I often get asked by accidental sales people for book recommendations and of course I seek to advise based on their current needs. When I am asked by a complete beginner I always recommend a book that is not about sales at all. In fact its about leadership “7 Habits of highly effective people”

If you want to be effective in sales (and I assume everyone does) then its a good place to start. Effective is different from efficient. Efficient is about doing the things right – developing and executing an efficient sales process. Its about, mechanics and technique. Effective is about doing the right things.

You can have the best sales technique in the world but if you are selling to the wrong people then you ain’t gonna sell much!!

The seven habits cover the following areas: 1. The need to be pro-active and take personal responsibility 2. The need to set goals first and then work towards them 3. The need to prioritise your time 4. The need to seek win-win deals 5. The need to understand others first 6. The need to be open to finding synergistic options rather than assuming your way is the best way 7. The need for continual personal development

All 7 of these habits are important in sales and following these in my early days of selling made a huge difference.

The book is not an easy one. It is about philosophy rather than techniques. Yet its our philosophy that acts like a compass and impacts everything we do. This book was one of the foundation stones of my brand of soft selling.

The thing that impressed me the most is that practically every high achieving sales person I have met has read it. The rest either have not heard of it or ‘Its on my reading list’

If effective is doing the right things then reading it sooner rather than later is probably the most effective thing any sales person, accidental or not, can do – in my very humble opinion!