Genuinely revelatory books on selling do not come along that frequently. We’ve had the recent “must-read” ‘The Challenger Sale’ by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon. Before that? You’d probably have to go back more than 20 years to ‘Spin Selling’ by Neil Rackham. (If you are interested in hearing these authors speak, join The Sales Club – Rackham spoke there in January and Dixon is booked in for November).
Both ‘Spin Selling’ and ‘The Challenger Sale’ are research based. A new book by Philip Delves Broughton, (‘Life’s a Pitch’ in the UK, ‘The Art of the Sale’ in the US) takes a quirkier look at selling. His book on his experiences at Harvard Business School is excellent so the new one is on order at Amazon and we will blog on it when we’ve had a chance to read it.
In the meantime, a post on Harvard Business Review‘s blog last week will give you a taste of what’s in the book. Broughton is rightly skeptical of sales books and conferences that provide a brief “sugar high” but do not change behaviour – we agree with that much. He then goes on to say that the main predictor of sales success is “how each salesperson perceives his or her role, and how the act of selling protects, inflates, or undermines his or her sense of self.” There is something in this so I look forward to reading more in the book. However, in the blog at least this is presented as fixed and binary personality trait – either the person has it or they don’t. We would argue that it is entirely possible to change a salesperson’s perception of their role and its relationship with his or her sense of self.
Watch this space for more views on the book…