Sales books multiply like weeds. Salespeople, traditionally the extroverts of the business community, like to share their wisdom, and the result is a spate of books each promising to unlock the treasure chest. Patrick Awotwi’s offering differs from such titles in several respects.
Born in Ghana, trained in marketing in Norway, Awotwi’s book draws from his business experiences in a non-Western setting. Unlike many other sales manuals, he presents neither grand theories nor step-by-step instructions for success. Instead, he begins by recounting his experiences in the beverage industry and derives general principles from his work that he tends to present toward the end of his chapters in enumerated paragraphs.
In this format, he tackles such subjects as the importance of numbers to the sales function, the challenges of product distribution, and the need to remain inspired and motivated. In his final chapter, Awotwi positions himself as an advice columnist, the “Dear Abby” of sales, answering imaginary letters from salespeople who face the common hurdles of their discipline.
Awotwi focuses on the human aspects of sales. In fact, the warmth he projects in his text is far from the stereotype of the deceptive, fast-talking salesperson. His use of the English language will sound somewhat foreign to North American ears, but it remains readable. One flaw is that Awotwi mentions, more than once, basic principles of sales he calls “the 4 As” but he only cites three: availability, affordability and acceptability. Where is the fourth “A”?
Awotwi has produced an approachable text that will appeal almost exclusively to sales professionals, particularly those in the retail sector. This is not the book for the moderately interested layperson looking for tips for selling their collectibles on eBay. Salespeople, especially those in the developing world or in the food and beverage space, will find wisdom in Awotwi’s succinct, well-organized volume.