Once in a while, I will be posting book reviews for books that I consider to be essential reads for sales professionals and business leaders.
The first book that’s on the list is one of my personal favorites: How to Win Friends & Influence People. Not only has this helped me a great deal in the business world, but it has also greatly helped me in my personal world as well.
How to Win Friends and Influence People was released in 1936 by Dale Carnegie, who was a self-help guru and sales virtuoso. The material in his book originally comes from a popular series of lectures that he would give to salesmen and businessmen. At the time, he was considered to be one of the most influential public speaking authorities in the country and was considered to be the authority on selling & winning at life. How to Win Friends and Influence People essentially contains his world-famous lectures from that circuit, which have been edited and put together in book format.
The book was recently named #19 on Time Magazine’s most 100 influential books of all time list. It’s sold over 30 million copies so far and has enjoyed nearly a century in print. It has been hailed by business leaders, religious icons, political leaders, and everyone in between as one of the best books to help with sales and leadership that has ever been printed.
So yeah, it’s a good book.
Although, why would you, as a skeptical salesperson in 2016 want to read a sales book that’s from a pre-WWII era? In the 21st century, we have technology, products, and sales knowledge that was totally unthinkable in 1936. Methods and people change, so is this 80 year old book even relevant today?
Short answer: absolutely.
If you never read it, it’s imperative that you give it a chance. If you have read it before, why not read it again? A lot of business leaders (including Warren Buffett) make an effort to read it once a year. So, that being said, here are the reasons why you should read this book.
It Will Illustrate the Correct Way to Treat Customers
A lesson that we all learn in kindergarten but somehow forget by 2nd grade is how to be nice to people. Most people, when they think of sales executives and business people, conjure up images of fast-talking folks who are trying to screw you over. While some people may do this, take a look at some of the top performers in your company and the most respected leaders. In most cases, they treat customers correctly and are genuinely friendly to them.
This book is full of real-world examples of how this works, including identifying real customer problems and looking to correct those problems with a product/service.
It Will Tell You How to Make Customers Like You
It’s no secret that being likable is one of the most important traits that a salesperson must possess in order to achieve any level of success. Nobody will buy anything from someone that they do not like. Early on in my sales career, I was selling fabricated metal parts. I had a client tell me that even though our product is less expensive than the competition, he liked his sales rep so much that he would never switch to us. Likability is an extremely powerful tool to have.
In today’s era of technology and the fact that everyone is glued to their phones all the time with almost no real interaction with other people, this is more important now than it was in 1936. Being genuinely friendly and knowing how to correctly interact with a fellow human being will get you far.
It Identifies Ways You can Influence your Customers
Having a great product or service with an amazing competitive advantage is certainly very important. However, unless you can actually win over that customer and influence them to “buy in” to your ideas, you won’t sell anything. At the best, you will have a cool product that the customer might consider buying later on.
Actually influencing another human being to buy in to your way of thinking is the primary thing that separates the top performers from those who are jobless in 6 months. This book really explores the different ways to influence people and win them over.
It Helps You Develop Leadership Traits
In one of our previous articles, we explored the reality that a lot of salespeople climb the corporate ladder and end up in key leadership roles. The paradox here is that although great salespeople possess the traits of outstanding leaders, few people will tap in to those traits and develop them. The reason being that sales and leadership are two different job titles with completely different responsibilities. If you ever believe that you will go in to leadership one day, or if you aspire to, this is imperative to read.
It will Help you with Work/Life Balance
Salespeople have a difficult time separating work from home. We all work in hyper-competitive environments where being “off” for even a moment could translate to a massive drop in income. Due to this, we are always carrying our work weight with us wherever we go, including home with our families.
This book really aims at illustrating that this is not only unhealthy, but completely damaging to our careers and personal lives too. It’s important to take a step back for a moment and give your “work brain” a rest so you can focus on developing great relationships and improving your home life.
You Can Apply all the Lessons Outside of Sales
While, as a salesperson, you would be reading this book primarily to help with sales and increasing your yearly compensation, you can take these lessons and apply them to nearly all facets of your life.
If you are great at dealing with customers, but have trouble connecting with your bosses, this will help you. If you were a great salesperson but are having trouble leading people, this will help you. If you just moved to a new city and are trying to make new relationships happen, this will help you. If you are always stressing about work and it’s affecting your home life, this will help you.
As I said above, yeah, it’s a good read.
The book jacket itself identifies 12 things that it will do for you –
- Get you out of a mental rut, give you new thoughts, new visions, new ambitions.
- Enable you to make friends quickly and easily.
- Increase your popularity.
- Help you to win people to your way of thinking.
- Increase your influence, your prestige, your ability to get things done.
- Enable you to win new clients, new customers.
- Increase your earning power.
- Make you a better salesman, a better executive.
- Help you to handle complaints, avoid arguments, keep your human contacts smooth and pleasant.
- Make you a better speaker, a more entertaining conversationalist.
- Make the principles of psychology easy for you to apply in your daily contacts.
- Help you to arouse enthusiasm among your associates.
If any of these sound appealing to you (hint: if you are in sales or business, they all should), the image below is a direct link to Amazon, where you can buy it in either regular or e-book format. I recently purchased the audio-book, and it’s perfectly done and great to listen to on the way to work.
Click to view book on Amazon
Full disclosure with this one: this is an affiliate link, so we get like 30 cents if you buy the book here. Even if you don’t buy it from this link, please at least entertain the idea of reading it later on. We think it will really help you out.
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