Sales Autopsy Book Excerpt

Introduction (check out the book at

It was a dreadful day’s end for Mark. His best customer called, out of courtesy, to say he was switching vendors. There went 25 percent of his revenue. Then another major prospect phoned about a 5:15 pm (hoping he’d get Mark’s voice mail) to say he was going with someone else. The future was fizzling fast for this good friend sitting next to me.

And Mark wasn’t just a friend because his wife packed extra sushi in his lunch to share with me. He was a smart sales pro, a plodder who just kept working the phones whether times were good or wretched. His day was now ending with pats on the back and condolences. You’d have thought we were at a funeral.

I came to work early the next day, 5:30 to be exact—the time when I normally pulled practical jokes on my peers. (I’d never been caught; my college days were paying off in the workplace.) I knelt down next to Mark’s desk, dug out my big white piece of sidewalk chalk, and began to draw an outline of a body.

I was gone long before anyone arrived but coincidently met Mark in the parking lot as we both came to work—me for the second time. People were already gathering around Mark’s desk and laughing when we came in. They didn’t know it then, but they were there for the birth of my Sales Autopsy logo.

While sales disasters (other people’s, of course) often provide needed humor, they can also provide much more. First, laughter is refreshing. It has a healing effect on the soul and body. This is why I collect sales horror stories. We’re in a tough business and could use some relief. In fact, when I speak, my audiences would rather hear their peers’ sales blunders during the “confession session” than absorb selling wisdom or strategies from the rest of my program.

Next, and most important, your ability to recover quickly from irritating, even disastrous experiences in your sales life is a measure of your mental health. You must move forward quickly, perhaps taking time to learn a quick lesson from the experience, in order to keep focused on your goal to build your business.

Have you ever had the crushing feeling that there’s somehow a gap between you and greatness? Throughout this book you will discover, through laughter and the hard-earned experience of those who’ve gone before you, ways to close that gap.

The ideas, strategies, and concepts inside these pages have been compiled from more than 600 sales horror stories and ensuing interviews with your peers. Through these stories and my training and coaching practice, I’ve discovered three larger commonalities among world-class sales professionals. They all

  1. qualify and disqualify prospects quickly;
  2. move beyond traditional 20th-century selling techniques and employ newer strategies that savvy prospects can’t counter; and
  3. invest in themselves in three ways: by upgrading appearance, utilizing great tools, and boosting their selling brainpower.

How can you quickly attain elite status in selling? Share what you discover here with someone else who sells. When you become the teacher, you learn most quickly. And the faster you put your most useful learning moments from this book into play, the more quickly you become the master.

My hope is that you are not just affected but inspired to improve from the ideas you’re about to absorb. I trust this book becomes a blessing to your income, career, and mostly, your family.

Dan Seidman,

Barrington, IL

P.S. Did you know that, if you lay all the really bad prospects from end to end around the world, 76 percent of them would drown?

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