📅 20th January 2022 | 2022 Sales Book Reviews
At first glance, you would think that Sell Different is aimed at sales graduates entering the world of corporate sales but SD is much much more. It takes the reader on a journey from a modern take on the sales ‘basics’ right through to techniques and processes which can be utilised in complex B2B sales. Read on…..
The very last chapter in Sell Different really spoke to me. For decades I’ve seen, heard and read about the supposed similarity between sports stars and so-called sales professionals. In reality though, how many sales professional are actually sales professionals? How much time time do they really spend reading and generally improving their sales skills? I agree with Lee Salz, many sales people just “go through the motions” or are sent on training programmes over the course of an employment with one sales firm or another. People who have the firm desire to progress really have to have a “strong sales memory muscle”, and not just for a period of a few years but throughout their sales career. Parents who want their child to get to the top of the class employ tutors or mentors, so why do so few sales people employ their own coach or mentor?
There are a few pages dedicated to Client Onboarding, or implementing the new equipment/service/software. Understanding a clients pre and post-sales concerns and then explaining the structure of a new installation will reduce their fear factor. I liked the strategy outlined in this section – it’s simple really – and yet many suppliers don’t go this ‘extra mile’.
I liked the chapter on virtual selling which explained the obvious need to master the technology before you use it! Another big no-no is the poor use of slides. Presenting facts over Zoom is no better than showing info on a ‘live’ presentation – beware of Death by PowerPoint. Use images and video instead. For more information on this go to www.virtualsellingbestpractices.com
It’s refreshing to read a sales book where the author states he loathes the word “closing”. So do I.
Closing suggests that the seller/client relationship is over. Even in the B2C or low-cost transactional selling arenas there’s always opportunity provide more for your client or customer. Closing in the context of what is outlined in Chapter 7 really exposes the fundamental issue here. The closing isn’t the problem but the failure on behalf of salespeople to expand the clients issues, particularly that of value. In my view, this goes back in part to the old SPIN method of asking questions. Salz’s method is a little different, he suggests asking Horizontal and Vertical questions. The latter dives deep into the customers issues.
Back in the day, we called it a “Puppy Dog” close – oops, apologies for the use of the ‘C’ word! Chapter 10 covers that old issue – “can we have a 30-day trial and if successful we’ll give your equipment full consideration” or some such nonsense which author calls the non-commitment commitment. There are though, occasions when this is need to further a sale and Lee highlights a 12-point action plan for achieving this. Few sales books go into this amount of detail on trials or pilot programmes.
The passage on customer service v. account management explained in over several how the two are very different. To keep the competition away, you cannot afford to sit on your laurels and just expect revenue to pour in year after year. At the very least you should be exploring every avenue to increase the business you do (in profit and revenue terms) with your client. This is put more succinctly at the top of this post.
I’m sorry that in 2020’s the author had to mention how sales people seem to spend too little time in front of customers. Last century, we would try to increase CCT (Customer Contact Time) or CMT (Customer Meeting Time). Those who managed it were the most successful on the sales force. The old sales adage of work smart and not hard, springs to mind. Salespeople must be masters of their own time and yet so much seemingly is still wasted on non-productive activity. In Chapter 14 there are lists of activities that require action and the reader is implored to categorise them.
Finally, UK purchasers of this book may have to do a few Google searches in respect of the many references to America and American culture. Not an issue really as much translates to the English!
Sell Different highlights some home truths about sales and the sales profession. It’s a great book for the sales novice and those of us with more than 40 or 45 summers under our belt!
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