Mar 142012



Thomas S. Caldwell is a Canadian businessman and president of Caldwell Investment Management and now Caldwell Securities. The company is known for investing in securities, mutual funds and international stock exchanges. Like its author’s company the Canadian book is relatively unknown in the worldwide grand scheme of things, but apparently successful given how my copy is the seventh printing from 2007. The first edition stems from 1998.

The Sales Dictionary – Everything Comes Down To Sales purports to be a dictionary of and about sales, but I take umbrage at that for several reasons. Firstly, the short and mini-formatted 100-page book is not actually a dictionary. It reads alphabetically from ‘Accomplishments’ to ‘Zzz,’ but the list is only a partial one of sales-related terms and, moreover, not presented with short meanings of the terms as such, but as the author’s definitions. Secondly, the book might already be dated. His encouragement to carry a mobile phone is a dead giveaway. Thirdly, the author clearly pushes his Christian religious agenda as much as he does sales and selling.
Normally, that is not an issue – live and let live some would say – but when perusing sales tomes one hopes for time-proven, empirical and practical guidance. This is why systems like Sandler, with its emphasis on neuroscience, or SPIN, with its reliance on data derived from hundreds of actual sales calls, are appealing or interesting. When the author takes time to include, espouse and promote terms like God (“as you develop a faith in him” and more controversially “…also keep in mind that any god but the real God will kill you”), Grace, Pray, The Bible (“a source of strength and guidance”) and Spiritual the reader is faced with a question regarding whether the book is best read as a sales methodology or as a way for Caldwell, obviously a devoutly Christian man, to promote his Christian faith. Ironically, as much as Caldwell and the book wave the flag of God and religion he – I am assuming ignorantly – quotes German philosopher Nietzsche, albeit inaccurately, by including the “those things that don’t kill us, make us stronger” saying under the ‘Experience’ entry. Nietzsche is famously the author of The Antichrist.
The book is more of a lifestyle guide and less sales tome, but at least, unlike many others, Caldwell is not using this book as a vehicle to launch a sales coaching and lecturing campaign.

Nonetheless, the book has several good pieces of advice and common sense thoughts regarding sales, selling and salespeople’s endeavours vis-a-vis clients. Insomuch as this is a sales book then The Sales Dictionary is more The 25 Sales Strategies That Will Boost Your Sales Today! and less SPIN Selling.

Other noteworthy items regarding the book that are worth mentioning include the author’s denigration of degrees, and his opinion that they are unimportant and secondary in “the real world,” and that people should beware of “experts.” This last one is particularly odd given how salespeople, in my opinion, need to be the experts that hold customers’ hand and align them with respective products or services.

The Sales Dictionary is a quick read and offers a synopsis of several serviceable ideas, but it is neither what one would necessarily expect going in nor giving one the impression of dependability or seriousness.

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