Sell the Feeling

Sell the Feeling is a story-driven lesson in how to become a better salesperson. This is not just for "used car salesmen" - it is for anybody in business. We all sell ourselves and our services every day.

The first thing to understand is that it is in story mode. This is the type of book you sit back and read through with a glass of wine. If you are the type-A, bullet-driven person who wants a textbook to study and test with, this is probably not the book for you. However, many people do learn better by absorbing through situational stories and "seeing it in action". Those people would react far better to this book than to a dry textbook.

There are many valuable tidbits tucked throughout the book. You can say they are common sense, but every person makes mistakes that common sense says they should not. Re-hearing advice in a new context is sometimes what is needed. So the book says ...

Salespeople are often afraid of rejection. Buyers are worn down by constant pressure and ads. Buyers tend to buy based on feelings, then justify the purchase with logic. In fact, buyers rarely can remember a pleasant sales situation - but they can quickly think of many negative ones. It's rare to have a relaxing sales situation. But really, buyers buy when they feel trust, confidence and that they're being taken care of.

So the six steps a salesperson needs to take is to prepare, build rapport, ask questions, link products to their needs, close the sale and reassure them. To start, the salesperson visualizes a time when they were full of confidence and motivation. Then they focus on their beliefs, knowing they will achieve them. They match and mirror their buyer's actions and voice patterns. They ask open ended questions. They use phrases such as "Imagine if I could ... then could we discuss more?" They do not use "but" in an objection - they use "and".

The book even covers the four main objection types - time, money, doesn't believe in you and won't work for me - and suggests you think up responses to each one.

So there's a lot of material in here, and all of it is valuable to really think about. So what's the problem?

Ironically, the problem is that the book doesn't sell the feeling :) I'm all for a story atmosphere. It's comforting and relaxing. But the story has several inane parts. A broke salesman is going to hand a $25,000 legal note to a complete stranger, on faith? While the stranger refuses to tell anything about himself? I also really dislike plot lines where the guru says "You are doing everything wrong, but I won't tell you why. I'll just watch you stumble around until you figure it out for yourself."

I had to laugh out loud when the guru feeds sushi to the student. The student comments on how great the sushi looks and the guru says in essence "Oh I just watched a sushi chef for a while and voila!" Oh great, so now they're going to get raw fish poisoning because he thinks you can learn sushi preparation by watching a guy behind a counter for a few weeks? It reminded me of those "Are you a brain surgeon?" "No, but I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express" commercials.

Even more silly, there is a whole section of the book involving a used car salesman where the point of the story is that the used car salesman tried to foist a convertible on the guru without bothering to find out if the guru really wanted a convertible. The implication was that the guru did NOT want that convertible. Then, at the end of the story, the student buys the convertible for the guru! Again, without even knowing he would want it! What if the guru would have really loved a classic sedan? Just what did the student learn (or not learn) here?

But all of that aside, the main reason I gave this three stars was the incessant blatant advertising that seemed to pop up every 5 pages or so! The book starts right off with a "give us your email address and we'll send you stuff". It was a turn-off, but I kept going. So then the preface. The preface ends with a "and now give us your personal information!" It just kept up. It was woven into the actual storyline. It was like reading Pride and Prejudice and having Darcy turn to the reader and say "And now for the next part of the story, be sure to visit my website!"

It was even as bad as having one section talk vaguely about classic closing techniques, but then telling you that you had to go to their website to actually learn what they were! So the book, which promises to provide you with complete sales information, leaves out an important chunk, holding it hostage in exchange for you going to their website. That really turns me off.

So that makes me feel distrustful, have no confidence in the authors providing me with a complete solution, and a general feeling that I'm being taken advantage of. They are just sucking me in to buy their expensive management seminars. Luckily, the book helped me identify those feelings, so that I know not to recommend the books to others or to go anywhere near their website. Which I find pretty amusing :)

Rating: 3/5

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