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55 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2010
I have never made it a secret that I think there are too many books on selling which are of little help to sellers. Those written form the point of view: "This is what made me successful and I see no reason, why this should not work for you too" I find the least useful.

SNAP Selling by Jill Konrath, is definitely not of this category. It is a book on sales that is urgently needed. It provides sellers with a set of strategies and tactics enabling them to speed up sales and win more business based on a solid framework. Contrary to many other sales books I have read, SNAP Selling spells out clearly for what type of prospects/customers these strategies and rules should be applied.

In the words of the author, today's customers are frazzled. Time is their most precious commodity. They consider buying as a disruptive act eating into their most precious resource. Even if the status quo is far from optimal; they prefer to stay with it as long as they ever can. They dread the effort and time in it will take to align their organization in agreeing to do something different. They are also fearful about making risky decision that could negatively impact their career.

We should not be mistaken in the hope that these characteristics of customers are of a temporary nature caused by the crisis for which we see signs, that the worst might now be over. The current status is the new normal and the pressure to do more with less will continue.

From the above definition of the customer, we can conclude that the book is about how to sell solutions and services considered a major purchase by the customer in the B2B context. As many sellers still have to learn to see selling from the customer' s point of view it would have been helpful if this had been spelled out clearly somewhere in the text.

Konrath predicts that sellers continuing using their dear and tried techniques such as closing and objection handling will be relegated to the D-Zone. The D-zone is where sellers are dismissed or deleted, their sales are deferred permanently or at least delayed and where prospects disappear. Sellers getting relegated to the D-Zone have two choices, they either blame the stupid customer for their problems and thus endangering their career, or they change their approach to fit better with the needs of frazzled customers.

For those sellers wanting to change their approach to avoid the D-Zone, the four SNAP rules are proposed:
* Making the decision process Simple for the customer
* Become iNvaluable through value brought to the customer relationship
* Be Aligned with the customer's needs at all time
* Assure that the purchase of the solutions/services remains a Priority in the customer's mind

To apply the SNAP rules, sellers must understand what is going on in the customers head. First, one must understand who in the customer organization will make the decision. Then the context in which the decision has to be made must be understood. To capture this knowledge the author proposes a Buyer's matrix. This matrix then is the basis to draw up customer personas which then allow mastering what is called in the book the mind meld. Mind meld can be practically applied by checking of the relevance of a message a seller wants to convey for example in a phone call or a presentation from the customer's point of view.

Sales excellence does not come from knowing why what has to be done how, all presented in the book. Sales excellence comes from doing. To help readers getting to action, there is a companion website where templates for the tools such as the buyer's matrix can be downloaded.

The major part of the book is devoted to help the reader to understand the decision process customers go through to make major purchases. Customers:
1. Allow access (starting with no interest connecting, to end up agreeing to a conversation)
2. Initiate change (after having listen to ideas, they decide that the status quo is unacceptable)
3. Select resources (they start considering their options and end up selecting the best decision)

For each of these phases concrete guidelines are given on what needs to be done and how to adhere to the SNAP rules to help the customer to come to a decision.

To help the customer with decision 1 for example, recommendations are made how to capitalize on trigger events or how to align with the customer through winning value propositions. On the companion website, the reader can find a synopsis for a Value Proposition Generator. Some subject matter experts might wonder about the format suggested for the Value Proposition. It is though totally adequate for the context of phase 1. The possible wondering arises from the fact that people usually use more complex value proposition schemes which would though be more appropriate for phase 3. Avoiding the over used and often misunderstood term might thus have helped to prevent potential debate and confusion.

Decision 2 is often not addressed at all by sellers. Emphasizing the need to demonstrate specific business value for a buyer to decide to leave status quo is to me the most important part of this book. If this concept where widely understood, we would not find studies like those from CSO Insights indication a high percentage of forecast opportunities ending up with what the sellers call a 'no decision', because the customer, despite initial interest, was finally not buying from anybody. Another symptom for ignoring this phase is the asking of premature qualification questions such as "do you have budget"; a sure way to be relegated to the D-zone, due to lack of alignment.

For phase 3, there are strategies such as how to be aligned with the customer by balancing the Value-Risk Equation and how to become iNvaluable, by collaborating with hot prospects as if they where already a customer.

