Now this book actually is worth the read, especially if you sell to big companies.  I wish I’d had this book back when I was working in the property statistics market.  While I wasn’t strictly a salesperson, I was responsible for looking after a salesperson, and I often went on sales calls with him.

We’d rock up at these companies, do a big pitch for how great our software was.  They’d give us a noncommittal answer, and then we’d never hear back from them again.  Or, when we tried to chase them up, we’d hear that, “They’re still thinking it over.”

Or worse yet, after six months of, “They’re still thinking it over,” we ‘d hear that the one person we knew in the company had moved on.

If only I’d had this book.

This book contains nothing about what it calls sales tactics, which is what to say when you’re in a room with somebody making a sales call.

Instead, it’s all about sales strategy – working out what you’re trying to achieve to move your sale forward.

And the genius of this system is that it deals with the logistics of the Complex Sale – a sale where there are multiple decision-makers

There are many great nuggets of wisdom in this very clearly laid-out book, but the most amazing one to me is the concept of Buying Influences.  The four groups of people that will influence whether you make the sale or not.

The four are:

The Economic Buyer – the person (or persons) who actually sign off on the money.  They probably won’t care about the bells and whistles, but they’ll want to know whether your product will be good for the bottom line of the company.  Even if everybody else is keen on your product, this person can say no.

The User Buyer – There’s usually multiples of this character.  This is everybody who will actually use the object or process that you’re selling.  They won’t sign off on the money, but they’ll all have an opinion on whether your stuff is good or not.

The Technical Buyer – This is the gatekeeper, designed to screen out salespeople on technicalities.  (In the sponsorship world, these guys are the sponsorships managers – trained and ready to read and reject a sponsorship proposal in 7 seconds.)

And, finally, the one I’m not entirely sure about whether I believe in or not:

The Coach – The person who wants you to make the sale and will guide you to all the right people that you need to talk to and give you the information you need to make the sale.

I’m not convinced on this one, probably because I’ve never had a coach on any large account that I’ve been working on.  But then again, I was lamenting my misfortune at the beginning of this post, so maybe that’s why.  Also, I can’t remember too many salespeople telling me about having a friendly person on the inside that helped them make the sale.  But then again, maybe they have.

Anyway, I’ll stop there, before I cause any more boredom in the non-sales readership of this blog.  But seriously, if you’re selling to big companies, this book has so much useful information and will give you such a clear sense of purpose on what to do in the large sale that it’s really worth it’s weight in gold.

5 out of 5.

One thought on “Book Review: The New Strategic Selling (Stephen Heiman & Diane Sanchez)

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