Sales People (Don't) Lie.
Selling as a concept is imbibed in the very nature of human beings who are constantly trying to get a 'yes' for all their needs and requirements like the way a child wants her parents to accede to her demands and wishes. Selling is an age-old profession, a product of industrial revolution, when the manufacturers started producing quantities far in excess of what their immediate surrounding markets could absorb. However, this profession became the last resort of many persons, who got into sales jobs out of sheer desperation and / or in the lure of making some quick money. As the competition increased, many of the sales people started using unscrupulous means to somehow achieve their targets for the month. The philosophy of Selling Concept, adopted by many companies, created the image of the glib-talking, over smart salesman. The profession earned a bad name and high degree of customer-resistance.
The author has sensed the need of creating a guide for salespersons as well as sales managers on how to look at the role and conduct of a sales person for a successful career and enhancing the experience of their customers. Based on his extensive experience as a top level sales and marketing executive and a sales trainer, he has created a wonderful rule book. The megatrend in today's business world, as stated in this book, is going to extreme efforts to meet consumer needs. Sales professional have to strive to build longterm business relationship, which implies that personal relationships with clients need to be formed. Customers do business with the people they trust, and they trust the people they know and those who try to satisfy their needs with empathy and real concern for their well-being.
This is the basic message, which this book authored by Mr. Roshan L Joseph, tries to propagate. He states that the fundamental responsibility of a sales person is - caring for the customers and serving their real needs. The textbook's underlying message is being truthful in your sales, trust and caring of others (in particular the customers). It is a visionary book with the central theme that ethical service, based upon truth and trust between people, builds strong long-term relationships.
This book has been written in a reader-friendly way with 49 short chapters. The author starts the book with the historical perspective of growth of sales jobs and the integration of malpractices into this function leading to social stigma and negativity towards salespeople. He informs the reader about the rigors of the sales jobs, long travel schedules, lack of emotional and professional support while being always under the sword of achieving the monthly numbers. He throws light into the mental state of the salespeople and builds the chapters to give the insights into how telling lies, overpromising and unethical practices become part of the psyche of most of the sales professionals. The author, then, proceeds to give his thoughts on the panacea for these evils--ethical conduct, professional sales system, efficient motivational techniques, right kind of training inputs and above all, a supportive senior sales management. He asks a very pertinent question in the book--Is the role of sales management to meet the targets or to create the conditions for meeting the target.
The author has the flair of a master story-teller and the book is full of anecdotes and real-life examples, written in a unique and witty style. All this makes the book fun to read while forcing the reader to seriously ponder over the realities presented. The constant dilemma between short term gains vs. long term objectives, good for the company vs. good for the customer, sales vs. relationships has been presented crisply throughout the book with the author strongly advocating a long term view of the business and clear understanding the overall purpose of the sales function.
This book may not fit as a text book into the course of Sales Management in a B-school but is ideal to be used as a resource in sales training programmes for corporates. Professors of B-schools who conduct Management Development Programmes, Sales Consultants and trainers as well as Sales Training Managers working in companies will find this, an extremely handy and useful resource.
Professor, FORE School of Management, New Delhi.