Salesmanship: An Object Lesson


What could President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address possibly have to do with sales training? Delivered in only two minutes, this profoundly stirring speech is an object lesson in persuasiveness. In just ten sentences, Lincoln adeptly used effective selling skills to rouse and unify his audience:

1) Tell a compelling and persuasive story: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth…”
2) Find common ground and foster the idea of working together: “It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us…”
3) Anticipate the need to motivate your listeners: “…that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation shall have a new birth of freedom…”
4) Guide your audience to internalize your message and be of the same mind: “… that the government of the people by the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

If we think of persuasiveness as selling—whether an idea, a product or a service—Lincoln’s powerful address gives a worthwhile perspective.

To read more about this topic, see Tim David’s HBR blog article, Why the Gettysburg Address Is Still a Great Case Study in Persuasion.
To read the Gettysburg Address:

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Sales Effectiveness: Manage Where it Counts
Increase Revenue by Aligning Sales and Marketing
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