Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Read in 2016 - 1: How To Sell Brilliantly

The full title of this book by Nicholas Bate is "How to sell brilliantly in good times and bad". I found it as a free ebook on Amazon's kindle shop.

When you look at books about selling, you quickly get the impression that everything there is to know about the subject has been written at some stage. And it's true - none of the (self-styled or otherwise so-called) "Sales Gurus" have re-invented the wheel, so to speak.
But some give more practical tips than others, and this book is definitely a most practicable approach. The tips and ideas laid out here are valuable and can be applied, no matter whether you run your own one-man window cleaning business, have a consultancy firm with a dozen employees or are part of the sales team in a large insurance company.

My first impulse on reading the first few sentences was, I must admit, rejection. I disliked the "sell, sell, sell" spirit that seemed to leap from the  page on my kindle. You know the kind of sales person who, like a cartoon character, has $ signs in their eyes? Exactly!

For well over 10 years, I was actively selling point of sale hardware in a business to business environment. I liked my job and was good at it. It is no exaggeration to say that I truly liked most of my customers, and knew them and their business and their customers, their fears and sorrows, well.
But I did not measure each and every action in relation to my work in terms of profit. That is simply not my attitude - neither in my private life nor at work. Therefore, I never was a typical sales person, and didn't try to become one.

To get back to the book, I soon understood that much of what the tips and ideas are about confirm my personal experience in selling. There weren't any big surprises, but I did feel that my initial reaction was a misconception, and Nicholas Bates is probably a really decent guy who has not much in common with the unpleasant "sell, sell, sell" type.

There is quite a bit of humour in the way he presents his suggestions. And he never fails to make sure the reader understands that selling is WORK - there is no magic formula that will turn you into a millionaire over night. And there aren't any tricks in sales that won't fall back on the trickster eventually.

Instead, a healthy work-life balance is seen just as important as getting down to business and not wasting time in meetings. The author never claims to have "the sole truth", but advises his readers to learn more by reading other books as well - but most of all by DOING things instead of just reading or talking about them. The advice he invariably gives at the end of each chapter is: Start Today!


  1. I don't have any gift at all for selling so it will be interesting to get this book, if it is a free one on Kindle. I hope I learn something. !!

    1. You will, Jenny, I'm sure of that - just don't let some of the "chaka!" bits turn you off.

  2. Although I attended many many trade fairs to sell the pottery we made I was never a good sales person when it came to things. Strangely in my career my life was spent selling reasonably successfully although few considered it selling: my job involved presenting cases i.e. ideas i.e. selling ideas was a large part of my job.

    1. Selling ideas rather than a tangible product can be much harder, but in the end, what people buy when they buy a product is often also the idea behind it. For instance, when it comes to a dress, a woman does not only buy a dress, she buys an idea with it: how she will look and feel in it, what sort of situation she'll wear it for, and what people will (hopefully) think of her when they see in it.