Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World's Greatest Military Victories

Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World's Greatest Military Victories

by John Golden


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Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World's Greatest Military Victories by John Golden


"I distinctly remember my first VP talking about 'campaigns' and 'targets.' Indeed, successful salespeople have made learning from military tactics an important aspect of their careers. In this engaging read chock-full of practical and richly illustrated examples, John Golden provides strategies that are sure to increase even the most seasoned sales pros' success rates. It's a completely new take on sales education with powerful lessons you'll use to win your own sales battles." — David Meerman Scott, bestselling author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR

"There’s no doubt salespeople will profit from the book’s focus on besting one's opponent in a battleground much changed by the information explosion of the Internet." — William Dermody, World/Military Affairs Editor, USA Today

"An innovative and very insightful perspective on what it really takes to win." — Dave Stein, CEO and founder, ES Research Group, Inc.

"Great sales lessons presented in a really unique and interesting format . . . I recommend it for sales people starting out in the field as well as seasoned pros. — Chuck Lennon, President, TeamLogic

"A good military strategist is, after all, a salesman, which leads me to believe that a good salesman would make a good military strategist. The author has done an excellent job of showing how those two different communities are in fact very similar." — Brigadier General Julie A. Bentz, PhDTM

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780071791991
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date: 08/21/2012
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

JOHN GOLDEN is president and CEO of Huthwaite, one of the world's leading sales performance improvement organizations. His track record as a proven leader combined with extensive experience in the learning industry provides the foundation for his strategic vision of success for Huthwaite. Prior to joining Huthwaite, Golden served in senior executive positions at the Mortgage Bankers Association, Learning Sciences International, and New Horizons CLC.

Read an Excerpt


Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World's Greatest Military Victories

By John Golden, David M. Connaughton

The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 2013Huthwaite
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-179199-1





Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory. —miguel de cervantes

General Robert Napier, one of many unrelated Victorian soldiers and sailors named Napier, was a master at preparation. He was sent from Bombay to rescue the British representative and other hostages held by Emperor Tewodros II in Abyssinia. These hostages had been taken because Tewodros was insulted by Queen Victoria's failure to reply to a letter he had sent two years earlier. Napier arrived at Annesley Bay on the East Coast of Africa. The army built piers to help with unloading of the ships and then marched to Tewodros' capital at Magdala. Just before reaching their objective, the army was attacked in force by the Abyssinians but overwhelmingly defeated and repelled them. Napier had taken to heart the lessons learned about the importance of logistics from the Crimean War. His preparation was nearly perfect. Tewodros, after safely releasing the British hostages (and cutting off the hands and feet of the native hostages before tossing them into the precipice), committed suicide.

The sales lesson here is the importance of preparation for sales calls, presentations, and bake-offs. Preparation is distinct from planning in that preparation is homework, background, and understanding the possible problems and opportunities that may come up based on industry knowledge from experience and research. Planning is using that preparation to plan lines of questioning and even specific questions. I shall consider planning in Chapter 2.


Emperor Tewodros II of Abyssinia, known to the British as Theodore, was a zealous Coptic surrounded by Muslims. He had outlawed the slave trade, suppressed polygamy, manufactured Ethiopia's first cannon, introduced mail, and otherwise sought to restore Ethiopia to its former glory. By 1864, he was on the brink of insanity. A string of personal tragedies, coupled with a susceptibility to instability, had sent him spiraling downward into madness. He had written to Queen Victoria, apparently offering an alliance, and had received no reply. Outraged, he had arrested her consul, Captain Charles Cameron, and his staff, accusing Cameron of plotting with Muslims. He also took about 50 other hostages, including missionaries. It was not his sanest hour.

Three years of failed diplomatic efforts to secure the release of the hostages led to a more martial approach. In 1867, the newly elected Conservative government decided to take a firmer hand. They chose India as a staging area—and more specifically, Bombay, which was just across the Arabian Sea from Abyssinia. The commander of the local army in Bombay was Sir Robert Cornelis Napier, a veteran of both the Indian Mutiny and the Chinese Opium War of 1860. He was an experienced warrior and a sound choice as commander in chief of the relief expedition to Tewodros' mountain fortress at Magdala.

