Table of Contents

The Science of Sales Success shows readers how to achieve the perfect win-win sales situation. Providing a system for giving customers more measurable benefits than competitors, Josh Costell shows how sales professionals can make fewer calls to win higher-profit orders. Costell used his "selling is a science" theory to propel him from rookie status to national sales manager of a Fortune 500 company just three years out of college. Now he reveals how to:

  • Apply a quantifiable approach to selling in order to duplicate success
  • Speed up "advance or abandon" decisions to make productivity explode
  • Create bonds and motivate customers to share decision-making information

Filled with examples and case studies, the book shows how to build value-driven solutions from the perspective of customers’ goals rather than the products and services being offered. Featuring templates and a unique sales milestone map, The Science of Sales Success is every sales professional’s key to faster sales growth.

About the Author

Josh Costell founded Applying Knowledge Systems, a sales consulting firm, after growing Mechanical Ingenuity Corporation from a start-up into a multi-million-dollar global venture. He has been a sales executive at MCC Powers and national sales manager at York International, winning every top sales and profitability award given.

The Science of Sales Success—A Proven System for High-Profit, Repeatable Results

Josh Costell

American Management Association

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This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Costell, Josh, 1953–
         The science of sales success : a proven system for high-profit,
  repeatable results / Josh Costell.
          p.  cm.
     Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-8144-7192-7 (Hardcover)

1. Selling. I. Title.

HF5438.25.C675 2003



Copyright 2004 Josh Costell

All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America.

Exhibits Copyright 2004 Josh Costell and his licensors. All rights reserved.

This publication may not be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system,
or transmitted in whole or in part,
in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without the prior written permission of AMACOM,
a division of American Management Association,
1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.

Printing number

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

This book is dedicated to Pierre Pilon. He represented all that's good about a professional salesperson: he was trustworthy, motivating, candid, dedicated, customer-centric, problem solving, fun, personal, an attentive listener, enthusiastic, competitive, and value driven. He also happened to be one of my most-trusted friends and confidants—a person who made your life more enriched just to know him.

About the Author

In 1978, Josh Costell started using his radical "selling is a science" theory. Within three years, he went from a rookie salesperson to a sales superstar to a national sales manager of a billion-dollar Fortune 500 company. Along the way, Costell won every top sales and profitability award given to salespeople. This ascent was a direct result of his early MeasureMax concepts.

In 1984, the success of his selling program at York International Corporation attracted media attention. A three-page feature article titled "The Costell Sell" appeared in Sales and Marketing Management magazine. He changed careers to become president and CEO of a fledgling electronic controls company. Using his selling theories, Costell grew the company into a multimillion-dollar business selling products in more than twenty countries worldwide.

During a seventeen-year period, he participated in more than a thousand joint sales calls. He gained first-hand opportunities to apply, test, analyze, and fine-tune his sales and marketing theories on a local, national, and worldwide scale. He has since returned to his fiercest passion—articulating and teaching the sales process so that both buyer and seller benefit from having common, not competing, goals.

Twenty years later, Costell finished the book he started writing in 1981 at the urging of his former associates and customers. He founded Applying Knowledge Systems (AKS), a consulting and training firm for sales professionals, in January 1998 to allow him to fulfill his career-long passion. His mission is to convert selling from psychobabble to science, to increase sales productivity, and to ensure that customers exceed their measurable expectations.


When I started this book, I never thought it would take twenty years to finish. Neither did the following people, who were a constant source of encouragement and advice. First and foremost, my incredible wife and biggest supporter, Carole, and my energetic five-year-old son, Justin Pierre (who we thought would be old enough to read the book by the time I was finished), for their patience and understanding; and my family, both blood and extended, whose support has been unwavering. Now, in no particular order: Johnny D'Espostio, who was my eight-mile-an-hour editor and sounding board on our runs along the beach; Stefanie Hicks, who has been my trusty and loyal assistant, proofreader, jack-of-all-trades, and friend for more than a decade; Rich Jann, a life-long friend, who has an absolutely brilliant and opinionated sales mind that challenges every assumption made about selling; Paul Boudreau, Nikole Kroll, and Steve Puntolillo, who brought my ideas to the world of high-tech sound and graphics while fine-tuning them; Kenny Weiss and Carrie Cantor, my original editors, who made my thoughts actually make sense on paper; Mary Miller, my copyeditor, who tweaked the book to make it a much more enjoyable read; Bruce Gerber and Jim Daly, who went through years of printing changes and always make the "latest" seminar workbook look great; Robert Trommler, who pushed me to make the book's concepts be crystal-clear so they would empower salespeople; Peter Englezos, my brother-in-law, who always reminded me not to lose faith and that I was on the right track; Rich Barry, who for four summers listened to every book idea (at least twice) and always found a way to act like he was hearing it for the first time; Vic McCloskey and Sherman Turner (York International Company), John Burke and Jim Severs (Rittal Corporation), Jim Bujold (Johnson Controls), and Matt Dugan and Joe Kubala (The Trane Company), who gave me the opportunity to teach the book's processes to their sales forces on local and national levels; my mentor, H. L. Singer, who set an excellent example to follow for almost thirty years; Cliff Dorsey and Bob Emenecker, whose friendship and encouragement have served me well for more than two decades; Ellen Kadin (AMACOM Books), who was committed to getting the book published from the get-go; and Erika Spelman (AMACOM), who made sure the flow of the book kept readers engaged.

Yes, there's one more group to acknowledge: the thousands of sales professionals and their customers worldwide, who let me share in the excitement of helping them sell and buy measurable value for the ultimate "win-win" scenario.