Primoz Cigler, Co-Founder of ProteusThemes, on the Books That Helped Him Perfect His Sales Technique
He founded ProteusThemes back in 2012, together with Jaka Šmid. They make the life easier for freelancers and agencies by creating WordPress themes that are easy to use. Their clients are mostly people who build and maintain WordPress-based websites for small and medium-sized businesses.
One of their strengths is the fast loading speed of the themes, but they also focus on creating educational resources that are valuable for WordPress users. Last month, for example, they launched a guide on how they can set up fast WordPress websites (you’ll find more long-form educational articles on their blog).
A few months ago they released ProteusPay, an eCommerce integration between WordPress and FastSpring.
Primož also has a personal blog where you can follow what he writes.
From our interview you’ll find out what books had a big impact on him, how he learned to become a better negotiator and perfect his selling technique, and much he emphasizes reading compared to doing the work.
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
Heya! Thanks for having me here.
Let’s start with the non-business one, even though that in the last years, I more frequently reach for the business books. As someone who has been fascinated by astronomy since childhood, it’s not surprising that my genre of choice is science fiction.
There are many science fiction books I’ve read so far, but one that always comes to my mind when people ask me which one I liked the most is the Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke. The ideas presented and the story in the book are so extreme that I will always remember them. To me, Arthur C. Clarke is the best science fiction author of all times.
The best business book I read is the Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini. I am reading it now for the second time. The reason why I like it so much is that it gives you a good explanation of human psychology that you can use in many different situations. The variety of the techniques and experiments used in the book will help you become a better negotiator, but also it will open your eyes how others are exploiting your human nature every day. Each chapter ends with the ‘How to Say No’ which also gives you a meaningful advice on how to react when you find yourself in the situations when someone wants to obtain your commitment with different persuasion techniques.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?
Yes, it was sometime earlier this year. I read a book SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham. Chapter four has invaluable insights and instructions how to do sales calls and improve the probability that you make a sale.
This year, I had to change my role at ProteusThemes, as I have thoroughly explained in my other interview. I learned in the SPIN Selling book how to structure both the user interviews and the sales calls in a way that people like to participate and eventually buy from you because you show that you care about them and their business. Everything became easier since.
What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)
I’d say that the Influence that I’ve mentioned above already. That’s also why I am reading it again. I don’t have a good habit of writing down the takeaways from the books, so after some time I have to pick them up and read them again. After four years, I can also compare the way I perceived the book for the first time and how I perceive it today.
What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)
I would recommend two books mentioned above – Influence and SPIN Selling. I’ve learned in the last year (and many people I’ve talked to confirm this) that every entrepreneur has to learn himself first how to sell their product. After you know that, you can hire others, teach them how you did it and delegate the tasks you’ve done yourself first. From my experience, I believe that following the techniques and advice from the mentioned two books, anyone can learn how to sell.
But beware that just reading the books doesn’t make you an expert yet. Doing the work does.
I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?
I read online articles every single day. Even on weekends.
These are very different kinds of articles. Being a co-founder of a bootstrapped business, I sometimes need to wear many different hats on the same day. Recently, I find myself reading Indie Hackers a lot. In the past, I’ve been reading more development-related articles. There was a year when I read every article that Smashing Magazine published. I don’t use any “read it later” kind of app, but I do have a “read later” folder in my bookmarks 🙂
When it comes to books (I prefer physical books), I still read quite often, at least 2-4 days a week. I read before I go to sleep, there are always books on my nightstand. The pitfall is that sometimes, it’s hard to put down an interesting book and then my girlfriend becomes grumpy because she wants to sleep 🙂
How do you make time for reading?
Except for the reading before I go to sleep, I also like to read on the airplane. The past week I was taking a flight from EU to the US and most of the time I was reading a book.
Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?
Sadly, no. Sometimes I put down ideas on my phone and then execute on them, but not as frequently as I’d like to.
How do you choose what books to read next?
Mostly I write down the titles of the books others recommend and sound interesting, either in the conversation or online.
Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?
I’ve mentioned the Influence a couple of times now, but here’s the non-business one that I’m reading as well. It’s a science fiction book by Dan Simmons – Hyperion. It’s a pleasure reading, so no expected gains from this one 🙂
Links where you can follow Primoz Cigler or find out more about his projects:
All books mentioned by Primoz Cigler in this interview: