Brandin Wilkinson’s ReThink Selling: Why You Only Know 20% of Sales, is perhaps the most aptly named book I’ve read. It is truly a mirror that helps you look at how you can do sales much differently; more holistically. In fact, it is a self-improvement book not a how-to-sell book. Self-help is not a genre of which I am a fan but I am of his book because it sets itself aside from three standard traits of the genre:
1) It doesn’t promise success without work. Most books in the genre promise results with minimum effort, simply for marketing. When we dig a little, we learn that the authors and promoters of these books actually work very hard. For instance, Timothy Ferriss of 4-Hour Workweek acclaim has acknowledged he works far more hours than four each week. The Secret, which touts that results are largely rooted in only mindset, owes much of its success to promotion by Oprah, who may be perhaps the hardest working person on the planet--she didn't get where she is simply by 95% mindset.
2) Brandin’s work is based on his own experiences and he shares his own stories. Lots of works in the genre, such as The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, simply compile information from observations and interviews. Frequently, they share incorrect conclusions as practices to implement to achieve success, because they observe people who are already successful, typically even at the pique of their success. The problem is the habits and practices that got them to their success are different than the ones they now practice. The value is in the earlier not the latter.
Having started my career as a standup comedian for ten years before entering sales, I naturally think of the film Comedian, as an example. In part, it follows Seinfeld as he develops an entirely new repertoire to perform. Many aspiring comedians viewed it as the path to follow for success, of which it offers little value. This, again, is because it follows Seinfeld when he is already tremendously successful. For instance, it is nearly impossible to get stage time in New York but of course, not for Seinfeld, who can simply show up and get as much time as he wants (deservedly so). The value for aspiring comedians lies in learning how Seinfeld got stage time back when he was an unknown, which the movie doesn’t share.
Brandin shares experiences, including stumbles, of achieving his success, from which much of the value of this book comes.
3) Brandin does not expect you to share the same priorities and values he does, nor to do with your success what he does with his. Most self-improvement authors practically demand you share their values. Citing Ferriss again as an example, he spends a fair amount of time in the 4-Hour Workweek insisting people should value travel, even going so far to suggest that those who don’t value it live a lesser life than those who do. There are plenty of people who don’t like traveling; what I fail to see value in is in shaming them for their belief. Brandin does not shame people for not sharing his values. For instance, he provides ample insight and resources for developing healthy habits; however, he does not attack those who lack desire to be healthy.
In addition to lessons learned from Brandin’s personal experiences, ReThink Selling offers numerous resources to develop your own holistic approach to sales. I’ll leave it to you to extract the gems from this worthy book. What I want to do now is share what gems Brandin wasn’t able to get into the book. For this information, I interviewed Brandin.
Brandin’s Brief Bio: Brandin Wilkinson is one of North America’s leading automotive professionals under the age of 40, as recognized by the #1 North American automotive business website, Automotive News. He went from being an accidental Sales Professional to General Manager of a 55+ team in 6 short years. From there, an opportunity opened up to Partner in with a Chrysler Franchise, where he increased the new sales volume 61% in 3 years. Now, Brandin’s main focus is on his new venture, ReThinkU Performance Coaching (ICF Certified), where he is maximizing the professional careers of Managers, C-Suite Executives, and Business Owners through personal performance.
Why write the book; what do you have to say that is different from what has already been written?
It was mainly out of necessity and empathy. Necessity because it’s a resource that I can lean on to hold myself accountable but also pick me up when I’m not 100%. Empathy because as business owners, salespeople, and managers, we deal with a lot of stress, especially in the automotive industry. I feel there isn’t enough attention on the intangibles -- mindset, momentum, discipline, confidence, consistency, leadership, etc. These are the variables that need attention because of the volatility with what we do. When we feel fulfilled personally, it elevates our professional career.
How long did it take you to write the book?
It took 11 years of learning the hard way, learning from mentors and colleagues, successes and failures, and countless hours of personal development to come up with the content for the book. It only took a couple weeks to put it all together.
Is Steven James Rogers, the wrestler you discuss at the start, a real person? (I expected to see he was like “The Rock” or something at the end.)
No, the first chapter of the book is fictional. It’s designed to set the reader up for what the content in the book is about, overcoming our limiting beliefs being one of them.
Why do you think the notion of “This is always the way it has been done” is so ingrained in our industry?
I think a lot of the dealerships are second or third generation. We look up to and respect our elders, especially if they’re our parents and grandparents. We inherit certain beliefs from them that we wouldn’t normally think to challenge. "If it’s worked for them, then it must work for us" is the mentality a lot of Dealers have. We don’t think to challenge the status quo. We end up getting caught in the trap of being good rather than finding new ways to be great.
If a reader could only take away one piece of knowledge from your book, what do you want it to be?
That success, no matter in what area of life, is 80% mindset and 20% skill. Work from the inside out and you’ll find true fulfillment.
I'm going to add to that answer for you that it is also 100% work, just based on your other answers, what I read in your book, and what I've gotten to learn about you during this interview. Is that a fair assessment?
Definitely success takes 100% work.
Special thanks to Brandin for both writing his book and doing an interview with me. Part 2 of this interview will be posted on 12-26, Boxing Day for those of you up north. Be sure to check it out; Brandin gave some very insightful answers to key questions regarding what it takes to be successful in our industry.