Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com's Reviews > The Art of the Sale: Learning from the Masters About the Business of Life

The Art of the Sale by Philip Delves Broughton
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May 26, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2012

The Art of the Sale by Philip Delves Broughton is a non-fiction book in which the author shares sto­ries and the­o­ries about what makes a sales­per­son. Mr. Broughton believes that we are all sales­peo­ple and could use sales skills every­day of our lives.
I’m in agreement.

Using exten­sive research and per­sonal expe­ri­ence, the author writes about sales tech­niques from a Moroc­can souk to Wall Street financiers, from street ven­dors to sell­ing we all do each and every day.

The Art of the Sale by Philip Delves Broughton is a fun, charm­ing and edu­ca­tional book which gives one a glimpse into the world of the sales force. The book can be read in parts as every chap­ter gives anec­dotes from suc­cess­ful salesman.

One of my biggest regrets is not learn­ing how to sell. My friend Tripp Braden told me a long time ago that if I knew how to sell I'd never have to look for a job. The more I get immersed in the busi­ness world, the more I see how right he was. I con­vinced myself I was a bad sales­man, from some unbe­knownst rea­son which I'm not will­ing to dwell on for my emo­tional well being and my con­stantly empty wal­let. How­ever, I can tell that this is not the case — as a web devel­oper I spent hours upon hours with mar­ket­ing per­son­nel and sales per­son­nel. While I cer­tainly don't think I can do the high pres­sure sale, I can cer­tainly use peo­ple skill, patience and power of per­sua­sion to make a few extra bucks.

I remem­ber walk­ing with my beloved wife, may she live a long life, through the souk in Jerusalem. As an Amer­i­can, she was ner­vous and a bit fright­ened by the aggres­sive­ness of the ven­dors. To be hon­est, I was on edge as well. How­ever, we quickly dis­cov­ered that we could prob­a­bly get all our gift shop­ping done that day in one place.

We found a ven­dor (or did he find us?) and I tried to bar­gain a pack­aged deal for a whole bunch of stuff (crosses, stars of David, camels, and what­not…). What the ven­dor didn’t know is that I’m not bad at math and fig­ured out the total sum. After about 40 min­utes of hag­gling, punch­ing num­bers into a cal­cu­la­tor and promis­ing to give me the deal of the decade he came up with a num­ber which was extremely close to…my orig­i­nal esti­mate. At this point my wife’s nerves were quickly com­ing to an end and we just paid and left.
But I could have knocked it down by at least 20%.

The book tells about fas­ci­nat­ing and hyp­o­crit­i­cal aspects of the sales per­son. The innate abil­ity to believe what­ever BS you’re sell­ing, the good sales can do (get­ting a job, sell­ing a book) and the bad (know­ingly sell­ing bad stocks), about rejec­tion and suc­cess, per­se­ver­ance and fail­ure. While almost no-one likes sales to the point where busi­ness schools don’t even teach it, our econ­omy wouldn’t be what it is with­out the one-on-one pitch.

I found the phi­los­o­phy of an ace Japan­ese sales­man to be espe­cially poignant:

"The objec­tive in sales becomes the same as that in the rest of your life, to respect oth­ers and do the best for them. Then you don’t have to be a sales­per­son about what you do. Sell­ing becomes an activ­ity con­sis­tent with who you are."

How many of us can hon­estly say that about sales­peo­ple we meet? How about those that sell you your 401K plan?
Do you think they do what’s best for you or that they get paid to offer you invest­ments whether they’re good or not?

Mr. Boughton points out some­thing which every per­son involves in sales, from the souk to Wall Street should keep in mind. Cur­rency is more than just hard cold cash; cur­rency is good will, affir­ma­tion, guid­ance and approval. If every­one would have the thought process of the Japan­ese sales­man, our soci­ety would look dif­fer­ently, our wal­lets fat­ter and our lives happier.

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