Salesmanship: There are many definitions, characterizations, descriptions, interpretations, concepts, attitudes, prospective, presentations… Here are just a few that you may find interesting:


“The Art of Salesmanship Is the Absence of Salesmanship” by Jack Carroll

“My career in sales has undergone three separate and distinct phases or levels of growth. It’s a track I’ve seen in others who have hung around long enough to establish some kind of a pattern, so I thought it might be instructive to discuss them here. The three phases are:

  1. The art of salesmanship is showmanship
  2. The art of salesmanship is the concealment of salesmanship
  3. The art of salesmanship is the absence of salesmanship

Here are the characteristics of each. See if you can recognize where you are regarding the “art of salesmanship.”

  1. The art of salesmanship is showmanship. Characterized by the development of sophisticated and polished presentation skills that almost unfailingly dazzle (but do not always win the business).
  2. The art of salesmanship is the concealment of salesmanship. Characterized by well-prepared, interactive questions that elicits the “right responses” from the customer.
  3. The art of salesmanship is the absence of salesmanship. Characterized by a quiet, relaxed, well-prepared salesperson that forgets every aspect of technique and just listens and reacts in “real time.”

And that, as the wise old sage said is the “true art of salesmanship, and of life.”           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Salesmanship Lessons From Donald Trump By Mark Stevens

In his bestselling book The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump provided a unique perspective on constructing and negotiating business transactions. But as much as we know Trump as a deal-maker extraordinaire, his greatest skill is his salesmanship. Think of The Donald as a salesman on steroids. And in this lesser-recognized role, Trump practices “The Art of the Thrill”. The “Art of the Thrill” means dress to impress and go big or go home.

Want to know what I mean by this and what we can learn from it for our own salesmanship? Consider the following:

  • Never do things for your customers and prospects in a small way. Make it big and important or don’t do it at all.
  • Everyone likes to do business with a winner. No matter what stage of your career, you need to look like you’ve made it.
  • Bring your ego with you in full bloom. It’s not enough to look successful; you need to act it as well.

You don’t sell: “You Thrill”.


Top 7 Principles Of Professional Salesmanship by Jonathan Farrington

… I received a call from an ex-student this week, who is designing an induction program for new recruits about to embark on a career in sales. He asked that if one had to create “twelve golden principles of selling”, what I would come up with. I responded that I could do better than that – I could reduce my list to seven!

Clearly this is a very subjective view but mindful of the fact that this exercise is designed to provide guidance to salespeople just starting on the first rung of the ladder, this is what I came up with.

  • Always Sell To ‘People’
  • You Have To Sell Yourself
  • You Must Ask Questions And Listen To The Answers
  • Features Must Be Linked To Benefits
  • Aim To Be Unique – ‘Me First’ Rather Than ‘Me Too’
  • Don’t Sell On Price
  • And Finally: Be Professional At all Times

When I see a bird that swims like a duck, sounds like a duck and looks like a duck; then I call that bird, a duckRudyard Kipling             ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Salesmanship / Personal Selling by Amey Puranik 

“Salesmanship is just personal selling – negotiating, emphasizing inducing and making the prospective buyer to take a decision in favour of going for the product being offered to him. In the words of W.G. Carter, “salesmanship is an attempt to induce people to buy goods.”

Today salesmanship is not only an effort to induce the people to buy. Instead, in the words of Whitehead, it is “the art of presenting an offering that the prospect appreciates the need for it and that a mutually satisfactorily sale follows.”

The mutual satisfaction is greatly emphasized in salesmanship. W. Major Scot has regarded that: “It is a part of a salesman’s business to create demand by demonstrating that the need does exist, although before his visit there was no consciousness of that need.”

On ‘Salesmanship’, G. Blake writes that “salesmanship consists of winning the buyer’s confidence for the seller’s house and goods thereby winning a regular and permanent customer.” Emphasizing on ‘lasting satisfaction’.

Paul W. Ivey defines the term salesmanship as “the art of persuading people to purchase goods which will give off lasting satisfactions.”

Thus, Salesmanship is an art of winning-over the buyer’s confidence so that a permanent goodwill may be built and a lasting satisfaction may be given to him when he gets the product offered to him.

Salesmanship is an “art of persuasion”. Convincing and bringing amount the viewpoint is the job which the salesman has to do to affect a sale. Salesmanship, thus, sells satisfaction. Unless he satisfied, no one will accept him as a man who is practicing the ‘Art of Salesmanship’.”


“In a Test of Sales Savvy, ‘Selling a Red Brick on YouTube’”, By Stuart Elliott

….. The goal is “recreating the noble art of ka-ching,” said Rory Sutherland, vice chairman for the British operations of Ogilvy & Mather, based in London. “There’s an interesting case to be made that advertising has strayed too far from the business of salesmanship,” Mr. Sutherland said, which is unfortunate because it can be “a good test of how well you understand people and your creativity.”

“Salesmanship has been lost in the pursuit of art or the dazzle of technology,” said Brian Fetherstonhaugh, chairman and chief executive at OgilvyOne in New York. “It needs to be rekindled in this post recession environment, as consumers are making more informed and deliberate choices.”

At the same time, technologies like TiVo and spam filters are putting “the consumer in control,” Mr. Fetherstonhaugh said, so “the salesperson needs to get invited in.”

That means selling is “less about intrusion and repetition,” he added, “and more about engagement and evangelizing.” “If we believe in selling, and our founder was a salesman, we have a special responsibility to reassert the importance of sales,” Mr. Zucker said.

Mr. Ogilvy, who died in 1999, expressed his philosophies in colorful ways. Once, referring to his stove-selling days, he said: “No sale, no commission. No commission, no eat. That made an impression on me.”                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Salesmanship & Marketing Is Your Business! by Grant W Davis in the book “The Habitual Salesman”

“Most businesses fail because of failure to acknowledge or failure to embrace the fact that every business is first a sales and marketing business, and second a provider of goods and or services!  No matter how simple, or complicated your product or service is. No matter if you ever thought of your business as a Sales and Marketing Business.

Salesmanship and Marketing is a trade that can be taught and learned.  Please always remember that no matter how good you are at what you do, or how great your store is, or your service, if you don’t have customers you are out of business.”


Salesmanship” by Donald DonOmite, in the book “HOW TO SELL – Clear and Simple”

“Salesmanship, the ability to persuade others to buy one’s products, services or ideas, is not necessarily something that a person is born with. Effective salesmanship is comprised of specific abilities and attitudes which can be named and learned. One can adopt and develop these basic attitudes. And if one already has these basic abilities and attitudes in place, but wishes to improve upon them, there are proven ways in which one can do just that.

Two of the basic attitudes which define effective salesmanship are: 1) an orientation to set and reach goals, and 2) a strong sense of persistence. Three of the actual skills or abilities which are required for effective salesmanship are: 1) an ability to win the prospect’s trust, so that his communication with the salesman remains open and honest; 2) an ability to present a product or service in such a way that the prospect builds strong enough interest and desire to want to acquire the product or service; and 3) an ability to smoothly overcome any and all objections which might come up so that the sale closes successfully.

And even more essential to effective salesmanship is a proficiency in the basic “People skills” which underlie and support the techniques of good salesmanship, such as communication skills and the ability to garner agreement.”        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“What Is Salesmanship?” by Mike Sigers

“Have you ever had a customer buy ‘WAY-MORE’ product than he needs? What would you do? Would you leave him to his own devices, or would you hunker down and help?

“What if he had bought 10 times more than he could use in a year? Then what would you do? Would you try to forget the whole thing, try and justify letting them drown in the pool of their mistake? Would you take back some of the surplus? Or would you get in there and help that customer find new avenues for selling the surplus? I’d choose that route and here’s why.”

“If you can help the customer sell 10 times more than they need once, there’s a good chance that they’ll be able to sell somewhere close to that amount again. They’ll also feel a unique bond with you, which should parlay into more sales in the future. And you can use that same avenue with other customers in other areas and hopefully put a strain on your manufacturing division and become a sales hero.

The last time I had the good fortune to have a customer buy WAY-TOO-MUCH product, I checked into a hotel and worked with them every day for a week. Wrote new ads, built displays, came up with a few promotions, called radio stations and worked the phones and sales desk. Within a week, we had sold all his stock.

The customer was relieved and I was enlightened.” THAT is “Salesmanship”!


Practical Salesmanship by Nathaniel C. Fowler Jr.

“What is salesmanship? There are many definitions of salesmanship”. Here is one: “Salesmanship is a personal face-to-face action or effort on the part of an individual which is intended to bring about the sale of the goods for sale.” And here is another:

“More broadly speaking, salesmanship is the art of selling something to somebody, and everything which contributes to the consummation of this exchange is necessarily a part of salesmanship.”

Considered wholly from a commercial point of view, “salesmanship consists of personal solicitation, the salesman and the customer meeting face-to-face”.  The successful salesman is a natural trader. He is fond of selling. He likes to meet competition, and loves to overcome obstacles. He is a fighter, a strategist. Without this natural ability, more than ordinary success is impossible. Nobody can make of himself what he is not.

The power of self-creation does not exist. If one possesses no trading capacity, he can never sell many goods to anybody anywhere. But even a little ability may be developed into what amounts to about the same as much ability. On the other hand, great natural capacity is worth little unless trained by experience and persistency, that everlasting stick-to-it-iveness which turns failure into success.

Ordinary selling ability can undoubtedly be developed and trained sufficiently to make its possessor reasonably successful upon the road or behind-the-counter.”



A new kind of salesmanship is being developed in many lines of business–and particularly in the rebuilding of sales organizations made necessary by the ending of the war and return to peace production.

Study your goods was the salesman’s axiom yesterday.”Study your customer’s problem,” is the viewpoint today; and it is transforming the salesman and sales methods.”

“The Lost Art of Salesmanship by Bill Grady

“Salesmanship is a pattern of behaviors. It’s an oversimplification to suggest that knowing the selling system itself will make you successful at sales. It’s sad to say that many people have followed the system to the letter only to fail miserably at selling. This happens because selling systems fail to get to the heart of salesmanship.

Salesmanship depends upon interpersonal behavior, which relies upon attitudes, assumptions, and conduct, but not formulas.”           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Philosophy of Salesmanship’ by Darren Willger

The Philosophy of Salesmanship is essentially the study of people, words, and things. The aspect of people can be best understood by understanding ourselves. Words and their uses can be taught in a school, but not mastered truly until used in a meaningful manner. Things can be categorized and objectified. Data can be collected about them, and this information you return to the people, your prospects, through the use of words, to accomplish the goal of creating a sale. Master these three things, and you will be able to sell anything. Wisdom Is Important.

To be able to gain wisdom, you must first gain experience, and be able to grab a hold of the appropriate details. Having wisdom allows you to be discriminating in your salesmanship abilities, and also gains knowledge of your prospect. It is one thing to have knowledge, but it is entirely another concept to be wise. A wise sale person will be able to determine the right time to make a sales call based upon local area factors.             ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Art of Salesmanship by Rod Khleif

“A knowledge of selling principles alone is not sufficient. Actual practice in their application is necessary. But knowledge of principles will enable one to get his selling ability into action more quickly and make him a better salesman than he otherwise could hope to be. The art of salesmanship may be defined as the “ability to apply fundamental selling principles to the circumstances of the individual selling situation”.

Selling is definitely an Art. But Art is an applied Science. It is the practical application of knowledge or natural ability. It is possible to make a study of the sales process and the experience and methods of successful salesmen. Because of the many immeasurable human elements involved, it will always remain, to some degree, an inexact science.

Therefore, the term Salesmanship includes both knowledge of fundamental selling principles and the ability to apply them in the actual making of sales. It comprehends both the science and the art.”