Acuff, Jerry 1949-
ACUFF, Jerry 1949-
PERSONAL: Born 1949. Education: Graduated from Virginia Military Institute.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—Delta Point: The Sales Agency, 12196 East Sand Hills Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85255.
CAREER: Hoechst-Roussel Pharmaceuticals, associated with company for twenty years, began as salesman, became vice president and general manager; JBI Associates (healthcare consulting firm), Morristown, NJ, founder, 1995-2001; Delta Point: The Sales Agency, Scottsdale, AZ, founder and principal. Former executive-in-residence, Amos Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College.
(With Wally Wood) The Relationship Edge in Business: Connecting with Customers and Colleagues When It Counts, Wiley (Hoboken, NJ), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Sales consultant Jerry Acuff is coauthor of The Relationship Edge in Business: Connecting with Customers and Colleagues When It Counts. The book, written with Wally Wood, provides "illuminating advice" for salespeople and for those who manage them, wrote Business Week reviewer Marilyn Harris.
In his book, Acuff argues that the most important thing for a salesperson to emphasize is not the features of his or her company's product, but the personal relationship with the client. Acuff explains how to go about building a lasting relationship with a potential client, starting by taking a genuine interest in him or her as a person. To get the client to open up, he suggests a list of "twenty questions"—all of which are about the other person—to start a conversation. These conversation starters break down into four categories, which can be remembered with the acronym FORM: family, occupation, recreation, and motivation. Then, once a salesman has learned something about his client as a person, he can use this information to carry out small, thoughtful gestures that keep him—and his firm—in the front of the client's mind, such as sending the client newspaper clippings about topics that interest him or her. However, Acuff emphasizes that these relationship-building techniques will only work if they come off as sincere and long term, not as merely short-term efforts to make a sale. That emphasis makes The Relationship Edge in Business "a refreshing break from the winner-take-all approach to salesmanship," remarked Booklist reviewer David Siegfried.
Acuff told CA: "I first became interested in writing from reading lots of books. My work is most influenced by my personal experiences, my analysis of them, and—of course—what I read and learn from so may others with expertise in my field.
"I write by talking stream-of-consciousness to my coauthor, and he helps put it together as a draft. We then make dozens of edits torturing every single word. I am surprised that people who are positively impacted by my book actually contact me and tell me what it has meant to them."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2004, David Siegfried, review of The Relationship Edge in Business: Connecting with Customers and Colleagues When It Counts, p. 1532.
Business Week, July 5, 2004, Marilyn Harris, review of The Relationship Edge in Business.
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), July 12, 2004, Jim Pawlak, review of The Relationship Edge in Business, p. 3.
HR, August, 2004, Leigh Rivenbark, review of The Relationship Edge in Business, p. 141.
Investor's Business Daily, April 2, 2004, Cord Cooper, review of The Relationship Edge in Business, p. A3; September 27, 2004, Cord Cooper, review of The Relationship Edge in Business, p. A3.
Publishers Weekly, April 19, 2004, review of The Relationship Edge in Business, p. 55.
BookPage.com,http://www.bookpage.com/ (November 1, 2004), Stephanie Swilley, review of The Relationship Edge in Business: Connecting with Customers and Colleagues When It Counts.
Delta Point: The Sales Agency Web site,http://www.relationshipedge.com/ (November 1, 2004).
National Association of Realtors Web site,http://www.realtor.org/ (September 1, 2004), Kelly Quigley, review of The Relationship Edge in Business.