How To Sell When Nobody’s Buying

Did you make your sales quota this month? If not, did you blame the slump on a slow economy?  If so, then you don’t realize that the real reason for the failure is you.

So asserts Dave Lakhani in his latest book, How to Sell When Nobody’s Buying.

Now anyone who recalls the rant of Blake, Alec Baldwin’s hyper-aggressive, always-be-closing character in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, may feel that blaming the sales team is a rehashed idea.  However, Lakhani vibrantly renews the claim (with a little less intimidation, of course!). He provides solid, actionable advice.  He explains whenever he is speaking to other salespersons that they must “do what it takes”, yet he offers the tools that help making the “doing” possible.  These tools are presented in an a-la-carte fashion, resolving the mother question of typical business questions: “how does a company gain more sales?”.

Tips that Make Sales Easy

Throughout the book Lakhani always assures that following his suggestions will separate the creative professional sales team from those who just follow a cold-call list.   Lakhani’s offerings do not overwhelm readers with a “You must follow XYZ strategy or you will face doom!” feel.  The book simply provides good examples for the reader to use.

And the examples rapidly come, one after the well-organized other.  Lakhani gives a sales process in the opening pages, 7 Days To Selling Successfully When No One Is Buying. This energizes leads and shows proper follow up for older leads gone stale.  He lays out the rote example of offering coffee and discussion to a lead.  He explains without ever insulting the reader’s intelligence.  Buying is a great sales a-la-carte, indeed.

Slump Busters Inspire Sales Teams to Bust the Slump

Buying is peppered with a few short segments called Slump Busters. In each Lakhani interviews a business manager not readily familiar to the public eye.  In most books, additional comments from someone besides the author are probably better served from names more well-known to a mainstream audience to pique reader interest.  But in this book the interviewees provide eye-opening personal perspectives and business insight usable for most scenarios.

A favorite quote is from interviewee Scott Marker, who describes the benefits of sales training.  “There’s a saying in martial arts that ‘The more you bleed in the dojo, the less you bleed in the street.’  What that means to a salesperson is, the more time you invest in training yourself, the more success you have when you compete in the marketplace.”  Comments like this can be informative and inspirational.

Contributing authors offer additional essay segments towards the book’s end, but the additional commentaries feel somewhat out of place rather than enhancing Lakhani’s insights.  A segment on real estate may be better served in a dedicated book on real estate, while a segment on Facebook has too-familiar suggestions.  One good save is the bonus social media training session offered with each book purchase.

Well Organized Introduction on Online Tools

Lakhani enhances his material by offering additional online sources.  The mentioned websites are some of the standard “seen-it-before” social media tools such as Twitter and LinkedIn.  But he also mentions other sites that are specific to the subject matter, be it time management or follow-up to-do actions.  Readers gain new online tools in an organized manner which makes the suggestions more memorable, refreshing in an age of suggestions at every tweet.

Overall I found How to Sell When Nobody’s Buying (book’s website here) a useful resource for any business seeking better selling practices.  Small business owners who love their product or service offering but know nothing about sales could really benefit the most from Lakhani’s examples, and will find the book a satisfying start to understanding sales techniques.

Pierre DeBois Pierre Debois is Associate Book Editor for Small Business Trends. He is the Founder of Zimana, a consultancy providing strategic analysis to small and medium sized businesses that rely on web analytics data. A Gary, Indiana native, Pierre is currently based in Brooklyn. He blogs about marketing, finance, social media, and analytics at Zimana blog.