Lee Davis, author of 5 Star Selling: From Beginning to Excellence, is different than many of the people who write about sales. Unlike many people who write about sales, he actually sold right through his career, and built the book around his experience, he offers lessons learned, rather than populist advice. When I asked him what compelled him to write the book, he told me about how his son turned to him for advice when he set out for a career in sales. They set out to find a book that would help those who have never sold, a book that did not assume that you have sale experience. Lee told me “Unfortunately, it seemed most of the books were targeted at more complex sales issues, and were primarily oriented toward the more experienced salesperson. The timeless, critical, basic skills necessary to sell successfully were not available in a concise, logical, one-stop source put together like I wanted. So, I decided I could offer those ideas and principles from my experience that would be valuable for other salespeople.”
The book is an invaluable resource for anyone wanting a thorough grounding in the sales process, from beginning to end. Before you turn away because you’ve been in sales for 15 years, there are things here for you too, things that made you money when you did them, and it’s time to do them again. The book concentrates on the timeless basics that every salesperson needs in order to begin and grow sales.
It focuses on how to face the toughest challenges, including one of my favourites, why most people hate rejection in various aspects of their daily life, but generally don’t encounter it on a regular basis. Salespeople face it every day and have to learn how to handle rejection with a calm but determined approach to move forward. 5 Star Selling offers many ideas on how to overcome that fear of rejection and use the results to your advantage.
5 Star Selling tells you how to put together the “hooks” that will get you appointments with the key people you want to meet. From getting organized for greater efficiency, to prioritizing your accounts to develop better territory call plans. Lee presents what information you’ll need to best sell your company and its offerings. 5 Star Selling stays with you as you prepare for your calls, and handle the actual calls themselves. It reviews follow-up in great detail, as Lee will tell you, following up properly is often the difference between great salespeople and those at the back of the pack.
Other key areas covered include what to do with the information you learn in the selling process, and how to transmit it effectively. Lee speaks to more than just the buyer side, considerable time is spent on how to get your whole inside team on your side by selling internally (an often overlooked topic in many sales books). One of the real strengths of the book is the attention to building strong customer relationships. These are the cornerstones of the great salespeople who realize, all things being equal, “People buy from people”. Lee presents how to call in depth, when and how to use management effectively, and how to avoid some of the pitfalls that may occur in the process. Much detail is spent on how to handle problems and really make them opportunities, and the difficult art of negotiation.
Nothing is left out for the new salesperson. And when the reader is finished with a “checkup “ on their basic selling skills, they will find additional information on how to ride the crest of the wave of success and keep it going and growing.
The principles, concepts, and ideas presented in 5 Star Selling include real-life illustrations from the Lee’s extensive experience. The stories are humorous, helping the reader visualize they can apply these important principles in their everyday selling. This is a book belongs in every sales library, not only to expand on many of the things already there, but to use as a reference when faced with new challenges and unfamiliar situations.