Crush It! Book review and synopsis

I just got done reading “Crush it! Why NOW is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion” by Gary Vaynerchuk and while the book is a little old I really enjoyed it. It was published in 2009 which is ancient in terms of social media. The concepts however still exist, and it is a great viewpoint of emerging platforms coming into the scene which may help you catch the next big wave in the social media world. Without further delay let’s look at it!

Chapter 1: Passion Is Everything

In this chapter Gary Vaynerchuk describes his previous endeavors and what it took him to get there. He describes his three rules he lives by.

Love your family.

Work superhard.

Live your passion.

These are his guidelines which have proven effective and have made him happy in his life. “Since the only investment it takes to use these sites to grow a business is ridiculous amounts of time and hustle, these platforms are open to whoever has got the chops to get in the game.”

“Social Media = Business Period”

An important lesson to take away from this chapter is “No matter how successful you get, you can not slack off or the grass is going to grow, the paint is going to peel, and the roads will start to crumble. Stop hustling, and everything you learn here will be useless. Your success is entirely up to you.”

Chapter 2: Success Is in Your DNA

This chapter essentially can be summed up as stick to what you’re good at and “you gotta be you”. We also get a little perspective from GaryVee and his younger years of trading baseball cards and learning about the wine and liquor store business. “I knew from my experience with the baseball card business that people want to be told what’s good and valuable, and that they enjoy feeling like they’ve been turned on to something not everyone can appreciate.” This quote is then followed by, “storytelling is by far the most underrated skill in business.” I believe this to be very true, having good story telling skills, communication skills, being personable all helps in the world of business.

Chapter 3: Build Your Personal Brand

“Wine Library TV was neve about selling wine on the Internet. It was always about building brand equity.” In this chapter GaryVee talks about how to build your personal brand. While explaining why authenticity is key, how quality filters people out and the cream always rises, and how your personal brand is the same thing as a living, breathing resume.

“Developing your personal brand is key to monetizing your passion online. Whether you’re delivering your content by video, podcast or blog it’s the authentic you, the one thing that is guaranteed to differentiate you from everybody else, including those who share your niche or business model. The thing that most people don’t realize is that in today’s world your business and your personal brand need to be one and the same, whether you’re selling organic fish food or financial advice or jus your opinion.”

Chapter 4: A Whole New World

               In this chapter GaryVee talks about the evolving world and how being innovative and adaptable to the circumstances is going to allow many more opportunities than the old style of business. He describes how you need to plan your future. How you should start building your brand equity and work on things on the side, which we will get to in a minute.

Chapter 5: Create Great Content

               “To monetize your personal brand into a business using social marketing networks, two pillars need to be in place: product and content.” To do this you really need to know your stuff and be constantly absorbing information and content about your subject. GaryVee suggests that you need at least 50 blog topics that you’re amped to write about to get a feel for the situation of your blog. Then you need to tell a story about the topic. “Tell me your story, and if you’re good, I’ll come back for more.” “Communicate with me, because whoever is the best communicator will win.” In order to create great content, you can’t lie to yourself about your abilities to deliver quality information. “Am I good enough to be the best blogger about tech in the world?” is an example of a question that you must ask yourself and have a solid “Yes!” answer to. Choosing the correct medium is critical, if you’ve ever seen Gary Vaynerchuk his enthusiasm and loudness makes him a perfect fit for a video or vlog format. “Today, everybody else can make $40,000 to a million, so long as they can nail the correct combination of their medium and passion.” “Know yourself. Choose the right medium, choose the right topic, create awesome content, and you can make a lot of money being happy.”

Chapter 6: Choose Your Platform

               Your three options are video, audio, or written word, you must choose the platform that works best with your DNA. Although I personally use written word at the moment I think this Summer I will begin to move to video and venture out to YouTube and Vlog format. “Your website is for communicating logistics and facilitating sales; your blog is for communicating the essence of your brand.” In December 2008 GaryVee used social media and traditional advertising methods for his winelibrary.com to promote a free shipping code. The social media promotion which was free, outperformed the conventional advertising by a factor of 10. This is an example of platform is everything.

