Slow Down, Sell Faster!: Understand Your Customer's Buying Process and Maximize Your Sales


“This is a great book, a breakthrough in modern selling! Kevin shows you how to make more sales, easier, and with greater certainty than ever before.” — Brian Tracy, author of The Psychology of Selling

“The Chally Group Worldwide has interviewed over 80,000 business-to-business customers and found they are most loyal to salespeople who understand their buying needs and buying processes. Slow Down, Sell Faster! shows you how to become one of those salespeople —a world-class sales...

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Slow Down, Sell Faster!: Understand Your Customer's Buying Process and Maximize Your Sales

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“This is a great book, a breakthrough in modern selling! Kevin shows you how to make more sales, easier, and with greater certainty than ever before.” — Brian Tracy, author of The Psychology of Selling

“The Chally Group Worldwide has interviewed over 80,000 business-to-business customers and found they are most loyal to salespeople who understand their buying needs and buying processes. Slow Down, Sell Faster! shows you how to become one of those salespeople —a world-class sales professional.” — Howard Stevens, Chairman and CEO, The Chally Group, Worldwide

Faster sales pitches won’t lead to faster sales. The key to speeding up the sales process is to actually slow down and get in sync with your customer’s buying process.

Customers don’t care about your selling process. They’re moving through their own buying process, a set of predictable steps that doesn’t match how most salespeople sell. With the highly effective techniques in Slow Down, Sell Faster!, you’ll learn how to help your customers through each step of their buying process faster, and with the odds shifted in your favor.

Sales guru Kevin Davis has taught thousands of salespeople at a veritable “who’s who” of Fortune 500 companies. His eight-step method unleashes the power of slowing down each sales conversation, asking more questions, identifying needs, and supplying solutions—in the right sequence, with the right approaches. It’s an especially effective formula for high-stakes sales involving multiple decision-makers that delivers big rewards. You’ll learn how to:
• match your sales behaviors to your customers’ needs at every step of the buying process
• get more appointments—especially at the C-level—by using a problem-focused approach
• combat your most lethal competitor: customer complacency
• use probing questions to diagnose small problems that can point to bigger needs
• master the complicated politics of complex sales
• overcome common selling dilemmas, such as customers who go silent at the eleventh hour
• and more.

You already know how to sell. It’s time to learn how people buy—to slow down so you can sell faster!

“As the provider of choice for our customers’ business technology needs it is imperative that we have a sales process focused on the customer buying cycle. Years ago, we selected Kevin Davis’ sales model. We’ve used the flexibility of the program to train the majority of our sales force on this powerful consultative selling methodology. We’ve measured outstanding results.” - Dan Cooper, Executive VP, Field Operations, Xerox, Global Imaging Systems

“The need to be more buyer-focused is clear to most all Chief Sales Officers; how to do it is not. In Slow Down, Sell Faster! Kevin Davis offers a concise roadmap for how to stop paying lip service to this concept and make it a reality for sales reps and their managers.” - Jim Dickie, Managing Partner, CSO Insights

“Salespeople involved in today's high value, complex sale will find that Kevin Davis' book provides exactly what they need to know to close the deal. This book provides solid, practical advice that professional salespeople can immediately use and apply.” - Stephen J. Bistritz, Ed.D., President and Founder,; Co-author, Selling to the C-Suite

Kevin Davis is president of TopLine Leadership, Inc., a leading sales and sales management training company serving clients from diverse sectors. He has 30+ years of experience as a salesperson, sales mana­ger, sales trainer, and consultant. His 1996 book, Getting into Your Customer’s Head, helped redefine how salespeople approach selling. Contact Kevin at

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...highly recommend this revolutionary and must-read any sales manager, salesperson, or any organization serious about developing an effective and customer focused sales process." —Blog Business World

“ to best navigate the piranha-infested swamp that is your prospect’s internal corporate politics.” —

“…a volume packed with sales wisdom…book might very well make sales managers take a breath and rethink their priorities.”—ForeWord Reviews

"...breaks one of the most entrenched myths of selling: that a faster sales pitch leads to a faster close." —Top Sales World

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814416853
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 1/5/2011
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 408,197
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

KEVIN DAVIS is president of TopLine Leadership, a sales and sales management training company. His revolutionary eight-step process is used at Citigroup, ADP, Bayer, Sprint-Nextel, IKON Office Solutions, Global Imaging Systems (a XEROX company), and dozens of other Fortune 500 companies.