Evidently phase 3 is the phase of presentations and proposals. As there is a lot of literature already available on these subjects, the author just highlights how the SNAP rules apply to these items.

I think it is important that we are reminded that these 3 phases should not be mistaken for a linear process. Sellers cannot always assume to be able to capture the prospect's attention at a yet untroubled stage.( phase 1) Sellers having done a good job in particular in phase 2 might also find that the prospect has become sufficiently comfortable with the relation to forgo phase 3. It is therefore more crucial to exactly understand in what phase the customer is and to use the strategies appropriate for the respective phase. Failing to do so is another sure way to get relegated to the D-Zone.

Jill Konrath also gives the reader practical advice on how to implement the strategies. To do so, she not only gives examples from her own experience but also through selected quotes from practitioners and consultants. I particularly like the fact, that not all these examples are success stories. She does not shy away from also talking about failures and what lessons can be learned from them. This makes the book all that more credible to me.

For me it is now easy to answer the often recurring question about what sales book I would recommend, if I only could choose one for somebody new to sales or somebody wanting to assure to stay relevant in sales: SNAP Selling by Jill Konrath.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 24, 2010
The timing of this book couldn't be better. Yes, our customers are "crazy-busy" and are "frazzled" and are "not waiting for our calls" and are "deluged with information and choices." Yes, it does take a different selling approach today then what was effective in a less frenetic environment. Kornath explains in considerable detail how today's customer thinks and acts and she outlines the selling process to capture this customer. Her process is based on SNAP, an acronym for "SIMPLE" (eliminate complexity and effort for your client in their decision making process), "iNvaluable" (the value you personally bring to the relationship in world which lacks differentiation and value), "ALIGNED" (staying relevant to your customer at all times - they don't have time for anything else) and "PRIORITY (in an ever-changing business environment, you can't afford to have your prospect deem your services non-urgent). She also details a 3 step Decision-making process for each client from 1st Decision (Allow Access) to 2nd Decision (Initiate Change) to 3rd Decision (Select Resources). My assessment of the book is summarized as follows:

1) The book is well written in a conversational voice. It is well organized, succinct and supported with solid examples.

2) Very much appreciated that strategies didn't include buyer manipulation, tricks, gimmicks, jams or pitches. She demonstrates how to differentiate yourself and your product in a crowded market.

3) Book places you squarely in the mind of the buyer and the buyer's perspective. Kornath outlines a step by step process to improve your closing ratio and shorten selling cycle time.

4) I didn't find this book to be a page turner. It's not a book that can be powered through in a day or two - it's meant to be read, digested and then back to the plow horse. It is more of a "How To" Sell book than an engaging story telling experience. That being said, this will be a reference book that will reside firmly on my shelf.

5) The book is written for the reader interested in B2B sales at/to larger companies & larger accounts - with more complex sales - providing multiple selling opportunities - with longer cycle sales - as opposed to selling to individuals with shorter cycle decision times (although many of the concepts apply).

6) Book is more applicable for salespeople at larger established companies vs those at smaller companies or start-ups

A few of my favorite excerpts:

"CSO Insights shows that 53% of sales organizations report that less than half of their first meetings resulted in a second meeting...What was the biggest difference between companies that did well versus those that struggled? Easy access to insights and knowledge about their prospects' company, marketplace, competitor and even decision makers...in short, you must prepare for these initial meetings...winging it doesn't work. Until you understand this in your bones, you'll have a tough time in sales."

"Enrolling is not about forcing, cajoling, tricking, bargaining, pressuring or guilt tripping someone into doing things your way...enrollment is the art and practice of generating a spark of possibility for others to share...people who are 'enrolled' want to get involved. They believe it's worth it, that a positive result - perhaps one they'd never even thought of before - is possible."

"Deliver a killer presentation that tells the story of how their lives will be better when they use your solution...back it up with stats and similar client examples. Make sure you eliminate the unnecessary; get rid of bullets and get rid of words. Use images to relay your ideas....that's what it takes to engage people and get their conceptual buy-in. Get them excited. Remove the drudge and toil factors. When you can do that, they care - and you really need that if you're going to do business with their organization."
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2011
Contrary to what most people think, companies ARE still hiring today! As an executive search firm, we are working on 37 open positions as this review is being posted.

