The Art of the Sale: Learning from the Masters About the Business of Life

Philip Delves Broughton. Penguin Press, $27.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-59420-332-9
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Though we normally don’t think of Nelson Mandela as a salesman, persuading white South Africans to end apartheid was one of the great sales campaigns in recent history. Journalist Delves Broughton (Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School) thinks salesmanship deserves more respect, though he freely admits that the few times he was called upon to sell, he hated it. Integral to any successful business, selling is seldom taught in business school, perhaps because M.B.A. programs prefer to paint a less brutal vision of business life. This exploration of the nature of salesmanship begins in Morocco, where Delves Broughton meets Majid, a world-renowned antiques dealer, who suggests that the art of the sale lies in patience and the ability to instantly read people. For infomercial-king Tony Sullivan, the art lies in the ability to tell an irresistible story, while Japan’s top life insurance salesperson, Mrs. Shibata, credits her conviction that she’s performing a valuable service. Like Malcolm Gladwell, Delves Broughton is drawn to success stories where natural talent takes second place to hard work, but he’s also willing to explore the manipulative, deceptive aspects of the task, as well as the endless rejection salespeople must face. His enthusiasm and admiration for skilled practitioners of the art is contagious. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2012
Release date: 04/12/2012
Paperback - 291 pages - 978-0-14-312276-0
Compact Disc - 8 pages - 978-1-4423-4714-4
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-101-56174-4
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