How Much Respect Does Sales Command?

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Not a fat lot. If the number of books on our topic in Europe’s newest and largest public library is any guide. The vast new Birmingham book repository boasts one million books. Including local lad Shakespeare’s first folio. It has an entire floor labelled ‘business’. When nearby recently after its opening, I checked it out. How many books on selling did it offer?

24.

I realise that some books may have been loaned out, but many covers housed a large sticker; Reference Only Not To Be Taken Away. An entire brand spanking new library, a whole floor devoted to commerce texts, aisle upon aisle of ‘Marketing’, yet less than two feet of shelving considered worthy of our pursuit. I felt a tear forming.

658.85 appears to be our Dewey code. Yet I feel four duly classified are in error;

Value Pricing, Debt Collection Made Easy, Why We Buy, The Wave 4 Way To Building Your Downline

Which leaves these two-dozen titles. I had only read five of them. Should I feel worried or relieved? Yet the odd intriguing title does draw me in a touch;

The art of selling to the affluent
Championship selling
Cold calling for chickens
Practical salesmanship
Sales gurus
How to sell
Spin selling
Contagious selling
The 25 most dangerous sales myths
Sold
No more cold calling
The Patterson principles of selling
How to sell
Successful seminar selling
Sales on a beermat
New sales speak
How to double your sales
Successful selling in a week
Upselling techniques
Guerrilla teleselling
How to sell your higher price
Successful selling
Joe Girard’s 13 essential sales
Selling to win

The last three aren’t shown in the pic I took. Why Successful Seminar Selling is singled out for two copies is a mystery. And the sharp out there will have noticed one title occurs twice; How To Sell. The green jacketed written by Jo Owen, the red, Robert Ashton.

But wait. It’s even worse for Sales Management.

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Just 5½.

Perhaps the dearth of treasure is because of two failings. Most books are named either too broadly, or too gimmicky. How To Sell certainly fits the former. References to a week, chickens, beermats, doubling and guerrillas perhaps cloud the latter.

I understand the desire for generalised how-to-do-it-all-in-a-jiffy texts. There will always be an audience for such. Yet this sorry saga suggests to me that the true career changing insight is gained from those that go not broad, but deep. Pick out a specific, specialised part of selling and go in to forensic and illuminating detail.

I fancy there’s a metaphor here. You being too generalist in your sales career? Maybe it’s time to specialise….

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