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Read an Excerpt


Years ago I was selling an office equipment solution to the CEO

of a 100-person company. I was selling to him the way I had been taught: I established comfortable conversation while building trust, asked questions to diagnose his needs, then presented my solution as an answer to his needs. Everything appeared to be going along as planned. Suddenly he leaned forward and asked, “Aren’t you going to close me now?”

Why is it that customers know more about selling techniques than most salespeople know about buying behavior? That’s not right. An understanding of buying is where selling should start.

We need to redefine “selling” to mean helping people buy.

What might “helping people buy” actually mean? The HR Chally

Group, founded in 1973 through a grant from the United States Justice

Department to create validated assessments that accurately predict on-the-job effectiveness—including sales performance, has a lot to say. For their most recent report Chally interviewed over 2,500 customers who provided opinions about more than 4,000 salespeople.

The results appear in The Chally World Class Sales Excellence Research Report.

Among their findings was that “customers usually award the prize to the salesperson who has been there through every step of their buying process, meeting customer need after customer need by presenting the right information at the right time. To win a sale, then, a salesperson’s sales process must match perfectly with the customer’s buying process. The two should be mirror images.”1

We can take a lesson as well from Dr. Steven Covey’s classic book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. (I’d bet many of you have a copy on your bookshelf right now.) Dr. Covey says, “We have such a tendency to rush in, to fix things up with good advice. But we often fail to take the time to diagnose, to really, deeply understand the problem first.”2

This rushing in and “fixing things up with good advice” occurs a lot in our profession because we have been conditioned to see things through a salesperson’s eyes, and our sales behaviors are based on these perceptions. But your buyers have a different frame of reference. They have their own point of view.

So let me ask you, when selling, do you think as much about the customer’s buying process as you do about your sales process? Are you with your customers “through every step of their buying process”?

If not, it’s not your fault. Despite the evidence before us that a new sales paradigm is needed, few sales books or training courses teach salespeople how to deeply understand the purchasing decision from their customers’ perspective, how to adapt their selling behavior to customers’ buying behavior. If you don’t think about the buying process on every call, you can get out of sync with your customer, and that can lead to lost sales.

That’s why I wrote this book, to demonstrate the why and the how of getting in sync with your customer’s buying process. When you do that, you realize that you need to slow down each conversation you have with a customer so you can ask more questions, and help the customer do a better job of buying. When you slow down your selling, you can help customers move more quickly through each step of their buying process. Hence the paradoxical title of this book: Slow Down, Sell Faster!

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Table of Contents






Chapter 1 Why Slower Is Faster: How Selling Too Fast Results in

Lost Sales and a Longer Buying Process

How Selling Too Fast Causes Lost Sales

Shifting from Selling- to Buying-Focused

The Eight Steps in the Customer’s Buying Process

Six Mysteries of Selling Solved

The Eight Sales Roles That Match the Buying Process

Slow Down and Get in Sync!

Chapter 2 Mastering the Politics of Selling to Multiple

Decision Makers

The Players on a Complex Buying Team

Configurations of a Complex Buying Team

A Case Study in Complex Buyinnamics

How to Avoid the Biggest Mistakes

Looking Ahead

Chapter 3 Winning the Complex Sale

The Questions You Can’t Afford Not to Ask

Fundamental Skills to Master

When in the Buying Process to Reach Each Decision Maker

Sharpening Your Political Skills

Winning Over 0a Complex Buying Team Takes Skill


Prologue to Part II

How to Get Started with the Eight Sales Roles

Focus on Obtaining Go-Forward Commitments

Getting Started

Chapter 4 The Student: Use Knowledge to Gain an Edge

Study Your Customer

Customer Step 1: Change

How a Student Gains a Deeper Understanding of Your

Customer’s Business

Know Three Things about Each Customer That Other

Salespeople Won’t Know

Understanding the Company’s Decision-Making Hierarchy 66

Put Your Knowledge to Work

Milestone #1: Getting More First Appointments

The Goal: A Twenty-Minute Appointment

A Telephone Approach That Gets Results

Preparing for the First Appointment

Chapter 5 The Doctor: Diagnose Small Problems, Define Big Needs

Uncovering Needs to Establish the Value of Your Solution

Customer Step 2: Discontent

Types of “Patients” You Will Meet

How the Doctor Intensifies the Prospect’s Need for Change

The Five Steps of Diagnosis

Handling the “Ballpark Price” Questions

Identify then Intensify Discontent

Milestone #2: Accelerating Momentum with a

Memo of Understanding (MOU)

