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Mastering the Complex Sale: How to Compete and Win When the Stakes are High! Hardcover – March 8, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In today's turbulent and volatile marketplace, even the most experienced professionals are struggling with the rapid commoditization of their complex, high-value solutions. The complexity of the problems to be solved and the competitive threats we face are increasing at an alarming rate. At the same time, your customers are wrestling with mission-critical decisions and evaluating solutions that all sound the same and come packaged with a high degree of risk and a low probability of success. Your success demands an exceptional strategy and precise execution that must clearly set you apart from your competition.

Continuing to evolve the breakthrough thinking of his bestselling classic Mastering the Complex Sale in this new edition, Jeff Thull once again pushes the envelope to give professionals—from individuals struggling with their first call, to senior executives trying to figure out why their value strategy is falling short—a comprehensive guide to navigate and win high-stakes sales. You will find yourself rethinking your beliefs about selling, applying this straightforward strategy, and achieving the success you are looking for.

Jeff will lead you through Diagnostic Business Development, a complete and effective system derived from years of experience with top sales professionals and executive teams worldwide. It is a proven diagnostic, value-based approach that positions you with respect and exceptional credibility as a valued business advisor and contributor to your customers' success. In fact, it's not about selling—it's about guiding quality business decisions that will connect and quantify your unique value and remove your customers' internal barriers that prevent them from moving forward.

This book will show you how to:

  • Gain access and connect to the highest levels of powerand influence

  • Separate real business from resource drains

  • Navigate complex decision networks

  • Prevent self-commoditization

  • Connect your value to your customers' performance metrics

  • Quantify value with an amount your customers believe

  • Co-create compelling solutions customers will invest in

Rich with detailed examples and real-world case studies and thorough in its challenge to conventional sales wisdom, this edition of Mastering the Complex Sale gives you the precise guide you've been looking for to win and win big in complex sales.

From the Back Cover

"Jeff Thull’s Prime process plays a key role in helping companies and their customers cross the chasm. It has built into its core the high-integrity communications and depth of commitment necessary to ensure customers succeed with game-changing initiatives."
–Geoffrey A. Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm and Living on the Fault Line

"There’s a powerful message in this book for senior executives: If your margins are eroding and your organization is trapped in the conventional sales paradigm, Mastering the Complex Sale has the road map and Jeff Thull is an excellent guide. He has captured the essence of selling in today’s turbulent times. A must-read for your entire organization."
–Mario Concha, President, Georgia-Pacific Resins, Inc.

"The Prime Process cuts across all trading entities, multiple cultures, geographic borders, and functional disciplines. Mastering the Complex Sale is a clear approach to successfully bringing together the multiple perspectives of sophisticated sales processes. It is required reading for any complex business, whether local or global."
–Gerhard D. Meese, Executive Vice President, Dover Technologies International, Inc.

"Mastering the Complex Sale is a masterpiece! It’s street smart and research backed and full of real-life practical advice on how to move all the chess pieces in the complex sales game. You’ll walk away with not only the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of the complex sale, but also discover how to build the mental stamina it takes to compete at the top."
–Donato Tramuto, President and CEO, Protocare Sciences

"Mastering the Complex Sale lays out the most significant business and sales strategy to come along in years. It is clearly leading-edge thinking. As a technology innovator, we see it as a must. Read it and win!"
–Tim Klein, CEO, ATTO Technology, Inc.

"Jeff Thull’s leading-edge thinking has contributed to a change in our fundamental approach to sales and marketing and has had a significant impact on our bottom line. Mastering the Complex Sale and the Prime Process is a prescription for global success!"
–Dr. Richard M. Brooks, Vice President–Worldwide Marketing,
Waters Corporation

"Thull’s clear and distinctive advice provides the reader with a real-world road map for maximizing results in high-stakes sales. Diagnostic Business Development takes today’s consultative salesperson’s game to the next level. This book is mandatory for those looking to gain a true competitive advantage and distinguish themselves from the competition."
–Donny Holender, Vice President–Sales, Universal Computer Systems, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (March 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470533110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470533116
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Note: The review below is of the first edition that Jeff Thull has since revised and updated in this second edition. In fact, the phrase "revised and updated" really should be "extensively revised and updated" because there is so much new material in this book (check out Chapters 8 and 9 in Part III) and the scope and depth of his brilliant Diagnostic Business Development (DBD) process is increased as he explains how it enables those who use it to get beyond selling to managing decisions in collaboration with the buyer; get beyond problem solving to facilitating beneficial change; get beyond meeting customers' immediate needs to managing their near-, mid-, and long-term expectations; get beyond single transactions to managing multi-dimensional relationships; and finally, to get beyond rote talking points and "value messages" to rich, rigorous, and interactive conversations.

The second edition reflects the positive and significant influence of two books Thull published after the first edition, The Prime Solution and Exceptional Selling. He refines several of their core concepts in the second edition that also reflects substantial feedback that enlightens and strengthens the DBD process. In these and other ways, the second edition is more, much more than a sequel. As I read Thull's Introduction, I was reminded of Ken Robinson's explanation of the reasons for the second edition of Out of Our Minds: "...the first reason is that so much has happened since since [2000], both in [begin italics] the [end italics] world and in [begin italics] my [end italics] world...The second reason for this new edition is that I now have more to say about many of the core ideas in the book and what we should do to put them into practice...
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Format: Hardcover
I thought I knew how to sell. I really did. I usually beat quota, even during the recent bust. I've taken home 6 figure commissions 12 of the last 15 years.
But sales is the kind of career that always surprises you. I've started to see more "No Decision" deals: you qualify the customer correctly, you create the perfect proposal with undeniable ROI. They go away excited. Then no decision the next day, the next week, the next month, the next year. They don't go with your competition, they just don't do anything. What the heck is going on?
Or the customers who demand (and usually get) free consulting. Most vendors were desparate during the recession, and happily gave away free consulting to stay in the game. Now things are busy. How do you deal with the demand?
Or RFP's. Yea, we all know that if we didn't help write them, then we're probably too late to win them. Many of us refused to participate in a lot of them. But most deals are coming in with RFP's now. Customers are researching technology on the internet, and writing detailed RFP's themselves. Some are good, some are crap, many have real dollars behind them that I'm not willing to give up on.
Or commidization. Technology that we were selling as a premium, highly-differentiated solution a couple of years ago is available from three other suppliers who compete on nothing but price.
If any of this sounds familiar, you need this book. Mr. Thull has fugured out what's happening, and presents a step-by-step solution. You'll be shocked when he describes exactly what sales techniques you were using, which you thought was so smart, and shows how flawed it really is.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this gem in a West Coast airport. I bought it partly because I have spent 20 years "selling" governments on the idea of doing more with unclassified sources and less with expensive secrets that capture only 4% of the relevant information, and partly because when I role play the well-intentioned but largely hand-cuffed Director of National Intelligence (DNI), I see a real inability to make real change when allowing "business as usual" practices to continue.

This book is tremendous. It is coherent, well-presented, with great illustrations, and a superb "reality check" section that the DNI or any other Cabinet leader or non-governmental or corporate or state executive would do well to adopt.

The bottom line: any "sale," whether from an external or internal source, is ultimately about making change; about changing what has been done and how it has been done since time immemorial.

Second bottom line: virtually every customer lacks the high-quality internal decision-process for diagnostics, surveying of what the options are, or evaluating tradeoffs, and once chosen, the customer needs help in implementing any complex solution because this will require internal change that the entire customer's enterprise will resist.
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