Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sales success: Advice from some Harvard professor types

This month's Harvard Business Review is a must-read for anyone who has to sell for a living. Whether you're Chief Sales Officer for a global business or an entrepreneur/small business owner, the July-August issue focuses on sales - ranging from how to develop better sales networks to techniques for understanding buyers better.

One of the articles, 'What Makes A Good Salesman' argues that empathy is an essential quality for sales people:

Having empathy does not necessarily mean being sympathetic. One can know what the other fellow feels without agreeing with that feeling. But a salesman simply cannot sell well without the invaluable and irreplaceable ability to get a powerful feedback from the client through empathy.

The article goes on to argue:

The salesman with good empathy... senses the reactions of the customer and is able to adjust to these reactions. He is not simply bound by a prepared sales track, but he functions in terms of the real interaction between himself and the customer. Sensing what the customer is feeling, he is able to change pace, double back on his track, and make whatever creative modifications might be necessary to home in on the target and close the sale.

Anyway, this special edition is packed with articles on selling. If you want to sell, buy this issue. And no, I don't get commission from the editors!