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April 8, 2012

Book Review - 77 : You Can Sell

Author: Shiv Khera
Publisher: Westland  

Who is not selling? A candidate at a job interview, apolitician making speeches to get votes, a boy and girl dating with the intention of getting married . . . all are selling themselves in some or the other way. You Can Sell challenges the age old cliché which delineates sales to be the sole domain of a sales man. 

You Can Sell addresses time-tested principles which make a successful sales professional. The word used is ‘principles’ and not ‘tactics’. Tactics are manipulative whereas principles are based on the foundation of values. Many times you hear people saying that to succeed you need to learn the ‘tricks of the trade’. Good professionals learn the trade, and that’s exactly what You Can Sell teaches.

Reading Shiv Khera' s 'You can Win' around 10 years ago in the hostel dormitory, i laughed my guts out. I thought it was a book definitely not written for the people of earth, it was so away from the reality. I remember arguing then with a fellow nerdy student how the author sees the world from a rose tainted canvas which very few can relate to and a world which only some of us can think of inhabiting. In short, even though it was a ridiculously successful book the self-help book never worked for me. Now, years later after reading his latest venture, i can't help laughing again. This time, out of sheer boredom.

Published first in 2010 by Rupa Publications and short-listed for Vodaphone Crossword Non-fiction Award 2010, the book has been repackaged and released again by Westland. The book has more of exercises and tests after each chapter that the previous version, which i conveniently skipped. They add to the length of the book and quite unoriginal to put it politely.

The best bits of the book are the one where the author decides to put real-time examples of selling from his own life. They are not only interesting to glance through, but also effectively communicates the points of selling across the spectrum of business verticals. These are the portions which people in Sales, Marketing or Business Development will find most useful applying in a professional set-up. There are few good pointers to those people too who are starting up their career and can have a deeper look into their positives and negatives.

The most sore point is that it does not tell anything new on personality building and selling skills which you have not heard before - Same cliches about dressing well, listening to customers, understanding the situation, being patient, following up with them and many more. It is the same jazz you have read so many times and it sounds just so damn familiar.

I am going with 2/5 for Shiv Khera's 'You can Sell'. I believe it is going to sell many more copies and earn lot of money for publisher/author. I just wish it was a much better book than any other self help bible you come across on a bookstore shelf. In its current form, it is just a one time read which you may like to pick up if you hadn't read a self-help book in a long time.

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