Book review: Selling To Win by Richard Denny
When I tell people that I work in a bank, the natural image that springs to the mind of most is a local HSBC: Customers patiently queuing in line, an array of cashiers willing to serve, and general banking activities taking place all around.
When I describe my place of work as an office, with no cash on the premises and without a current account facility, it’s easy to understand why people see me as a salesman rather than a bank employee.
My business cards acknowledge me as a Customer Account Manager. It sounds posh, but in real terms, I am a salesman, and it’s my job to sell loans.
When I first joined the company, a little under a year ago, there was a copy of a book called “Selling to win” hanging around the office. A quick flick through showed it did what it said, and that it was a sales book. Indeed, the inner cover boasts the tag “Tested techniques for closing the sale”. As any person involved in or around sales will testify, particularly those who earn commission, “closing the sale” is the most important part of the job. Rather than pay out £9.99 for a copy, I searched around and got it for a fifth of the price on eBay.
Richard Denny is well regarded as a motivator, and having worked in Sales all of his life is considered, by the blurb on the back of his own book at least, as “one of the UK’s foremost authorities on sales”. Alongside a money-back guarantee, you are quick to assume that he is self-confident and that the book is worthy of at least a closer look.
The book starts as it means to go on, with the page before the introduction taken up by a two sentence quote:
“Nothing happens anywhere in the world until a sale takes place. And salespeople bring in the money that everyone else can eventually live off.”
Ignoring the poor use of punctuation (who starts a sentence with And?), this sentence is capable of acting as a catalyst as to how you perceive this book. If you can accept that the phrase may be correct, and please note that I say accept rather than agree, then this book will be a fairly handy read. If it makes you laugh loudly and mutter something along the lines of “Yeah, whatever!”, then you’d better be served putting the book down and doing something else entirely!
Following a brief introductory chapter, the book runs through 17 chapters starting with “Selling in Perspective”, which I’m glad to say is a look at selling in comparison to anything else, as opposed to a chapter specialising in merely selling in a town called Perspective.
Throughout the first nine chapters, which span planning, finding the time and the business, getting the appointment, presenting and finally closing the sale, Denny comes across as very confident. Not only does Denny have a very authoritative writing style, but he follows up a lot of what he says with examples taken from his own life. This makes the book not only informative but also interesting to read and easy to relate to.
From Chapter 9, entitled Closing the sale, there are further chapters which encompass professionalism, objection handling, body language and various other traits and everyday occurrences. Once again, Denny backs up what he says with examples of his own, this time referring back to earlier chapters.
Each chapter concludes with “Pocket reminders”. Essentially these are one-line summaries of the previous few pages and act as a useful summing up exercise to be reviewed at a later date.
Although Selling to win is not the type of book that you can sit and read in a few hours – there is far too much information to take in and digest – It is ideal to dip in and out of when you have a few minutes. I got this book roughly 8 months ago and spent the first few weeks reading a chapter at a time in the bath. I found that once I had read three or four chapters in a row, I would re-read them rather than move on to the next. This enabled me to retain more of the advice given.
Overall the book has been fairly useful. I have seen people refer to it as their bible, and though I can’t make the same comparison, it has been extremely handy in my work. I’m lucky in that many of the work ethics preached in the book run alongside those we are told to go by at work. Despite this, I still recommend to my colleagues that they read the book as it offers a non-company-status-quo view of sales.
The book itself still retails at £9.99 (though I can see it’s online for £6.99) and is widely available in all the usual places. I myself would highly recommend it to anyone working or looking to work in outbound sales.
Disclaimer: This review first appeared on Ciao.co.uk, written by myself.