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Author's Note for the Second Edition

Shortly after the publication of the first edition of The Accidental Salesperson, I got a call from a salesperson who was clearly agitated. "I need some sales training," he told me.

Practicing what I preach, I began to ask him questions.

"Why today?" I asked. "What prompted you to call me today instead of last week or two weeks from now?"

He answered: "Well, I've only been on the job for a few months and I just made the biggest sale in our company's history."

"Congratulations. But why do you need sales training if you're setting records?" (It's been my experience that most of my customers purchase sales training after a missed quota or a bad quarter. Yet this guy was a rising star in his company.)

"Thanks," he said, accepting the compliment. "But now the owners of the company and my boss want bigger sales, and I have no idea how or why I made that sale."

Sales success can be stressful if you don't know how to repeat it.

You can get into sales accidentally and you can accidentally make sales. But successful salespeople and sales organizations, including companies I have had the privilege of working with, have all had a repeatable sales process. They know what works and why it works.

Once you have read and applied the lessons in this book, you too will have a repeatable, dependable sales process. That's because The Accidental Salesperson adds the structure missing from so many sales books, videos, CDs, and training events.

One VP of sales for a billion-dollar company told me that he buys copies of The Accidental Salesperson by the boxful and distributes them to his new hires. And salespeople often call, write, and e-mail me to let me know that reading the book has changed their lives by helping them do what the subtitle promises--take control of their careers and earn the respect and income they deserve. (There's a big difference between a signed personal letter and an e-mail, as you will discover in Chapter 7, "Getting In to See Anybody.")

A lot has changed about selling in the thirteen years since I turned in my manuscript for the first edition. For instance, you may be selling to a buying committee instead of a single decision maker. Also, the Internet gives your buyers access to a tremendous amount of information that salespeople used to provide. Salespeople now have their own websites. And while I have yet to meet a salesperson who has ever sold anything by spending time on Facebook, lots of us have connected with customers and prospects on LinkedIn and other networking sites.

Face-to-face meetings, while more important than ever, seem harder to come by. That's why in Chapter 5, I recommend a new "magic question" to help you get your unfair share of these meetings. If you were a fan of the first edition, this one question alone can be worth the price of the second one.

Preparation in advance of the meeting is as important as ever, but it's easier than ever before as well. You can research people and companies easily and effortlessly with just a few keystrokes. Believe it or not, the first edition of this book was published before Google was a verb. Google was founded in 1998, a year before I sent my first manuscript to AMACOM.

The ideas from the first edition that hold up the best involve having a systematic approach to everything. By "everything" I mean you need a system for:

In the second edition, you will find brand-new information about each of those systems within the selling process. There are also two new tools. The Proposal Producer takes you by the hand and shows you how to take data you have already gathered and turn it into a client-focused proposal. The Platinum Service Checklist prompts you to follow up after the sale with a systematic series of "touches," my goal being to show you how to build relationships your competitors can't steal.

In addition, you'll find an all-new Chapter 11, "Making Your Presentation Like a Pro," where I share tips and tricks I have picked up in twenty-eight years of professional speaking so that you, too, will know how to make powerful, memorable presentations and close more sales. Making just a few subtle refinements in your presentations can position you as an authority to be reckoned with.

And finally, it has become increasingly clear to me, from my firsthand experience delivering speeches and writing about selling, that closing sales is not really the purpose of selling. In Chapter 15, I challenge you to sell on purpose and with purpose.

All of the tools in this book are posted here as well, where you can download everything of interest to you. This is especially helpful for those of you who purchased this title on your Kindle or other electronic reader. You'll want to get the forms and tools full size from the website.

The underlying philosophy of the first book has stood the test of time. Customers want to do business with the very best salespeople. They want to be challenged with new information and presented with business-building ideas. They want engaging meetings with well-prepared salespeople. More than ever, they need salespeople who can show them how to grow the sales of their own businesses, hold onto their existing customers, and/or streamline their business processes. It is these salespeople who will win the business of demanding customers.

Today, to succeed in sales you need knowledge, skills, and the proper attitude. In this book you will get all three in abundance.