Book review by Stuart Ayling
Title: SNAP Selling
Author: Jill Konrath
Published: 2010, 280 pages
What is the book about? What are the key messages?
The sub-title of the book really spells out its purpose:
Speed up sales and win more business with today’s frazzled customers.
Terms like crazy-busy and frazzled are used constantly throughout the book to describe the life and mindset of prospects.
From the introduction:
They (your customers) work in lean and mean organizations, consigned to sixty-plus-hour work weeks filled with endless meetings. The last thing they want to do is add one more item to their already overflowing to-do lists.
One of the main messages in the book is that for customers to change anything creates more work, that’s why the status quo is usually your strongest competitor. Therefore to get attention and move decisions forward you must:
- Do the homework. Be prepared. There is no shortcut here.
- Provide real value and insights.
- ‘Net it out’ up front – get to the point without the usual sales puffery.
- Use concise language to spell out your value proposition.
S = Keep it Simple
Eliminate the complex and unnecessary. Buyers don’t have time for it. Simplify language and use of terminology.
N = Be iNvaluable
Know your stuff and have fresh ideas. This is the VALUE you bring for potential clients. Why else will they speak with you if you can’t be invaluable?
A = Always Align
Clients must see an immediate connection between what you do and what they’re trying to achieve.
P = Raise Priorities
Know buyer priorities, go with theirs or raise ones that you know are important for them. