Think about the title of book you are holding: The Science of Sales Success . Does that title make sense to you? Can selling really be "scientific"?
Well, if you are a professional salesperson, you probably hope so. After all, the
Unfortunately, most sales methodologies are like diets. They generate a lot of hope and
For example, you may have been taught that an effective salesperson uncovers the customer's needs. Sound familiar? Josh Costell shows you why focusing on needs may actually make the sales process more difficult.
Similarly, you've probably been taught to link product or service features with benefits. Josh shows you how some features may actually dilute the persuasiveness of your message and cause the customer to view your offering as a commodity, not a solution.
Finally, you may have read or been taught that a strong salesperson qualifies the opportunity, finding out if customers have a need for your products, if they have the budget to afford them, whether they have the authority to make the buying decision, and what their timeline is.
This book is different in some other ways, too. For one thing, it's based on sound principles, not anecdotes and war stories. Josh clearly shows you how to use the same disciplined, logical approach characteristic of scientific investigations to manage a selling opportunity. More important, he gives you plenty of practical examples of what he's talking about, examples that you can easily follow and apply to your own opportunities. And he gives you step-by-step guidelines that will produce successful
Recently I had the opportunity to interview professional salespeople who are responsible for selling complex technical solutions. "Why do decision
Unfortunately, their answers all veered toward
No, actually they probably won't. People don't buy technology for its own sake, they buy it to achieve positive results in their organization. You can dump tons of information on them, but if it's not the right kind of information, it won't do either of you much good. And for both you and your customer, a rare opportunity—to achieve important outcomes, to solve significant problems, to deliver huge gains to the organization, and to make a big sale—has been squandered.
The beauty of
The Science of Sales Success
is that it pinpoints exactly which facts your customer needs to have at each stage of the sales process in order to feel confident about moving to the
So what does "scientific selling" involve? It means that you apply the principles of the scientific method to your activities as a salesperson. Like a scientist, you first obtain the most accurate data you can from careful observation and inquiry. And like a trained scientist, you don't waste your time gathering data that is irrelevant. (Josh shows you the nine specific types of information you need to gather and how to find them.) Next, you
One of the strengths of taking a scientific approach to selling is that it makes the process much easier to manage. Josh firmly believes that what you cannot measure, you cannot manage; so he shows you how to measure your progress at each stage of the sales process against objective benchmarks to guarantee that you are moving in the right direction.
When you use this approach, both you and your customer work collaboratively to engage in rational decision making. You feel confident about the recommendations you're making. The customer feels confident about the probability of achieving important goals. And both of you feel that the process has been based on thoughtfulness and honesty, not manipulation or pressure.
Josh Costell demonstrates that professional sales is the epitome of knowledge work. No number of expensive client lunches, no quantity of tickets to a hot sports event, will ultimately
So are you ready to be a scientific salesperson? Then make an experiment. Apply Josh's techniques and look for the results. And here's a hint: you'll find them in your pay envelope.
Tom Sant, Ph.D.
Former CEO and founder of The Sant Corporation
Inventor of ProposalMaster and RFPMaster
Author of Persuasive Business Proposals