Mr. Vaynerchuk then talks about Tumblr and WordPress the two dominant blog platforms and both are still relevant even today. Tumblr’s ability to tumble posts is the word of mouth you want from your audience and other apps that have similar features are critical in expanding your brand. Call to action buttons are always important to continue the chain of communication with your audience, and eventually sell them your product. He then talks about Facebook and the importance of your own profile and then your fan page. “If you’ve been using a regular profile or created a group for your business, don’t take it down. Simply leave a link on your old profile or group page that feeds to your new fan page.” Twitter, one of GaryVee’s most powerful brand-building tools. “First, it has incredible endorsement power.” “Second, it’s a press release opportunity, allowing companies and businesses to have a closer relationship with their consumer.” “Third, Twitter is a research and development tool that allows you to crowdsource.” “Fourth it allows even your most mundane questions to become opportunities for conversation.” “Fifth, it’s a great vehicle through which to spread your commerce-driven intentions.” “The best use for Twitter, though, is to lure people to your blog.” GaryVee then shares the simple most powerful, best business tweet of all time. “What can I do for you?” Don’t forget you’re in business to serve your community.

“If your blog is your home, platforms like Twitter and Facebook are your vacation homes. You can’t do long form content on these sites (well, you can, but its not effective and I don’t recommend it)”.

He then talks about video content sites including the power player still today, YouTube. He very rarely uses analytics and trusts his instincts over numbers. Lastly you must differentiate yourself from your peers, and he will explain that in the upcoming chapters.

Chapter 7: Keep It Real…Very Real

               “Your DNA dictates your passion-whatever it is you were born to do; being authentic, and being perceived as such by your audience, relies on your ability to ensure that every decision you make when it comes to your business is rooted being true to yourself.” You should invest in the important stuff and that’s not cameras or microphones, no, that is your content, your passion, your knowledge. “If you want to dominate the social media game, all of your effort has to come from the heart”. Hustle and patience are the next two items of discussion, there’s plenty of other books and videos on hustle, I’ve already reviewed one, “The 10X Rule” and I will review another one soon “Rise and Grind”. Reference those books and articles as that is their main topic. Patience is self-explanatory, but we are often not patient. GaryVee says he gets people saying they haven’t seen any results and they’ve been working on their blog for 6 weeks. I can say from my own personal experience that I’ve been working on this blog for about 5 months and we are finally getting some traction, all things worth doing in life take time to get there.

Chapter 8: Create Community: Digging Your Internet Trench

               Creating community is much more important than the design of your blog. This is done by starting conversation with your audience. “To create an audience for your personal brand you’re going to get out there, shake hands, and join every single online conversation already in play around the world about your topic, Every. Single. One. “At a certain point, your business will start gaining eyeballs and your community focus will change. Whereas at this point you’re initiating contact with anyone who might have an interest in your passion, later you will spend these late-night hours responding to the people who have responded to you. Building and sustaining community is a never-ending part of doing business.” You do this by using all of your tools and platforms and seeking out every mention of your topic and commenting on every single tweet, blog post, forum post etc. that you can find and then do it again and again and again. I can say from experience the little I have done this for blogs and Instagram it has worked. It just takes lots of time and hustle to pull it off in the large scale. You must then capture your audience and I have struggle to do this with my own blog and would love to hear any advice from my viewers. “The day you see that one person is reading or watching or listening to you is a day to celebrate.”

Chapter 9: The Best Marketing Strategy Ever

               Care.

Chapter 10: Make the World Listen

               Here is the step by step guide for the rest of your life to achieve what is described in this book.

  1. Go to GoDaddy.com and try to buy your name in both .com and .tv
  2. Start a WordPress or Tumblr account to host the domain you just bought.
  3. Hire a web designer for your website.
  4. IF you’re filming a video blog, buy the $150 flip cam, something small, light and hopefully HD to film anywhere at any time.
  5. Create a Facebook Fan page
  6. Open a twitter account with your domain name
  7. Open a Tube Mogul if you are doing video. Open a Ping.fm if you are doing a written blog.
  8. Start pumping out content.
  9. Tweet or post your content to distribute to your platforms.
  10. Go to Search. Twitter and start searching terms relevant to your topic, and start following them.
  11. Go to blogsearch.google.com and start leaving comments on topics relevant to your content.
  12. Join as many active Facebook groups relevant to your topic as possible.
  13. Rinse and Repeat.

