Author – Shiv Khera
Publisher – Westland Books
Price – Rs. 275/-
My rating – 4/5
Once in a while, there comes a book that changes your life! Well, this is not that kind of a book but it serves to remind us of application of basic principles such as character,integrity and responsibility in our personal and professional lives. All of us have heard these terms while growing up but have probably forgotten them on our quest for the bigger, better life.
I was initially hesitant to review this book for the following reasons:
a) I am almost never interested in self-help books
b) I was wondering if the book was written for those exclusively in the business of selling.
To be honest, it does seem to have targetted the potential salesman, but I felt that the foundations and concepts explained in the book are applicable to those in other professions as well. In fact some of the lessons serve as simple recipes for healthier professional and personal lives.
The book reinforces some of the basic personality traits that separates winners from losers like attitude, self-esteem and the ability to be persistent but not a pest! The narration that drew my attention was about employees in an office that have a need for frequent coffee breaks and an urge to flit from table to table, exchanging gossip and being an impediment to those that try to get their work done….. They go through their days living out the same cycle at work blaming the office, its products, their environment or their bosses for their failure, rather than pulling up their socks and getting their job done. In my professional experiences, I have seen plenty of folks of this nature and was able to make the immediate connections! But of course some of these folks are such great political sharks that they can save their backs even if they are a nuisance to others!! But that is a topic for another day 🙂 What makes these laggards different from those that succeed no matter what?
The book explains the importance of polite conversation, body language, sensitiveness to the customer, good presentation skills and grooming all which are important to be a good sales man. However I think that all of these are extremely important to any working professional and play big roles in our personal lives too. Don’t we prefer those that listen to us than those that simply hear us? What do many of us think of those dressed shabbily for a first meeting? Doesn’t the way we present ourselves during a job interview or social circles influence the way we are perceived? All this and more is explained in simple terms which simply drives home the importance of these little character traits which were taught by our parents while growing up.
The book also has sample letter templates and conversational phrases which would be useful for those eyeing potential sales careers. There are chapters dedicated to amateur salesmen and women which discusses how one can cope with failures and turn disadvantages to advantages.
The book is inspiring – the author was someone who washed cars for a living until he landed a job selling vacuum cleaners. Incidents from his own life marking his progression from being a bad salesman who was almost fired from his first job to that of a seasoned professional who started and administered his own successful enterprise.
However, I should mention that the book typically address sales techniques and cycles followed in the United states of
America. So I have my own doubts about how many of these could be applicable to those trying to sell in a country like India where we hang up on sales calls and slam the doors on sales men who ring our door bells. The negotiation and haggling techniques described in the book are far too sophisticated and seem to be for citizens of a different upbringing and not for a country that has folks from different spheres of life speaking different languages. I for one cannot imagine inviting a sales person into my home for a presentation as I my first instinct would be to wonder if the guy at my door is a thief!
One important concept that should be taken to heart by anybody who wants to sell in India is that of grooming and presentation. I recall an incident in the past when I had a home insurance sales man that stank up my fresh new home thanks to his body odor!! 😦 I couldn’t wait till he was out of my house and definitely did not want to do business with the same company again! I mean a small investment in an anti-deodorant would have definitely made a different impression on me. This issue so common within the swanky IT offices and other businesses where people tend to stink up conference rooms and other areas because they don’t understand that body odor is not attractive. They don’t understand that one can drive away potential customers or friends thanks to this issue….
The most important lesson from the book is that a good sales man or woman needs to show that he cares – he / she needs to rise above the mentality of targets that they need to meet. He/she should believe in the product being sold and not push something that he wouldn’t use down the throat of customers.
To conclude, I would definitely keep referring to this book every now and then to keep track of what I am doing wrong and how I can improve. A very good read for those in sales and those that want to make a successful career in sales – a good lessons for life book for the rest of us.