Know How: Get better at sales (even if you’re not in sales)

At Dale Carnegie Training, relating to others more effectively is key to boosting business

By Emily Gasperlin
Sunday, July 27, 2014

"When I was in college, I was extremely shy,” says Frank Fuller, president of St. Paul–based Sunrise Banks. “My mother gave me the book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Quite honestly, it changed my life. I read the book. I practiced the principles and it worked.”

Fuller isn’t alone. The book, written by master salesman Dale Carnegie and first published in 1936, has been changing lives for decades. It’s arguably the most influential business book of all time. Even before writing it, Carnegie was teaching personal development to business professionals: He established Dale Carnegie Training in 1912.

Today Dale Carnegie Training is represented throughout the United States (including in Edina) and in more than 80 countries, not to mention dozens of languages. One of its key offerings is the Sales Advantage program, offered on either a three-day or eight-week schedule.

Fuller found the program so worthwhile that he has since sent two groups of Sunrise Banks employees through it. “What I found throughout my career is the biggest problem people have is the ability to relate to other human beings effectively,” he explains.  “You can wing it and go out and talk to people. You think you have a great personality, but you really don’t know how to go through the process to sell, to establish a repertoire, get people interested, and ultimately close the sale. [Dale Carnegie] lays out this process. They train it and they practice it. They show people the effective way of arriving at a yes.”

Fuller witnessed how the Dale Carnegie method helped one of his employees become better at relating to others in the course of his job. “He was pretty aggressive with his communication with others, and he has found a way to improve his ability to deal with others, and particularly other employees.”

Of all the Dale Carnegie Training teams around the world, Minnesota’s team ranks No. 2. “We consistently refresh and stay current, but our main focus has always remained on seeing things from the buyer’s point of view,” says Jennifer Huber, director of sales and marketing for Dale Carnegie Minnesota. “Our main point is to help clients tap into the emotional side of selling and move to a commitment. It’s always a journey for the buyer, and how we respond is the key.”

Huber notes that the current business climate in Minnesota sees a lot of what she calls “nontraditional sales teams,” and such teams are showing interest and participating in the Sales Advantage program.

“A nontraditional sales team includes folks primarily in the professional services arena, which would be banking, attorneys, accountants, engineers, who now have to wear a revenue-generating hat,” she explains.  “Now more than ever, I would say companies have to apply a human-relations approach to selling.”

That approach is what made How to Win Friends and Influence People such a success, she adds. “It’s one of the top-selling books of all time. Dale Carnegie was the pioneer for principles in achieving human relations in both work and in life. Human relations is his key. His methodology is how we now help clients achieve business results.”

Today, the methods continue to work for both business professionals and individuals looking to make a change. “If you practice the principles taught by Dale Carnegie,” says longtime believer Fuller, “your results will be magical.”