Do steps 5-8 and 12 over and over as long as your brand exists. “Anything is better than zero” but also “the longer you hold out to monetize your blog, the better.”

Chapter 11: Start Monetizing

               “Here’s a better idea: #1—classy banner ads, which appear at the top or bottom of your site (don’t overdo it!). #2—Go to google.com, search your subject matter, and check every blog and website to see which companies pay for Google AdSense ads to be posted. Cold-call every relevant company that is buying space on Google AdSense—they’re already spending the ad money on the Web, why not spend it on you? You can find a video on this topic on GaryVaynerchuk.com:” Speaking engagements, Affiliate Programs, Retail, Articles, Seminars, Books and TV, Consulting, Advertising redux, are all examples on monetizing your brand and there have been significant improvements and all of these fields, so I would recommend newer information than what is provided here.

Chapter 12: Roll with It

               Be prepared to continue repeating what makes you successful but be ready to adapt to the changing environment considering the great speed at which social media changes nowadays. Put out fires and situations quickly through the use and ability to reach out using social media is very important in retaining your brand equity. Spot latest trends as they begin and hop on the train early to give yourself a big advantage over the slower moving businesses in your sector.

Chapter 13: Legacy is Greater Than Currency

               We are all in the public eye now, we are constantly adding to our footprint on the internet. If things go wrong, there will be no where to hide as your whole brand is available to see. Thinking long term and knowing what you do and say today can affect your future is an important thing to remember in your early years of building your brand. “Legacy is the mortar of successful, lasting brands.

Conclusion: The Time is Now, the Message is Forever

               “true success—financial, personal, and professional—lies above all in loving your family, working hard, and living your passion.”

As always thank you for reading this article, I hope you gained some value information from this review and synopsis of “Crush It”. This book has provoked me to take a hard look at my blog and my personal brand and what I want it to be in the future and I look forward to shaping my brand from what I’ve learned in this book and what I intend to learn from “Crushing It”.

As always let me know what you think!

B^2

Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion

March- April Goal Review

It’s been awhile since I have posted one of these so what the heck let’s get to it.

Like I’ve mentioned before the spring semester is crazy busy at my school and March- Mid April is probably the busiest section of them all. I mean there’s St. Pat’s, Spring Break, Greek Sing, and Derby Days all in there plus a round of tests or two. Like are you kidding me!? Doesn’t get much worse than that, however, that didn’t stop me from doing what I do best and getting shit done so let’s see how I did.

Here is the goal list to start off march on top, on the bottom is where I finished at.

IMG-0399IMG-0400

I intentionally went away from the biweekly format with March because of Pat’s and Spring Break. I also did not try to push myself as hard as I have been lately. Don’t worry we’ll get back on my game here soon I promise.

In the beginning of March was sitting at around 75 IG posts, 400+ IG followers (my all time high as of right now) so from the social media perspective I was doing great. When we turn to the blog you’ll see I failed to miss my target yet again on the # of blog posts with only 30 and 175 blog visitors, again piggybacking off paid advertising for that. Finished sell or be sold and did not finish Rental Property Empire we will get to that one later.

So that sets the stage for where I was going into March, as we see in the month of March goals we boosted up IG posts by +35, which is a solid 1 post a day average and then some. Unfortunately, my consistency isn’t the greatest with that and I’ve been working on getting that more consistent. I was going in several short bursts and then taking breaks rather than a consistent one or two posts a day. Organic blog traffic was a struggle, I did not have the systems in place to capitalize and keep my paid advertising traffic and in fact I still do not have the proper systems in place which has been hurting my viewership. That and only 3 blog posts in the entire month of March is just pitiful and I’ve been working hard to improve that this month. Still didn’t make it through Rental Property Empire either, and let me tell you that book was DENSE, packed with information and great content but man was it a slow read and hard to get motivated because the nitty gritty of rental property investing is not all that exciting. Using that prior screenshot as a starting point of April lets see where we landed during the mid-April goal review.

