The key message in Michael Port and Elizabeth Marshall‘s nifty new book, The Contrarian Effect, is one that resonates strongly with me: sell… by not selling. Drop the cold calls, the scripts, the spin. Instead: listen, be honest, be respectful, be surprisingly useful, establish a long-term relationship.

All the same attributes that make for a successful blog, BTW, or any other form of social media marketing.

Aside: Michael originally wanted to title the book The Constanza Effect, after George Costanza in Seinfeld—referring to the episode in which George, who is notably unsuccessful almost all the time, decides to do things the opposite way and finds that it works. Wiley, his publisher, talked him out of it. Co-author Liz Marshall explains more in a video interview.

In addition to being a good read (I enjoyed the historical recaps explaining how traditional sales methods were developed), The Contrarian Effect is one of those small format business books you can tuck easily into your purse or jacket. You’ve probably noticed that Small is the new big for just about everything these days. (Execs are adopting Twitter or microblogging, instead of blogging.)

The Contrarian Effect Live Auction

In line with the authors’ “be different” approach, they’re running an eBay-style auction to mark the launch of the book. The clock is ticking as I write… less than 12 hours left. Update: The auction has been extended until 11:59 PM Friday Sept. 12, 2008.

There are some great items available: from a ticket to the Inc. 5000 conference*  (value $1,895) to a two-day workshop with Michael** (value $1,199) to a radio show interview with Rich Sloan of StartupNation (value $2,500).

I donated a 60 minute blog analysis where I’ll tear your blog apart… just kidding. I’m a wicked editor but nice about it. The currency for the auction is copies of the book, of course, rather than money. Click here for more info.

* I’ll be liveblogging the Inc. 5000 conference here in DC next week. More TK about that.

** I attended Michael’s two-day workshop in Philly in July 2008 and found it to be very provocative. Ours was a small group and Michael, despite being the mega-author of Booked Solid and Beyond Booked Solid, was marvelous in person: warm, genuinely attentive, funny.