The latest in lawyer and investment adviser Solin’s (The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read, 2009) Smartest series, this one geared to improving sales.
Solin seems to stretch the definition of sales to its broadest limits by suggesting that lawyers are, in essence, salespeople. Don’t many lawyers depend on reputation, referrals and success in past cases? This claim aside, and despite the highly readable book’s brassy title, Solin says that a healthy sense of limitations is more likely to bring sales success than unbounded, often unfounded self-confidence. Studies show, he says, that people with slightly lower self-esteem prepare better and are less prone to the perils of overconfidence. He savagely debunks self-help gurus who preach that visualizing success will magically make it happen. That’s hokum, he opines. There’s no substitute for the hard labor needed to get to the top or anywhere near it, and many at the top are only there due to the fact that they worked harder and longer. Solin makes all his points with wonderful clarity and bolsters them with references to studies and reports, ending most chapters with a “What’s the Point?” box that summarizes the preceding material so there can be no doubt about what he’s trying to convey. His holistic approach seems to transcend the mere improvement of sales; since, as studies show, happier people are better salespeople, the author whizzes through what it takes to be a happier, more relaxed and effective human being. Convinced by research he did for the book that a secular form of meditation is relaxing and focusing, he awards the subject an entire chapter. Elsewhere, he emphasizes the crucial importance of empathy and making an emotional connection with customers. In his mind, successful salespeople are never data-dumping pitchmen, but rather question-askers and careful listeners who refrain from interrupting; they couch all they say with extreme sensitivity for what their prospective customers want out of the deal. Practicing empathy, Solin says, not only improves a salesperson’s ability to execute this sales technique, but makes for overall personal happiness.
Good counsel, solid and concise, and not just for selling.