Non-Manipulative Selling

Sales Book Review Non-Manipulative SellingNon-Manipulative Selling

Sales Book by: Phil Wexler, Rick Barrea and Tony Alessandra

Summary by: Rob Reed


Introduction – Non-Manipulative Selling

Non-Manipulative Selling, from Wexler, Barrea and Alessandra, is a great overall book that includes some theory and a lot of tactical selling advice. It offers an overall emphasis on understanding behavioral styles.

The goal of the book is help the reader learn to sell with flexibility by adjusting to each prospect’s style. The six-step selling process described by the authors is particularly useful.

With its details on behavior styles, Non-Manipulative Selling will be beneficial for those involved in complex and transactional sales.

This book is very congruent with an ethical selling philosophy and principles.

Summary – Non-Manipulative Selling

Non-Manipulative Selling is a practical book, oriented toward the process of selling. The authors offer instruction on practice with every idea they present.

The emphasis on practicality is not surprising when you consider that the book originated in 1975 as a seminar workbook. The authors note in the Preface that since the original publication, many others have written, spoken, and taught about non-manipulative selling. They feel, however, that most of those are trotting out a non-manipulative philosophy as a surface over the traditional sales hard sell approach.

The book begins with five chapters that explore the skills a salesperson brings to his or her craft. With chapter titles like “Relationship Strategies” and “The Power of Listening, Observing, and Feedback,” these chapters address the techniques required for non-manipulative selling.

The authors then present six chapters on the sales process itself. These chapters cover subjects ranging from meeting the prospect to assuring customer satisfaction.

The book concludes with four chapters on general sales skills, including chapters on “Selling by Style” and “Developing Self-Management Skills.”

First we’ll take a look at the authors’ view of non-manipulative selling compared to traditional selling. Then we’ll review examples from three chapters of the book.

Non-Manipulative Selling vs. Traditional Selling

The authors argue that traditional objection-handling, sales pitches, and closing techniques are not consistent with non-manipulative selling. As a result, it is often difficult for organizations and individuals from traditional sales cultures to adopt non-manipulative techniques.

The authors target three problems with training in traditional techniques: “not enough training, too much product training and inappropriate sales training.”

  • Not enough training. This causes salespeople to learn from role models. Unfortunately, role models normally rely on traditional sales techniques.
  • Too much product training. This results in a seller who can only talk about products. He or she ignores — or is unaware of — the other issues that surround the product, such as how it relates to buyer needs and concerns. Since different buyers work in different cultures, have different goals, and respond to different issues, a seller who only understands product features and benefits is not well-prepared to address issues that really concern buyers.
  • Inappropriate sales training. Sales training often focuses on how to present, close, and overcome objections. These traditional techniques certainly work, in the sense that they deliver sales, but they don’t work well to deliver long-term customers and healthy, respectful relationships. They often produce an environment where the salesperson “wins” and the customer loses.

Non-manipulative selling puts the emphasis on planning, meeting, and studying, the early steps in the sales process. This approach leads to a greater understanding of the customer’s needs.

Here are some of the distinctions the authors draw between traditional and non-manipulative sales:

Table 1 – Non-Manipulative vs. Traditional Selling

Phase Non-Manipulative Selling Traditional Selling
1 Planning. Plan and manage time, territory, and accounts to assure that you are talking to the right people Prospecting. Talk to as many potential prospects as possible
2 Meeting. Beginning a potential relationship; getting to know the prospect; beginning to establish credibility and trust Small talk. Introductory chatter to smooth the way
3 Studying. Time spent understanding the prospect’s business, specific needs, and opportunities Fact-Finding. Needs are assumed to exist based on the target market; gathering a few additional facts to lend credibility
4 Proposal. A presentation custom-tailored to the prospect’s needs, with benefits discussed as they apply to specific problems Pitch. The same basic presentation regardless of customer; minimal customizing
5 Confirming the sale. This phase is the logical conclusion to excellent communication between seller and buyer. If there is no opportunity for a sale, this would have emerged earlier in the process. If the sale is appropriate, but there are objections, this reflects a need to gather more information or clarify additional issues. Closing. Overcoming objections; driving to the sale; completing a “win” for the seller
6 Assuring. Confirming that the client receives the product or service they expect, when expected, with the terms and benefits expected. The goal is to create a long-term client. This is possible because there is common cause. No one has “won.” No one has “lost.” Reselling. Coping with buyer’s remorse; assuring that the sale does not fall through; reestablishing the relationship

Overall, non-manipulative selling has many positive results, but the one that stands out is this…[Please click to learn how to get the rest of this sales book review and much more.]