As you scroll through the list of Amazon’s top-selling books in the Sales category, you quickly see that they have a common premise: they teach salespeople how to improve their personal productivity.
Amazon’s Top-Selling Books on Sales
- Go Pro – 7 Steps to Becoming a Network Marketing Professional by Eric Worre
- Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff
- The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
- Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini
- Go for No! Yes Is the Destination, No Is How You Get There by Andrea Waltz
- Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life by Grant Cardone
- The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon
- DotCom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online by Russell Brunson
- Unmarketing: Stop Marketing, Start Engaging by Scott Stratten
- To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink
You are probably familiar with some of these titles: Pitch Anything, Go for No!, The Challenger Sale, Sell or Be Sold. Salespeople read these books to improve their sense of motivation, to increase the size of their personal network, and to strengthen their negotiation skills.
And why wouldn’t these books be popular with salespeople? Personal selling is hard. They have to telephone people who aren’t expecting their call and who would rather not talk to them. They constantly meet new people, not for the fun of it, but to increase their network of influence. They have to listen carefully to people and guide all their conversations toward conversion of prospect into customer.
Manufacturing Book Buyers Study Process Excellence, Not Personal Productivity
What a difference when you look at Amazon’s top-selling books in Manufacturing. These titles fall into two categories. The first category covers books about the history and the future in manufacturing. The history books include a story about a furniture-maker in New England that fought the forces of offshoring. Another is about the battle between Ford and Nissan. The books on trends cover topics like the impact of 3D printing and open software on manufacturing.
The titles in the second manufacturing category are all about manufacturing process: Lean Six Sigma, the Toyota Way, and continuous improvement.
Amazon’s Top-Selling Books on Manufacturing
- Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook by Dave Rowlands
- The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer by Jeffrey K. Liker
- Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local—and Helped Save an American Townby Beth Macy
- Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness, and Superior Results by Mike Rother
- Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson
- Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing by Hod Lipson
- The Reckoning by David Halberstam
- Standardized Work and Standard Operating Procedures: A Solid Base For Continuous Improvement by Krasimir Kirov
- A Factory of One: Applying Lean Principles to Banish Waste and Improve Your Personal Performance by Daniel Markovitz
- Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Changed America by Les Standiford
Nowhere in the manufacturing section do you find titles to help individual manufacturing workers improve their motivation or their personal productivity.
In other words, the top-selling books in Manufacturing are aimed at management because managers design and organize the work that manufacturing employees do.
Manufacturing people don’t have to buy books to improve motivation and personal productivity because they work in a system that is designed to motivate its workers and to help them improve their productivity. They are not left on their own to design their daily activities. They work within a team and within a system.
Salespeople Operate Primarily on Their Own
Unfortunately, most salespeople must work on their own. They operate independently from their company. They are given a quota and some product information and expected to produce results.
Salespeople are primarily measured on the revenue they generate against expected forecast. They are not measured on interim results, so they have no way to know how they are doing at each stage of any particular deal.
From Personal Selling to a Sales Production System
Michael Webb asks this question: what would it look like if salespeople operated in a sales production system, one that “organizes marketing, sales, and service activities to transform the “raw materials” of people in the marketplace who may need what you sell into customers by adding value to them in specific ways?”
Webb says that a sales production system could transform the work of marketing, sales, and service:
- Marketing is transformed from a function dedicated to generating awareness and any type of leads in scattergun fashion to one dedicated to locating people who need what you sell and to nurturing relationships with the right prospects.
- Sales is transformed from a team of individuals who push customers into buying your products or services to one that works with people who face certain problems or opportunities that your company can help them solve or improve.
- Service is transformed from a cost center or necessary evil into a function that ensures that customers get what they pay for and into a mechanism for learning how you can continually improve your value to customers.
Who knows, one day when you look at the top-selling books on Amazon in the Sales category, you’ll see fewer books on personal productivity and more books on sales process excellence.