IMG-0401

Mid-April I was consumed in my philanthropy, as head chair it was a lot of long nights and busy work to make things run smoothly, and I did my best to make up for it in early April but even then, I was making up work that others failed to do. If you would like to know more about the philanthropy and what all happened the link to the article can be found here. Philanthropy article

I hit my low IG post goal, but followers diminished a bit, blog posts remained stagnant at 33 posts. Organic visitors were still very low probably due to my lack of Instagram engagement, and side money was also low due to my less than ideal productivity during my spring break. (P.S. girlfriends are a time commitment, so is covering for people who fail to follow through on their assignments.)

So using that last screenshot we can analyze my current in progress goal list shown below.

IMG-0402

I am finishing writing this post at 1am on Friday April 27, I have my fraternity’s initiation tomorrow which I am heavily involved in as Vice President and that has been bogging me down a bit, but I have been making effective use of my relatively light work load this week. I say light just because I do not have any tests, but I’ve spent a good 20 hours on homework and project work for my classes this week already with a final presentation tomorrow at 11am which should be fun.

As you can see I’m a tad behind on IG posts and I feel like I am spamming content, but I like to hit my targets and goals and my content is still pretty good so there’s that. Instagram followers have picked up a bit so my extra effort in reaching out to other accounts and people has paid off as well as my content I am delivering. I finished Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Crush it” it’s an old book but the content is still great and inspiring, and I can’t wait to read his newest book as it is sitting on my desk right next to me. I am also catching up on blog posts at a rate never seen before so kudos to me! Credit card payments are almost complete, we will find out about initiation come Saturday, my loose money on robinhood can be summed up as my options trading which is going poorly. If you didn’t see my Instagram post of “The stock market is drunk” it is, and it is very annoying. I have a little more on my plate this upcoming week as projects, papers, and tests are wrapping up in the week famously known at my school as “Dead Week”. (the name is not as it suggests, it is hell and full of work then leads into finals week). So hopefully a final push this weekend and early next week can wrap up April as a success or at least that is my hope.

As for future goals we will have to see how they go with my new work schedule which is far different from what I am used to. That in combination with additional metrics for tracking revenue, costs, investing and getting back into prime shape and performance for my next rugby season we will see how frequent I set goals and track them. I am very excited to see what this summer will bring me though, this last summer I was bogged down in 9 credit hours of class in addition to a 40-hour work week at my internship at Caterpillar which was very demanding. This summer with my peculiar schedule I may actually be able to be more productive despite working more (I am definitely a night owl as the time I am writing this post suggests). I will do my best to keep all my viewers informed as well as do what is best for me to advance my life, career, and personal goals.

Thanks for tuning in as always, please leave a comment I would love to hear from you guys and if you haven’t already please follow me on Instagram @bsquared.website as I am most active there if you haven’t noticed.

Sell or be sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life – Grant Cardone

What better way to start off a book review than a quote from the author, Grant Cardone, “I believe Sell to Survive to be the most important book written on selling in the last fifty years and vital to every person who is interested in making their dreams a reality. We have taken that book and reworked it, added material, updated it, and retitled it: Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life.”

So, let’s get this straight, you take the best book written in its genre in 50 years, make it better and add more to it, and you can read it. Wow. I will do my best to keep this informative and brief, I believe the chapter titles are self-explanatory for the most part, but I will try to clear up any ambiguity and include some important quotes from the text.

Chapter 1: Selling—A Way of Life

In this chapter Mr. Cardone explains how selling is part of our everyday lives from negotiating to getting others to like you, work with you, anything having to do with convincing, persuading or getting your way in life. Regarding people saying they could never work as a salesman and work on commission his answer is “Your entire life is a commission. There’s no salary guaranteed in life. The whole world is on commission and the whole world is required to sell!”

Chapter 2: Salespeople Make the World Go Round

“Selling is the last great truly free-enterprise opportunity available today; in sales, an individual can work for himself, be accountable to himself, and make his dreams come true.” If that doesn’t get your heart fluttering I don’t know what will! We all have dreams of some sort of freedom maybe its not being tied down to that 9-5 dead end job, maybe its becoming and entrepreneur, starting your own business etc. this opportunity rings toward that goal. It is solely up to you to work and make your money with no cap on your financial compensation, the more you sell the more you make! The economy relies on getting products in consumers hands, salespeople are responsible for this, which drives the behind the scenes action such as shipping, handling, production, storage, retailing etc.

Chapter 3: Professional or Amateur?

