Sep 012007

Do Not Leave The Sword Behind On The Next Sales Call


Here is a book on sales technique with a different angle. Samurai Selling: The Ancient Art Of Modern Service by Chuck Laughlin, Karen Sage and Marc Bockmon takes lessons learnt from the famed and legendary shogun and the nameless or ordinary samurai of Japan and applies them to the arena of modern selling. The authors are armed with metaphors, quotations, excerpts and parables of the samurai and use them to create analogies between the two worlds. Samurai, the authors tell, translates roughly to ‘one who serves’ and the writers seek to instill the value, along with other concepts like Ki, balance, integrity, urgency and APE (Account, Problem and Effect) questioning into the reader.
The concept is different and interesting, but the book has as many hits as misses. For one, the authors’ analogies are often stretched and forced. For another, the book seems to run out of applicable parables on occasion and just does without. Moreover, to maintain perspective, the samurai sought to serve without looking for gain. The modern salesperson – and his manager – would hardly care for that attitude. Yes, serving brings and facilitates the sale, but the juxtaposition still has merit.
Samurai Selling is a lofty ideal – the authors’ use of it to launch, nurture and enrich a corporate training career notwithstanding – but looking around one sees plenty of real-life examples which contradict its application to success.

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