Book Review: Secrets of the Softer Side of Selling
Decades of Wisdom Cooked Down into Easy Routines
Don and Lois Crawford embody the title of their book, the softer side of selling. They are delightful people who are helpful, honest and nice. That’s how they sold me on this book. Their charming presentation will win you over, too, while providing you with better practices for more successful selling.
Secrets of the Softer Side of Selling, 2nd Edition, is a friendly, helpful, honest guide to selling. The writing is easy and breezy, with links to a well-chosen list of resources for those who seek greater depth. Most chapters end with a quiz to help you apply the principles to your own situation.
There were two key takeaways for me. First, “all sales are made emotionally” (page 69). Richard Thayer just received the Nobel Prize for his work in behavioral economics, which shows that all decision-making is emotional and data is trumped by feelings at the moment of truth. See my review of Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow for more on how we make decisions.
“All Sales are Made Emotionally”
The Crawfords know quite a bit about the psychology of sales and cook it down to some very useful techniques. For example, they explain how to tell what kind of arguments will be most persuasive with a prospect by observing how their eyes move when deep in thought: Visual people look up, verbal people look left or right, touchy-feely people look down.
The second takeaway is that there is an answer worse than “No” in the sales profession. I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you what it is, but I will say the Crawfords have created an effective plan for qualifying prospects and steadily moving toward “Yes.” The book contains well-thought-out forms, checklists and scripts for organizing the sales process along with sample selling dialogues.
I have a couple of issues with the book. It starts very awkwardly with a discussion of gender and selling that is not very helpful, along with chapters such as “Choosing What to Sell” that are unnecessary for most readers. I suggest you skip the qualifying chapters and move quickly to the Six Step Sales Process where you’ll find terrific advice for generating fresh sales leads.
A Book for Couples & Partners
While the gender discussion misses the mark, this book is a great guide to selling for couples who are in business together. Like Lois and Don, all couples or partners have strengths that balance each other. Lois is the writer, online connector, home office person. Don is telephoner, visit in person, gregarious road warrior. When you align sales activities around the personalities of the partners, it will be more successful.
Whether you are in business by yourself, in a family enterprise, or in sales for a small or large firm, you’ll benefit from the decades of wisdom cooked down into “Secrets of the Softer Side of Selling.”
Review ©2017 by Steve O’Keefe
Executive Director of the Staunton Media Lab
Secrets of the Softer Side of Selling, 2nd Edition
by Donald S. Crawford & Lois Carter Crawford
Published by Marketing Idea Shop, LLC
6″ x 9″ Paperback, 200 pages, ISBN 978-0-9742511-4-1
Illustrated with Forms; Bibliography; Glossary