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Stop Telling, Start Selling: How to Use Customer-Focused Dialogue to Close Sales [Paperback]

Linda Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Paperback, Sept. 1 1997 --  
There is a newer edition of this item:
Stop Telling, Start Selling: How to Use Customer-Focused Dialogue to Close Sales Stop Telling, Start Selling: How to Use Customer-Focused Dialogue to Close Sales 5.0 out of 5 stars (4)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 1997
In this revised edition of her best-seller, noted sales consultant Linda Richardson offers salespeople the tools they need to successfully use customer-focused, dialogue selling. Featuring real-world dialogue samples, helpful dos and don’ts, self-tests, checklists, and other useful tools, this guide offers insight on every aspect of face-to-face selling, from the initial introduction through the needs identification and the negotiation of terms and price to the successful close, with prime emphasis on the six critical skills necessary to the dialogue-driven sales call: presence, rapport building, questioning, listening, product positioning, and checking.

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From the Back Cover

In just a few short years since its publication, Stop Telling, Start Selling has become a leading textbook for sales training, used by more than 150 of the world's leading corporations. Why? Because it shows how to differentiate yourself, your product, and your organization in a hypercompetitive world of look-alike products.

The secret weapon is "dialogue selling" and this book shows you how to do it. "Much of what appears to be 'consultative selling' today is a masquerade for product selling," explains Linda Richardson, sales training consultant to many of the Fortune 500 and author of Selling by Phone and Sales Coaching. If you want to earn your customer's interest, trust­­and busines­­STOP telling the customer about your product or service. Go beyond "customer focus." START a true customer dialogue.

In this newly revised and updated edition of Stop Telling, Start Selling Richardson teaches you the critical skills you need to revitalize your sales process, including how to:

  • Understand your customer's political, personal, and business needs
  • Position your message so it is important to your customer
  • Unlearn manipulative tactics that can kill a sale early on
  • Gather customer feedback to adjust your message as you go
  • Maintain selling momentum and shorten the sales cycle

Stop Telling, Start Selling will help you truly listen to customers and put them first, that's what it takes to win the trust­­and the business­­of today's sophisticated customers.

