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The Science of Selling: Proven Strategies to Make Your Pitch, Influence Decisions, and Close the Deal Hardcover – November 15, 2016
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“Everyone needs to sell, not just the sales professional. This book shares top selling strategies backed by scientific data on how the mind makes trust and buying decisions, so you get best practice and the proof behind what makes them so effective.” —Forbes
“A crisp, unmissable guide…. Hoffeld's deft guidebook is a must-read for salespeople unsatisfied with anecdotal evidence and hungry for real data to improve their techniques.” —Publishers Weekly
“A terrific book! Sales trainer David Hoffeld has built his selling methods on a solid foundation of science. Let his research-based insights into why people buy help you increase sales and retain loyal customers.” —Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of To Sell Is Human
“A must-read to excel in the game of influencing others! This science-based approach to selling…will surely advance your career or business.” —Chris Spurvey, Vice President, KPMG Canada and author of It's Time to Sell
“David Hoffeld provides strong, clear and practical advice about selling, supported by the relevant research, not just one-off anecdotes…. Read and study The Science of Selling: it’s perhaps the best discussion yet of the core essentials about this key business--and life--activity.” —Frank Cespedes, Harvard Business School, author of Aligning Strategy and Sales
“Grab your yellow highlighter and be prepared to use it on every page.” —Stu Heinecke, author of How to Get a Meeting with Anyone
“An incredible resource of research-based strategies for influencing others—effective not only for meeting the needs of the sales person, but for anyone who is in leadership or aspires to leadership.” —Toby Travis, International Head of School & Educational Consultant/Trainer
“This book is a breath of fresh air. While most sales books are based on the author's experience, every chapter in this superbly well-written book is rooted in science.” —Gerhard Gschwandtner, CEO of Selling Power
“Can science and selling come together? YES, and in a powerful way—just read this book! The Science of Selling is as good as it gets—fantastic and really usable. I have already given it to my sales team to read.” —David Horsager, CEO of Trust Edge Leadership Institute and bestselling author
“A must-read for anyone who wants to become more influential and increase their sales effectiveness.” —Ron Friedman, Ph.D., author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace
“Many believe that sales is just a numbers game, but David Hoffeld has proven that there is actually a science to it [and] that selling is a skill that can be developed and perfected. A fascinating book.” —Donna Serdula, Founder & President, Vision Board Media & Linkedin-Makeover.com
“David has done a great job separating the science from the art of selling. It’s refreshing to see research-backed methods and practices versus guesswork and theory around how influence really works. Hats off to Mr. Hoffeld for advancing our understanding around how to turn the practice of selling into a true profession.” —Marc Miller, bestselling author of Selling is Dead and A Seat at the Table
“The Science of Selling is outstanding; I haven’t been able to put it down. It’s helped me reexamine and rethink how I sell, and it has my highest recommendation.” —Ed Tate, Principal at Ed Tate & Associates and World Champion of Public Speaking
“Well-defined, repeatable sales strategies that are scientifically proven to improve your results. The Science of Selling is the future of selling!” —Ray Reyes, Managing Director, Globalize Localization Solutions
“Finally, you can get inside your buyer’s head and this book is your blueprint. David Hoffeld unpacks the science behind what makes us choose, purchase, and trust those we buy from—essential insights for any sales professional wanting to become even more effective.” —Leary Gates, Venture Coach & Founder, Lumina Consulting Group & StrategicCEO.com
“Following on from the science behind selling that Dan Pink introduced in To Sell Is Human, Hoffeld dives deeper into how to use scientifically-proven ways to build rapport, influence with ease, and pass through the skepticism that’s inherent in the selling process. If you believe successful sales pros are made and not born, this book was written for you.” —Mary Poul, founder of Sales Mastery Magazine
“A fast-paced and fact-filled analysis of how scientific principles of influence and decision-making can improve sales effectiveness…. You will have a much deeper understanding of the sales process and how you can be more effective after reading his book.” —David Fairbarn, President, Kinney & Lange
“A tour de force of scientific research spanning a whole range of critical selling behaviors…. This book has done the hard work of identifying what they are and explaining clearly where to focus and how to adopt them. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in sales success both now and in the future.” —John Golden, CSO, Pipelinersales and bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales
About the Author
DAVID HOFFELD is the CEO and chief sales trainer at Hoffeld Group, one of the nation’s top research-backed sales and consulting firms. A sought-after sales thought leader and speaker, David has worked with clients ranging from small and medium businesses to Fortune 500 companies. He is a contributor to Fast Company and has been featured in Fortune, U.S. News and World Report, The Wall Street Journal, CBS Radio, Fox News Radio, and more. With a robust following on Twitter and a popular YouTube channel, David has built a loyal audience as a trusted resource for sales and business leaders. To learn more about his work, visit his website at www.HoffeldGroup.com.
