Monday, February 28, 2011

BLOG BOOK TOUR: Lessons from the Concrete Garden by Kurtis Smith

Outskirts Press author, Kurtis Smith, is taking his latest book, Lessons from the Concrete Garden, on a virtual book tour and stopped by here for a visit. 

Lessons book cover


The Most Advanced and Comprehensive Selling System Designed Specifically for Dealerships and Their Sales Teams 

Over a decade has been spent in research, development and field testing in order to identify and document the specific skill sets, characteristics and knowledge of a highly skilled and professional salesperson.

“Lessons From the Concrete Garden” is a by-product of this work and is packed with insight and ideas that will explain why many salespeople struggle and most fail.

It shines a spotlight on the struggling automotive industry and its selling practices and asks the question:

How is it possible to spend billions of dollars on R&D, manufacturing and marketing to produce some of the most technologically advanced and complex products, then miss the mark when it comes to educating the individuals responsible for selling them?

It drives the point home that salespeople are the first and last to touch the actual buyers of these products and they are probably the most important spoke in the business development wheel and are deserving of a quality and proper education.

This exciting book provides real answers and proposes real solutions for businesses and selling professionals that are struggling to find a plan of action that actually works. It discusses what to do, when to do it, how to do it and why it needs to be done. Lessons From the Concrete Garden is a Gem!

This is a must read for anyone involved in selling, training or business development.

R&T: Tell us a little bit about Lessons from the Concrete Garden. What is it about?

KS: The book is about providing real answers and solutions to selling professionals struggling to do their jobs daily. It was important to me to use real examples and relatable scenarios to make my points, not theories or conjecture so I drew from over two decades of experience in sales, management and business consulting to form my thesis. I decided to use the automotive dealerships as the case study to explain how an ambiguous policy regarding the development of selling professionals is not only a failing proposition, but a recipe for disaster. It allowed me to emphasize how a lack of a system to educate and measure a selling professional’s performance 
against a standard is responsible for the quality of the client experience and poor sales numbers which in turn leads to high employee turnover and business failure rates, regardless of industry. The goal of this book was to spotlight the profession as a whole in order to draw attention to the fact that there is no formal education program available to its practitioners and, in my opinion, is the reason for the extremely high failure rates.

This book introduces a solution in the form of Professional Standards for Sales Excellence, a set of systems and process that anyone can use to produce more predictable and consistent results as the new core competencies of professional selling and business development.

R&T: How did you come up with the idea for your book?

KS: I wrote the book out of a necessity to organize my thoughts in order to explain a process that is literally changing lives. There is a desperate need for a new approach to developing selling professionals and those responsible for business development and I had the answer. The problem was that the answer was more than one word and consisted of a series of systems and processes that when I tried to explain it to some, they would get this glazed over look on their faces because it was unlike anything they had heard before. The fact is that selling as a profession is not being taught at institutions of higher learning and is not looked upon as a real profession. However, when you consider that someone has to sell something in every company in order for them to stay in business; you would think that the person they hire would be of the highest caliber with the formal training to confirm what they know. Ironically it is just not the case. 

I wrote this book to outline the standard and offer a solution by using the automobile industry as the case study, because what happened to them is a mirror image of what is happening in most businesses. But most importantly, it was written to give salespeople a roadmap to follow and management the understanding that without specific activities for them to measure against standards, it is difficult to do their jobs effectively.

R&T: What types of readers would be interested in this story?

KS: The book was written to speak to three specific types of readers; the first being the selling professional who is struggling to produce consistent results and has no idea why he or she is struggling. The second is the entrepreneur or business owner who has a business and needs to put him or his sale force to work and does not know where to begin. And finally, for the sales managers who are responsible for producing results through a sales team and are still trying to manage by coercion, intimidation or even begging and pleading to produce results.

R&T: What is special about your book?  

KS: As James Dyson puts it, “Solve the obvious problems that others seem to ignore.” Lessons from the Concrete Garden was specifically written to identify and address the reasons why salespeople struggle and fail. It provides answers that challenges the paradigm of those individuals stuck in this is the way we have always done it here mentality. 

It is an original thought written to provide hope for those looking for answers in a world full of sameness.

R&T: What differentiates it from other books in the same category?

KS: I believe Lessons from the Concrete Garden focuses on substance by offering specific original solutions and not regurgitated rhetoric. My goal in this book was not to tell you what you should do, but to provide you with tangible solutions backed up with process based action plans.

R&T: Have you published any other books? Do you plan to publish more?

KS: No I have not. Yes. There are several other projects in the works.

R&TThanks for your time, Kurtis! We look forward to learning more about you as you visit other bloggers!

Andy Schoepp
With a diverse background as a United States Marine, sales and management professional,business 
owner and consultant, Kurtis Smith brings over two decades of experience and know-how to the table.

He is the president and CEO of The K-Method Group, a teaching organization focused on teaching businesses, entrepreneurs and sales professionals the step-by-step processes of how to build, maintain and manage a book of business.

His vision for the company is to continually provide the content and the environment where organizations and their salespeople can acquire the knowledge they need in order for them to flourish.

For more information or to contact the author, visit