A revelatory examination of the alchemy of successful selling and its essential role in just about every aspect of human experience.
When Philip Delves Broughton went to Harvard Business School, an experience he wrote about in his New York Times bestseller Ahead of the Curve, he was baffled to find that sales was not on the curriculum. Why not, he wondered? Sales plays a part in everything we do—not just in clinching a deal but in convincing people of an argument, getting a job, attracting a mate, or getting a child to eat his broccoli. Well, he thought; he’d just have to assemble his own master class in the art of selling. And so he did, setting out on a remarkable pilgrimage to find the world’s great wizards of sales.
Great selling is an art that demands creativity, mindfulness, selflessness, and resilience; but anyone who says you can become a great salesperson in 15 minutes is either a charlatan or a fool. The more Delves Broughton traveled and listened, the more he found a wealth of applicable insight. In Morocco, he found the master rug merchant who thrives in Kasbah by using age-old principles to read his customers. In Tampa, he met with Tony Sullivan, king of the infomercial, and learned the importance of creating a good narrative to selling effectively. In a sold-out seminar with sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer, he uncovered the ways successful selling approaches religion, inspiring faith and even a sense of duty in customers. From celebrity art dealer Larry Gagosian to the most successful saleswoman in Japan, Broughton tracked down anyone who would help him understand what it took to achieve greatness in sales.
Though sales is the engine of commerce and industry—more Americans work in sales than in manufacturing, marketing, or finance—it remains shrouded in myth. The Art of the Sale is a powerful beam of light onto the field, a wise and winning tour of the best in show of this endeavor which is nothing less than the means by which all of us, one way or another, get our way in the world.
Though we normally don t think of Nelson Mandela as a salesman, persuading white South Africans to end apartheid was one of the great sales campaigns in recent history. Journalist Delves Broughton (Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School) thinks salesmanship deserves more respect, though he freely admits that the few times he was called upon to sell, he hated it. Integral to any successful business, selling is seldom taught in business school, perhaps because M.B.A. programs prefer to paint a less brutal vision of business life. This exploration of the nature of salesmanship begins in Morocco, where Delves Broughton meets Majid, a world-renowned antiques dealer, who suggests that the art of the sale lies in patience and the ability to instantly read people. For infomercial-king Tony Sullivan, the art lies in the ability to tell an irresistible story, while Japan s top life insurance salesperson, Mrs. Shibata, credits her conviction that she s performing a valuable service. Like Malcolm Gladwell, Delves Broughton is drawn to success stories where natural talent takes second place to hard work, but he s also willing to explore the manipulative, deceptive aspects of the task, as well as the endless rejection salespeople must face. His enthusiasm and admiration for skilled practitioners of the art is contagious.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great read to understand sales and the world of salspeople
Can't put it down since I started it. As a life long salesperson from a long line of career salespeople, I can say this book is a joy. The parallels of sales processes in varied cultures and products is reaffirming; that sales is the greatest life path for those who choose it.
I would recommend this to anyone who has ever loved or hated sales and the professionals that ply their trade in this most ancient and economically critical arena.