There are a gazillion books on selling, mainly because selling is hard. Buying is easy.

You can certainly go ahead and read these ‘how to’ books (I haven’t read many)… but there’s nothing quite like the experience of sitting down and listening to people, prospects, experts… you will find your own sales style will come through naturally. A forced style never works. I tend to be of the ‘you have to educate to sell’ variety.

I find this style works for me as it focusses on listening and trying to solve problems; and making sure I go overboard with the solution, and wow the clients. The best advertising is having them rave about you.

Here are a few things I have picked up along with way

  1. To get the meeting: ring up and say “do you have some time in your diary in the next two weeks to catch up..?” – who can say NO to that? Don’t hesitate, make that call now.
  2. In the meeting, after introductory talk, try to concentrate the first half on their issues, their problems, get them talking; nod and encourage them; let them get it out. Don’t lead with their product, put yourself in their shoes.
  3. Last half, wind their issues and problems back to your solution. Don’t talk too much; the best sales people know when to shut up and go in for the close. Don’t be afraid to ‘ask’.
  4. Close/presumptive sale/next action. You’re always going to be the solution (one hopes) so make a time for next action – either they whip out their credit card right there (I’ve rarely have this happen), or you get a quote to them on paper/email the next day, or follow up meeting with others…
  5. Proposal, not too long, very clear, Ts + Cs clear, follow up on phone. Signed in writing, and off you go. Sale done. But your job has only just begun.

Most of the time you should get the meeting. If you have listened, most of the time you will get the sale.

Having said all that, books on selling I have read that were useful are:

Who Dares Sells‘ – published in 1992, by Patrick Ellis – the ultimate guide to selling anything to anyone.

Seth Godin’s Purple Cow – being remarkable is what counts.

Richard Branson’s ‘ Losing my Virginity‘ – greatest take away – we never had much of a plan, we just picked up the phone and got on with it.


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