“I you want to get rich, learn how to sell.” This reverts to the first chapter regarding how everything in life is selling, this includes but is not limited to getting that promotion, girlfriend, job, negotiation, contract, opportunity etc. you will have to sell yourself to get all those things and you can become rich in whatever manner you want to define it. There are two mental barriers you must overcome to become a professional at selling. “1.) Selling is critical to your survival regardless of your career, and 2.) you must decide to become a professional and give up any idea that its something for others and not for you.” “The difference between mediocrity and greatness lies in being committed to the profession and being consumed by the desire to be great and the dedication to learn the trade.”

Chapter 4: The Greats

If you are familiar with Grant Cardone his books are not always directly about the subject at hand like sales for instance, he often incorporates life and career advice that is broad enough to encompass all professions. In this chapter he describes how to become one of the greats in your profession and the first step is to commit all the way. “Committing is when you make a firm decision, you quit wondering, and then you follow through on your commitment with actions.” “A burn the ship kind of mentality is what it takes to get you to a place where you’ll doo things that will ensure results.” So, you commit and put in 10X amounts of action and thought. How do you know when you become a professional or one of the Greats? Grant Cardone says that “the ability to predict is the first thing that happens when you become a professional,” this happens when you have experience nearly all the scenarios that arise and observe them objectively without emotion and assume responsibility for the faults and acting to correct them. Mr. Cardone did this by recording his phone calls and sales pitches, making note of his body language, and gestures, tone of voice and how he responded to objections.

Chapter 5: The Most Important Sale

Chapter 5 goes into the mental state required to be an excellent salesperson. Grant Cardone states that “In order to become a great salesperson, you have to sell yourself on what you’re selling.” and “the conviction that you have regarding your product is more important than the conviction that others have about their facts and figures.” This whole idea on becoming sold on your product or solution is what keeps you motivated and driven as well, this also requires a go all in attitude.

Chapter 6: The Price Myth

               This chapter proofs that price is not the ultimate deciding factor like most think it is. “Getting the sale isn’t about money; its ultimately about the buyer having confidence that the product is the right one.” Price also represents value in your product, if the price is too low the product is perceived to lose value or is not useful. “The buyer would rather pay more and make the right decision than pay less and make a mistake.” This emphasizes the move up not down paragraph explain that a price issue is often resolved with a more expensive product. The customer often may think that there is not enough value in a cheaper product and the reason price is the issue is because the option is too expensive for the results it will give. Also “salespeople, not the prospect, are the ultimate barriers to every sale”.

Chapter 7: Your Buyer’s Money

               The first section of this chapter explains how there is no shortage of money on this earth. The problem is your way of thinking of money and “If others have a difficult time getting money from you, you’ll never find it easy to get money from others.” On the note of repeat sales Mr. Cardone says, “second money is easier to get than first money”, once that trust gets established you will find it much easier to make repeat sales.

Chapter 8: You are in the People Business

               Salespeople must remember that they are selling products to customers, “that’s why its vital that salespeople know about people first and products second.” Grant Cardone says selling is 80% people and 20% product, so what do you think you should allocate your time to? Learning about the product or learning about the customers? The answer is clear, “learn to think like customers think” put on their shoes and your sales will increase. “True communication requires finding out what is important to people so you can identify what they actually want and then deliver it.”

Chapter 9: The Magic of Agreement

               “Always agree with the customer” even if they are wrong, even if they are full of shit, “agree as you write the deal; don’t disagree and fight the deal!” This is the number one rule and it is also the most violated by salespeople, you’re leaving sales on the table by not agreeing with the customer. “Agreement is senior to closing the deal”, Grant Cardone says this and to him the close is sacred!

Chapter 10: Establishing Trust

               First paragraph of this chapter explains the show don’t tell phenomenon, people believe what they see not what they hear, show them the facts and figures or how well the product works don’t just talk their ear off about it. Grant mentions how he used to keep an evidence manual with him to show his facts of what other customers had said about him because of doing business with him. This helps build trust with your buyer which is crucial in making the sale.

Chapter 11: Give, Give, Give

               It was mentioned in an earlier chapter that you are selling to people, not just selling your product to people. Part of the human experience with sales is the customer service and this chapter covers all that you need to know to service your customer. “Give all of you to your prospect, not just a part of you. Give all of your attention, all of your energy, all of your suggestions, all of your information, and then find some more of you to give! Exceed expectations and go all the way with him and then a bit further.” “Human beings are much more valuable than money. Treat them like that and you’ll be rewarded” Problems are also opportunities for future sales, service your customer when they have complaints or problems and you’ll probably be able to sell them later just with your customer service you showed them.

Chapter 12:  Hard Sell

               This chapter can be summed up with this one paragraph, “if you don’t truly believe that your product will somehow bring the buyer more enjoyment, benefit, or security than the numbers he has in the bank, then you’ll never be a great salesperson and you’ll never fully understand the concept of ‘hard sell.’ If you really believe and learn how to close, you’ll know someday what it means to hard sell. This is an art form!”

Chapter 13: Massive Action

               Refer to Mr. Cardone’s book, The 10X Rule, Link to the review can be found here: http://bsquared.website/2018/02/08/the-10x-rule-the-only-difference-between-success-and-failure/

Chapter 14: The Power Base

               This chapter is an obvious but overlooked solution to first starting off in sales. The power base refers to the people around you that you are familiar with, your friends, family, etc. and with those people in mind “the easiest sale you’ll ever make in your life is the one to those people who already know you, trust you, and want to help you.” Again obvious but overlooked, but you need to put in work to build your power base and rekindle those connections, face to face is the best way to get back in contact. Work hard on your power base and they will work hard for you and it has the ability to naturally grow wide and strong.

Chapter 15: Time

               The critical take away from this chapter is the lunch out. A mentor of Mr. Cardone when he was just starting out asked him why he went to lunch with his co-worker every day.  Grant answered they were friends and just naturally thought that was something normal to do. His mentor told him “he will never buy anything from you. Never!” from that moment on Mr. Cardone realized that he had to use that precious lunch break hour to make sales. Go out, be seen, know where your buyers go to lunch, today Mr. Cardone invests breakfast, lunch, and dinner to buyers and prospects and even long shots. Use every possible moment to sell.

Chapter 16: Attitude

               “People will pay more for an agreeable, positive and enjoyable experience than they will for a great product.” This chapter goes right in line with the Give, Give, Give chapter as well as the people business chapter. Mr. Cardone ends the chapter with seven tips for having a great attitude.

Chapter 17: The Biggest Sale of My Life

               As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Cardone includes life lessons as well as real life examples in his books, this chapter describes using the previously mentioned lessons and tactics how he made the biggest sale of his life, his wife, Elena.

Chapter 18: The Perfect Sales Process

               “The best salespeople I know are straight shooters. They don’t play games, they tell it like it is, and they know how to get the hob done without manipulations and tricks.”

  1. Greet
  2. Determine Wants and Needs
  3. Select Product and Present/Build Value
  4. Make Proposal
  5. Close the Transaction or Buyer Exits

Chapter 19: Success in Selling

               In order to demand consistent sales success, you have to:

  1. Decide you are ultimately responsible for the sale.
  2. Make it your duty, obligation, and responsibility to make the sale.
  3. Take massive amounts of action, followed by more action until the sale is made!
  4. Accept no excuses, reasons, or logic, and figure out how to make it work!
  5. Prepare yourself daily to handle all obstacles, stalls, reasons and barriers you will encounter with a client.

Chapter 20: Sales-Training Tips

               How sales training is supposed to be laid out and what creates a good sales training program.

Chapter 21: Create a Social Media Presence

               This book was written in 2012 and this chapter was in it. I think we can all see the power of social media today and its everyday presence in our lives. Now more than ever it is vital to have a social media presence, perhaps on multiple platforms to reach out to potential customers and other influencers.

Chapter 22: Quick Tips to Conquer the Biggest Challenges in Selling

               Lots of tips regarding the challenges you’ll face selling. Pretty self-explanatory check out the book for details.

There you have it, Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone! As always, the link to the book can be found below, I highly recommend reading it to anyone trying to increase their ability to sell or persuade in life. I think this can apply across all industries and careers. This book has had me consider taking a more sales-oriented internship this summer rather than an engineering-oriented internship as my major would suggest. We’ll see though and let you all know how it goes!

http://amzn.to/2HT9qs6

Until next time,

B^2