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Book Review of: Strategies that Win Sales

If you're in business, you should read Strategies That Win Sales

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Review of Strategies That Win Sales, by Mark Marone and Seleste Lunsfors.

Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 5,000 articles.

Today's selling environment is more complex than ever. This complexity presents problems and opportunities. How to best overcome the problems and take advantage of the opportunities is the message of Strategies That Win Sales.

This book is based on a survey of 150 individuals from 17 top companies. It's an inside look at what customers want and what high-performance sales organizations are doing.

Strategies That Win Sales consists of ten chapters and three appendices. Appendix A, "Five Roles for Successful Sales" is a worthwhile read on its own. The introduction explains the methodology of the survey, and how it relates to the content of the book. The first chapter details the challenges facing today's sales force. These include excessive price pressure, more competition (we're global, now), more sales channels (often competing with each other), and even better-informed customers who make more demands.

The result of the research behind Strategies That Win Sales was the identification of seven strategic areas that leading sales organizations use to win sales. One of the most interesting of these areas is consultative selling (Chapter Five). That kind of selling is not a "one size fits all" solution. If you can identify the customers with whom that approach works, your sales can benefit. But applying it to the wrong customers can hurt sales.

Strategies That Win Sales doesn't provide any "magic bullets" or neat gimmicks an incompetent salesperson can apply to become an overnight success. Nor does it provide any five-step solutions for sales managers needing to turn an underperforming sales team into superstars. This book is low on hyperbole, and heavy on real information.  (Actually, it has no hyperbole).

One thing today's successful sales practitioner has in common with the sales champ of yesteryear is hard work. Another is the ability to listen to the customer. That much hasn't changed, and probably never will. But, the devil is in the details, and this book goes over them thoroughly.

On the downside, Strategies That Win Sales is following a recent trend of insufficient editing. The many grammar gaffes in Strategies That Win Sales occasionally hide the meaning the authors had intended. In some cases, I was unable to determine the meaning at all. This book contains valuable information, and a second printing would be good for all concerned--but not until the authors (or publisher) retain a copyeditor to make the text conform to Standard Written English (SWE).

Strategies That Win Sales also contained an odd language convention--I have no idea why. The authors used the word "impact" in odd places, turning some sentences into farsical gibberish. Impact means "to force tightly together." This is why we say teeth are "impacted" and why a doctor prescribes laxatives if your diagnosis is that you are "impacted." I fail to see the value of planning to "impact customers," though the authors talk about this repeatedly. I can't imagine any sales person going around and "impacting customers" without getting arrested rather quickly. Sales has changed, but not that much.


About these reviews

You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?

I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?

And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.

This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.

My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.

A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.

About your reviewer

  • Books are a passion of mine. I read dozens of them each year, plus I listen to audio books.
  • Most of my "reading diet" consists of nonfiction. I think life is too short to use your limited reading time on material that has little or no substance. That leads into my next point...
  • In 1990, I stopped watching television. I have not missed it. At all.
  • I was first published as a preteen. I wrote an essay, and my teacher submitted it to the local paper.
  • For six years, I worked as an editor for a trade publication. I left that job in 2002, and still do freelance editing and authoring for that publication (and for other publications).
  • No book has emerged from my mind onto the best-seller list. So maybe I'm presumptuous in judging the work of others. Then again, I do more describing than judging in my reviews. And I have so many articles now published that I stopped counting them at 6,000. When did I stop? Probably 20,000 articles ago! (It's been a while).
  • I have an engineering degree and an MBA, among other "quant" degrees. That helps explain my methodical approach toward reviews.
  • You probably don't know anybody who has made a perfect or near perfect score on a test of Standard Written English. I have. So, a credential for whatever it's worth.

About reading style

No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.

Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.

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