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Edward Mclean (Oxford)

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Questions That Sell: The Powerful Process for Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants
Questions That Sell: The Powerful Process for Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants
by Paul Cherry
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Applied selling advice, 26 Jun 2006
This is an excellent little book if you are either a rookie sales rep in need of a basic grounding in consultative selling technique, or an experience sales person looking for a quick top up and a raft of new questions to take into sales calls.

Cherry not only provides a strong (and not unfamiliar) framework around which to base questions, but also a total of about 200 questions which you can take and make your own. The questions are also a great starting point from which to craft your own entirely new questions.

My only reservation is that some of these questions seem slightly removed from the real world of selling (particularly from selling in the UK business culture, as I do). For example, I can think of few situations where one can safely ask a prospect, "What is your dream for the future of your career?". Woe betide the rookie rep who bluntly pops this question in a call.

All in all, this a very useful, applied sales book. If you can walk away from reading it without learning something you can apply quickly and easily in your day-to-day selling activities, I'd be very surprised.

by Neil Rackham
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.99

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong but rather dated classic, 27 April 2006
This review is from: SPIN-selling (Paperback)
Originally published at the end of the Eighties, SPIN Selling details a questioning technique that prompts prospects to identify and explore the severity of business problems, and then understand how your solution would resolve their issues.

In contrast to the aggressive and combatitive approaches before it, SPIN Selling turned the sales call into a constructive experience for the prospect and greatly lowered the number of objections received by sales people. It was so effective that it became widely recognised as the Grandfather of all modern sales techniques.

This book can genuinely claim to be a classic sales text, though it is fair to say that newer methodologies, based on SPIN, have been developed that augment and extend the core of the SPIN model. For example, some newer methodologies offer an end-to-end guide to selling (e.g. how to generate and manage opportunities, understanding the prospect company structure, precall planning, predicting successful close probability, etc), all of which are extremely useful, but absent in "SPIN Selling". Furthermore, the business environment has change significantly since the publication of this book and therefore, some of the techniques suggested in this title require "tweaking" in order to be useful today.

If you are already familiar with consultative/solution selling techniques, then you will find little helpful content in "SPIN Selling" (as what you have already read/been trained in, will probably have stemmed from SPIN in the first place!) If you do not currently employ a question-based, problem solving approach to selling, then this book will unquestionably up your sales. However, a title like "New Solution Selling" (by Keith M Eades) would provide you with a similar approach that is better suited to the temperament of today's buyers, plus you would benefit significantly from a more complete methodology to guide your sales activities.

Perfect Phrases for the Sales Call: Hundreds of Ready-to-use Phrases for Any Sale-from Prospect to Close (Perfect Phrases Series)
Perfect Phrases for the Sales Call: Hundreds of Ready-to-use Phrases for Any Sale-from Prospect to Close (Perfect Phrases Series)
by William T. Brooks
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid little book, 26 April 2006
Brooks is a writer who leans far more towards practical, applied sales skills than abstract methodologies and theories (though his ideas do appear to have their roots in proven sales theory). This concise, bargain book is one of the most applied and directive sales books I have seen, giving word-for-word what to say in a range of different sales situations. Furthermore, it is brand new and therefore relevant to today's selling environment (an illustration of this is that he picks out price pressure and dislodging competition as areas of special attention).

Brooks is also a refreshingly straight-talker, even when his opinions may be unpopular. For example, he advocates the mastering of prospecting (not something that the average sales person wants to hear they should do more of). That said, Brooks loses points in my opinion for tiresome statements like "do X,Y and Z and I guarantee success in your selling."

Unquestionably, the best part of this book is saved for the end. The profiles of the different types of buyer are absolutely spot on. It took me many years and many mistakes to learn what Brooks details in the last twenty pages.

Included in this text is a basic sales methodology (i.e. "how to sell"), though I would say that this is the weakest section. You would be better advised to pick up SPIN Selling or New Solution Selling if you are looking for a "how to sell" book.

My only other grumbles are the very sloppy editing (like a Mrs turning into a Mr, halfway through an example sales scenario!) and Brooks's suggestion that sales people should employ techniques in positive affirmations in order to increase their belief in themselves, their product or their company (does repeating 30 times a day, "My employer is the best in our industry" really make it so? No, of course not - and there is plenty of research indicating that positive affirmations do not work.)

In summary, this is a book with mixed content - some pretty bad, some really quite good and some truly outstanding. For this price - you should buy it for the buyer profiles alone. If you have a little experience in sales and can pick out the good from bad, this is a superb book.

Psychology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Psychology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Gillian Butler
Edition: Paperback

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An ideal introduction for the layman, 25 April 2006
I picked up this book as I have a personal interest in the area and also because it tentatively relates to my line of work (sales).

It does "what it says on the tin"! It is readable, succinct and easily understood, with graphics, tables and photos to illustrate or emphasise key points.

It's an huge challenge to cram a subject like psychology into a tiny book like this, but the authors seem to have done a great job. If you don't require any depth in particular, this is the book for you.

Palm Tungsten T5 Handheld OS 5.4 / 256mb
Palm Tungsten T5 Handheld OS 5.4 / 256mb

61 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great but slightly shaky machine, 15 Feb 2005
I bought this machine because it is small, light, has a big, clear screen with a landscape option, plus a lot of memory. I wanted more entertainment from my PDA, plus the capability to use Word and Excel documents on the move. It does all this very well - in fact, I won't be taking my laptop on business trips in the future.
In comparison to the Palm Vx that I upgraded from, it has plentiful bells and whistles - the capability to watch full length films, play MP3s and games. As a self-confessed geek, I have to admit to seriously lusting after this little machine - it is incredibly desirable.
On the downside, I could do with some more navigational tools on the outside of the machine itself so that I can reach what I want faster. I feel that this machine doesn't serve the basic functions (memo, calender, etc) quite as well as my old Palm Vx (though the extras more that make up for this).
Sadly, daily crashes are normal, though usually when using non-essential functions like watching films. I am starting to learn how to work around the machine and not do the things that make it crash.
Overall, a great but slightly shaky machine. If you are prepared to compromise a little system stability for whizz bang features then you'll be very happy with it. Though I love this device, I do kind of miss my sturdy old Vx.

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