A veteran sales manager shares marketing insights drawn from his work experiences.
In this debut business book, Awotwi writes about the lessons he has learned over decades in the beverage distribution industry in Ghana, Uganda, and surrounding markets. He opens with the story of how he first got involved in sales, through a spur-of-the-moment decision to help out a friend’s mother that turned into a two-year retail position. The book follows his trajectory through education in Norway and a return to Africa, where he began working for the local affiliate of a multinational distributor. As he rises through the ranks and begins to oversee sales in large territories, Awotwi develops a rubric he shares with the reader under the name “three As”: availability, acceptability, and affordability. With examples from his career, the author explains how understanding those three qualities and their relationship to business metrics determines a salesperson’s success. The book emphasizes the importance of accurate measurements—using the example of a beverage whose atypical size threw off a division’s sales numbers for the year—and collaboration between the wholesale and retail channels to maximize profits for both. Although there is a tendency toward acronyms and occasional bouts of business jargon (“Quick fixes have never been worth their salt; that is why it will forever remain critical that in every stop and think, one makes it a point to identify all levers and address them accordingly”), the text on the whole is concise and practical, making it easy for the reader to draw the necessary lessons from it. The frequent long passages set in italic type are somewhat distracting, but do not actually interfere with the reader’s comprehension or significantly detract from Awotwi’s ability to turn his industry-specific experiences into broadly applicable lessons in managing expectations, reaching targets, and measuring impact. In a concluding chapter, the author takes on the role of advice columnist, responding to letters from colleagues seeking broader occupational advice.
A business memoir that overcomes stylistic hurdles to provide a solid grounding in the principles of successful selling.