What’s Your Favourite Book On Sales? It’s Not Even About Sales!

“So what, Herman is your favourite book on sales?”

“You would be surprised,” is my usual response, “for it’s not by Jobber, Futrell, Tanner, Mondy, Rackham, McDonald, Dugdale, Cox, Vass or any of the usual suspects. Nor for that matter, is it by someone who claims any expertise in either marketing or sales. My favourite book on selling at the higher level is, “The Skilled Helper” by Gerald Egan. Gerald Egan, Ph,D., is Professor Emeritus of Organisational Development and Psychology at Loyola University of Chicago.

The Skilled Helper was written primarily for counsellors, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and ministers of religion. And there’s a secondary audience that includes educators. While not every chapter is relevant to educating sales people, he does lead interesting conversations on critical skills for selling to the C-suite and managing key accounts. Among them are:

  • The communication skill of visibly tuning in to clients
  • Active listening: the foundation of understanding
  • Sharing empathic highlights
  • The art of probing and summarising
  • Helping clients explore problem situations and unexploited opportunities
  • From blind spots to new perspectives
  • Helping clients work on the right things.

Not your cup to tea? Maybe not; and Egan can be heavy reading. But I’m sure you will agree that sales people that are “Skilled Helpers” can contribute more the firm’s profitability.

Herman Alvaranga educates marketing and sales people at all organisational levels.


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