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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Hope Is Not a Strategy is most valuable for those who are new to large account and large ticket selling. For those with lots of experience, the book is helpful in providing a structure for sales team planning and coordination.
As a test of the book's relevance, I took a potential sale that our firm is wrestling with and put it through the process. A number of valuable insights came from pursuing Mr. Page's process that would probably not have otherwise become part of our approach. Whether the sale will succeed or not, I don't know, but our effort definitely became more effective as a result. I happily give a book that provides that kind of benefit five stars. Thank you!
The book has four sections:
1. The Challenge -- The Complex Sale
2. The Solution -- R.A.D.A.R. (which stands for "R.eading A.ccounts and D.eploying A.ppropriate R.esources")
3. Strategies for Execution
4. Winning before the Battle -- Account Management
The first section was the least helpful to me (after pursuing complex sales for over 30 years, there wasn't really any new background here). If you are new to complex sales, this material will probably be a real eye-opener . . . especially if you are used to individual sales based on a standard approach. The most amusing section was on how to blend talent on a sales team to get the right mix of skills and orientation. You'll learn about Tellers, Sellers, Hunters, Farmers, Business Developers, Partners, and the Industry-Networked Consultant.
The second section was the heart of the book for me, describing R.A.D.A.R. which is "a simplified, six-step process that combines consultative, competitive, and political sales principles into a concise yet comprehensive process." There's a chapter on each element.
Value is the first challenge and you are supposed to link your solutions to the customer's pain or gain at the largest possible scale. Value stretches as a chain of value whose links (from highest to lowest value) are strategic advantage, political risk, financial return, cultural change, operational applications, and future/capability -- tools).
Resource allocation is the second challenge, and your job is to qualify the prospect to see if you can profitably deliver what that customer needs.
Selling strategy is the third challenge, and you try to "win their hearts before it starts" by looking at how you could win or lose in advance so you can build a competitive preference for you and your offering. This frequently involves developing the specifications.
Organizational politics is the fourth challenge, and you should go where the power is and keep climbing to higher levels. You should ideally sell to the CEO.
Teamwork is the final challenge and you accomplish this by communicating your strategic selling plan throughout your team and partners.
In the third section, the most useful part for me was encouragement to change issues and sales tactics to help your potential customer see the maximum advantage you can provide. This may mean changing the scope of the problem and the solutions you offer.
I felt most comfortable with the fourth section because I try to stay in contact with clients for many years in order to help them become alert to opportunities where we can help them. In the consulting business, that approach is important because almost everything is custom made for the client. You need to know each other well before you can help them in the best ways.
Throughout the book, there are sidebars with specific examples of the principles being described in the main text. These were helpful for the most part. My only complaint is that they were too often about selling computer systems.
If all of these points seem like second nature to you, you may find it more valuable to seek out a more advanced book on complex sales.
After you finish reading the book, think back to a complex sale that you unexpectedly lost. How could the process in this book have helped you to avoid that result?
Good luck!
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2002
This work is based on common sense selling principles that have proven themselves consistently in the enterprise level selling arena whether the solution is e-commerce enabling, network infrastructure or high value consulting. Page very effectively frames the complex selling environment itself before outlining a methodology to attack it. This is one of the primary strengths of the book and why I believe it is appropriate for readers other than just sales reps or sales managers.
The first five chapters of the book offer significant value to CEO's, CFO's, senior Marketing officers and other members of the management team who share in the responsibility for developing and understanding their company's "go to market" strategy. I have also recommended this book to friends in the venture community who are challenged by the fact that one or more of their portfolio companies is struggling with delivery of their value proposition and consistency of forecast information.
I am familiar with the methodology presented in the book having embraced it both in the ERP and internet worlds and find it to be presented in a logical, straightforward manner. Controlling the Complex Sale is the most comprehensive, yet implementable, methodology developed for the "knowledge worker" sales executive. Keeping this book at hand to frequently review the fundamentals can be of high value to sales executive or sales manager.
