Weekend Reading for May 1st, 2009

I have always been a fan of Ben Stein, particularly his biographical writings and his personal development books. His piece in this week’s New York Times is wonderful! If you wonder how some of us stay optimistic and retain the ability to sell through the economic downturn, this piece will stop your wondering:

Ben Stein in the New York Times: The Sales Profession: Attention Must Still Be Paid

The Money Quote I:

Sales — when done right — is more than a job. It is an art. It is a high-wire act. It is, as Arthur Miller immortally said, being out there “on a smile and a shoe shine.” It is
learning the product you are selling, learning it so well that you can
describe it while doing a pirouette of smiles for the customer and
talking about the latest football scores. It is knowing human nature so
well that you can align the attributes of your product or service
cleanly with the needs and wants of your customers.

At its best, selling is taking a doubt and turning it, jujitsu style, into a
powerful push. Selling is making the customer feel better about
spending money — or investing it — than he would have felt by keeping
his wallet zipped.

I have special memories of people who have sold brilliantly.

The Money Quote II:

Lawyers and doctors and dentists and politicians and accountants and
actors — all of us sell something, every day and every time we meet
someone. For me, it all goes back to Shoe Giant, 47 years ago, and I
wish that every 17-year-old I know could have that experience. It takes
some ability at sales to believe in your own future, no matter what
that future may be.

We are, all of us, in sales in some way or another. Which brings me to my second submission for this weekend by Social Media expert Chris Brogan (who, by the way, is about the most helpful and approachable person you will find on the Internet – and you will have no trouble finding him).

Chris Brogan on The Sales Marketing Organization

The Money Quote:

Not social media. Not marketing. Not even PR. I wanted to start from
the mindset of this: “what if every aspect of our efforts was dedicated
to helping people sell?” On the other angle, “what if every aspect of
our efforts was dedicated to helping customers buy?”

I submit that Chris’s business helps customers buy when he helps people sell more effectively; it’s two sides of the same coin.

This calls to mind my favorite Drucker quote: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer,
the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of
the business.”

Why isn’t every part of your business considered part of sales and marketing? Why isn’t every part of the business aligned around the idea that the everyone is involved in creating customers? What can you do to change it?


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Read More:

100 Ways to Succeed in Sales: #6 Make a List of Dream Clients

100 Ways to Succeed in Sales: #5 Have a Presence

100 Ways to Succeed in Sales: #4 Love a Good Fight

100 Ways to Succeed in Sales: # 3 Differentiate

100 Ways to Succed in Sales: #2 Use Every Method of Prospecting

100 Ways to Succeed in Sales: #1 Prospect Daily


Filed under: Sales 3.0

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