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Beyond Selling Value: A Proven Process to Avoid the Vendor Trap Paperback – September 16, 2002
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
What makes selling value so difficult today? Salespeopleeven those who are trained to ask the right questions, probe for critical needs, and apply solutions to customers long-term business challengesfrequently find themselves confronted with buyers who only want to talk about price.
Salespeople are told to sell to true decision makers, but are never given the tools to reach the corner offices where these key executives are located. Theyre told to become sales consultants, only to find that prospects arent particularly interested in being consulted with.
As publisher of the nations top sales magazine, I hear a familiar refrain over and over again from salespeople in nearly every field, as well as sales managers, VPs of sales, and even CEOs. They tell me that so many buyers are focused on this one issuepricethat salespeople are forced to choose between two unappealing options: lose the deal or abandon selling value. Selling in this environment means that even when you win, you lose.
As Shonka and Kosch point out, however, there is another path. Confronted, with this lose-lose scenario, the sales professionals role itself is responding by dividing into two separate tiers. Slowly becoming obsolete are those at the bottom who persist in trying to compete with little more than price, features, and a winning personality to recommend them. At the top are the salespeople willing to fight the tide and break out of the "Vendor Trap" by refusing to sell to buyers who only care about price, by elevating their selling efforts, and by moving beyond traditional notions of what it means to sell value. This path, they argue persuasively, is the future of selling.
Admittedly some top sales performers have the innate instincts, ability, and eloquence to rise above the pack and get in front of prospects who are empowered to buy value and close on mutually beneficial business relationships. In this book, the authors clearly demonstrate that what these top performers do by instinct can be systematized into a reproducible process that nearly anyone can follow. I was intrigued to read as the authors provided a master-blueprint to help salespeople:
Conduct penetrating information-gathering research meetings with key players.
Cultivate a strong network of coaches who want you to win.
Go over, around, or through the gatekeepers and "ankle-biters," such as product evaluators and purchasing managers who dont understand the value you offer.
Gain regular access to the decision makers who are not only able to but also eager to buy into truly value-based solutions.
Deliver blow-em-away business presentations to executives you once might have been intimidated even to meet.
And unlike so many sales guides Ive read, this is not some academic textbook you can only get through with the help of multiple cups of coffee. The authors are not professorstheyre as hands-on as they come. Not only are they operating within breathing distance of top sales professionals, consulting in todays selling trenches with some of the most admired sales organizations in the world, theyre also out there on the front lines themselves, successfully selling in the same price-obsessed marketplace the rest of us face.
I was also impressed by the authors unique approach to the professional selling challenge. Every year Im confronted with thousands of ideas to help sales professionals improve, yet so much of what passes for new sales ideas are merely the same old tools repackaged. But here youll find something genuinely differenta perspective and process that take selling value to a new level. This is the level where price objections, controlling gatekeepers, restrictive RFPs, and all the other exasperations of the Vendor Trap fall away until youre allowed to deliver the kind of value solutions that make being a sales professional so rewarding.
In addition to showing you how to raise the level of your game, the authors also provide a series of real-life case studies that drive home the critical lessons in an unforgettable way. This book is an enjoyable and fast read. With each page of the manuscript, I became more determined that my own sales team never be caught in the Vendor Trap.
Ultimately, 21st-century sales professionals will have to decide whether to be leaders or followers in sellings next generation. Both for individual sales professionals eager to strike out with a fresh plan for attacking the new challenges they face and for managers with sales teams to reinvigorate and redirect, this book offers a detailed, street-smart roadmap to help you leverage your strengths, elevate your selling game, and achieve long-term sales success.
Gerhard Gschwandtner, Founder and Publisher, Selling Power magazine
Top Customer Reviews
Mark Shonka and Dan Kosch present a detailed step-by-step how to approach for understanding the customer's point of view, getting credit for what you know about them, and leveraging that knowledge to communicate your value in the customer's terms. Many other so-called "sales processes" from sales training companies fall short for several reasons, and this book fills many of those gaps:
1) Many so-called "sales processes" simply present ways of analyzing customer situations (such as Miller Heiman's 'Blue Sheet'). They do not show HOW to accomplish your objectives in an account situation as Kosch and Shonka do.
2) Other "sales processes" (such as Solution Selling or SPIN Selling) get tangled up in complex questioning processes that can be difficult to master in the field. I'm not saying there is no value in them (some of these offer techniques for prospecting or demonstrating that IMPAX does not address). What I'm saying is their complexity makes them somewhat unwieldy to implement by many salespeople so they can be less than totally effective.
3) Finally, many other sales processes from training companies make a dubious assumption: that everything the salesperson does should be calculated to close the deal. I hate it when salespeople do that to me, and you probably do too.
Some environments are more opportunity focused than relationship focused, but certainly building relationships is a critical component of any selling environment. IMPAX provides step-by-step approaches for doing that, so that when qualified opportunities arise you can leverage the relationships you have built.Read more ›
I was excited when I heard that Shonka and Kosch were writing a book as I was looking forward to a refresher and a chance to get a deeper understanding of the IMPAX process.
The book exceeded my expectations. There were new stories, additional insights into the philosophy and practice of the IMPAX sales process. A plus were the examples and checklists designed to kick start the readers thinking. I found it an easy read, the chapters are short, focused and kept my attention.
Beyond Selling Value has all the details stories and logical flow that will make it easy for someone new to the IMPAX process to very quickly begin using it to improve their sales. It also makes a great refresher for people who have seen IMPAX before. I thoroughly recommend it.
This is a process that will work. I encourage you to read it and to start winning more business today!
Congrats on getting your principles so clearly articulated in this book, gentlemen!
Taking the authors process in components, there is nothing truly new here. What is new is the process they propose? The tieing together of the different elements to develop critical information to determine a business fit between the customer and your organization and presenting that to the key decision maker. Again, nothing technically new, but well presented in a well designed process of gathering data to prepare for research interviews with people in the customer's organization to gain the necessary coaches and insight to prepare a presentation to the decision maker.
Though this process is designed for the sales professional, it is useful for others. How many managers, engineers, accountants, etc, need to propose business solutions, initiatives, or other major projects to senior managers? Many I would suppose. This is an excellent process (with minor adjustments for internal use) for you too. Basically how to present a project top gain the attention and support of a decision maker.
I can not make a personal testamonial to any success using this process at this time, but am planning to.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Disappointing. I got this at a used book store for a buck. I was compelled by the subtitle of the book. Read morePublished on January 1, 2014 by InfoJunkie
A must read for Account Managers. This should be required reading for any salesman, regardless of your industry. Great Information!Published on May 28, 2013 by LLM0802
Excellent strategies for selling and presenting. Well written, although you sometimes want to get ahead of yourself and think you know what the author will be saying. Read morePublished on July 9, 2011 by Richard Widman
When it comes to strategy for research and tips on how to get the information you need for effective Key Account Management and prospecting, this is the book with the most... Read morePublished on September 13, 2010 by Crunchworm
Good read. Very indepth on how to develop a real solution sell and not just a commodity deal. A good way to compete in today's market. Read morePublished on February 6, 2010 by Dbl-Hlx
A valuable resource for selling. I'm in Marketing and I've learned quite a few things that help in my job.Published on June 7, 2008 by D. Tongco
Just because your company says "We provide value," that doesn't mean that you deliver it! You have to define it and prove it in the Customer's terms. Read morePublished on March 17, 2008 by Eric R. Hale
This book is a terrific read. It is both educational and entertaining. It really is a must read for those of you who want to sell consultatively.Published on October 25, 2005 by Michael Nick