Sales Book by: Michael Bosworth
Summary by: Rob Reed
Introduction – Solution Selling
“In an era of plentiful choices, businesses and their sellers can learn to differentiate themselves from their competition by the way they sell.” Michael Bosworth, the author of Solution Selling, says his book is about “making the way you sell as big an advantage as your product or service. Since most buyers have a negative impression of salespeople, one of the best things salespeople can do is sell in less stereotypical ways.” This is an excellent point for those who truly grasp the concept and adapt different behaviors to differentiate themselves from other sellers. The key issue, however, is the way in which Mr. Bosworth suggests you sell differently or “less stereotypically” than other sales processes.
Unfortunately, the difference is lacking.
Summary – Solution Selling
In the introduction of the book, Mr. Bosworth sets the expectation that his process is truly different than most others, “Many times in this book we will discuss the concept of honorable selling…For now, let us say that in order for selling to be honorable:
- The seller must believe that she can truly bring value to the potential buyer.
- The seller must be willing to tell the truth about her product or service.
- The buyer must feel good about the process.
- The buyer’s expectations are met.”
However, the actual concept of “honorable selling” is rarely discussed. Instead, most of the book discusses a selling process that starts with identifying and diagnosing the “pain” of the buyer using questions, a “pain sheet,” and stories to bring the pain from the background to the foreground. According to Mr. Bosworth, “we want our buyer to go “ouch!” In addition to “increasing the pain,” these questions and stories should be designed with a “bias” that’s geared towards the seller’s solution.
Part II of his book is entitled, “Strategies to facilitate, influence, and control the buying process.” Few buyers would agree that you should attempt to “control” the buying process, and even fewer would agree that you could be successful in personally controlling their process. This is another example of a selling attitude that results in behaviors very similar to other sellers, and will likely not distinguish any seller who uses them.
Conclusion – Solution Selling
Like most books on selling, there are a few “nuggets” of information that some sellers would find useful. Unfortunately, Solution Selling falls short in its promise of delivering a way of selling that will differentiate you from other sellers. In fact, following the principles of this book would most likely achieve the exact opposite impact on buyers, and only serve to reinforce what buyers already believe about you as a seller.
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