Review: Soft Selling in a Hard World–Plain Talk on the Art of Persuasion (2nd Edition-Revised & Updated)

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Communications, Information Operations

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Distillation of Course Worth Thousands, a Real Gem,

April 29, 2004
Jerry Vass
I just took the executive sales training course that this book summarizes, essentially a “CEO to CEO” sales course but applicable at any level of direct sales, and I cannot say enough good things about the author, the book, or the training–my last twenty years literally passed before my eyes as I understood his key points: purchase decisions are made by individuals on an emotional “what’s in it for me” basis, and then justified on a rational “what’s in it for the organization” basis. Any sales effort that attempts to stress features and capabilities, as 99% of all of us have been doing, is destined to be lethargic and hit or miss.The author and his team have a formula and it is a formula that is already working for me: listen instead of talk, solve instead of sell, and a few others that are only offered in the course not the book.

The author is devastating in critiquing what he calls “puffery”, all those now meaningless phrases about “best in class” and so on.

Finally, the author is extremely effective in helping truly good executive sales people do a cost analysis that at its most brutal, makes it clear to the client that what they are buying or not buying now is costing them a great deal more than what you are offering as a solution to *their* problem, which in turn justifies your getting top dollar because the return on investment in your more expensive capability, with no hidden costs, is greater than the return on the cheaper or partial solutions.

I strongly recommend the book for a taste of how to do soft selling in a client-friendly manner, and I strongly recommend the three-day course which is where they walk you through the entire process of creating mission statements, benefits to the client, listening probes, and closing statements that pull it all together.

It will take more than one course to overcome 20 years of coming at it the wrong way, but if you are seriously interested in dramatically changing your tone, your approach, and your relationship with your best clients, start with this book and then go on to one of the courses.

This was, incidentally, as an executive, my first formal training since 1986–20 years ago, and as I finished it up, I could only wish someone had shown me this path ten years ago or before.

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