Sound Sales: Jumpstart the New Year
It’s December. It’s that time of year when good sales professionals take time to evaluate themselves. Many will take steps to improve their sales efforts in the upcoming year by implementing new goals, new behavior, new attitude and, of course, training and supplemental reading. If you’re a salesperson who is looking for an edge and hoping that the right book can give it to you, maybe I can help.
I’d suggest reading the following books if you would like to improve your sales performance. I would certainly love to recommend my own book, Let’s Put Some Lipstick On This Pig? but that may seem like a biased opinion. However, I would rather give you an objective opinion about several other good books in the marketplace.
Winning Through Intimidation by Robert J. Ringer. This book has been out there for about twenty-five years. So, it is certainly not the latest but I feel it’s still the greatest book to read in the area of motivation. Ringer is not going to give you any sales tips or strategies. Rather, in novel form, he is going to tell you about a year in the life of a commercial real estate broker. This book offers great insight in the area of sales psychology, and is both enjoyable and easy to read.
Same Game, New Rules by Bill Caskey who is an Indianapolis based, sales consultant that I would consider to be a friendly competitor. From time-to-time, we butt heads in the central Indiana marketplace. Yet, if a company chooses not to use me in the area of sales training, they won’t go wrong by soliciting the help of Bill Caskey. Same Game, New Rules takes an insightful look at how sales has changed in the last twenty years and, as salespeople, how we must change also. The book reveals Caskey’s strategies and approach to sales, but I feel the most valuable lessons learned are in the areas of self-realization and self-improvement.
Major Account Sales Strategies by Neil Rackham is a “must read” for any and all sales professionals who have a long selling cycle or those who have to weave their way through multiple decision makers to close a deal. This book contains a number of case studies but the information is brought forward in an easily understandable and useful manner. In Chapter 2, Rackham completely dissects the corporate decision process and offers great insight into why and how salespeople unsuspectingly lose deals behind the scenes. Rackham has authored several books about sales but, in my opinion, this one is by far his best work.
Conceptual Selling by Robert B. Miller and Stephen E. Heiman. If you sell intangibles, ideas, concepts or consulting services, this book will be of benefit to you. Caution – I don’t consider this to be fun or easy reading, but the information is valuable. Miller and Heiman tend to turn sales into rocket science. As a salesperson, the book will challenge you to think outside the box and develop new strategies. It will also help you to become more analytical as you work through your selling cycle.
The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make by Hans Finzel. This book was not geared directly to sales management when it was written. However, the lessons it teaches can certainly be applied by sales managers. All ten mistakes that Finzel addresses are universal to all areas of management – including sales management. Mistake number seven, Communication Chaos, is worth its weight in gold. In this chapter, he describes in great detail how and why communications breakdown within an organization. In addition, he addresses how to avoid and or fix this problem.
As a rule, corporations don’t adequately invest in third party sales training. I don’t get it!! Sales is the life’s blood of almost every organization. Yet, in corporate America, there seems to be an attitude that sales training in an unnecessary expense rather than an investment with the potential for a high rate of return. If you’re in sales and have a desire to improve your performance – but your company is not providing quality sales training – then, hopefully, the aforementioned books will give you some of the knowledge you need.
Sales is not a stationary profession. It is a lifelong learning process with changes along the way. In order to reach the top of your profession, it is up to you to continue to educate yourself and increase your knowledge.
Happy holiday reading!
Keywords: Sales Tips, Sales Reading, Holiday Reading, Let's Put Some Lipstick on this Pig?, Sales Motivation, Self-Improvement, Business-to-Business Sales, Sales Management, Intangible Sales, Selling Tactics, Selling Solutions, Sales Professional Development, Sales Leadership Development, Sales Management Tips, Sound Sales, Sales Consulting, Compass Group Solutions, Mark McGlinchey
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