Sales Books Summaries: Key lessons from How to win friends and influence people
Author: Dale Carnegie
Average Customer Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5,485 ratings on Amazon)
Category: Self-Improvement, Communication, Social Skills, Management & Leadership, Motivation & Inspiration, Sales
Time to read book: 7 hrs and 19 mins
If someone had a chance to ask all the successful business leaders a list of books that had shaped them “How to win Friends and Influence People” would certainly be on the top of that list. Written in 1936 by Dale Carnegie the book sold more than 15 million copies worldwide and it’s a masterpiece in the science of human interactions. According to Carnegie, financial success is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.” He teaches these skills in a very practical way through underlying principles of dealing with people so that they feel important and appreciated. He also emphasizes fundamental techniques for handling people without making them feel manipulated. This book is an absolutely must read for anyone that wants to excel at the art of selling to other people.
Dale Carnegie, born in 1888, was an accomplished salesman turned into best selling author. After ending a career in sales Carnegie spent a substantial part of his life teaching public speaking, earning up to $500 every week — the equivalent of $11,800 today. Warren Buffet took Carnegie’s course at age 20 and described it as a moment that “changed my life”.
Financial success is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.”
The book is broken into four sections and each section has several lessons on how to interact with other people. We will summarize the lessons in each chapter and explore examples of how they can be applied in a sales context.
Part One — Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. Criticism most of the time doesn’t work and merely puts people on the defensive. Instead try to understand why people do what they do. In Sales: If a prospect is using a competitor you should try to understand the reasons behind his decision instead of condemning his choice. Criticizing others doesn’t yield anything positive.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation. In Sales: The only way we can get a person to do anything is by giving them what they want. What do most people want? Apart from food, sleep, health and money people have a deep desire to feel important. When selling something to a person make sure to be aligned with that person’s goals and success metrics (e.g. if you are selling to a Head of Sales you have to help him achieve his quota).
- Arouse in the other person an eager want. Henry Ford said that “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” In Sales: Give people what they want, not what you want. Sell value and not features, try to understand the real problems of your customers and make them want your solution.
Criticism most of the time doesn’t work and merely puts people on the defensive. Instead try to understand why people do what they do.
Part Two — Six Ways to Make People Like You
- Become genuinely interested in other people. Listen to other people and care about their problems and interests. In Sales: When someone is interested in your product but is not a good fit, point them to the right solution even if it’s not your company. People will appreciate the effort and will remember you in case they see the need for your product in the future.
- Smile. In Sales: Humans can differentiate vocal intonation between a smile and a non-smile. Also, according to several studies 84% of the message over a phone is your tone of voice, so make sure you put yourself in a happy mood before an important call as it increases the likelihood of success.
- Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves. A young boy once said to his mother, “Mom, I know you love me very much because whenever I talk to you about something you stop whatever you are doing and listen to me.” Wow, that hits home! In Sales: Listening is the ultimate act of caring. Good salespeople listen to customers and uncover their pains so they can provide a fitting solution.
- Make the other person feel important — and do it sincerely. William James said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” Help someone feel appreciated and how could they not like you? In Sales: When a customer calls you and complains about your product pay attention and make him feel important. Even if he has already agreed for a 2 year contract and he is the smallest of your 10.000 customers, they will appreciate your gesture and like you which has compounding effects in the future.
Listening is the ultimate act of caring. Good salespeople listen to customers and uncover their pains so they can provide a fitting solution.
Part Three — How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
- The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. According to Carnegie, it’s impossible to win an argument. In case we lose the argument, we lose; if we win the argument, we have made the other person feel inferior and consequently made him resent us. In other words, we still lose. In Sales: You might be sometimes tempted to argue with others, especially when you are absolutely convinced that they should be paying for your product instead of your competitors’. However, 9 times out of 10, arguing just results in the other person even more firmly convinced that he is right. Instead try to make the prospect conclude by himself that your product is better — don’t tell that your competitor’s car is worse, instead show people what makes your car 10x better!
- If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. Any fool can try to defend his mistakes, but it raises one above the herd to admit one’s mistakes. In Sales: If your feature A is worse than your competitors simply admit it. You can even bring it up before your customer does. Work your way around your weaknesses and make sure you make them see what you’re good at.
- Get the other person saying “Yes, yes” at the outset…and keep your opponent, if possible, from saying “No.” Use the “Socratic method” to garner trust and agreement. In Sales: The sentiment of saying “no” is a very difficult sentiment to overcome. When negotiating a deal make sure you bring everything you agreed upon first to get the person saying “yes” as soon as possible. This starts the person moving in the affirmative direction where no withdrawal takes place.
- Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires. Disagreement doesn’t necessarily mean there is a wrong and right side. You should be open to other people’s point of view and learn from them. In Sales: Put yourself in your customers’ shoes particularly if you don’t agree with their decisions. This will help you understand their acting patterns and navigate your way to a successful deal.
If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. Any fool can try to defend his mistakes, but it raises one above the herd to admit one’s mistakes.
Part Four — Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Rousing Resentment
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. Humans hate taking orders from other humans, so give people the opportunity to think and do things by themselves. In Sales: Although it might be tempting to repeatedly tell your prospects how good your product is, it is way more powerful if you ask them questions that will make them arrive the same conclusion. Before appreciating your solution they have to realize they have a problem. Keep asking!
- Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. If you want to improve a person in a certain respect, act as though that particular trait were already one of his or her outstanding characteristics. In Sales: If a customer wants to break a yearly contract after 3 months, instead of pointing to the contract and threaten with legal action appeal to the person’s reputation. Mention how you thought he was one of your most loyal customers and a man of his word. Most people will react in your favor if you make them feel honest and honorable.
- Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. Always align what you want with what makes the other person happy while being sincere and thoughtful. In Sales: A perfect situation to apply this principle is in getting referrals from current customers. Always offer incentives that will make people feel happy doing what you want them to do — from discounts to exposure, everything counts as long as people feel praised and happy.
Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. Always align what you want with what makes the other person happy while being sincere and thoughtful
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Originally published at blog.amplemarket.com on February 8, 2017.