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The Bookworm – Part II with Ben Pritchett

by | Ben Pritchett, In the Magazine | 0 comments

Another cornerstone in any business coach’s repertoire is sales skills.  After nearly 26 years in the field of coaching and consulting, I’ve taken my fair share of sales training and I’ve read dozens of books on the topic.

One of the biggest keys to selling in my mind is that we all like to buy (we’re called consumers for a reason), but we don’t particularly like to be sold … most certainly not if we feel that we’ve been misled, coerced or tricked into the purchase.

The other challenge that we have as coaches is that we are selling an intangible.  You can’t see, touch, taste, smell or feel coaching services.  Once we’re done there may be tangible improvements, but it’s hard to leave our fingerprints on them and a surprising number of clients will like to take credit for our hard work once all is said and done.  (Amazingly, when there are problems, we always get to take the blame though.)

With that preamble out of the way, here are some of my top choices for coaches wanting to hone their sales skills:

Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing

By Harry Beckwith

This book has been out for almost two decades, but is still probably the best one I’ve seen on selling that tackles the concept of intangibility.  Let’s face it, there’s been a shift in the overall economy over the past few decades where we’ve moved from manufacturing to more and more services, so understanding intangibles is becoming increasingly important.

Beckwith has taken a fairly complex topic and broken it down into dozens of short pithy chapters filled with ideas, insights and examples of the best ways to give the invisible substance.  This is one of the first books to approach this topic and it still provides great value for the reader.

Not much more to say about this book … pick it up, read it and apply it, you’ll be glad that you did.

Ziglar on Selling / Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale

By Zig Ziglar

I probably should have led off with Zig, because Secrets of Closing the Sale is the first book I read on the topic and it’s still a classic well worth reading on the topic.  Ziglar on Selling is the newer book though, so it might be the best choice if you only have the time to red one.

Many of Ziglar’s ideas might seem a little old fashioned or outdated, but don’t sell him short.  Many things have changed over the years, but human nature is not one of them.  People are still motivated by greed, one-upmanship, saving money and many other basic human needs.  The fact that he was selling pots and pans door to door isn’t material to the fact that you can adapt his ideas to selling coaching services too.

Sadly, Zig passed away a few years ago but his sales wisdom lives on in his books and programs.

Silver Bullet Selling: Six Critical Steps to Opening More Relationships and Closing More Sales

by G.A. Bartick & Paul Bartick

I was taking some intense sales training from a former top Sandler Franchise owner in Louisville, Kentucky a few years back … while I certainly learned a lot, I found some of the methods and techniques hard to grasp.

Before one of my flights to Kentucky I came across this book and bought it on something of a whim.  I was shocked by not only how good the content was but how much it covered what I was paying thousands of dollars to learn … not only covering it, but explaining it better!

For bigger ticket sales or sales involving a longer sales cycle, this is the book you want to read.  It has great easily applicable content for almost every sales situation.  Combined with some of the other tried and true techniques in the previous books you will have quite the sales arsenal.

Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching: 32.5 Strategies to Ring Your Own (Cash) Register in Business and Personal Success

by Jeffrey Gitomer

This book may be a little hard to find now, but it’s worth the effort.  It’s based, in part, on an old sales manual for NCR Cash Registers (some of you young readers may have to Google that one).

Gitomer is a sales master who manages to inject humour, wit and wisdom into his books on selling.  I’ve read most of his material and while you can’t go wrong with either of his titles on selling, I like this one the best.

Honourable Mention:

How to Master the Art of Selling

by Tom Hopkins & Judy Slack

In a similar vein as Zig Ziglar’s books, Tommy Hopkins is an old school hardcore salesman with lots of tips and tricks up his sleeve.  You can get a great sales education from the other books listed here, but if you want a little extra credit, grab this one.

Conclusion:

Sales is a skill that every coach must master, both to close your own business and to teach your clients.  Everybody knows something about sales, but reading these books will help you master the skill.  It’s vital to your success, so get to it … As Zig liked to say “See you at the top!”

 About  Ben Pritchett

Ben Pritchett started his first business at the age of 15, and began his own consulting practice in 1991. For over 25 years he has worked with clients in many industries including restaurants, direct sales, software development, tourism, dimension stone (granite quarrying and manufacturing), aviation, and optometry, just to name a few. Companies coached by Ben have nearly doubled and tripled their revenues in a single year.

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