GOKE ILESANMI

101 Ways to Boost Your Performance

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Author: John Fenton

Publisher: Diamond Publishing

Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi

Constant performance assessment is very important for individuals and corporate organisations that are passionate about long-lasting success. It is also a must for people and organisations that are already up there, because of danger of complacency. This explains the choice of “101 Ways to Boost Your Performance” for review this week.

The author, John Fenton is one of the greatest salesmen in the United Kingdom (UK); founder of the Institute of Continuing Performance Development and creator of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management.

Fenton offers some management strategies to assist you in improving your skills and achieving your ambition. He shows you how to cut to the bone of marketing, communication and administration, and offers a new insight into the processes of staff management, recruitment and development. Fenton examines concepts such as shortcuts to knowing your product, your market, your competition and salesforce; how to cut paperwork by half and manage your time better; how to motivate your staff to even greater achievements, etc.

Structurally, the book is divided into 13 chapters. Chapter one is tagged “Foundation Stones for Effective Management”. According to Fenton, it is a glaring glimse of the obvious to say that no amount of production is of the slightest value unless the products are sold for cash. He says personally, he loves signs, and there are a lot of them in this book. Try placing some of them strategically around your place of work, they remind people why they are there, educates this author. He adds that without reminders, people quickly forget, and allow their personal priorities to take precedence over the priorities of the business. “My favourite sign comes from ex-Avis chief Robert Townsend: Is what I’m doing, or about to do, getting us closer to our objective or making us money?” says this author.

He illuminates many companies do not see selling as the be-all-and-end-all of their business. The author says they make things, or set up as experts in providing some kind of service, and then sit back and wait for the customers to come to them.

He reveals that the result is failure, unless they have enough personal contacts to keep them struggling along as a small company. Fenton says if the product is good, professional sales promotion can turn any small struggling company into a large and prosperous one. The author educates that customers are the business, adding that the customers come first, not the products or services, or the factory or the corporate image.

In chapter two interrogatively christened “Is marketing bunk, Fenton says marketing is fashionable, and as soon as anything becomes fashionable all sorts of ‘creative’ types move in and make ludicrous claims for their own magical powers. “There are grains of truth in all their claims, but there is also a lot of flannel as well. So let’s define what marketing should be about: ‘Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably’,” he educates. Fenton says without marketing, all you can do is to keep on selling the same products and services to the same customers. According to Fenton, inevitably that will lead to your going out of business because you are standing while the world outside moves on.

The author stresses that using the principles of marketing, however, you adjust, amend or change the products or services and the ways in which you sell them, in order to suit the changing needs of your changing customer base. Fenton expatiates that you react positively to the constant evolution of your marketplace, especially that marketing is only bunk when it is applied incompetently. He says it is also bunk to call your Sales Manager a Marketing Manager, and your Sales Office a Marketing Services Department.

In chapters three to six, Fenton discusses concepts such as the competitive edge; improving performance; watching the bottomline; and cutting down the administration.

In chapter seven that focuses on finding and keeping the best people, he says the snag is that without people you have no business. Fenton adds that the first thing you have to do is to ensure that you get the best people possible in your team because the right people work for the furtherance of the business before their own self-interests.

The author educates that if your business is to succeed, you have to be able to pick winners and avoid losers. “I have two pet systems for picking winners, both very simple. If you are interviewing for a sales position, all the applicants will probably be clever enough to give you the answers you want to hear to the usual run of questions. If I am looking for experienced people, then they have to prove that all their experience is worth something. So I challenge them to prove how good they are,” says Fenton.

In chapters eight to 12, he beams his analytical searchlight on concepts like communications; management techniques; time management; leadership and motivation.

Chapter 13 is christened “Unlucky for some”. Fenton says there is nearly always a difference between what we are and what we are perceived to be, asking: “Have you, for instance, got any of the nasty little habits which annoy you in other people? … Think of all the things that drive you mad in other people, and then see if they apply to you.”

On conceptual assessment, the concepts have depth. Fenton articulates his ideas clearly and brilliantly in this book. On presentation style, the ideas are logically presented while the language is simple. The title is catchy. Fenton uses accurate quotes to embellish concepts. One thing that is really conspicuous in this text is generous employment of graphical embroidery for emphasis and visual reinforcement of readers’ understanding. What’s more, Fenton uses detailed illustrations to ensure easy understanding on readers’ part. But on page 114, “…the best people possible on your team”, which is Standard American English is used instead of the Standard British English “…the best people possible in your team” to be used, especially that Fenton is a Briton.

If you are prepared to accomplish personal and/or organisational peak performance, then, you need to have a copy of this book. It is conceptually rich and outstanding.

GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.

Tel: 08056030424; 08055068773; 08187499425

Email: gokeiles2010@gmail.com

Website: www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng

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