The book entitled “Sales Success Handbook” talks about how salespersons could effectively sell their products and services using the strategies contained in the book. The author says that sales is not what it used to be, if in the past sales was about selling the product, nowadays, a successful salesperson has to market both the value and experience of the product.
It was also mentioned that old school sales representatives are narrow and focused on making the sale rather than cultivating relationships, but the changing consumer behavior and what is deemed valuable and not necessitates that sales people alter their approach and philosophy in selling. The primary goal of the author was to identify the important aspects of the sales call and define and determine what strategies would work and help the sales people in closing the deal.
The author also presents examples of how to do the strategies properly; he goes about saying that what separates the good salesperson from the top performers include the ability to engage in a consultative dialogue, he says that the time when sales talk were the fad has long been long replaced by dialogue, and that means it should be customer centered and not product centered. The primary objective of the book is to provide people in the sales profession the methods and techniques in consultative dialogue and hence be successful in sales.
The title of the book is says that it is a handbook for those who want to learn how to become successful salespersons and for those who are already in sales and want to improve or better their skills in selling. It is a short and quick reference for salespersons and all the discussions are based on practical applications of the strategy. 2. Describe two or three ideas/ insights that you thought would be useful (or dangerous) for a salesperson to implement. (50 points)
Selling a product or a service to customers who are willing or unwilling to purchase what you are selling is not an easy task. We may slam our doors and phones when salespersons approach us and make their product sales pitch but we must recognize that salespersons make their living in the ability to make a sale or close a deal. One of the insights that this book provides is how to focus the sales approach to the customer, not on the product and not on the salesperson.
It is assumed that people want to feel listened to and that an effective salesperson recognizes that the needs of the customer must come first. This is an important insight for the salesperson because it is true that when customers are given special attention and they are made to feel that they are important and the salesperson is there to satisfy their needs efficiently, then they would surely become a loyal customer. The key ingredient in establishing a positive relationship with the customer is to establish rapport before doing anything else.
The author emphasized that establishing rapport is important because it would tell the customer that the salesperson is friendly, accommodating, interested in the customer’s needs and questions and shows genuine concern. It has been observed that people who do not know how to relate to others would be stiff, cold and boring. If a salesperson would want to see more sales at the end of the month, then they should learn how to be an engaging and interesting person.
In the same light, it would be useful to the salesperson if they would really know their product and be able to present the best that it has to offer and at the same time be accepting of its faults and limitations. People are wary of the salesperson who brags and praises the product or service they are selling and yet when confronted with difficulties and problems with the product, they are nowhere to be found. Although it is an accepted fact that salespersons are deceiving, this image should not be a hindrance to those who really would want to make sales their profession.
Generally, people know that all products and services have its own faults and saying otherwise would only mean that the salesperson was lying or deceiving the customer. A good salesperson who builds their clientele with honesty and trust would inform the customer the limitations of the product and would anticipate this and assure the customer that they already have solutions for those problems and that they would be available to the customer when the time comes.
The overall theme of the book was to be a guide for salespersons in how to become an effective salesperson, but it was alarming to notice that most of the strategies mentioned were geared towards making the customer feel and believe that they are the most important factor in the business relationship, it goes without saying that this perspective is faulty. In the first place, the point of selling is that there are goods to sell may it be tangible or not. The focus on the customer’s needs and their business experience with the salesperson should only support the effectiveness and the quality of the product not the other way around.
It is dangerous to even think that someone could convince another person to buy something that he/she does not really need or a defective product because he/she is a good talker and was able to build a personal relationship with the customer. The end goal of the salesperson is always to sell, their success is measured by the number of deals they close and not by how many friends they gained, and thus it is important that a certain distance be maintained between the customer and the salesperson.
The author emphasized that establishing rapport, using empathy and acknowledgment, having a questioning strategy and following-up consistently are the hallmarks of a top performing salesperson, but how would you feel if the same techniques are used to deceive and take advantage of the emotions and feelings of the customer as this information could easily fall into the hands of unscrupulous individuals. 3. How well did the discussion of the book’s topic correlate with the material in the text/class?
Explain. (20 points) The material in the book was actually intended for those who already have a background and experience in sales. The process of selling that the book covered was to some extent similar to the process described in the course. The book differed form the course I its emphasis on the consultative dialogue part while the course focused on what tools and knowledge a salesperson must have even before setting up a sales call or meeting.
The book did not cover the needed technical and theoretical basis of the process of selling; it only went on to say that selling starts with identifying the customer and so on. The course lessons were more comprehensive and more up to date as it covered the new researches and approaches in selling and it also emphasized the need for salespersons who know how to identify customers who needs the product and services being marketed and salespersons who are well versed about the goods he/she is selling.
The book covered one aspect of sales and marketing and that is selling, in fact I realized that sales is more than just selling and the lowly salespersons are not actually lowly if they strive to be scientific and honest in their profession. Moreover, the book was generally referring to salespersons but the course lessons said that there were different kinds of salespersons who specialize in different customers and industries.
The book maybe referring to the first sale or the first contact between the salesperson and the customer, but I think the book’s advices is not applicable to long time customers or repeat customers. 4. Who would you recommend read the book? Did you feel like the authors views were supported by any research? What did you think of the writing style? (15 points) I would recommend the book to beginning students of sales and marketing just to give them an idea of how it is to become a salesperson and to be able to discern what qualities are important or not.
Sales is a challenging job and the adrenaline rush of closing a sale and making a deal is more than the economic rewards of the job, sometimes it is very easy to get caught up in the prestige and power that being in sales bring that to be objective, honest and true would be very difficult to maintain and uphold. Individuals who would want to pursue a career in sales should be prepared not only by being a good talker, a convincing person but also be technically competent and academically sound.
The book is a great example of how students can learn the daily battles of a salesperson and at the same time evaluate their personal characteristics to find out if they have what it takes to be a salesperson. And if they are interested, they could use the book to serve as a simple guide in practicing and honing their skills in making the sales presentation or meeting. I believe the book had noble intentions and it was written with a view to teach salespersons how to become more effective in their jobs and careers.
However, I fear that the author of the book did not make use of research or if she did then it was not adequately presented. In the introduction, she did say that she had extensive experience in the training of salespersons and doing consultancy work for sales firms and all, but to claim knowledge of these things is not the same as having a sound body of knowledge and theories to back up her claims and the strategies she developed. The writing style is simple and can easily be understood, however it made use of too much sales jargon.
I know that the book was intended for those who are actually in the sales business, but if a student or someone who does not have the knowledge would be lost in the book. A good introduction and a brief background about the sales process, the different customers and industries involved in the sales business and the science of the discipline could have been included in the book. Moreover, the author was redundant, she tend to repeat the things she said in the first part of the section at the end of the section, this could have been a much needed and effective style if the sections were 10 pages long, but with a 2 page discussion it is not.
Lastly, the author incorporated comic cartoons to maybe help in introducing the section but some of the cartoons were not effective or it was also redundant. Overall, the book was a good read, but there were times when I felt bored and thought that the author was bluffing or that she is just dressing up her discussions with too much flair that I sometimes did not believe her. The book had several points’ right and it is still worth to be read as an academic exercise and nothing else.