What is it about the word sales that makes some of us so uncomfortable? As entrepreneurs, especially in startup mode, you’re going to need to get a handle on selling.
The truth is you’re constantly selling yourself and your business, so it’s better to improve this skill and refine it then avoid it altogether. Aside from professional coaching or seminars, there are some simple steps you can take to improve your sales -- starting with a few good books on the subject.
Here are three books that will help every entrepreneur learn and love to sell.
1. To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink. The same author that shared A Whole New Mind is taking you into the psychology, art and science of sales. He argues that while some people make their “professional” living in sales, the reality is that all of us are selling ourselves subconsciously on some level to others (think mates, jobs, friends, etc. We’re all pitching!).
Pink devotes the same fun and counterintuitive approach to sales as he does to storytelling and right-brained thinkers in A Whole New Mind. Among the takeaways from To Sell Is Human are what Pink calls the six successors to the elevator pitch -- which he breaks down for you to understand and perfect yourself. There’s also an approach to understanding the other person’s perspective (i.e. your actual or metaphorical buyer).
Reading this book will not only entertain you but shed some light on practical and approachable selling tools you can employ today to be better at selling.
2. The 21.5 Unbreakable Laws Of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer. One of the top sales coaches in the country, Gitomer has had several other top-selling books under his belt. However, his latest book is like having your own sales coach at your disposal with each of his 21.5 laws.
The full title, 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling: Universal Truths for Making Sales Easier, Faster, and Bigger NOW and FOREVER!, is long but delivers on the premise’s promise. Some of them are common sense, but often broken, like law 10 that says you need to communicate your sales in terms of “them” not you.
Others, however, may surprise you, like law four -- to always use humor. You’ll look at selling differently and understand the holistic approach to sales with the help of Gitomer's 21.5 laws.
3. Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You by John Warrillow. The whole idea behind Built to Sell is that you truly start with the end in mind. Warrillow’s book was created to help you think about how you’re going to automate, scale and sell your business before you ever purchase a URL. It’s a great read whether you ever plan to sell or not.
It will have you thinking about the sales-automation process that can help take you out of the day-to-day need to sell, as well as help you design a business that will be ready to sell at market one day. Both are good business tactics to understand and explore.
See if your business can thrive and survive to sell itself if you’re not there.