’m Having a No Hair Day; Our Family Has Cancer, Too!; Cancer Has Its Privileges; and Your Guardian Angel’s Gift.

Here are a few "capsule summaries" of lessons in this book.

  • People value – and pay more for – the way your make them feel.
  • The first thing to plan for is your first impression.
  • Tricks and shortcuts: There are none.
  • Simplicity gives people certainty, and certainty they can deal with.
  • In your sales story, put the audience, not you, in the hero’s shoes.
  • After you write something, be sure to hear it. (Read it out loud.)
  • Listening makes you captivating.
  • Don’t impress them. Move them.
  • Visual aids regularly diminish everyone’s understanding of the material.
  • Be yourself. It is easier to remember, for one thing, and works dramatically better.
  • Never try to fool anyone.

There are many different approaches to self improvement. If you try to implement too many things at once, you probably won’t accomplish much. Maybe this Inspiration For Today approach, which many people use for religious studies, will work for you in the sales skills context. Give You, Inc. a try.

Buy it on Amazon: You, Inc.: The Art of Selling Yourself (Warner Business)

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How to improve your salesmanship one day at a time.


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Michael Gray, CPA
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