📅 30th April 2020 | 2020 Sales Books Reviews
This is the first of a number of sales book reviews I’ll be undertaking this year.
Like many young and eager salesmen, I invested a bit of time and money in the last century in buying manuals which, as I thought at the time, would launch me into the sales stratosphere – occasionally there would be swaps between the guys on the sales team and we’d often compare notes. Achievement though, as some of you are aware, comes from hard won experience, behavioural change, the determination to succeed and a little bit of lady luck.
Packed into 120 pages, Supercharge Your Selling is a handy little book. It has six separate sections where the reader can follow simple steps to improve their sales performance. As the author states in his introduction, “the book….is to help you to achieve incremental business”. First published in 1989, a revised edition was subsequently published in 2000. David A. Peoples was the co-author of both editions, whose book “Selling To The Top” was published in 1993.
In the book’s introduction, Henzell-Thomas explains why some salespeople are more successful than others. He plainly states that this is about saying and doing the right things at the right time – it’s that ‘magic spark’. Straight away in the first section, there’s an appeal to the reader to first of all call (or “reach out” in today’s parlance) on the Managing Director of your targeted company. Up to a point, this is still relevant in the early 2020’s, although not as easy as it once was. Part Two highlights pre-sales and implores the reader to attend a telephone techniques course.
Sales calls are covered in the third section and there are over twenty tips. Number 18, as far as I’m concerned, is the most important – ‘Learn To Listen’ covers a couple of pages and includes ‘listen to what is not said’ – key advice for any sales novice.
It is sometimes said by many a sales mentor, manager or coach that people should avoid the Coffee Club and the Watering Hole. As the author amusingly points out, both of those places are full of poor performers.
The world may have been less complicated in the 1980’s but I find the term “tip” in relation to the sales profession as grotesque. Sixty tips in Sixty minutes seems to debase what the author is trying to achieve. Tips is a casual word which is best utilised in activities such as dog walking, needlework or crayoning. It’s over used and inappropriate in the 21st century sales arena. Far better we write or say ‘Rules‘, or better still ‘Golden Rules’. Sales and selling isn’t a job. It’s a profession. And one that requires critical thinking, research and an ability to perform in public.
Only a few lines are dedicated to a couple of after-sales activities. One is really about problem handling, the other is customer contact. Henzell-Thomas offers good advice about nipping issues in the bud early on and yet I would have liked to have seen more depth to this tricky subject. Handling customer complaints about delivery, incorrect pricing or a defective product requires experience and an understanding of the consequences when things go wrong. One of my mantras is ‘sales are never complete until your customer is satisfied’.
Sending a small gift in appreciation of your customers’ business was, at one time, all the rage. And perhaps it should still be. Modern sellers though are now all too familiar with recent anti-fraud legislation. Be warned.
Personally, I find this book one of the better “quick guides” to business-to-business sales if sometimes a bit dated. I particularly like the emphasis on developing the key characteristics of the successful salesperson.