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Article first published as Book Review: ‘Proposition Selling: How To Create Extraordinary Success in Business-to-Business Sales' by Tom Piscitelli and John Sedgwick on Blogcritics.

November 12, 2016

Proposition Selling:
How To Create Extraordinary Success in Business-to-Business Sales
Tom Piscitelli and John Sedgwick
Aviva Publishing (2016)
ISBN: 9781943164592

New Book Teaches Tried-and-True Methods for Successful Business-to-Business Sales

Proposition Selling: How To Create Extraordinary Success in Business-to-Business Sales' by Tom Piscitelli and John SedgwickProposition Selling is a new book conceived by a mastermind—two heads put together to create one idea—or in this case—one book. Coauthors Tom Piscitelli and John Sedgwick have put their combined eighty-plus years of sales experience together, and the result is this 300-page, information-filled, surefire roadmap to becoming a great salesperson.

Of course, these two veteran sales coaches know that it also takes a special person to be effective in sales. Early in the book, they write, “If you are the type of person who embraces, who thrives on, unique challenges, then you can love selling even more than you do now. The effective mindset is to emphasize the uniqueness of each sales interaction and de-emphasize the routine aspects of what we have to get done.” This book is not for the people who like routines and hate the unpredictable, but for those who love to sell and do something well that they enjoy. If you’re that type of person, then Proposition Selling can provide the tools you need to make a huge difference in your career.

One of the key points the authors raise is that most salespeople have been taught what they are supposed to do but not what customers do. The authors want to share this hard-learned lesson with the reader: “Selling success is not just about your ability to present a product, handle an objection, and ask for an order. Rather, it is about your ability to read people, to relate to them, to earn their trust, and, ultimately, to provide value to them and their businesses.”

Another key point the authors address is the fallacy of customer satisfaction. Too many salespeople think that if the customer is satisfied with what they provide, he will keep coming back, but a simple example from Tom quickly proves this wrong. He states: “Have you ever done business with a company that provided satisfactory service, but you would nevertheless do business with its competition if it were more convenient? Or cheaper? I’ve been to many restaurants that were very satisfactory, but I have not gone back or referred anyone to them. I completed an online survey with Home Depot where I expressed ‘satisfaction’ with a purchase, but I prefer to go to Lowe’s if both stores have what I need. For me, Lowe’s has a more inviting design that makes the store look like a grown up hardware store and I like that.”

It’s as simple as that. Customers need more than satisfaction; they need reasons to buy again and, basically, a reason to change their buying habits. The authors actually want the reader to buy into the idea that “the only definition of selling...is changing customer behavior.” I thought this point invaluable and I do buy into it because most of us are creatures of habit, so for salespeople to be successful, they have to get customers to change their behavior by making it a habit to buy from them.

That’s just a short overview of a couple of the golden nuggets in this book. I can’t discuss every helpful idea or process included in this short review—you’ll just have to read the book for yourself, but I will say that the authors do an excellent job of walking the reader through the entire proposition selling process. The book’s eleven chapters focus on such topics as: Developing a Selling Mindset, Applying Proposition Selling, Using Account Analysis as Your Key Selling Tool, Developing a Territory Strategy, Dealing with Doubt or Resistance, and Planning, Implementing, and Problem Solving.

Each chapter also ends with a Notes and Exercises section so readers can reflect upon what they have read and determine how to apply it to their own situations. Tom takes readers step-by-step through all the processes, including sales conversations and The Trust® Management and Leadership Model. Perhaps most valuable is that several pages are spent on how to create the business proposition for the customer, samples of a proposition are given, and coaching through dialogues is also included for how to answer customer objections, ask for the sale, and ultimately, get customers to buy. An added bonus is the foreword by Ron Smith, the founder of Service America, the first national HVAC franchiser; Ron is also the author of numerous books, including HVAC Spells Wealth. In the foreword, Ron testifies to Tom’s sales and consulting abilities and describes how they have teamed up to create seminars together.

Altogether, Proposition Selling is a valuable resource and a fountain of information for anyone seeking to improve sales, increase results, and make customers happy.

For more information about Tom Piscitelli, John Sedgwick, and Proposition Selling, visit www.PropositionSelling.com.

— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and Award-Winning Author of Narrow Lives and The Best Place

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