Hertfordshire-based Neil Johnson released Lifestyle habits for success in selling: the missing link between sales theory and practice via Amazon’s self-publishing service two weeks ago.
Available for £4.99 as a paperback or an e-book, the 53pp guide focuses on selling generally rather than print sales specifically.
In it Johnson describes the habits that he believes are essential for success and offers practical advice on networking, preparing for meetings, adding value to clients and how to have better conversations.
Currently on six months’ gardening leave from DS Smith and set to start a new role within the print industry later this month, Johnson had worked as divisional director for business development in DS Smith’s Retail Marketing division for three years until earlier this year.
He became part of the packaging giant in June 2016 when it acquired POS specialist Creo, which Johnson had worked for since 2010.
His other prior roles had included three years as group sales director at Simpson Group and three years as group business development director at Bezier.
Johnson told PrintWeek: “I’ve been in sales within the print and packaging sector since 1996, straight out of college, and it’s always surprised me how salespeople sell.
“I suspect it’s not common to our sector and that the same approach is true across all sectors, but there is this keenness [for salespeople] to present and tell clients all about their business.
“But what I’ve found is that when I’ve asked clients about their business, and been genuinely interested in trying to help clients rather than necessarily trying to feather my own nest, it pays bigger dividends over a longer period of time and leads to deeper client relationships than the one-hit wonder ‘can I sell you some posters please’ approach.”
He added: “I’ve seen so many different ways of selling that I wanted to gather some of these thoughts together. I’ve done it from the point of view that this is how I’ve seen it been done successfully and that if I share those ideas with other salespeople it might just help them, and that’s job done.
“It’s about adding a bit of value back and trying to help particularly some younger salespeople to perhaps be a bit more successful earlier in their career.”
Johnson said the book is a one-off personal project that was written to fill a gap that he felt was evident in the market.
“I’m a firm believer that everyone has got a book in them and this is probably mine.
“I have read and seen so much sales literature that talks about presenting, negotiating and closing, but nowhere does it talk about the lifestyle aspects to selling.
“I couldn’t find anything anywhere that people could read to help them to understand how to structure their lives or organise themselves to be a bit more successful and productive.”