There are several excellent books on sales and sales training. This is one of the best. It offers what I consider to be a uniquely comprehensive, cohesive, and time-effective system which Schiffman calls a "Prospect Management" program. Apparently this system have been adopted, in some instances modified, and then implemented by more than 1,800 different organizations. I agree with Schiffman that the word "organizations" is more appropriate than "companies" because colleges, universities, and churches as well as other non-profits must also generate substantial revenue from their respective constituencies. If anything, their need to manage their "prospects" effectively is even greater than is the need of for-profits. Benefactors, for example, must be convinced to sustain (if not increase) their financial support; volunteers must be enlisted; and staff members must "buy into" necessary changes in policy and procedure. All organizations (regardless of size or nature) will derive substantial benefit from the wealth of information and insights which he shares in this book.
Schiffman carefully organizes his material within three separate but interrelated Parts: The Fundamentals, Learning the System, and Getting Up and Running. The foundation of the "Prospect Management" program consists of complete and current information about prospects which is prioritized and then classified within four active stages of the sales cycle. First, decision-makers who have agreed to a preliminary meeting; next, decision-makers who then specifically indicate interest and agree to discuss budgets and pricing; next, decision-makers who have made at least a verbal agreement; and finally, decision-makers who have become customers, (i.e. signed a contract). Schiffman also has another category, "Fallbacks/opportunities": assumed but unverified decision-makers with whom initial contact has been made but who are not as yet prospects. "These are candidates, suspects, leads or referrals -- people [you] want to do business with, but with whom [you] do not yet have a real relationship." Because change is the only constant in today's business world, Schiffman correctly emphasizes the importance of constantly updating the prospect database. Hence the need for constantly obtaining new information. Subjected to rigorous evaluation, the information is converted it into intelligence data which guide and inform the "Prospect Management" program.
As Schiffman would be the first to point out, the "Prospect Management" program as he presents it may not be wholly appropriate in all respects to a given sales organization. That is to say, decision-makers must be prepared to make whatever modifications may be necessary. For example, consider how varied sales cycles are (e.g. those for a Boeing 777, an SUV, a major appliance, an insurance policy, or a pair of sneakers); also, the differences between and among so-called "inside" and "outside" salespersons; also, the number of decision-makers and decision-influencers involved. Nonetheless, the basic principles of Schiffman's "Prospect Management" program remain valid no matter who is selling what to whom.
Some of the best material is provided within five appendices but I strongly recommend that they be read only after reading the 20 chapters which precede them. Schiffman introduces and then explains his system step-by-step. There is a continuity to his thinking which is reflected in the sequence of the material provided. With great care, he "walks" his reader through that material. Also, at the end of the first 18 chapters, he includes a "Quick Quiz" for the reader. (The correct answers can be found after the final chapter.) If at times the narrative seems redundant (and it does), that is because there are several key points worthy of being reiterated. The accumulative impact ensures that those key points will be retained in the reader's mind long after the book has been read.
Obviously, I think highly of this book. However, given the importance of maximizing sales and (yes) commissions, I think salespersons and especially those who supervise them should consult several different sources of information and counsel. Therefore, I also highly recommend Rackham's SPIN Selling, Boylan's The Power to Get In, and Werth's High Probability Selling. Each of these also offers much of value. However, I again stress the importance of formulating, implementing, and then constantly fine-tuning a cohesive, comprehensive, and time-effective sales program. For that reason, I'd start with the "Prospect Management" program and modify accordingly.