NPR Saturday Edition

I shall be on this morning with the excellent Scott Simon talking about The Art of the Sale.


Have We Got a Review for You!!!!

A great and thoughtful review of The Art of the Sale in The Wall Street Journal by L. Gordon Crovitz, the newspaper’s former publisher.

He quotes at length from the book, and also from Dr. Seuss:

Defending sales is, well, a tough sell. Mr. Delves Broughton might have quoted from “Dr.
Seuss’s Sleep Book,” a best seller that since 1962 has indoctrinated children to regard selling with suspicion: “Five foot-weary salesmen have laid down their load. / All day they’ve raced round in the heat, at top speeds, / Unsuccessfully trying to sell Zizzer-Zoof Seeds / Which nobody wants because nobody needs.”

But concludes:

Theodor Geisel (the real name of Dr. Seuss) may have ridiculed salesmen as flogging something that “nobody needs,” but he was a good salesman himself. He crisscrossed the country pushing his product, sometimes arriving for book signings in a helicopter. To date, the Seuss brand has moved about 200 million units. Mr. Delves Broughton, promoting the idea that sales is a virtuous calling, may have a harder time attracting customers, but he makes an appealing, contrarian pitch.

Too much piety about Rupert Murdoch

After watching the Leveson Inquiry unfold in London, I wrote this column for the Financial Times. It seems that the British public – and some sectors of the American press – want to see Rupert Murdoch do more than just apologize for the misdeeds of his British newspapers. They want to see him on his knees. And he’s not giving them what they want. He exercises power the way moguls have done for years, trading favors and using his influence, and being pursued by politicians far more than he pursues them. We seem to obsess about encounters between politicians and businesspeople, immediately assuming the worst, when they are just examples of networks at work, the age old and more often than not legitimate functioning of power.

Minister and Entrepreneurship Student love The Art of the Sale

It’s always great when people enjoy what you write, but even greater when very different seeming people have equally enthusiastic reactions.

Nanxi Liu, an undergraduate and entrepreneur at UC Berkeley, called the book:

“a fantastic, fun, and easy read. For anyone that is involved in sales or interested in selling, this is a great book… The book is motivation even for those not in sales who would like to develop salesmanship and confidence in presentation…Reading The Art of the Sale is like getting a glimpse into the successes and main lessons taught by history’s most famous entrepreneurs and salespeople. It is almost like a collection of short stories that keeps you flipping the pages. It’s a book that is great to pick up whenever you have a free moment or need a distraction because each anecdote is short and easy to read. I actually annotated the book with stickers to remind me of quotes that I liked! I haven’t done that since I was required to do that for my English class in high school. Hope you enjoy the book as much as did!”

Patricia, an ordained minister and lecturer behind, wrote:

“I could hardly put the book down, it was a great read and so well written…Selling is about understanding and using your own needs and emotions to find fulfillment…The Art Of The Sale  is what we will need when we give up playing games and being entertained, it is about the art of living life.”

Thank you to both of them.

Jack Covert of 800-CEO-READ selects…

I’m deeply grateful to be selected and reviewed by Jack Covert, the founder  and president of 800-CEO-READ, one the greatest booksellers in the business, and America’s leading retailer of business books to corporations and organizations. It’s great to be reviewed favorably, but doubly so by a great salesperson.

“Sales is complicated. No one seems to like it, whether they’re doing the selling or being sold to, yet it is one of the most common positions in the world and many sales gurus preach, “everyone is in sales.” Its ubiquity would seem to make it very clear to people, but it remains a slippery topic to understand.

Philip Delves Broughton’s new book, The Art of the Sale: Learning from the Masters About the Business of Life, examines this enigma in great detail. From high-level insurance sales, customer-focused antiques retail, and intense info-marketing to the nearly religious world of sales consulting, Delves Broughton reveals some of the fundamentals of this tricky business: storytelling, failure, persistence and, in essence, the human experience.

As Mrs. Shibata, one of Delves Broughton’s case studies and the most successful insurance sales person in Japan states:

“Selling is very hard to teach, because it’s about what exists in your head and what goes on in your whole life. If you keep your friends and respect your parents, the benefits of that come back to you in this life. It comes back as income you can see. 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.”

Clearly, not only is sales complicated, but salespeople also have to have a complex range of skills and intuition. They must have enough empathy to connect with people, but not so much that they cannot close a sale. Delves Broughton’s analysis of the process smoothly translates into his analysis of the people involved, where the most successful are often the most complex, all while exhibiting a patterned, learned, and simplistic message on the surface.

If sales, and salespeople, are complicated, it’s also all very fascinating, and this book is as entertaining as it is educational. There are incredible stories within it, from PT Barnum, Jeffrey Gitomer, and Donald Trump, to everyday people and products you might have never heard of… yet.”

Thank you Jack.

Mark Zuckerberg – Salesman

The Ace - an improbably good salesman

Post-Instagram, a great post by Sarah Lacy at her brilliant Pando Daily on how Mark Zuckerberg sells smaller companies on the idea of being bought by Facebook. It’s not just the money. It’s the chance to be part of something bigger. Other entrepreneurs and programmers WANT Zuckerberg’s blessing. He is the classic Ace salesman, who is able to sell because he’s at the very top of his game. Everyone wants to buy from the best.

“Mark Zuckerberg personally goes to visit with the entrepreneurs and actively sells Facebook — something very few CEOs at his level do…The smaller the company, the more he makes time for it, we hear, because it’s that much more effective…Facebook considers itself an engineer paradise, because it has relatively few engineers compared to other Web giants. Facebook has hundreds; Google has thousands. Or as it’s usually expressed: The ratio of page views per engineer. The message is that one guy can do a lot at Facebook. They aren’t (as much of) a cog in a machine, and that plays to the exact fears of a small team about to be absorbed. In other words: Their code reaches people. It matters.

But what is so staggering about this relatively unique playbook is how obvious it is. Of course, you’d want to sell to a CEO and not a biz/dev guy. And of course you’d rather your code mattered. Those are the things that drive people to work at startups to begin with. To the right hires, those two things would be more important than money. But somewhere along the way to becoming a big company, many entrepreneurs forget that. Zuckerberg apparently hasn’t.”

The Art of the Sale – on sale April 12

“Best book on sales? The best I’ve ever read.”

– Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence and The Little Big Things.

“The unsung heroes of capitalism are unsung no longer…Buy it and be enlightened.”

– Adrian Wooldridge, Schumpeter columnist, The Economist.