Which is why, if you are a job hunter, you need Jill Konrath's "Snap Selling" in your arsenal of resources.

Selling in 2011 is tougher than ever and to be successful, sales professionals must know (or learn!) "how to sell to today's crazy, busy, frazzled customers." So how does this relate to the job hunt? As a job seeker, one is, in every sense of the word, a salesperson. Yes, even if you are an engineer, a chemist, an accountant or an IT professional, if you are interested in pursuing a new career opportunity, you must become a sales professional. Thus, wherever you read "sales professional" in the next few paragraphs, substitute the phrase "job seeker."

Today the ONLY sales professionals (and job hunters) who break through the clutter and get the attention of a decision-maker are the ones who are completely focused on the customer's business and the positive impact that they can have on it. Failure to take this approach, Konrath illustrates, almost always results in the sales person (job hunter) being "zapped from their in-box, tossed into the trash can or deleted from their voice mail."

How, then, do you get the attention of a busy, frazzled, harried decision-maker? You must construct and implement what Konrath refers to as a SNAP message:

* Simple
* iNvaluable
* Aligned
* a Priority

In regard to job hunting, what is significant to note here is that this approach could NEVER be effectively implemented in a response to an online or "advertised" job posting! On the other hand, it is TAILOR-MADE to use for tapping into the "hidden job market"!

Let's take a closer look at the elements of "SNAP Selling" as they relate to job hunting:

Keep it Simple - In communicating with a potential hiring manager, you must ensure SIMPLICITY in EVERYTHING you do. (Is your résumé brief and easy to read? Are you able to easily be contacted? Can a hiring manager quickly and easily comprehend the message you are delivering and quickly assess the impact it can have on the hiring company?)

iNvaluable - To get hired, you must be bringing fresh ideas. You have to stand out by being a person the company seemingly can't live without!

Aligned - Frazzled hiring managers must see an IMMEDIATE connection between what you do and what they are trying to achieve. What research have you done to understand what it is the company is trying to do and achieve and what can you do to help them do that?

Priority - Frazzled decision-makers only work on high priority items. You must make hiring you one of their TOP priorities. This concept is especially true as you implement your "touch plan" (See "`Headhunter' Hiring Secrets" for full details on this concept.)

If you don't deliver a SNAP message, Jill clearly points out, you WILL be hit decisively with the "delete key"!

Job hunting is tougher than ever before. Hiring managers are under extreme pressure to do more with less and to not make any hiring mistakes.

Obviously I have only hit upon the highlights of Konrath's hard hitting book. When you get ready to make your next career move, it is imperative that you don't do it alone. Take Jill Konrath's "Snap Selling" with you!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2011
Don't get me wrong: this is a B2B sales book of decent quality, but if you already read the classics (Rackham, Bosworth, Miller, etc) and Morgens' "Dirty little secrets", you won't find much new stuff in here.
The only thing that was new to me, and that I really appreciated, was the Appendix on Sales 2.0 Resources.

I do recommend Jill Konrath's blog, which is really good, as well as her previous book Selling to Big Companies, which is on my list of TOP sales books (and I have read many!).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2010
The prospects you can reach easily may not be the ones you want as customers. In today's marketplace companies have to accomplish more and more with less and less. SNAP Selling has allowed me to do this. in addition, this book provides a powerful framework for evaluating your company and its products or services. This book is as great as the author's first. Her insights have helped my company navigate these interesting times.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The comprehension and application of "Buyer Decision Processes" and "Change Management" have always been key to effective selling although you might not think so given the relatively few "sales" books that address these topics. In "SNAP Selling" Jill Konrath highlights the impact an information rich and fast paced environment can have on "Decisions" and "Change" while providing a framework (The Three Decision) and suggestions (SNAP) for effective selling. This is your chance to see the heart of selling. Winston Churchill once said, "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." Don't hurry off as if nothing had happened... BUY THE BOOK!

