From the New York Times bestselling author of Ahead of the Curve, a revelatory look at the importance and cultural role of sales—an essential human attribute that underpins business, religion, romance, and more—and the traits that distinguish the best sales people.
Sales is the single largest function in business. Across the globe, in economies big and small, selling is the very engine of commerce and industry. In America, millions work in sales—more than in manufacturing, marketing, or even finance. Yet, when Philip Delves Broughton was studying at Harvard Business School, he couldn’t find a single course on sales. Indeed, very few schools teach this subject. The best-educated people of the business world are clueless about one of its most vital functions, and this ignorance has enormous consequences for the economy, and for all of us.
Delves Broughton draws on extensive research, intrepid reporting, and personal experience to show the essence of sales as it manifests itself from Moroccan souks to Tokyo side streets to Wall Street trading floors, and ultimately to the countless acts of selling we all engage in every day. Along the way, he uncovers fresh answers to perennial questions about the art and science of sales: why do Americans have such extreme views on the subject (from Dale Carnegie to “Death of a Salesman”)? Can a great salesman be made, or he is born? Does a salesman have to believe in his product? Is selling ever ethical? Does it have to be? What exactly makes a great salesman, and can it be quantified?
This isn’t another work about shortcuts, tips, or tricks, though it does offer a wealth of useful information on how the best salespeople make their craft an art. It’s a uniquely evidence-based investigation of the workings of a fascinating and undervalued endeavor.