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on October 2, 2001
I own an agency for OD/HR consulting and have read HUNDREDS of books, manuals etc on selling. I am especially interested in books about selling high dollar intangibles (HR consulting is incredibly intagible). This book is by far the best book I have ever read for this type of selling. If you sell these intangibles, you must read this book.
HOWEVER, in order for these ideas to actually be effective, you must plan on implementing the ideas and putting in a lot of work. Bosworth shows you, tells you, gives you an outline, gives you specific questions and just about anything else you could need to be successful after implementing his process. But this is not a book you can simply read and be successful. It takes practice, practice, practice.
Since I have institued his process in my selling (and I STILL practice the process), my sales calls have dramatically improved. Most notibly, Bosworth shows you how to position yourself and ask questions in such a way so that the customer feels in control of the process. I actually have had prospects close themselves.
The ideas and plans in 'Solution Selling' require a great deal of hard work for the sales person to implement, but trust me, it will pay off. Not only that, if you love sales like I do, it will help sales be fun again.
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on February 15, 2001
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to differentiate himself/herself in sales today. It examies the role of the "seller" and tries to position him/her as the "buying facilitator." Conceptually, it is difficult to argue with Mike's line of reasoning and process. However, I tried to examine some of my recent sales opportunities as I was reading this book, and found several execeptions that justified deviating from the process prescribed herein. Therefore, it goes back to the traditional wisdom in sales that every opportunity is unique in some way and should be treated as such. There is no one "silver bullet" process to go about winning opportunities (which is the paradigm I sense from this book).
3 additional drawbacks that are worth commenting on regarding the book: First of all, despite what Mike might claim, the book is biased towards selling products or products and services as opposed to pure services. Secondly, I think customers are more intelligent than what Mike gives them credit for. He presents them as being generally unaware of solutions for their problems, but discusses them in the context of being shrewd buyers. My experience is that most customers are fairly well-read and informed through journals and periodicals and even the hype (even for their "latent needs") - and this information has not necessarily been shaped by a competitor that entered the process earlier. Additionally, I have not found my customers to be as vicious price negotiators as Mike portrays them to be in his examples. Finally, my impression is that Mike's selling process assumes some level of brand recognition in favor of the seller's product/company. I think companies have a harder time letting you shape their vision if they have never worked with you before or heard of you!
For those that are aware of SPIN selling - the concept is very similar but the implementation is unique to the way Mike perceives and describes the problem. Even so, the book is insightful and worth a read!
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on August 22, 2000
I was asking a friend of mine who is Director of Sales for a very successful business for some tips on how to improve our sales performance.
As CEO of an internet language translation startup, Worldlingo.com, we didn't have any established sales processes or procedures. So I figured lets do what successful sales organizations do - hence the request for advice.
Anyhow to cut a long story short, he frequently referenced this book and the process contained therein. Here are some of the key things he mentioned:
- Many top sales people tend to intuitively follow this Solution Selling process, but many other sales people work just as hard but do not achieve the same results. This book guides those others through a proven sales process.
- As a CEO you need to be able to accurately forcast sales, but traditional "pipelines" are not very accurate. The framework laid out in this book will give you a much better guide.
- This framework will make it much easier to identify where sales people are tripping up and help them to improve that part of their performance.
- Shows you how to apply lessons from your existing customers to improve your selling efforts.
So I read the book and found it every bit as good as my friend said it was. We are going to adopt this Solution Selling methodology at Worldlingo.com and think it will provide a solid foundation for our sales group.
I gave it 4 stars rather than 5, because I thought the last quarter of the book which focused on case studies was not as good as it could have been.
But the first three quarters was very good.
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VINE VOICEon March 15, 2005
While I am sure that even experienced sales people can get something out of Solution Selling, I would particularly like to recommend the book for people new to the field and unsure how to proceed.