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The book is broken down into three parts:
Part 1 is about the foundations of selling with science.
Part 2 is a practical toolkit for salespeople, and
Part 3 is about merging science and selling together.
The Foundations of Selling With Science consists of four parts:
Why Sales People Underperform - In this section we discover that most modern sales methods are not founded on any objective standard but rather are rooted in conjecture. In fact, the way most salespeople are taught to sell is grounded in selling not buying. They is they focus on the activities and behaviors of the salesperson rather than focusing on how customers make decisions. The conclusion here is obvious, if the core of what is being trained is flawed then no amount of reinforcement can succeed.
The Two Methods of Sales Influence - Here we get a primer on the two different ways that the human brain perceives influence: 1. The Peripheral Route (influences outside the actual message) and 2. The Primary Route (the message itself). Both channels are important and always used when prospective buyers are evaluating solutions. Yet both channels have very different properties. The Peripheral Route, for example, is much more short-lived in its effects. Because prospective buyers always use both channels sellers must become proficient at using both in order to be successful.
How to Sell the Way People Buy - In this section we discover why the more our selling efforts are aligned with how the brain naturally formulates buying decisions the more successful we will be. It is in this section that we get David Hoffeld’s first new contribution to the world of professional selling – The Sales Equation. It is also in this section that we learn the “Six Why’s” that are a simple and welcome structure around how the human brain formulates buying decisions. This important concept permeates the rest of the book.
Selling to Your Buyers’ Emotions - For decades we in sales have heard the axiom “people buy on emotion and justify with logic.” In this chapter David reveals the actual science that proves this notion to be true. We learn through a number of fascinating studies and experiments that the human brain uses emotions to assign value to things and mark them as good or bad. This is how our brains distinguish between what truly matters and what is irrelevant. Emotion is a far bigger part of the decision-making process than most sales professionals realize and David has highlighted that accurately with its prominence in his Sales Equation. The implications for sales professionals is far-reaching and David gets very practical here and offers some excellent tips and guidelines on identifying and changing a customer’s emotional state.
The Salesperson’s Toolkit consists of five parts:
The Science of Asking Powerful Questions - Just asking a lot of questions will not make you more successful at selling. What matters is the quality of questions you ask. Here in contrast to the “question types” common in other sales methodologies David offers up a new and refreshing 3-level paradigm for asking questions that leverages understanding of how buyers disclose information.
Why People Buy - Having now covered how people buy, in this section we turn our focus onto why people buy. We discover here the importance of seeing things from the customer’s point of view and exactly what to listen for. We learn how to discover what your customer’s primary buying motivators are and how to navigate customer problems, dominant buying motives and customer requirements.
Creating Value, Neutralizing Competitors, and Overcoming Objections - This section begins buy reminding us that value is always defined by buyers. This is why value creation is not something you do yourself, but rather something that is done with your customer. There are some wonderful scientific discoveries in this section including Social Exchange Theory, the power of reciprocity, using labels and inoculation theory. As always each section ends with getting practical about each concept and how it applies to selling in the real world. This includes excellent information on how to demonstrate value and how to address objections using a model that ties back to the “Six Why’s” introduced in Part 1.
