Each of us pitches ideas every day. Regardless of what idea we’re selling—or who we’re selling it to—it all boils down to the act of stirring someone to join you, to agree to follow you. Yet we consistently underestimate how critical it is to recognize the role of the decision maker. Decisions are, after all, made by people; and people have needs and agendas, spoken and unspoken. Understanding these needs and agendas are critical to success in business. Kevin Allen’s approach is not about persuading, but about creating a connection that assures a mutual win. By unearthing the true motivation or desire of the decision maker, Allen shows how to craft a story or message around it, creating a predictable and repeatable end result. Full of stories and examples, this entertaining book teaches you how to effectively find, connect, and finally speak to the Hidden Agenda to win business unfailingly, every time.
Allen, an advertising vet with a track record that includes MasterCard's "Priceless" campaign, offers concrete and easy-to-implement advice to satisfy the "hidden agenda" inherent in every interaction. Allen uses this term to describe the unspoken emotional motivator behind every decision. Since people make active decisions based on what resonates with this motivator, it's critical that businesspeople at all levels understand and address the factors which stand between themselves and success. To that end, Allen shows how to understand your audience and provides practical strategies for uncovering the needs, wants, and values that drive them. He shows how to find assets you can leverage that help connect using your "core" (the special abilities at the core of your being) and your "credo" (the belief system you and your audience share). He also explores the importance of developing a win strategy once a connection is made and how to utilize the power of storytelling. Using examples from his professional life, Allen demonstrates how he put these principles into action, providing useful context for readers. He also helpfully distills the most important takeaways in a "Remember This" box at the end of each chapter. A modern day Don Draper, Allen shows that he knows how to sell because he knows what his audience will buy.
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a refreshing read
As many books as there are out there about how to improve your business skills, how to polish your salesmanship, how to become the top of the totem pole in growing your career, few (if any) are as warmly readable as is Kevin Allen's book THE HIDDEN AGENDA. Though unsure of how he manages to do it, this reader picked up the book on arrival to simply glance through it and get the gist of the message, and the next thing noticed was that the book had been completely read! This is definitely kudos to Allen's writing skill - he knows how to keep the reader's attention by his very bright, warmly humorous, energy inducing technique of spilling (that is `sharing') his ideas on the page in a manner that makes the reader feel as though reading a novel. It is a personal approach with enough of his life and successes shared to bolster his postulates and convince the at times wary reader that what he is suggesting works!
The basic lesson here is how to ferret out the personality of the person or persons to whom you are presenting an idea or pitch to gain their commitment to not only buying into your presentation but also to create the `hidden agenda' of the `audience' into willfully and eagerly following you and your presentation. I like the following summary as it is likely more clear than a first response upon finishing a book: `Pitches are made in business every day -- to win the account, convince a colleague or sell a vision to the Board of Directors, but people ignore the most basic component of making the sale -- decisions are made by people, and people have unspoken needs and agendas. Kevin Allen has recognized that by identifying these needs, and connecting the pitch directly to it, you win.