Why MOUs Areitical

Sample MOU

Chapter 6 The Architect: Design Customer-Focused Solutions

Orienting on the Buying Process

Customer Step 3: Research

The Customer’s Process for Developing a Solution

Understanding Customer Buying Criteria

The Dynamics of Customer Buying Criteria

How an Architect Designs Unique Solutions

Identify Your Differentiators (Do a Market Assessment)

The Architect’s Toolkit: How to Understand and Influence

Buying Criteria

Creating a Better Match Between Criteria and Capabilities

Create a Unique Solution to Match Customer Needs

Chapter 7 The Coach: Make a Plan to Defeat the Competition

Evaluating Your Starting Position

Customer Step 4: Comparison

How a Coach Develops a Winning Game Plan

Scouting the Competition

Five Winning Strategies

Become a Stronger Competitor

Milestone #3: Winning Proposals and Presentations

Developing a Convincing Proposal

Presentations: Preparation Will Meet Opportunity

Be Sure to Maintain Communication

Chapter 8 The Therapist: Understand and Resolve a Buyer’s Fears

Customer Step 5: Fear

Why Fear Happens

How a Therapist Resolves Buying Fears

Important Skills of a Therapist

Fear May Not be the Only Hurdle

Resolving Your Own Fears

Help Customers Move Past Fear

Chapter 9 The Negotiator: Reaching a Mutual Commitment

Customer Step 6: Commitment

How a Negotiator Creates Win-Win

Preparing to Negotiate

Handling the Most Common Customer Negotiating Tactics

When the Negotiation Really Begins

Negotiate to a Win-Win Agreement

Milestone #4: Transitioning from Pre- to Post-Sale

Do You Keep or Hand Off Implementation?

Drafting an Implementation Plan

Minimizing Customer Risk

Chapter 10 The Teacher: Teach Customers to Achieve

Maximum Value

Customer Step 7: Expectations of Value

Lessons from the Learning Curve

How an Effective Teacher Instructs Customers:

The Four Steps of Customer Education

Teaching Benefits You, the Teacher

Exceed Your Customers’ Expectations

Chapter 11 The Farmer: Cultivate Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty

The Key to Customer Satisfaction

Customer Step 8: Satisfaction

How a Farmer Cultivates Customer Loyalty

Four Keys to Sales Farming

The Three Levels of Customer Relationships

When and How to Develop a Strategic Partnership

Getting More Referrals and Testimonials

Your Final Role: Chief Satisfaction Officer

Epilogue to Part II


Chapter 12 Coaching for Success: Advice foro Work for Them)

What Is Coaching?

How to Improve Your Sales Coaching

Getting the Most Value Out of Each Milestone

Coaching the Sales Roles

Your Mission: Create a Great Sales Team



About the Author

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 27, 2011

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    There's not much I can say. I'm on my third reading, taking notes and making it my own. If you haven't read this and are a sales professional, you need to make this a priority read. Kevin Davis has taken sales and professional sales to a whole new level.

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  • Posted May 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Informative, specific sales manual that focuses on how people buy

    Most sales books focus on sales techniques. Not this step-by-step text by sales trainer Kevin Davis, who explains why you need to know your customer's buying process so you can plan your sales activities - and your sales personalities - accordingly. This makes sense. The more you know about how prospects make their purchases, the easier it will be to sell to them. getAbstract recommends Davis's savvy sales advice - particularly his specific (if sometimes insufficiently linear) instructions on how to match the buyer's needs right down the line - to business-to-business sales professionals who work with decision-making client teams, and to those who sell high-end products or services to consumers.

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