• Lars Christensen

Swim with the sharks without being eaten alive by Harvey Mackay


I finished this book in August 2022. I recommend this book 7/10.

This book was written when Ronald Regan and Mikhail Gorbachev were in power and with a title no marketing team would use today. This book is not as out of date as you might think. Harvey Mackay reminds me a bit of Zig Ziglar, and as my notes dictate below, 1988 wisdom still applies in 2022.

You can get your copy here.

My notes and thoughts:

  • Door after door is slammed in their faces, and the governor quickly backpedals and withdraws his support. It is all the result of a simple mistake in the public-relations approach to the deal: In order to supply something, you must first create a demand.

  • They could have asked themselves a few simple questions: What is it I am selling? How do I create a demand for it? Who am I selling it to, and what do they really want? Instead, they simply plunged in and began pitching.

  • When you know your customers and some of their special interests or characteristics, you always have a basis for contacting and talking to them.

  • Mackay 66-questions P28.

  • Most sales manuals will tell you that the most important thing you are selling is yourself. This book won't. In my opinion, selling yourself can sometimes be a very bad idea...because very often, my friend, you and I are lousy products.

  • Create your own private club—Page 51.

  • And miracle of miracles, the year after Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile, thirty-seven other runners broke the four-minute mile. Until Bannister came along, we all believed in the experts. Bannister believed in himself.

  • You never stop needing role models. The banisters and the superstars in every other field keep right on holding role models in from of their eyes long after they've become role models themselves.

  • Deals seldom get worse when you walk away from the table. Be prepared to walk away from the table...and mean it. You'll be able to go back to the table and get even better terms.

  • If you develop a leadership style that delivers your message in a positive way, and if you demonstrate your confidence in your people by giving them the freedom to do the job you hired them to do. Be like jockey Willie Shoemaker. He's the best in the business because he has the lightest touch on the reins. They say the horse never knows he's there—unless he's needed.

  • You need a second line of communication. You have to encourage not only your own people but your customers, too, to talk to you informally, to feel comfortable approaching you in the halls and getting concerns off their chests.

  • If you run a business, there are 1,001 ways to screw up every day, and almost all of them can be avoided with a little more attention to detail or common courtesy. A customer calls and gets put on hold for too long or gets shuffled around to three or four different people. Goodbye, customer. The order gets lost or is late or is the wrong color...or whatever. Hello, Chapter 11.

  • No book is going to change your life. Only you can actually change your life. I can't do it for you. No teacher can. A teacher is not there just to acquaint you with the tools of the trade; a teacher is a tool of your trade, no matter what that trade is. You never stop needing teachers. The great musicians never stop taking lessons and never stop trying to improve. Arthur Rubinstein used to say that if he missed a day of practice. He noticed it in the quality of his performance. If he missed two days, the critics noticed. And if he missed three days, the audience noticed.

  • Anyone who thinks he or she is indispensable should stick a finger into a bowl of water and notice the hole it leaves when it's pulled out.

  • Successful politicians realize they get the most of their voters retail, one at a time, from constituent's service and personal contact, not wholesale, from their position on the issues. In other words, a voter will often support someone he disagrees with but never someone he dislikes. It works the same way in business.

  • Unless you have a unique product or service or run a state-owned bakery in the Soviet Union, competition is a fact of life. You must deal with it. The best way is to gather what knowledge you can and then act.

  • Call your shot. Saying you're going to do it before you do it counts. It counts big. You've given your boss peace of mind. You're someone who delivers. Can you think of a better reputation to have in any business situation?

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