The Sales Star: A Real-World Story of Sales Success – Book Review
I’ve always been up for challenges in my life because I know that’s the best way to improve myself. However, there is one thing that I wish I’d never had to do in life, selling. When it comes to selling, I become the most wimp, gutless person on the earth, which is completely opposite to my personality. I have good communication skills, I’m energetic and outgoing and most importantly practical.
Still, until I’ve read this book I just thought personal selling was not for me and I’d never be able to improve myself in that area. Surprisingly, after reading The Sales Star I realized that I was being very pessimistic about my selling skills and as long as I put effort into this, there was no way I could fail because only quitters fail.
The Sales Star tells the journey of two inexperienced, young sales reps who start a job at BigCo at the same day and how they built their own ways to accomplish the goals day set for themselves through a book called “Buyer Approved Selling.” Jack and Morena are the two main characters of the book. Jack is an average good-looking guy who considers himself quiet and dependable type which is quite the opposite of regular sales person. He meets Morena at his first day at BigCo during his orientation. Jack is in the company’s top sales team, which puts more pressure on to his shoulders. Both Jack and Morena are determined to complete their 90-day probation period and later on become one of the best sales reps of BigCo.
At his first day, a co-worker tells Jack about a sales contest, which becomes Jacks ultimate goal throughout his journey. The reps and sales managers who make their yearly quota win a nine-day-trip, five days in Hawaii and four days in Acapulco. However, as he gets into the real selling world, he realizes that it won’t be so easy to win that competition. Both Jack and Morena receive a four-day intensive training on products, the company and the customers. At the end of the training, they take a test and since they work hard, each score over %90. Jack and Morena become very good friends and they try to help and support each other throughout their journey at BigCo.
One day, Jack’s neighbor, a retired G.E executive introduces him to a book called Buyer Approved Selling. This book contains the opinions of over 200 buyers across U.S about which sales approaches they liked and how much each approach influenced their decisions. Jack finishes the book at one sweep and he catches a great point, although the buyers agreed on many techniques reps could use to get more sales, most reps didn’t use them. He shares the key ideas with Morena. They both find this book very useful in many ways because soon they realize that four-day intensive training simply isn’t good enough to make it through in this business. Therefore, they decide to use the techniques, which they read in Buyer Approved Selling.
The main theory of the book is pretty simple “plan your work, work your plan” and that’s what they start doing. Before reading the book, Jack gets a phone call from Frank Mitchell at BuyerCo Industires and arranges an appointment. He gets ready in his own terms for the meeting and he feels pretty confident that he will get the account. Unfortunately things don’t turn out as great as he expected to be. He loses the account over a competitor. The buyer approved selling book helps him to see his deficiencies as well as his weaknesses. Besides the tips in the book, Jack and Moreana starts to tape their sides of phone calls to see what they say, what they don’t say and how they say it. As day listen themselves later on, they identify their strengths and weaknesses.This recording analyzes become a routine practice for them because if they don’t it would be the same as performing in a stage play without rehearsing.
Jack’s next sales meeting with a potential customer goes completely different than the first one. Jack recognizes that the best service he could do for people was to make it clear, quickly and professionally how he could help them. In order to accomplish this, he plans and prepares his strategies and rehearses them before each meeting. This time, he nails the account through the Buyer Approved Selling tips as well as his hard work and of course, it brings back his confidence after the account he lost.
Life at BigCo starts getting better and better everyday as Jack accomplishes the goals he set at the beginning of his journey. While he develops good relationships with old and new customers, he doesn’t neglect his relationships with the co-workers. Whenever a problem arises, whether it’s his responsibility or not, he becomes the part of the solution not the problem and that’s how he gains the respect and the sympathy of his colleagues. Jack and Morena fallows the path they had drawn from the beginning and at the end their hard work pays off, they win the sales contest! On the way to Hawaii, Jack keeps thinking about the moment he was called up to stage to accept the Salesperson of the Year award.
I really liked this book simply because it was pretty straight forward. Everything covered in the book made so much sense to me just like it did for Jack in the Buyer Approved Selling. Moreover, through this book, I was able to develop techniques to overcome my sales fear. As far as I understand from the book, most of the time business is simple but people are complicated and it’s sales people’s job to make it simple for both parts. I think if you now your product well enough to demonstrate sufficient knowledge to your customer, you definitely increase your chances of building long-term business relations with them. People buy from people they trust so a sales person must establish trust and consistency not only to sell but also to keep things sold. In one part, Morena tells a client that a competitor would meet their expectations better than BigCo, she basically hands in the account to a competition herself, but in the long term she builds a trustworthy relation with that customer only because she was honest in the first place. It really striked me because I’d think sales people would do or say anything to make profit.
I’ve always viewed empathy as the best way to build long and healthy relationships both in my personal and professional life and so far it’s been working great for me. If I keep doing that I bet I can be a good sales person because looking things from a broader perspective changes everything since it allows you to understand others needs and expectations better. I really enjoyed reading The Sales Star because the points I needed to understand were very clear and more importantly they make perfect sense from both sides of the desk.
Schell, Michael. The Sales Star: A Real-World Story of Sales Success. British Columbia: Approved Publications, 2004.