Highly recommended.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2003
I am an avid reader, and successful sales executive. I have read nearly every book in the bibliography and many others on sales. I avoided buying this book for months because it looked "basic" when thumbing through it in airports and book stores. I finally bought the paperback version and I was amazed at how wrong I was. EVERY Sentence in the book is important! Tom Kosnik's quote on the cover is dead on. This book is worth the value of 12 books on sales in it takes every lesson learned in the field or taught in a book and presents it in a clear, logical and concise manner. It's not that the information is brilliantly new but it is brilliantly presented. Fantastic a must read!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2002
Rick's methodology in Hope is not a Strategy is the most complete collection of sales clarity I have read. In a complex selling environment, the most valuable asset a salesperson has is his/her time. Qualifying correctly can continually keep you on the path to realizing true revenue potential. Ricks' methodology for qualifying as well as selling to power has increased my region's revenues and profits by 70% since we started following his methodology. This is a book worth much more than the suggested retail price. It can literally change your success rate over night. Thanks for sharing your wisdom Rick!
Steve Hicks
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2001
This book is a practical guide to understanding the criticality of strategic planning to win large, complex sales. It adds elements which other methodologies do not address (ie, the political/competitive aspect) The author incorporates real life stories for relevance and adds humor to the content as well!
This is written by the founder of the Complex Sale who has had a high impact on the sales performance of many high tech firms adding credibility to the content. I was formerly responsible for Worldwide sales training at Oracle, and The Complex Sale staff and methodology contributed to the bottom line!
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2002
Not to blast anyone, but either the last reviewer is some sort of competitor to Mr. Page, or is an extremely disgruntled software rep that just missed his quota by a wide margin.
First of all, let me say that I am not a salesman, but I am responsible for the strategic deployment of my company's sales force (software). I found that "Hope is Not a Strategy" provides extremely useful frameworks for how to match up sales reps with accounts. I have shown many of my associates the concepts discussed in the book and we are incorporating them into our planning processes. While the book is not perfect (there are some glaring editing errors and yes, the graphics could use a bit more polish), I still have it on my office bookshelf between my copy of Crossing the Chasm, The Tipping Point, and Michael Porter's Competitive Strategy. I only wish the book came with a CD of PowerPoint slides from the book. I am finding that most of our sales execs are either 1) Panicking and/or 2) Sticking their heads in the sand until the market "comes back." Now that we have missed 6 of 8 quarters, those executives who will survive the shakeout are the ones who are starting to ask the right questions. There are a few pages that I have dog-eared from "Hope . ." that I am constantly photographing and bringing to meetings. You know it is effective when a salesman shuts up long enough to say "hmm . . this make sense. We should do this!"
In today's beaten up software market, what separates the men from the dotcoms will come down to who masters the relationship with the decision makers. "Hope is not a Strategy" provides the foundation to execute on those relationships. I recommend this book to any Account Manager, Business developer or Strategic planner.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2001
This book is an exceptional view of reality when selling in the non-commodity marketplace. Mr. Page does an outstanding job of articulating the important and critical issues one deals with in the world of the complex sale. To understand what the buyers view of the sales cycle is only helps to clarify the issues and provide a better probability of winning. The 12 words are key to any sale.
Thanks for finally bringing clarity to the complex selling environment Mr. Page!!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2002
Having sold in various markets and many levels of selling in my career, I have discovered that you can teach "old dogs new tricks". I saw the airport display for Hope is Not a Strategy and read your customer reveiws before my purchase. Luckily I took the Stockton, CA review with a grain of salt. Rick Page is obviously a student of the proven concepts from most of the thought leaders in sales training from the past. Hope is Not a Strategy has taken the best of these concepts and moved them to a new level. Page has added some elements that have been the missing link for me and brought them together in a different way for sales people to think. All the sales training I have been through in the past has attempted to change the things I do. Hope is Not a Strategy has changed the way I "think". This book goes beyond sales training; this is about sales effectiveness. It was excellent in helping me to further my goal of continous sustainable improvement in my selling skills.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
"If you want to be a superstar in sales or sales management in the Information Technology Industry this is a must read".
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2001
Too often in the modern business world have salespeople confined themselves to routine and outdated strategies for generating sales for their respective companies. While traditional sales methods might have been sufficient in the past, today's business environment requires a more thorough, intelligent, and complex strategy in order to beat the competition and secure a client's account. Thankfully, Rick Page has provided what SHOULD become a handbook for the modern salesman. Page's strategies show step-by-step methods for anticipating and outthinking the competition, pitching to a seemingly difficult client, and avoiding typical sales strategy pitfalls. In addition, "Hope is Not a Strategy" cites numerous examples from Page's disguished career, as well events from the careers of other salespeople, which help to illustrate key points throughout the book. Not only should this be essential reading for salespeople, but executives and undergraduate business students as well.
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