Book Review of The Seller’s Challenge by Thomas Williams & Thomas Saine
I’ve had the opportunity to learn all of the major sales systems over the past thirty years. There is merit in every sales methodology. Yet, in training my own teams and in training for others, I have found that regardless of the approach and sales methodology there is a consistent set of challenges that continue to crop up. It never fails, one or more of these challenges will make its appearance in the middle of whatever workshop you are conducting. They are important and often immediate needs for sales professionals. Yet the irony is that they fall outside the scope of virtually all the major sales systems. They live in a strange sort of no-man’s land – too specific to be addressed by a general methodology and too complex and time-consuming to be covered in a public offering. And as a result, they rarely get addressed.
This is why I was so excited to see that Thomas Williams and Thomas Saine had collected and written a best-practices guide for the top ten of these important-but-rarely-addressed challenges for sales professionals. That guide is THE SELLER’S CHALLENGE – HOW TOP SELLERS MASTER 10 DEAL KILLING OBSTACLES IN B2B SALES.
10 Deal-Killing Obstacles
The Sellers Challenge has a B2B focus and is broken into 10 separate chapters – each one covering one of the top ten deal-killing challenges in sales. Each chapter is independent of the others and capable of standing on its own making Seller’s Challenge an encyclopedia of sorts allowing you to open specifically to a given topic and get a complete rundown on the best practice in sales for addressing that challenge. Here are the ten obstacles covered in the book:
- How to Sell to Multiple Buyers: Discovering Who Buys, Who Cares and What Matters
- How to Planning and Execute Buyer Centered Conversations
- How to Sell to Resistant Buyers Using the Power of Insight
- Why Sales Calls Fail and How to Address the Root Causes
- How to Address Gatekeepers and Leverage Them to Gain Access to Executive Buyers
- How to Sell Against the Status Quo
- How to Survive and Win RFPs
- How to Sell to Committees
- How to Collaborate With Procurement in a Way That Creates Success
- How to Manage Discount Demands
Selling In The Real World
Both Tom Williams and Tom Saine hail for the B2B sales world where managed and sold in the trenches for many years. Additionally, Tom Williams has the rare quality of having sat on both sides of the table as a success sales professional as well as the CEO of two specialty hospitals. This provides the reader with a buyer’s perspective that is both unique and difficult to find in other books. I found these real-world insights very valuable and enjoyable to read.
The answers in The Seller’s Challenge are phenomenal. You can tell that Williams and Saine have run workshops for years because the chapters contain very complete answers to each challenge. I read a lot of books and I rarely see any topic covered in such an organized fashion. This makes each topic a one-stop shop for addressing the challenge. I wish every book was structured this way. Each section contains:
- A summary of the challenge
- A story illustrating the challenge
- A discussion of the challenge along with a breakdown of the dynamics involved
- An illustration or model
- The solution and best practice in addressing the challenge & recommended actions
- A Summary of Key Points to Remember
- And commitment & action items to incorporate the best practice into your selling process
Additionally, there is typically one or two addenda at the end of each chapter illustrating how to implement the best practice in a real-world story and they often contain valuable reference materials such as additional resources and checklists.
If you have ever read great works like Strategic Selling, SPIN Selling or The Challenger Sale you will appreciate (like I did) how The Seller’s Challenge complements these classic systems. It’s everything I look for in a book – it’s practical, actionable, explains the “why” behind the recommended practices and delivers everything necessary to put the best-practices into action. If you are in business to business sales, then you’ve likely encountered every one of these challenges and herein lays the best approach for navigating each one. I recommend this book very highly. Embracing these practices will generate more sales and more revenue by eliminating the obstacles and pitfalls that kill so many B2B sales.
You can find The Seller’s Challenge on AMAZON.
Until next time!