I am an experienced consultant who has just taken on sales and market development responsibilities within my company. I had a definite idea of what sales meant, and I was not at all sure that I liked it. One of my colleagues recommended Solution Selling as a good book to help build some perspective on my new position.

Many people talk about solution sales, but when you come right down to it they do little more than attempt to move hardware. I was delighted to see the same techniques and skills that I use in consulting coming back as the sales skills in the Bosworth book. His steps and tools seem both intuitive and logical.

I have a feeling that this is a book that I will be going back to in the coming year!
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on February 26, 2002
In my estimation, this book picks up where the New Strategic Selling, the New Conceptual Selling, and Successful Large Account Management leave off. The first three books are also excellent and focus on the strategic aspects of selling and marketing. This book is focused on the tactical aspects of selling and sales management with a good primer on negotiating with buyers.
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on March 15, 2004
I liked SPIN SELLING better as they both covered the same ground with similar approach, but SPIN SELLING seemed better researched and had 4 steps where this had 9. Spin Selling was a better read too.
However, it is entirely possible that had I read this before reading Spin Selling, I would have gained more from this, and hence liked it more.
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on November 26, 2003
Once you have read it, you would want to share it with others. This is how good Michael Bosworth's book "Solution Selling" is. From clarifying the difference between Features, Advantages and Benefits (which a lot of sales people still mixed up), to complex solution selling process, the book has given losts of good illustration with practical examples. Especially in "3 levels of buyers needs", "10 faces of buyer pain", "Price Negotiation" etc.
The book uses the buyers' prespective to help readers to understand what the buyers think at each stage in their decision process which is a good way to demonstrate his theory behind.
Solution selling is a long and complex process, with the approach and process Bosworth described, it helps a lot in defining the actions and precautions we need to take in day to day solution selling process.
If I can only pick one of the chapters in the book, I must recommend you to read, at least, how Bosworth uses the "9-block vision processing model" to see solution selling in the buyer's viewpoint, steps by steps showing what a solution sales/consultant should react in response to different level of the buyer's pain.
If I have knew/bought this book earlier, I might not need to spend my last few years going through the hard way. It is definitely a book to read and the book to keep ...
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on January 5, 2002
God only makes so many natural sales people. As a Director of Sales and then a VP Sales & Marketing, I had to have a way to enable a wide variety of people to have consistent success selling my company's wide variety of expensive products and services... or I would be out on my ear. I also needed a way to tell my CEO and CFO what revenue they could expect monthly and quarterly. Solution Selling gave me the way. The results were that I could teach almost anyone to sell successfully and could set very accurate revenue forecasts to the delight of my management.
The book is excellent. The seminar is even better. Really implementing this stuff is a step to take luck out of your sales and marketing operation. Implementing this take a committment from your CEO and VP Marketing. If you do not get all the pieces into place (all very reasonable) and strictly enforce compliance to the process, your results will improve but will be a mere shadow of the market dominating power of Mike Bosworths outstanding gift to the sales and marketing profession. Don't worry about your competition. You could send them the book and 99% of them would prefer to keep counting on luck to fatten their bank accounts. Do the work and let your competition wonder what happened to their former luck.
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on October 25, 2000
I read the book the first time for enjoyment. Then I read it again to help me start implementing solution selling. If you sell high value high dollar software or services this is a must read. In fact, I work with several sales people in my company that use the techniques in this book and they have been extremely successful. The book is easy to follow and you will notice changes right away if you implement solution selling. It is really focused on controlling the buying process.
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on April 17, 2001
Bosworth sells us all on solution selling. He teaches us how to sell everything from shoes to software. IBM recommends this book as the definitive guide to their sales strategy. Bosworth provides numerous examples, case studies, and most importantly he explains and analyzes each of them. But perhaps the best example of solution selling is the book itself -- it solution-sells the concept of solution selling, from catching our attention, demonstrating that a problem exists, asking us questions, and finally prescribing a solution: solution selling. A must read for anyone in sales or business in general
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