Book 8 of 52: "Art of the Sale" by Philip Delves Broughton

Is it strange that I really like reading books about sales, even though I’m not in a sales position?  As a graduate student, the most “sales” I have to do is selling my PI on some idea as the best approach, while secretly biting at my fingernails and hoping I’m not overlooking some obvious blunder.  I’m definitely not out cold-calling clients or making commissions.

But even so, I think some of the case studies in Philip Broughton’s narrative, “Art of the Sale”, are applicable to just about everyone who interacts with another person.

A lot of the lessons of this book are very similar to those that I’ve read in other sales books (again, this is a favorite area of mine).  It’s important to not be bothered by rejection, to always be optimistic, to truly have a passion for what you’re selling, to have a powerful intrinsic drive to be the best.  I’ve heard these tips before.

Yet even though most of the advice of “Art of the Sale” is fairly common, the way that these lessons are presented makes the book a very appealing read.  Instead of simply telling us these rules, Broughton takes us around the globe, showing us how master salesmen in different cultures and locations succeed.

And most interestingly, it’s not always the same path to success.

In fact, most of the salesmen profiled in Broughton’s book have found their own unique way to sell, to succeed.  But even though they vary their methods a lot, they all still find success, and Broughton concludes that, depending on the company and market, wildly different methods of sales can all work.

For example, for a company that sells huge pieces of power machinery to just a few clients, culturing client relationships is super important.  But for another company that sells thousands of products on low margin, relying on volume, pure speed and volume is all that matters.  And both of these approaches are correct – for their target market.

In conclusion, the most important lesson of this book for salesmen is not to adapt a strict set of rules or beliefs – but to understand how to best interact with your customers.  An interesting perspective.

Time to read: probably around 8 hours.  I read most of this book in small chunks before bed.

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