Those of you that know me, have been trained by me, or have heard me speak will know that I’m on a ‘mission’. That mission is to professionalise the profession of selling and to promote sales as a genuine ‘career of choice’ for young people.
In the modern world, the Internet and social media have revolutionised how buyers (both consumers and B2B) buy! Pushy, aggressive and arrogant sales people are just so easy to avoid; often buyers can now circumvent them completely by doing their research and purchasing independently.
It is clear then that the profession of selling must adapt or die!
With that in mind let’s suppose you are considering a career in sales or are a new salesperson looking for help and advice on your selling skills. It would make sense to peruse the myriad of sales training books available on Amazon (other online retailers also exist apparently). I did this exercise recently and was saddened and appalled by the titles of many of the books available. Here are just a few with their bylines below:
Bare Knuckle Selling
Knockout sales tactics they don’t teach you at business school
Achieve extraordinary sales results using Psycho-Cybernetics
Unconventional weapons & tactics for increasing your sales
Who Dares Sells
The ultimate guide to selling anything to anyone
Heavy Hitter Selling
How successful salespeople use language and intuition to persuade customers to buy
If the titles and bylines weren’t bad enough, the words are further reinforced with images containing the likes of raised fists, baseball bats and military style insignia!
LET ME BE CLEAR! My issue is NOT with the content of these books, it is simply the aggressive impression that these (and similar) book titles and covers portray of the profession of selling.
I did spot another book title during my trawl that whilst the total opposite also gave me cause for concern. It was Seductive Selling – The Ultimate Guide to Wooing a Customer (pass the bucket please!)
I’m proud to be a judge again this year for the European Women in Sales Awards (@WISAwards on Twitter). This initiative is designed to showcase the amazing female talent we have in a very male dominated profession, and to promote sales as a career choice for more women. I’m not surprised that events like The Women In Sales Awards are needed as based on my research of the Amazon sales bookshelves, I can clearly see why many women are put off a career in sales. The aggressive testosterone inducing mentions of weapons and tactics liken the act of selling to being at war with your prospect and/or your competitors.
In reality the modern world of professional selling is about authenticity and trust, partnership and mutual respect. Sales people in 2015 are (quite rightly) held to account and must deliver on their promises or risk being ostracised at best and ‘outed’ on social media at worst.
My plea to sales book writers is simple! Choose a title and an image that enhances the reputation of the profession. A book cover that wouldn’t cause embarrassment if it fell out of a salesperson’s briefcase during a client meeting!
A great example of this would be my favourite sales book, which is called “Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play” – Transforming The Buyer/Seller Relationship. Now that’s a Sales Book Title!
Thank you for reading!
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