The Art of Professional Sales

 



My latest book is a departure from the fast paced action adventure novels I consider my stock in trade. The Art of Professional Sales is the book I wish I had read when I started my professional sales career.

I DECIDED TO WRITE A SALES TRAINING BOOK because I saw that the art of sales was disappearing from most business models. I am not referring to the pursuit of sales numbers. Every business owner and entrepreneur gives lip service to the importance of sales. To each of these leaders in industry, sales has become a statistical event only. Businesses nowadays seem to relegate their sales numbers to the same circumstance of chance they assign outside production activities to the weather.

I see the art of professional selling abandoned by so many. Most sellers, and buyers, consider traditional sales an antiquated practice which no longer works. In the modern age of an informed customer base, and the emergence of compassionate business ownership, sales is considered a discourtesy.

 

Today company owners focus every aspect of their business on social media popularity and 5-star reviews. The possibility that their sales department might blunder into professional selling and potentially pressure a customer into buying terrifies them.

 

A part of my preparation for writing this book included searching brick and mortar bookstores and scanning online book retailers for sales training books. I am astounded at how few sales training books are available. I found a few of the standards: Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziglar, and W. Clement Stone, but there were few recently published books on the true art of selling. 

Most of what I found centered around celebrity sales phenoms and how they achieved their unprecedented sales numbers. Other books focused upon the psychology of how to avoid upsetting customers while trying to implement carefully guarded persuasion skills.   I saw none that taught professional selling techniques in the context of today’s sophisticated market.

If you have read some of the books available today, you may be surprised at the tone the authors take with their readers. It seems to me that many sales manual writers assume the role of the scolding manager or an impatient parent.

I read a recently published sales book, penned by a currently well-known sales trainer. The book was written from the perspective that sales is hard and if the reader would just toughen up a little, he or she could learn how to do it. Just browsing the table of contents, even the chapter titles seemed a bit condescending.

As we seasoned veterans age in the sales profession, we must be wary of the onset of cynicism towards young people today. It is easy to talk down to a group based upon preconceived notions or from a sense of superiority and prestige.

As a matter of course, my generation tends to discount the modern generation. People my age feel, as does every previous generation, that we have endured more hardships, and worked more ardently towards our goals, than “kids nowadays.”

I try to keep the painful memories of my early sales fears, and my difficulties in learning the craft, handy when I write for my reader. Like you, there was a time when the sales process was intimidating to me.

I don’t believe that deprecation and belittling is an effective means by which to connect with a reader. Many of the sales books I purchased during my preparation read like a genius talking down to a dullard. When I see the words “merely” or “you just have to do this” in a book, or in the style of writing a book, I am immediately turned off. The process may be simple, but it is not easy. If it were, everyone would be able to do it, and there would be no premium paid for those who excel.

In the sales business, the most obvious difference between the hardships of the past and those of today is the cause of the hardship. In the early years of my sales career, the difficulties centered around learning techniques and applying them to the sales presentation. Today, the hardships are those related to finding a sales position where you can actually learn and use professional sales techniques without being criticized by the fearful and the unknowledgeable. Today, the packaging of the sale is the focus, not the ability to make a sale consistently and predictably.

 

The seller who employs professional sales tools, will outperform the seller who only practices sales professionally.

 

No matter the social or economic pressures affecting a person, I believe in his or her innate values and strengths. If you purchased this book, you are a cut above. I believe that if you take the time to learn what I offer you in this book, you are to be respected.

Do I consider my reader a member of a special group? Yes, I do. I rejoice that there remain in the world ambitious and confident people with a strength of character, and the determination to succeed. You are taking your career seriously enough to put yourself through the hard-headed process of learning a difficult profession in a time when, as a rule, achievement and success are vilified. I find your drive to excel remarkable in respect to how unpopular it is.

I welcome you to the club, even at this early stage in your career. The courage to take that first step is often the most difficult aspect of the journey. You are welcome here. I pledge to share all I know, that it may help you succeed in one of the most difficult professions there is.

Sales is not difficult because it is hard or torturous. Sales is difficult because of many sellers’ preconceived ideas about how to sell.

 

The untrained salesperson will get his or her nose bloodied by defensive buyers who just want to be left alone, or worse, have an inherent dislike for salespeople.

 

Unfortunately for buyers, the product or service does not float into their living room on its own and show off its features. The product or service cannot connect a feature with the buyer’s needs. Until someone figures out how to create a product that does, it is up to sellers to do their job.

In my view, sales is the greatest profession in the world. Where else can you earn a 6-figure living simply by talking with people and helping them get what they want? What other profession allows you to control your time and manage your work as you see fit?

Although I believe in the prosperity of sales as a profession, I also know that the salesperson is the biggest Built-in-Major-Objection in any offering of a product or service. The professional seller knows how to bring up that huge objection and make it an important addition to the sales process. The amateur does not and fights the salesman battle throughout the sales process.

The salesman battle is the seller’s efforts to penetrate the buyer’s protective screen he or she erects to keep the seller at a distance.

Why is this book a fraction of the length of most other books on sales? This book is purposely brief. My


editor would prefer a thicker volume, filled with ponderous prose. As a consumer of sales training and self-help books, I don’t like wordy sales reference books. I want the author to get to the point and dispense with the soap box lectures, or his or her psychological perspective on sales.

I don’t believe in prattling on just to increase my word count. If you want a wordy book, please purchase one of my fiction novels. I have been told they are surprisingly good. If you want a quick read that was written with a respect for your time and effort, this is the one for you.

This book is a launching pad for your career. The topics covered here are fundamental to the sales business. Before you veteran salespeople groan at the idea of starting over, understand that you are not starting over, even if you have been selling for years.

Every professional athlete on any sports team, league, or association attends a pre-season training camp. During training camp, the professional athlete works on the fundamentals of his or her sport. When questioned by reporters, the professional athlete doesn’t denounce the work he or she invests in practicing the fundamentals of the sport. Rather, most interviews and news stories quote the professional athlete extolling the benefits of a successful training camp.

 

Professional sales is remarkably similar to professional sports. Like athletic skill, sales acumen is a perishable skill. If you don’t practice, you will lose your sharpness.

 

I must confess that writing this book has improved my sales techniques. As I wrote, I realized that, like the pro athlete, I knew the basics but had stopped using some of them. Writing this book caused me to focus on the fundamentals of sales. I can assure you I am using the fundamentals now.

I want you to consider this book a reference to which you may refer at any time. The table of contents is clear and concise. You can easily locate and review a specific topic. The book is thin enough that you can carry it with you in a brief case or tote.

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