One of my all time favorite sales books is How to Win Friends & Influence People.  I often refer to it as the Sales Bible.  The book contains literally everything you need to know to be successful at selling.  In fact, I’ve often commented that all great sales books have their origins in Dale Carnegie’s masterpiece.

Dale Carnegie attended the State Teachers College after high school with his sights set on teaching.  However, after graduation he took a position as a traveling salesman.  He soon learned the importance of both speaking and relating to people in his new profession.  He also discovered there was a profitable market for teaching these newly learned skills, and the rest is history.  The book, published in 1936, had its origins in the many lectures he presented all across the country, teaching his audiences “people skills”.

Any salesperson with a desire to improve his or her skills would be well advised to not just read this book, but to study it.  I try to read it at least once a year and it is amazing all the new things I learn and can then apply in my sales activities.  One of the major concepts or principles taught in this book is how to win people to your way of thinking.  Could any concept be more on target for a salesperson to learn and apply?  Here is a list of the twelve principles Dale Carnegie teaches to win people to your way of thinking.

1.  The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

2.  Show respect for the other person’s opinions.  Never say to the other person, “you’re wrong”.

3.  If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

4.  Begin in a friendly way.

5.  Get the other person saying, “yes, yes” immediately.

6.  Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

7.  Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

8.  Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

9.  Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.

10.  Appeal to the nobler motives.

11.  Dramatize your ideas.

12.  Throw down a challenge.

Take the opportunity this week to learn and apply these twelve principles in your sales activities.  They are time tested, sales proven and just plain and practical ideas for persuading someone to your way of thinking.  In your application of these principles, remember the underlying principle of salesmanship, “Never sell anyone anything that is not a fair and honest solution to their problem”.  As salespeople, we bear a solemn responsibility to be honest and true to the customer in meeting their needs, wants and desires.  This duty is not to be taken lightly, for our actions will greatly impact all those with whom we come in contact.

Read the book, learn the principles, apply the skills and enjoy the unique treasure of being a salesperson.


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