Yes or no. Do you consider yourself a salesperson? Your answer please? If you replied “no” then your career plans may be limited to life as a toll booth operator! Go back and rethink your answer!
But if you said “yes”, here’s another question. Do you think you are good at selling? If you say “no” this may be due to humility OR it may be the truth! Never believe that good technical cleaning skills will make up for a lack of sales ability. Here is the crucial difference. Technical skills get you in the door and may even pay your bills. Sales create your profit. For example, successfully selling Scotchgard will increase your profitability much more than a full page ad in the Yellow Pages.
The question always arises “are you born with inherent sales ability or is it a learned skill?” A few lucky people are born with innate skills, for the rest of us sales skills must be developed.
Fortunately selling is a self-taught skill. A quick look at Amazon.com shows nearly 200,000 books on the subject of sales! Trying to figure out where to start is like trying to drink from a fire hose. Let me share a few of my favorite books on selling. Oddly enough, they are all authored by one unique individual.
One of the most prolific sales authors, Jeffrey Gitomer, has been writing since the nineties. His take on sales can be summed up with the statement “Why people buy is a thousand times more important than ‘how do I sell’?”
His first effort was:
Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless: How to Make Customers Love You, Keep Them Coming Back and Tell Everyone They Know.
The point of Customer Satisfaction is that bragging about the fact that you have 97.5% customer satisfaction really means that you have 2.5% of your customers complaining about you. These “negative Cheerleaders” are always much louder than the people who are “passively satisfied.”
The Sales Bible: The Ultimate Sales Resource, Revised Edition
The Sales Bible was listed as one of “The Ten Books Every Salesperson Should Own and Read” by the Dale Carnegie Sales Advantage Program. This book is best suited for a person relatively new to sales and can be a great resource guide.
The Patterson Principles of Selling
John Patterson was the founder of National Cash Register (NCR). Patterson is considered to be the father of American salesmanship. As the world’s greatest salesman he taught the principles of salesmanship. In 1923 Patterson created The Primer for his sales employees. This was the first documented sales tool. The book listed dialogue examples of the most frequently asked questions and objections, along with answers that had been successful to other members of his selling force. Each volume of The Primer was numbered and assigned to a salesman. If he quit or was terminated, he had to turn it in. Gitomer has taken these principles created nearly a century ago and tweaked them for our times. Two examples are:
If you walk in with information about you, they consider you a salesman.
If you walk in with ideas and answers, they consider you a resource.
There are two basic kinds of listening: listening with the intent to respond and listening with the intent to understand.
Think about this the next time you receive a paper receipt. Patterson created the demand for a printed receipt rather than just trying to sell the concept of a cash register. Try to think of a way you might be able to use the same philosophy to build your business.
The Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness
In 2004 Gitomer brought out the Little Red Book which promptly sold over a half million copies making it the current sales book champ. As Gitomer learned in Patterson’s Primer there is really nothing new in sales. He doesn’t pretend that he has the magic potion or has finally discovered the secret that will cause customers to beat down your door. What he does is passionately present effective selling skills in a unique fashion that keeps your attention with liberal doses of humor.
Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Red Book of Sales Answers: 99.5 Real World Answers That Make Sense, Make Sales, and Make Money
In 2006 the Little Red Book was followed up with the Little Red Book of Sales Answers which has practical answers to over 100 real-world sales questions. These answers cover everything from how to leave a voice mail that sells for you, handling difficult customers, and selling on the internet.
Gitomer is the latest in a long line of sales trainers who came up through the ranks as opposed to learning sales theory in a college classroom. He has learned from and improved on training from veterans such as Patterson, Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, and Dale Carnegie.
Spend thirty minutes a day reading and highlighting these five books and in a few short months you will be on your way to becoming a sales natural!