Closing Redefined: Obtaining Strategic Commitments - David and I are in alignment on closing. David describes it this way: The best way to lead someone into making any sort of major decision, such as a buying decision, is to first guide them in making a series of small commitments that are consistent with the larger decision. His counsel here centers around the “Six Why’s” that every customer goes through when making buying decisions.
Five Science-Based Sales Presentation Strategies - In this section on presentations we learn the importance of presentations and how they are the primary means central route of influence is triggered (remember the two channels?). This section covers several cognitive biases (errors in human reasoning) that can be made to improve presentations. Cognitive biases are truly fascinating and very powerful when applied correctly. I decree that all those within the sound of my voice are only to use these principles for noble purposes.
Merging Science & Selling - David Hoffeld wraps up by discussing the future of science and selling and how scientific discovery will continue to change our profession. Moving forward, research that was formerly done in other areas and applied to sales will be done specifically for selling situations. The future will find unproven methods falling by the wayside as greater awareness of scientifically proven methods permeate the ranks of professional selling. This will be applied to all stages of selling including the hiring process itself.
Conclusion - I had very high expectations for The Science of Selling and still my expectations were exceeded. I am a cognitive bias, behavioral economics & sales psychology geek – and I read a lot. I did know of many of the studies in this book but only because I am a fanboy. Despite that, I found a very large number of studies that I encountered for the very first time reading this book. And for fanatics like me there are forty pages of glorious references for further reading. It is easily the most documented sales book in years. With that said, most sales professionals will find 90% of the data revealed in this book brand new, very accessible and paradigm shifting.
Not many people can understand the academic principles behind a subject and convert that into practical, actionable steps. Yet, that is exactly what David Hoffeld does in The Science of Selling. I found it to be an engaging journey that bridges the gap between cutting-edge science and the realities of the modern marketplace. The richness of the content in this book is amazing. It is worthy of multiple reads. Indeed I have read it two times now. David doesn’t just teach you what to do – he teaches you WHY to do it. Understanding the “why” behind each principle makes them infinitely more practical because that deeper understanding allows you to adapt the concepts to the limitless variety of encounters within the sales world. If you liked Influence, Made to Stick or To Sell Is Human you will enjoy this book.
The Science of Selling is going to leave a lasting mark on the sales profession. It is a must-read for all sales leaders and professional salespeople. This will be the book your peers will ask you if you’ve read next time you get together. There is just no getting around it. If you want to be current on the latest science in sales and how to apply it this is the book to get.
It’s probably because I love behavioral economics and psychology so much but this is probably my favorite title this year. I couldn’t recommend it any higher.
Surveys show that nearly half of all salespeople fail to meet their quota every year. Why? Well, it could be related to some Harvard Business Review research indicating that 63% of the behaviors that salespeople exhibit actually drive down their performance. A big part of that is because the way most people sell is not aligned with how their customers make buying decisions.
In “The Science of Selling” David Hoffeld draws on over 400 scientific studies that show how the human brain makes buying decisions. The science affirms that there a gaping disconnect between how people sell and how humans make buying decisions. And to make matters worse, the way most salespeople are taught to sell is is grounded in selling, not buying.
To sell the way the our brains make buying decisions, Hoffeld decodes the way buyers formulate buying decisions in a framework called “The Six Whys.” These are six specific questions that represent the mental steps all potential customers go through when making a purchase decision.
When salespeople structure their sales processes to answer and gain commitment to each of the Six Whys, they can guide potential customers through the buying process and into a positive decision. But, if a buyer rejects one or more othe Sixy Whys, it will cause his or her decision-making process to breakdown, which can grind the sale to a halt, usually in the form of an objection. In fact, Hoffeld shows how the root of all objections are found in one of the Six Whys.
If you want to improve your sales, and make your customers’ buying experience more pleasurable, you’ll want to read “The Science of Selling.”
And to listen to an interview with David Hoffeld about The Science of Selling, visit MarketingBookPodcast.com.