Sales was not part of the curriculum at Harvard Business School. Former Daily Telegraph journalist Broughton (Ahead of the Curve: Two Years At Harvard Business School, 2008) explains why that’s a big problem.
For the author, sales is where the rubber hits the road, where the deals are done. If a business can't sell its product, of course, it won't survive. More Americans are employed in sales than any other line of work. Not to be confused with marketing, the author's definition of sales goes from his sons' lemonade stand to the Dalai Lama representing the Tibetan people against Chinese repression. Broughton has met with top sellers around the world, traveling to Japan, Morocco and the United Kingdom in search of the keys to success in sales. In addition to his interview research, he examines academic studies, history, self-help literature, academic research on the psychology of selling and the character attributes of sales people. He explores the differences in theory and practice, and he draws from the history of the field, by way of P.T. Barnum and Joseph Duveen, who brought fine-art sales to the U.S. Broughton does not exclude the seamy underside—e.g., pharmaceutical companies recruiting college cheerleaders to “sell” their products to the country's doctors, who “buy more and prescribe more to please ex-cheerleaders than they do for salesmen who look like themselves”—but he supplies plenty of success stories, including Ted Turner, casino magnate Steve Wynn and former AOL executive Ted Leonsis.
Entertaining, balanced and provocative.