I’m reading a good book called Zero to One, written by Peter Thiel, one the guys who founded PayPal. My life was changed by that app – my wife would agree.
Peter includes a chapter on sales which looks like it’s written for people in business who don’t understand sales – to the extent that in their business sales does not exist.
“The most fundamental reason that even businesspeople underestimate the importance of sales is the systematic effort to hide it at every level of every field in a world secretly driven by it.”
Wow! A very elegant statement of a phenomenon that, after many years in sales, I continue to run into.
“The engineer’s grail is a product great enough that “it sells itself.” But anyone who would actually say this about a real product must be lying: either he’s delusional (lying to himself) or he’s selling something (and thereby contradicting himself).”
Engineering companies hate to admit they have salespeople. A consultant friend of mine in Germany has a large contract to help ease a large construction company into the idea that they should build a sales department. They realized this after too many competing companies taking business from them.
A couple more quotes from Peter:
All salesmen are actors: their priority is persuasion, not sincerity.
What nerds miss is that it takes hard work to make sales easy.
Zero to Run makes a great read. It is developed from a student’s notes of Peter’s lectures at Stanford in 2012. It’s skimmable (always a factor for me) and has some great views on running a business startup (as you would expect from a guy who has been extraordinarily successful at doing it himself)