I friend of mine actually is a salesman who travels the UK, and I asked him for some advice. He is the antithesis of a “traveling salesman”; his hair isn’t greasy, you can’t see manipulative cogs turning in his head, and he’s friendly. So if I’m going to emulate anyone in pushing sales, I’d like to be a bit like him. He has given me the following advice.
Sales Books = Fluffy Bull Sh*t
Books can give you ideas and structure to your sales approach but ultimately the best sales people are born to do it. If anyone could just learn to do it he argues successful sales people wouldn’t be so well paid. That said, here are a few of those which he recommends:
What Every Body is Saying by Joe Navarro. It’s a bit pop-culture / pop science but an easy read, take it on holiday.
Flipnosis – the Art of Split Second Persuasion by Kelvin Dutton. Again, by no means an academic book but an interesting read for sure.
The New Strategic Selling by Miller Heiman, Sanchez & Tuleja. More of a typical sales textbook.
Copy Cat = Successful Cat
The best way of learning is to watch what your most successful peers do and “borrow” from their best bits. Don’t try and become them, that won’t work. Adapt what you do based on what you’ve seen working for others and develop your style accordingly.
Personally, I have a sales friend who can charm the socks off any receptionist he rings and skip away with a direct line for just about anyone. However, I can’t flirt like him, so I’ll try utilising my American charm.
Know Thy Product
The real secret is to know what you’re selling / your product so well you don’t have to think about it. Then you can focus your attention on your audience, what they’re doing, how they’re responding to you and each other. It’s all about the non-verbals.
Lastly, believe in the “Sales Karma” for real. I believe that if you help others to develop and grow, or just generally do someone a good turn you get repaid in Sales Karma (i.e. you do better yourself).