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Selasa, 24 April 2012

The Hidden Agenda by Kevin Allen - Book review

The Hidden Agenda

A Proven Way to Win Business and Create a Following

By: Kevin Allen

Published: April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 1937134040
ISBN-13: 978-1937134044
Publisher: Bibliomotion

"Behind every decision to buy - whether the item is a service or a product, an argument or an idea - is an unspoken emotional motivation. This is the hidden agenda", writes business development expert and long time advertising professional, Kevin Allen, in his insightful and idea packed book The Hidden Agenda: A Proven Way to Win Business and Create a Following. The author describes how important it is for companies and brands to make a connection with their followers through discovering and understanding the hidden agenda of their customers.

Kevin Allen understands that people buy from companies, hire others, or promote brands or individuals because those companies and individuals understand their values, wants, and needs. This deep understanding is what the author considers the buyer's hidden agenda. To create a powerful and lasting connection, it's essential to discover the bond that will resonate with that hidden agenda. When those deepest values, wants, and needs are uncovered and engaged, the person will become a true and lasting follower of the company, brand, or leader. Kevin Allen provides the background to discovering the buyer's hidden agenda, creating a trusting connection, and providing a resonating and engaging bond that lasts over the long term.

Kevin Allen (photo left) recognizes that any sort of sales presentation requires connecting with the other person's hidden agenda to be successful. The author points out that the deeper underlying motivation may not even be understood clearly by the buyer. To locate and respond effectively to collaborate with the buyer requires empathy, the ability to ask the right questions, and the listening skills to hear the real message being shared by the customer. The customer will follow the company and brand that listens to their deepest hidden agenda, and works hard to resolve that innermost need and desire. People don't follow products, services, and brands because they are persuaded to purchase them.

The following of the brand is a result of believing in the seller and the products that resonate with the buyer's hidden agenda. To achieve the resonance that creates a following, Kevin Allen provides the concepts in his Allen Key system. The principles of the system include:

* Identifying the conceptual target to hear what they really are thinking
* Tuning into the hidden agenda through listening and empathy
* Taking inventory of your core and connecting with the customer
* Communicating your credo and set of values and belief system

For me, the power of the book is how Kevin Allen develops the connection between probing the depth of the real hidden agenda, with the practical tools to facilitate that discovery process. The author presents a fresh way of thinking and considering the deepest motivations of customers. In place of the previous paradigm of persuasion as the means to gain customers, Kevin Allen proposes a richer understanding of the deeper motivations of the buyer. The result is not only a follower of the product, service, and brand, but also a collaborator in the entire marketing process.

Kevin Allen offers ideas for discovering who is the real intended audience, for listening to uncover what elements can form a connection, for how to ultimately make that long term connection as the basis for a long lasting relationship. The author provides many stories of the hidden agenda principles in action, in real world settings, to further illustrate the concepts in action. Kevin Allen shares wisdom gleaned from years of experience, and transforms the entire sales process to one focused entirely on the buyer and their most intimate needs and desires, and away from the older product push centric model.

I highly recommend the transformational and collaborative approach based book The Hidden Agenda: A Proven Way to Win Business and Create a Following by Kevin Allen, to any marketers, business leaders, sales representatives, and anyone in any walk of life who makes presentations to others, who is seeking a fresh and cooperative way of helping solve the buyer's most important and deepest needs. When you find and satisfy the customer's real hidden agenda, then you have gained a follower and built a relationship that can last a lifetime.

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