Synopses & Reviews
A revelatory examination of the elusive mix of talents that sparks successful selling and the essential role of sales in business, religion, romance, art, and every other corner of human experience.
Sales permeates everything we do-not just moving product, but convincing people of an argument, or getting a job, or attracting a mate, or getting a child to eat his broccoli. And as Delves Broughton discovers, selling well is an art that demands creativity, mindfulness, selflessness, resilience, and more. He travels around the world to teach himself and the reader the art and science of the sale. In Morocco, he observes a masterful merchant who thrives in the intensely competitive world of the Kasbah by using age-old principles to "read" his customers. In Tampa, he meets with Tony Sullivan, king of the infomercial, and discovers how important creating a good narrative is to selling effectively. In an Apple store and a sold-out seminar with sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer, he uncovers the stunning similarities between selling and organized religion, showing how the best in both realms inspires faith and a sense of duty in their customers.
Delves Broughton also unearths the vast cultural influence of sales, which has driven more people up the social ladder than any other activity. He talks to Ted Leonsis, who made his mark as president of AOL in the 1990s; celebrity art dealer Larry Gagosian; the most successful saleswoman in Japan, a hard-charging, high earner who discovered the Zen of sales in a Trappist monastery; and many others, both well known and obscure, who reveal the true nature and power of this art form.
Though sales is the very engine of commerce and industry-more Americans work in this field than in manufacturing, marketing, or finance- it remains shrouded in mystery and myth. Few business schools teach it, and surprisingly little research has been done while gimmicky courses and how-to books abound. Delves Broughton sifts through the studies and popular guides to distill a unique, evidence-based investigation of a fascinating and undervalued endeavor. It's also an eye-opening assessment of sales as social discourse, the means by which all of us get our way-and make our way-in the world.
"Though we normally don't think of Nelson Mandela as a salesman, persuading white South Africans to end apartheid was one of the great sales campaigns in recent history. Journalist Delves Broughton (Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School) thinks salesmanship deserves more respect, though he freely admits that the few times he was called upon to sell, he hated it. Integral to any successful business, selling is seldom taught in business school, perhaps because M.B.A. programs prefer to paint a less brutal vision of business life. This exploration of the nature of salesmanship begins in Morocco, where Delves Broughton meets Majid, a world-renowned antiques dealer, who suggests that the art of the sale lies in patience and the ability to instantly read people. For infomercial-king Tony Sullivan, the art lies in the ability to tell an irresistible story, while Japan's top life insurance salesperson, Mrs. Shibata, credits her conviction that she's performing a valuable service. Like Malcolm Gladwell, Delves Broughton is drawn to success stories where natural talent takes second place to hard work, but he's also willing to explore the manipulative, deceptive aspects of the task, as well as the endless rejection salespeople must face. His enthusiasm and admiration for skilled practitioners of the art is contagious." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Best book on sales ever? Who knows, but it surely is the best I’ve ever read. As a gazillion-mile traveling salesman (ideas) myself, I learned an amazing amount about who I am and what I do from this. We all live by selling: ideas or products or peace in our time. The Art of the Sale is perhaps unique—a marvelous book about selling, and life, and who we are and how we tick. And the case studies are dazzling.” Tom Peters
“For the author, sales is where the rubber hits the road, where the deals are done . . . Broughton has met with top sellers around the world, traveling to Japan, Morocco, and the United Kingdom in search of the keys to success in sales . . . Entertaining, balanced, and provocative.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Broughton, promoting the idea that sales is a virtuous calling . . . makes an appealing, contrarian pitch." The Wall Street Journal
"A descriptive account . . . long overdue." The Economist
“Like Malcolm Gladwell, Delves Broughton is drawn to success stories where natural talent takes second place to hard work, but he’s also willing to explore the manipulative, deceptive aspects of the task, as well as the endless rejection salespeople must face. His enthusiasm and admiration for skilled practitioners of the art is contagious.” Publishers Weekly
A revelatory examination of the alchemy of successful selling and its essential role in just about every aspect of human experience.
When Philip Delves Broughton went to Harvard Business School, an experience he wrote about in his New York Times bestseller Ahead of the Curve, he was baffled to find that sales was not on the curriculum. Why not, he wondered? Sales plays a part in everything we do — not just in clinching a deal but in convincing people of an argument, getting a job, attracting a mate, or getting a child to eat his broccoli. Well, he thought; he'd just have to assemble his own master class in the art of selling. And so he did, setting out on a remarkable pilgrimage to find the world's great wizards of sales.
Great selling is an art that demands creativity, mindfulness, selflessness, and resilience; but anyone who says you can become a great salesperson in 15 minutes is either a charlatan or a fool. The more Delves Broughton traveled and listened, the more he found a wealth of applicable insight. In Morocco, he found the master rug merchant who thrives in Kasbah by using age-old principles to read his customers. In Tampa, he met with Tony Sullivan, king of the infomercial, and learned the importance of creating a good narrative to selling effectively. In a sold-out seminar with sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer, he uncovered the ways successful selling approaches religion, inspiring faith and even a sense of duty in customers. From celebrity art dealer Larry Gagosian to the most successful saleswoman in Japan, Broughton tracked down anyone who would help him understand what it took to achieve greatness in sales.
Though sales is the engine of commerce and industry — more Americans work in sales than in manufacturing, marketing, or finance — it remains shrouded in myth. The Art of the Sale is a powerful beam of light onto the field, a wise and winning tour of the best in show of this endeavor which is nothing less than the means by which all of us, one way or another, get our way in the world.
From the author of Ahead of the Curve, a revelatory look at successful selling and how it can impact everything we do
The first book of its kind, The Art of the Sale is the result of a pilgrimage to learn the secrets of the world's foremost sales gurus. Bestselling author Philip Delves Broughton tracked down anyone who could help him understand what it took to achieve greatness in sales, from technology billionaires to the most successful saleswoman in Japan to a cannily observant rug merchant in Morocco. The wisdom and experience Broughton acquired, revealed in this outstanding book, demonstrates as never before the complex alchemy of effective selling and the power it has to overcome challenges we face every day.
About the Author
Philip Delves Broughton was born in Bangladesh and grew up in England. From 1998-2004, he served successively as the New York and Paris bureau chief for The Daily Telegraph of London and reported widely from North and South America, Europe and Africa. He led the Telegraph's coverage of the 9/11 attacks on New York and his reporting has twice been nominated for the British Press Awards. His work has also appeared in the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, and the Spectator. In 2006, he received his MBA from Harvard Business School. He currently lives in New York with his wife and two sons.