“Everyone wants to succeed at sales. Most people don’t. It’s not that they can’t. It’s just that they don’t know how.”
Filled with motivational quotes like the ones above, Jeffrey Gitomer’s “The Sales Bible” is a hard-hitting, no-holds-barred compendium of ideas and techniques to boost one’s success in sales. Touted as “The Ultimate Sales Resource”, this comprehensive volume covers topics like introductions, networking, cold calls, relationship building, humour, handling objections, customer service, competition, motivation and closing.
Written in an easy-to-read conversational style, “The Sales Bible” is divided into 12 parts that are subdivided into sections with bullet-points expounding on various topics. Catchy headlines like “12.5 ways to make the prospect confident enough to buy”, “Real-world objections, Real-world solutions!” and “Can you close a sale in five questions?” fill the book. Free online resources (affectionately called Git Bits) are also provided at Gitomer’s website.
While there are thousands of invaluable tips in the book, several key themes emerged:
1. It’s all about creating the WOW! factor. Making a positive impression in every aspect of the selling process counts. To do so, one needs to be persistent, professional, creative and memorable, while acting with confidence and enthusiasm.
2. Laughter is the best sales medicine. By injecting humour into your pitch or conversations, you set a favourable tone for eventually closing the deal.
3. It’s much easier to sell to friends than strangers. This is why one should always find ways to connect on a personal level with one’s prospects and build rapport before the ask.
4. Relentless preparation is the key. This drills down to the way you present, the way you communicate, your efforts in networking, how you handle objections, the quality of your sales tools, etc. Do your homework and uncover whatever you can about your prospect (and then some).
5. People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy. The trick here is to find out as much as you can, be extremely helpful, build long-term relationships, and provide top-notch service beyond the transaction.
6. Successful salespeople lead different lifestyles. They have a strong personal mission, cultivate good habits, are highly disciplined, and work in a very organized and structured manner.
7. Ask “power questions” and make “power statements”. Power questions get to the heart of the problem or need very quickly without making the buyer feel like he or she is being pushed. Power statements are creative ways to make your product or service outstanding or credible. For instance, instead of selling drill bits, sell perfectly smooth holes.
8. Persistence and resilience is key to success. Even the best salespersons will encounter rejections. The secret is to make it a game to collect your quota of “nos” while keeping yourself motivated through inspirational CDs, books, and other resources.
My favorite part of “The Sales Bible” is the one on closing. Some of the lessons in that chapter are classic. They include avoiding “yes” and “no” answers (these grind conversations to a halt), recognizing and acting on buying signals from customers, and using the puppy dog close – the easiest way to sell a puppy is to give it to prospective owners overnight to “see how they like it”.
The most important lessons in “The Sales Bible” are probably enshrined in the 10.5 Commandments of Sales Success. Offered at the start of the book, these cardinal rules reiterate key rules for success in everyday sales.
1. THINK – The sale is in your head.
2. BELIEVE – Develop a four-part belief system that cannot be penetrated.
3. ENGAGE – Develop rapport and personal engagement, or don’t start the selling (buying) conversation.
4. DISCOVER – People buy for their reasons, not yours. Find out theirs first.
5. ASK – Ask the wrong questions – get the wrong answers.
6. OBSERVE – Your ability to observe must be as powerful as your ability to sell and your ability to listen.
7. DARE – Have the chutzpah to take risks.
8. OWN – Know whose fault it is when the sale is not made.
9. EARN – Sell for the relationship, not the commission.
10. PROVE – One testimonial is worth one hundred sales pitches (especially video).
10.5. BECOME – You don’t get great at selling in a day. You get great at selling day by day.
As Gitomer himself has shared in the book, learning how to sell like a whizz isn’t rocket science. Many of the tips offered are easy to learn. However, they are difficult to master and require discipline and perseverance to execute well.
Let me end with several favourite quotes from the book. Hope that they inspire you as much as they inspired me.
“You can’t be a winner if you’re a whiner… wiener.” – Jeffrey Gitomer
“Listening is the hard part. Listening is the important part. The hot button is in the prospect’s response.” – Jeffrey Gitomer
“If you chase the world, it runs from you. If you run from the world, it chases you.” – Hari Dass
“To serve is to rule.” – Lao Tzu