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I’ve asked many VPs of Sales the same question. Which is the best book on the fundamentals of selling? Almost unequivocally, they respond, “Miller-Heiman.” The New Strategic Selling is an updated version of the original Strategic Selling, which was published in 1988, and describes the key activities of successful sales people. I resonated with two concepts in the book: the 4 Seller Response Modes and the authors’ recommendations on how to prioritize a salesperson’s time. The 4 Seller Modes classify the prospect’s state of mind. This is important because, “Anytime you’re asking someone to buy something, you’re asking them to make a change.” Determining the prospect’s mindset helps a salesperson determine if the prospect is ready to make a change, or not; and how to respond. To convert a prospect to a buyer, a salesperson must establish the discrepancy between the prospect’s current state and their ideal state; establish that the salesperson’s product will resolve it. Growth mode prospects recognize the gap between where they find themselves and their ideal. They are driven by the desire to do more and ready to buy. Troubled buyers fear the current situation and search for a solution to their perceived or real problems. Even-keeled prospects don’t perceive a problem. They are very difficult to sell to. The same is true of Overconfident prospects who don’t believe or see an issue in their state of affairs. No discrepancy, no sale. These 4 Seller Modes provide a succinct categorization of prospects. Moving onto sales time prioritization, Miller and Heiman recommend prioritizing efforts in an unusual pattern.
- Closing work on the highest quality leads
- Prospect new leads
- Qualify existing leads
- Move the existing leads through the funnel