On taking command, he reviewed the situation and decided that the success of the expedition would depend almost wholly on logistics. It would require tremendous preparation. Indeed, the vast majority of the campaign was given over to preparations. Napier concluded that it would require approximately 13,000 fighting men with a host of auxiliaries and camp followers, 8,000 laborers, and 36,000 animals (including horses, asses, camels, and elephants) to accomplish the rescue of the hostages.

His force faced a 420-mile march into the interior of Africa, through hot desert and cold mountains in hostile territory, just to reach the fortress—which was guarded by cannon and widely regarded as impregnable. After freeing the hostages, the army then would have to march back—and all this before the summer rains. It was quite a task, but Napier was the man for it. The base camp was set up at the little fishing village of Zula on Annesley Bay. Napier arrived there on January 2, 1868.

Napier oversaw a series of remarkable engineering feats that aided in transport and secured supply lines through the dangerous terrain that had to be traversed. Sappers and Royal Engineers built a railway from the coast through the desert to the base of the mountains. Then they cleared a wide path through the mountain pass to the 8,000-foot highland plain. Troops and supplies were moved toward the objective with remarkable smoothness and skill.

Further preparations included negotiating safe passage with Ras Kassai through Tigre and Wagshum Gobazi through Lasta (whose wrath was accidentally incurred but as quickly assuaged by monetary compensation). In preparing for the eventual assault, no stone was left unturned. Napier was a brilliant purveyor of assured success. He was no practitioner of the fools rush in approach to military endeavor.

By April 1868, the main force was just about within striking distance of Magdala when the Abyssinians attacked in force. As many as 7,000 warriors armed with muzzleloaders streamed down the hills toward the Arogee plateau. The King's Own and the 27th Beloochee Regiment reached the plateau first and took up position. They numbered about 300 because two companies had been left behind to secure the baggage. It did not look good for the British, except that they had prepared to the hilt. They were armed with the new breech-loading Snider rifle, which could fire a devastating seven rounds a minute. Massively outgunned, the brave Abyssinians were beaten and soon began to retreat. The King's Own steadily pursued until the cautious Napier ordered an end to the counterattack.

It was a quick victory, but the day was not yet won. A large force of Abyssinians, sheltered by a ridge, managed to get around the King's Own and attack what they thought was just the baggage train. Unbeknownst to them, it also included a battery of Royal Artillery and was guarded by a Sikh regiment of Punjab Pioneers. The bearded Sikhs, though themselves armed only with muzzleloaders, were supported by the artillery and eventually set the Abyssinians to flight.

After a grueling night on the field, the British buried 700 bodies— both out of respect for the fallen warriors and for fear of disease. Most of Tewodros' 500 chieftains were among the dead, doubtless because they were mounted and wore scarlet tunics—making them natural targets. Of the 20 British casualties, only two were dead—both Sikhs.

Following the action at Arogee, a frightened and bewildered Tewodros offered to free the hostages but was turned down. Napier possibly feared the reaction of the warlords who had aided him if he were to allow Tewodros his freedom. Napier occupied the now-abandoned heights of Selasse and Fahla and prepared for the final attack.

The assault on Magdala took place on April 13, 1868. It was the work of but a few minutes for the vanguard to scale the walls of the fortress and open the main gate to the victorious British troops. Rather than be taken alive, the emperor apparently shouted, "It is finished!" He then shot himself with a pistol he had received as a gift from Queen Victoria in 1864.


The success of the Magdala expedition was complete. The hostages were freed, and Tewodros was no more. But more to the point, the success had restored glory to the tarnished reputation of the British Army, which had suffered such humiliation in the Crimea and the Indian Mutiny. It was again an army to be reckoned with. The fame of this little war spread, far out of proportion to its importance in world affairs.

