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Achieve Sales Excellence

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Achieve Sales Excellence

The 7 Customer Rules for Becoming the New Sales Professional

Platinum Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

You may have a great product – but that’s not enough to close a sale. You, the salesperson, are the determining factor.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable

Recommendation lists nearly half a million books about sales. You get the impression that everyone who ever made a cold call or a sales presentation has written a book about his or her experience. Sales books are often anecdotal, with little or no relevance to the difficult challenges that salespeople actually face. Some present a grab bag of supposedly “can’t-lose” sales techniques that sound great on paper but always seem to fall flat during sales calls. Others present compilations of moldy maxims, such as “work smarter, not harder,” and “never take ‘no’ for an answer,” that make experienced salespeople want to jump off the nearest cliff. This thoughtful and intelligent book by Howard Stevens and Theodore Kinni is a welcome exception. Instead of irrelevant anecdotes or inane aphorisms, it features the results of in-depth surveys of 80,000 business-to-business customers concerning their attitudes about salespeople. It offers an insightful analysis of this singularly informative data, along with recommendations on what salespeople can do to improve their status with customers – and thus increase their own sales. When it comes to the business-to-business salesperson, getAbstract cannot recommend this book more highly. Read it to learn precisely what business-to-business customers expect from you, and how you can use this invaluable insider knowledge to close more sales. You’ll become the consummate sales professional in both your customers’ eyes and your own.


The “Sales Effectiveness Gap”

In-depth surveys of 80,000 business customers conducted between 1992 and 2002 indicate that these customers have exceptionally low opinions of salespeople. They characterized them as “product pushers” and “talking brochures.” In additional surveys of 7,200 sales forces in 15 industries, business customers rated an astonishingly low .003% – or fewer than 20 – as “world-class.” A “sales effectiveness gap” of monumental proportions has arisen in the world of business-to-business sales.

Beating the Competition

According to these surveys, the following factors determine how customers make their purchasing decisions:

  • “Salesperson effectiveness” – 39%.
  • “Total solution” – 22%.
  • “Quality of offering” – 21%.
  • “Price” – 18%.

In other words, these days, the salesperson makes or breaks the sale. This wasn’t always the case. At one time, factors such as price, features or quality were more important. However, as businesses have evolved and instituted systems such as Total Quality Management and Six Sigma, everyone offers good prices, convenient features and high quality...

About the Authors

Howard Stevens is the chairman and CEO of a firm that helps companies improve employee development and increase sales performance. Theodore Kinni is a writer and author on business topics.

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