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
We are very pleased to present this review as a part of the author’s TLC Book Tour. We’ve been planning on reviewing this book as a part of our Jack Covert Selects series since the beginning of the year, and the stars just happened to align on this tour. If you’d like to follow the tour further, you can find a list of Philip’s tour stops at the TLC website.