Ken Dunn Greatest Prospector

Book Review: The Greatest Prospector in the World & Interview with Ken Dunn

Randal Wark Uncategorized Leave a Comment

I did not want to read this book, I kept putting it off.  Prospecting for Gold in the 1900s is not my subject of choice.  I knew it was a business book with lessons about sales prospecting, told in a fictional narrative from the perspective of a young girl leaving behind her passion of helping her dad prospect for gold.  Finally, one Saturday afternoon, I started reading the book, surprised that I was exhibiting the same resistance as young Laura as she boarded a train and left her old life behind.  As I got deeper into the story, like Laura, I let go of my guard and started to enjoy the ride.  I read the book in one sitting, which is probably a first for me, apart from reading Dr Seuss to my kids at bedtime.  I was drawn into the story of Laura, who would learn valuable lessons about business based on 6 secrets that are revealed to her progressively throughout the book.

Being an entrepreneur in a male dominated business world, it was refreshing to be cheering on this strong woman going against the tide of the time.  Her progressive journey through the six secrets can help any business owner and sales person to succeed, where many simply exist in mediocrity.  If you read as many business books as I do, the lessons might not be new or revolutionary, but I still managed to gather useful knowledge that I have been applying in my professional life since reading this book, particularly secret number six.  Sometimes, we need to have the obvious pointed out to see it right in front of our eyes.

Although modern tools may have changed the landscape of the sales industry, the basic principles remain the same that relationships and personal interest trumps fast talking, pushy sales people.  By not only learning the secret, but seeing how Laura applies it and adjusts her methods, you can see how it can be applied in your life.

If sales is your least favourite activity in your company, this book might make the task much more enjoyable as you search out for your gold nuggets around you.

Interview with Ken Dunn

Ken Dunn

Ken Dunn

Randal Wark:  Being an entrepreneur is not all fun and games.  You mention that there are some days where you want to pull your hair out and ask yourself:  Why am I doing this?  Despite these issues, what are the benefits of starting your own business?

Ken Dunn:  You have the ultimate control over your own life. You get to hold the sword, you get to make the decisions.

RW:  Laura really gets hot with anger when Mr. Martin is threatened by her ability to sell.  In your opinion, have woman’s role in business finally equalled those of men?  Do they have the same opportunities and success?

KD:  I think it’s getting closer to equal, which is sad. In my opinion women have an equal if not greater opportunity in business.  Unfortunately some people don’t share my opinion. I do know that woman are naturally more tenacious and goal driven.  It’s up to the individual to decide their path, although equality issues do still come into play.

RW: With the current business landscape, the typical briefcase holding salesperson is fading away.  What do you need in these modern, connected times to succeed in sales?

KD:  You need to love people. You have to truly be interested in building and nurturing relationships. The platform has transitioned from door to door to telephone and internet but it’s still the same romance.

RW:  When the book speaks about quotas and goals, it makes a clear difference between the two.  Quotas should be ignored and surpassed while goals should be definite and have a deadline.  How powerful is a well thought out goal?

KD:  It’s the difference between success and failure. Goals are milestones on the way to fulfilling a vision.

RW:  “If you don’t dream, you’ll have nightmares” was what Laura said when she allowed herself to dream big.  What moments in your career have you allowed yourself to dream big?

KD:  I came up with the concept for several years ago while reading an article about the digitalization of the Publishing Industry. Being a lover of physical books, I decided to try and bridge this gap. Today, is a social media site for book lovers, authors and publishers that competes with GoodReads. Think of it as Facebook meets Amazon (we also sell books) but for literature lovers.

RW:  How important is a sense of humour in business?

KD:  People will work harder for somebody who has a personality. Everybody has bad days, a well-tempered sense of humor is incredibly important to anybody who leads people.

RW:  What is the funniest thing that happened to you in your career?

KD:  I can’t answer that question as my leadership style is to build a community of employees and partners who make it their point every day to make each other laugh and smile. We race go karts together, go out to dinner, play laser tag, and truly care about one another in my companies. Culture and company morale is one of my biggest concerns and main focuses.

RW:  Laura also has the goal of being a mentor.  What benefit does one receive from being a mentor?

KD:  The satisfaction of seeing someone else doing well and knowing you were a part of that development. Knowing you had a LITTLE bit to do with someone else’s success is an amazing feeling of accomplishment in and of itself.

RW:  What are some tricks you picked up from Neuro-Linguistic Programming that help in sales?  For instance, how does mirroring your client help?

KD:  The biggest thing that NLP taught me was how to build instant rapport with people. Finding common bonds. People will do business with people that they like. People like people who are like them.

RW:  What was the biggest asset that your years being a police officer brought to your sales strategy?

KD:  In innate ability to know when somebody is holding back.

RW:  You mention “gut-wrenching trial and error” when speaking about your own learning process.  What is one example of this?

KD:  Hiring friends. I once hired a friend into a key role in my company and didn’t bother to determine if he was qualified. It ended up being a drastic mistake which ruined a friendship and caused a lawsuit.

RW:  Without giving away any of the 6 Secrets this book contains, I personally enjoyed the final one, #6.  What activities do you enjoy when you are not working?

KD:  Golf, reading, and spending with my family, especially taking trips together!

RW:  When it comes to your own children Matthew and Laura, what career advice would you impart that could fit on a fortune cookie?

KD:  Start with an educational foundation and build a career from experiences.

RW:  What can readers expect from visiting

KD:  A forum for continuing their own journey to success.

RW:  What is your next project?

KD: and its continued growth and notoriety in the publishing industry.

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