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34 Takeaways from Killer Sales Book, “What Great Salespeople Do”

4 min read
Updated Oct. 18, 2023
Published Jun. 5, 2012

Michael Bosworth is arguably one of the most famous sales authors of all time. With such successes as CustomerCentric Selling & Solution Selling behind him, he recently wrote a book that flies in the face of traditional sales conventions (even his own). In a nutshell, it’s about telling stories. So without further ado, our 34 favorite takeaways from the book, What Great Sales People Do.

  1. People who tell the stories rule the world [Tweet This]
  2. Selling is influencing change – influencing people to change [Tweet This]
  3. We are all imperfect & we trust people more when they’re willing to be imperfect [Tweet This]
  4. Allowing ourselves to be seen as vulnerable fosters an environment of openness and leads to trust [Tweet This]
  5. We don’t lose power by showing our vulnerability; we gain it [Tweet This]
  6. We make decisions based on feelings, & then we use logic after the fact to justify our decisions [Tweet This]
  7. If you don’t have a point, you don’t have a story [Tweet This]
  8. Complications are what make our stories interesting. They create tension & suspense through conflict [Tweet This]
  9. No one connects w/ perfection [Tweet This]
  10. The 1st question buyers ask themselves is “Do I trust this person or is she like every other salesperson?” [Tweet This]
  11. If buyers don’t trust you, they aren’t going to be curious about what you’re selling [Tweet This]
  12. Sellers should have 3 stories in their repertoires, Who I Am, Who I Represent & Who I’ve Helped [Tweet This]
  13. We have 10-20 seconds before a prospect says “tell me more” or “not interested” [Tweet This]
  14. If you have only a few seconds to make a buyer curious, start with the why of your story [Tweet This]
  15. Lead w/ belief & emotion & save the facts for later [Tweet This]
  16. Words alone make up only 7% of human communication [Tweet This]
  17. People simply don’t say no to the offer of a story [Tweet This]
  18. People want to tell their stories-they want to be heard, connect, & be understood. It’s human nature [Tweet This]
  19. No one ever listened themselves out of a sale [Tweet This]
  20. Even if you think you’re a terrible storyteller, you’ll still be better than 95% of salespeople if you teach yourself to become a good listener [Tweet This]
  21. The better listeners we become, the better storytellers we become [Tweet This]
  22. The excitement of a perfect match can cause sellers to “prematurely elaborate.” They stop listening & go to their solutions too early [Tweet This]
  23. If you use a script, you’ll already be thinking about the next question while the buyer is still answering the last 1 [Tweet This]
  24. We never listen when we are eager to speak [Tweet This]
  25. As sellers, we must rein in our Type A tendencies and try to be patient, relaxed, easygoing, & nurturing [Tweet This]
  26. When you listen for the pain, hurt, & fear in people, it is always there [Tweet This]
  27. When a buyer hears his story played back to him, it can have a profound impact [Tweet This]
  28. Let’s face it. Buyers don’t view salespeople as doctors. You have to connect to understand the pain [Tweet This]
  29. Stories are the most effective means by which we communicate our values & beliefs & influence others [Tweet This]
  30. Think of yourself as a “story leader” who focuses on starting a grassroots internal movement [Tweet This]
  31. C-level execs are more likely to move once the organization has already sensed the need to change [Tweet This]
  32. Drop the Superman act [Tweet This]
  33. Be open about your dumbass selling moments [Tweet This]
  34. If you focus on helping your people become better at what they do, everything else will fall into place [Tweet This]