The Art of the Sale
Without a sale, there is no business. Yet for all the science applied to business and management, sales remains a stubbornly human discipline. Why? Despite the new opportunities in social media, marketing and measurement, selling still frequently comes down to two people looking each other in the eye and deciding how to sell and whether to buy. Business continues to need great salespeople and all the creativity, tenacity and optimism they bring. This talk draws on the case studies in The Art of the Sale: Learning From the Masters About the Business of Life to explain both the art and science of selling, and why both remain necessary to succeed in this most human of business disciplines.
The Greatest Salespeople in the World
Great salespeople come in very different packages. Some are best at high volume transactional selling, others thrive at building long-term relationships. Some are motivated by rejection, others by an urgent desire to win other people over. Some are natural showmen, able to create value around works of art or movies, while others do better tenaciously selling products to make your white whiter. What kind does your organization need? This talk presents several different kinds of sales archetypes, using well-known examples, from the Wooer to the Outsider to the Happy Loser. Every salesperson will identify with one of these, and managers will develop a clearer understanding of whom to hire for specific sales.
The Soul of the Salesman
Most top business schools don’t teach selling. But it should be the first thing they teach, as everything in business flows from the sale. It requires creativity, to come up with a product or service to sell, intelligence, to understand the customer’s needs and willingness to pay, and optimism, to keep selling in the face of endless “no’s.” It is also the business activity which throws up the most intense ethical and personal challenges. What are you willing to do to close a sale? What are you willing to say? Who are you willing to be?
When non-business people look at business, salespeople are often the first people they see. When Arthur Miller wrote about the corrosive effects of capitalism on a man’s soul, he did so through a salesman, Willy Loman. David Mamet depicted salesmen as sharks in Glengarry Glen Ross. When the business and non-business worlds no longer understand each other, the effect on society can be ruinous. By better understanding selling, and the many challenges it involves, we can build invaluable bridges between these worlds.
What's the Point of a Business Education?
In 2004, Philip gave up a career in journalism to attend Harvard Business School. Three years later, he published the New York Times bestseller Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School, in which he described and questioned the value of a business education. Business schools remain a growth industry. Countries, states, and cities across the world hope that teaching business and entrepreneurship will lead to more start-ups and better businesses. Is their hope justified? This talk examines those aspects of business which can and cannot be taught, those which must be taught better, and those not worth teaching at all. It draws on Philip's experience at business school, designing corporate curriculums, and studying and writing about the start-up world, to offer ideas about how businesses, educators, and policy-makers should teach business as a means to improving the rate and quality of economic growth.