Jeff Blackwell
Founder, [...]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2011
While I have read many sales books in my life, Jill Konrath has by far
the most pragmatic approach to real everyday life with stressed out people.
I'll admit it was brain overload in the beginning but that was because I
couldn't put the book down once I started reading it. At one point I was
laughing(at myself)hysterically because her book keyed in on so many things
that I was doing wrong. I have re-read her book several times over now and
each time it gets a lot more palatable. Let's face it, if you don't know
what you're doing wrong, how on earth can you ever do anything to correct it?
Jill's Snap Selling not only makes you put yourself in your customer's shoes,
but it also gives you a game winning comprehensive strategy by making you
learn what the ultimate decision makers are faced with(goals and objectives)
If you can align your thinking with their goals and objectives then you have
created a winning formula that will set you in a class of your own and those
decision makers eventually will want to deal with you over other sales reps
because of this alignment or should I say "Re-Alignment" of our thinking.
Jill's books have also been very thought provoking and have made me look much
closer at myself and really how I approach the business world. I am so glad one
of my friends suggested getting Snap Selling by Jill Konrath.

Bill Chamberlain [...]
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2010
Several years ago Jill changed my life. I picked up "Selling to Big Companies" and it was the first (and still only, as far as I can tell) sales book that really showed how to use super-effective and truly professional sales approaches to get into a buyer's office. This book has remained #1 on my sales book list for several years now. It helped me become WAY more successful at selling high-ticket items.

Since Jill published "Selling to Big Companies" the Internet has shaken up the sales profession by changing the ways buyers behave. Buyers now have more information than ever before -- much of which they used to get from sales people. Partly as a result of all this information buyers have also become super-frazzled. In "SNAP Selling" Jill shows sellers (and business owners) an updated way to sell in this new "Sales 2.0 world" that is full of hyper buyers.

Since 1995 I've read every sales book out there. SNAP Selling is another sales classic from the best sales author out there.

If you are serious about keeping your job as a sales professional, or growing your company, post 2011, you simply need to read this book. If you don't keep up with where selling is going (fast), you are going to have a super-tough hill to climb very soon.

Read "SNAP Selling" now and you will be positioned to make boatloads of money in this post-Google world while your competition is shut out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2010
Read and Re-read this Book.
Snap is a resource to keep within reach on your shelf and use over and over...

S -It's easy to read. Jill's stories just pull you through the book.
N- Snap is an iNvaluable resource, and the strategies can be implemented right now.
A- It's relevant and aligned to the success of all sellers and marketers in today's fast paced, digital world.
P- It's top priority for being able to attract customers.

In fact, Snap hits the major priorities today driving sales and marketing. Jill explains and gives great examples in a very conversational style. She identifies effective sales interactions and those that will move you to dreaded D-Zone, to creating a resource center with engaging marketing and sales content. Today, plan approximately 10 touches over 4 to 6 weeks. So, good messaging plus educational resources makes you memorable.

It's a new mindset. The Internet has forever altered the way we think, find answers to our questions, research, shop and buy. We are time strapped and smothered in information, but the Web has also enabled us to find easier ways to do things.

The most important section is developing a Buyer's Matrix. Without knowing and getting inside your customer's heads to find out what's important to them, your sales and marketing efforts will be flushed. As Jill explains, it is the core foundation of all sales strategies. If you don't know or understand your buyer's needs you certainly will not get their attention.

Jill is a great storyteller. Invest your time in Snap Selling.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2012
I left corporate sales 1.5 years ago and started my own marketing business with a couple of partners. I am now selling exclusively to marketing executives. My background has been 20 years selling technology into larger accounts, and have never really been a great cold caller, but more of an account manager. However, I am now forced into the role of cold calling and reaching out to prospects who have no intention of doing business with me. It has been very challenging and frustrating. I have definitely noticed the difference in attempting to communicate with prospects and clients over the past handful of years or so - you can't even get an email reply from prospects...they are way too busy to deal with someone they do not currently do business with!

However, reading SNAP Selling in the past 60 days has been such a blessing! Jill has done a remarkable job in speaking directly to sales pros like me, and breaking down the fundamentals of what needs to be done in today's environment in order to be successful. Changing one's approach is not easy or quick, but so worth it. I made a very important sale today thanks to the techniques thoroughly explained in this book!

I recommend you SNAP up this book!
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