A debut book characterizes the art of selling as building relationships.
Any volume about the sales profession has a hard enough time being noticed, much less rising above the pack. There are countless books on the topic, some classics, that preach selling philosophies, encourage the use of sales systems, and proffer countless tips. So it’s valid to question whether yet another title has anything new to add. This volume by a professional sales coach doesn’t necessarily deliver something brand new; still, it packages advice in an easy-to-read manner with a nice balance of the conceptual and the concrete. The overarching theme—building relationships with prospects and customers—may seem obvious to the more experienced consultative salesperson, but it is skillfully driven home in chapter after chapter. The author sets the stage by describing modern-day prospects who, because of the vast availability of information, “may have a better idea of the product they require.” He suggests this is a key reason salespeople must act as consultants who lead potential customers to buy rather than imposing their wills. The secret sauce of selling is simple to state but hard to deliver: “Confidence, trust, belief, and transparency are the difference,” Knowles writes. The book then delves into two areas of critical importance: self-development and skills development. Knowles addresses such personal attributes as attitude, positive thinking, and enthusiasm as well as skills, including professionalism and time management. He is at his strongest when discussing relationship-building: how to become an active listener, how to read and use body language, and, perhaps most important, how to ask great questions. Knowles provides specific examples of “goal-oriented questioning,” a technique that “reveals key hot buttons you can use later in your presentation to” prospects. His counsel on handling objections and closing techniques is sensible and wise. His explanation of the “four pillars of selling” is also useful; balanced correctly, they can potentially lead to higher success in selling.
Smart, on target, and born
of experience, this strong volume should be highly instructive for the novice
and reassuring to the accomplished salesperson.