Magazine article CRM Magazine

Proven Sales Warfare Strategies

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Proven Sales Warfare Strategies

Article excerpt

Author Steve Martin introduced the concept of the heavy hitter in his first book, Heavy Hitter Selling: How Successful Salespeople Use Language and Intuition to Persuade Customers to Buy. Now, in the follow-up to that sales primer comes Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom: Proven Warfare Strategies, Secrets of Persuasion, and Common-Sense Tips for Success. The book teaches salespeople how to master the three components of sales wisdom and how to apply them. CRM magazine's Colin Beasty spoke with Martin about his new book.

CRM magazine: In the book you gain insight from "some of the world's heaviest hitters of all time," people from Sun Tzu to George Patton, Jesus Christ to Siddhartha Gautama. How do their characteristics relate to selling and what did they all have in common?

Martin: Selling is a mentor-based profession. It can't be taught, it has to be learned. The best way to learn is by watching somebody who is a successful practitioner. I wanted a broad swath of people who had learned to communicate in very difficult, pressure-filled situations. I used a lot of generals as examples because I wanted to emphasize what made them great and how they approached warfare. They all subscribed to the idea of indirect attack, which is surprise, finesse, and going where the enemy doesn't think they'll go. That's the way we should sell, approaching clients where they least expect it, and differently from the competition. On the persuasion side, people such as Jesus Christ and President Reagan are examples of people who have been in tough situations and had to convince others to do something they didn't buy into. They understood the importance of communication and persuasion, attributes that many salespeople don't understand.

CRM magazine: You talk about the importance of having an indirect strategy when selling to a client. What do you mean by that?

Martin: There are two ways to approach an account. One is without a strategy. That's going to a customer and simply reciting the features, facts, and functions. The problem is that's what the competition is doing. Customers are much more sophisticated than before. You need a strategy that takes into account their sophistication and approaches them from an indirect angle, something that takes them by surprise, but also grabs their attention. Today, salespeople need to package information differently than we did five years ago. …

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