About the Author

Linda Richardson is president of The Richardson Company in Philadelphia, a sales training firm with more than 160 clients, including Morgan Stanley, Johnson & Johnson, Aetna U.S. Healthcare, Citibank, Andersen Consulting, Tiffany & Co., Dell Computers, and Lucent Technologies. A member of the faculty of the prestigious Wharton Business School, she is the author of six books, including Selling by Phone and Sales Coaching­­Making the Great Leap from Manager to Coach.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
If you could observe a series of excellent sales calls, you would find that almost all calls share key elements, despite even major differences in the calls-differences in customers, products, salespeople's personalities, and phase of the sales cycle. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great advice (if you can assimilate it) May 24 2001
By "cued"
Format:Paperback
The problem with any "how to sell" book like this is, until you can integrate the advice given here so that it comes naturally to you, you will sound as mechanical and forced as some of the "tellers" Richardson criticizes. I used to sell big-tiicket business-to-business, and I can say the advice here is timeless: engage your customer, identify what your customer's needs are and position your product so that the customer realizes that your product meets their needs. Of course, if the customer doesn't need your product, then maybe you need to learn some of those "hard-ball sales" techniques (or find a better product!). No amount of customer empathy, listening, or product positioning will help you overcome a customer-product mismatch. Which brings me to a point: although Richardson argues against this, I think playing hardball has a place in negotiations; remember, the party you are negotiating with doesn't always have to feel warm and cozy inside in the process. A true persuader will know when to be soft and fluffy and when to apply the pressure.
Also, the whole paradigm-replacement languuage ("we are moving into a new age of selling...") is corny. The advice Richardson is giving is not new or revolutionary, as she claims. But she has succeeded in organizing a lot of really good sales principles in a clear and coherent way which can easily be appreciated by readers.
I read this book together with Richardson's "Selling by Phone" and frankly, one is just a rehash of the other. Richardson copied entire paragraphs from one in writing the other. So save your money and buy just one of the two. But if you are an accidental salesperson, or even if by trade you are not a salesperson but you are occasionally called upon to negotiate (maybe you are a lawyer or a manager) Richardson's books will be a refreshing introduction to the discipline of negotiation and persuasion.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, customer oriented common sense July 7 2000
By L. Suha
Format:Paperback
After reading plenty of those "say what I say, exactly as I say it" sales books, none of which I found truly helpful out in the field, this book was like a breath of fresh air. Easy to read and easy to adapt to personal styles it is a treasure trove of good advise. If you actually care about your customers and want them to return to you on a regular basis, this is the book for you.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars should be a textbook for sales classes June 9 2000
Format:Paperback
From my many varied experiences, I realize that I just don't like selling, but when I was trying to bone up on my sales skills, I found this book to be the most useful. It is heads and shoulders above other books on the subject and it was so intersting that I probably read it cover to cover in a day or two. The advice is extremely practical and you are learning great principles of selling. You are not learning a bunch of closing dialogues that only work for the person who invented them. Easily digested, the principles allow you to adjust your approach in mid-sale because you are asking questions whose answers will tell you what you need to do or say next (positioning.) Tons of great info here. It should really be a textbook for sales classes.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opener and Instant Results Obtained April 1 2000
Format:Paperback
I manage a distributor sales force throughout the U.S. and Canada. After reading this book (actually WHILE reading this book) I applied the information and witnessed immediate success, as did my sales reps. The information is direct, common sense, well presented, easy reading and entertaining. It is not full of 'theory', but actual 'meat' that can be applied each day after reading even a chapter or two the night before. I am buying books for each of my reps and feel it is one of the best gifts I could ever give them. Well done!
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great advice (if you can assimilate it) May 24 2001
By "cued" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The problem with any "how to sell" book like this is, until you can integrate the advice given here so that it comes naturally to you, you will sound as mechanical and forced as some of the "tellers" Richardson criticizes. I used to sell big-tiicket business-to-business, and I can say the advice here is timeless: engage your customer, identify what your customer's needs are and position your product so that the customer realizes that your product meets their needs. Of course, if the customer doesn't need your product, then maybe you need to learn some of those "hard-ball sales" techniques (or find a better product!). No amount of customer empathy, listening, or product positioning will help you overcome a customer-product mismatch. Which brings me to a point: although Richardson argues against this, I think playing hardball has a place in negotiations; remember, the party you are negotiating with doesn't always have to feel warm and cozy inside in the process. A true persuader will know when to be soft and fluffy and when to apply the pressure.
Also, the whole paradigm-replacement languuage ("we are moving into a new age of selling...") is corny. The advice Richardson is giving is not new or revolutionary, as she claims. But she has succeeded in organizing a lot of really good sales principles in a clear and coherent way which can easily be appreciated by readers.
I read this book together with Richardson's "Selling by Phone" and frankly, one is just a rehash of the other. Richardson copied entire paragraphs from one in writing the other. So save your money and buy just one of the two. But if you are an accidental salesperson, or even if by trade you are not a salesperson but you are occasionally called upon to negotiate (maybe you are a lawyer or a manager) Richardson's books will be a refreshing introduction to the discipline of negotiation and persuasion.
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars should be a textbook for sales classes June 8 2000
By "shofar" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
From my many varied experiences, I realize that I just don't like selling, but when I was trying to bone up on my sales skills, I found this book to be the most useful. It is heads and shoulders above other books on the subject and it was so intersting that I probably read it cover to cover in a day or two. The advice is extremely practical and you are learning great principles of selling. You are not learning a bunch of closing dialogues that only work for the person who invented them. Easily digested, the principles allow you to adjust your approach in mid-sale because you are asking questions whose answers will tell you what you need to do or say next (positioning.) Tons of great info here. It should really be a textbook for sales classes.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opener and Instant Results Obtained March 31 2000
By James J. Stewart - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I manage a distributor sales force throughout the U.S. and Canada. After reading this book (actually WHILE reading this book) I applied the information and witnessed immediate success, as did my sales reps. The information is direct, common sense, well presented, easy reading and entertaining. It is not full of 'theory', but actual 'meat' that can be applied each day after reading even a chapter or two the night before. I am buying books for each of my reps and feel it is one of the best gifts I could ever give them. Well done!
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, customer oriented common sense July 7 2000
By L. Suha - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
After reading plenty of those "say what I say, exactly as I say it" sales books, none of which I found truly helpful out in the field, this book was like a breath of fresh air. Easy to read and easy to adapt to personal styles it is a treasure trove of good advise. If you actually care about your customers and want them to return to you on a regular basis, this is the book for you.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to improve interpersonal skill? Must read this book March 3 2009
By Wo Wei Yan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I would like recomend this book to everyone who keen in human relatinships. The six critical dialogue skills improve my daily life, from client relatinship to my family relationship.

I don't think this is a selling book. Richardson teaches me how to behave well. There is not dramatic impact on my performance, instead, my interpersonal relationship improved.

Why a good man become guilty man in front a customer? This is because he speak too much. The trainer teaches him dictate the boring FABs. He likes his products more than the client.

Stop Telling's dialogue framework change my believe. Just ask and listen, then I can position my product to meet the client needs.

The most valuable thing I learn is the six critical dialogut skills:

1. Prensence
2. Relating
3. Questioning
4. Listening
5. Product Positioning
6. Checking

Everyone who serious about human relationship must learn these skills.

One neg point of this book is there is no selling step. The newer book Perfect Selling is perfect complement. Other books such as Robert's Customer Centered Selling and Thomas' QBS benefit me in different aspects.

In my oppinion, in real world situation, the client's mind is always channge. The seller have to follow the client. The seller must keep sensitive to client's change. The six critical skill of dialogue should use throughout the whole process.
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