Sir Robert Cornelis Napier returned to England a great hero, having accomplished what many t

Excerpted from WINNING THE BATTLE FOR SALES by John Golden, David M. Connaughton. Copyright © 2013 by Huthwaite. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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Table of Contents



Chapter Layout          

PART 1: THE SALES CALL          

Chapter 1: Battle of Magdala—British Abyssinian Campaign General Napier
versus Emperor Tewodros II (1868) On Preparation          

Chapter 2: The Naked Duel Humphrey Howarth versus the Earl of Barrymore
(1806) On the Importance of Planning          

Chapter 3: Battle of Trafalgar—Napoleonic Wars British Royal Navy versus
the French and Spanish Fleets (1805) Opening the Call          

Chapter 4: Quintus Fabius Maximus versus Hannibal Second Punic War
(218–201 BC) On Not Presenting Too Early: The SPIN Model          

Chapter 5: Mutiny on the Bounty Captain Bligh versus Master's Mate
Christian Fletcher and the Mutineers (1789) The Value Drivers: The
Unrecognized Problem          

Chapter 6: Battle of the Crater—Siege of Petersburg U.S. Civil War (1864)
The Value Drivers: The Unanticipated Solution          

Chapter 7: Battle of Clontarf Brian Boru versus the Vikings (1014) The
Value Drivers: The Unseen Opportunity          

Chapter 8: Battle of New Orleans—War of 1812 Andrew Jackson versus the
British (1815) The Value Drivers: The Broker of Capabilities          

Chapter 9: Battle of Isandlwana: Anglo-Zulu War British versus the Zulus
(1879) On Prescription before Diagnosis          

Chapter 10: Gunfight (Near) the OK Corral Wyatt Earp et al. versus the
Cowboys (1881) On Preventing Objections          

Chapter 11: Pickett's Charge—Battle of Gettysburg U.S. Civil War (1863)
On Throwing Good Resources after Bad          


Chapter 12: Great Swamp Fight—King Philip's War New England Colonies
versus Narragansett Tribe (1675) Entry Strategy: On Using the Focus of

Chapter 13: Battle of Aughrim—Williamite War William III versus the
Jacobites (1691) Entry Strategy: On Gaining Access to the Focus of Power          

Chapter 14: Battle of Megiddo Thutmose III versus the Canaanites (ca. 1457
BC) The Buying Cycle: Implementation (On the Importance of Follow-up)          

Chapter 15: Charge of the Light Brigade—Crimean War British versus the
Russians (1854) The Buying Cycle: Implementation 2 (On the Consequences
of Failure to Align Internally)          

Chapter 16: Battle of Carrhae Romans versus the Parthians (53 BC) The
Buying Cycle: Resolution of Concerns (The Parting Shot)          

Chapter 17: Defense of Little Round Top—Battle of Gettysburg U.S. Civil
War (1863) On Handling the Motivation Dip          

Chapter 18: Battle of Crécy—Hundred Years War English versus the French
(1346) On Vulnerability Analysis          

Chapter 19: Battle of the Ice Alexander Nevsky versus the Teutonic Knights
(1242) Countering Vulnerability: Influencing Decision Criteria          

Chapter 20: Battle of Sudomer—Hussite Wars General Zisca versus Emperor
Sigismund (1420) Countering Vulnerability: Increasing Strengths          

Chapter 21: Samurai Battle of Nagashino Katsuyori versus Ieyasu and
Nobunaga (1575) Countering Vulnerability: Diminishing the Competition          

Chapter 22: Battle of Kircholm Winged Hussars versus the Swedish Army
(1605) On Maximizing Differentiators          

Chapter 23: The Whiskey Rebellion Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee versus the
Pennsylvania Farmers (1794) On Effective Negotiating Behaviors          


Chapter 24: David and Goliath Israelites versus the Philistines (1024 BC)
CRM Sales Force Automation: On Choosing the Right Tools          

Chapter 25: Battle of Châlons—Hunnic Invasions of Gaul Romans versus
Attila (451) The Feel-Good Funnel: On Using Time Wisely          

Chapter 26: The Siege of Hara Castle The Shimabara Rebellion (1638) The
Silent Killers          

Chapter 27: Napoleon's March on Moscow The Grand Army versus the Russians
(1812) On the Importance of Good Forecasting          

Chapter 28: Pyrrhus of Epirus Campaign Against the Romans (280–279 BC) On
the Pyrrhic Victory (or Not Buying Revenue)          

Chapter 29: Battle of Gravelines The British Royal Navy versus The Spanish
Armada (1588) On Balancing Efficiency and Effectiveness          

Latin Quotes          


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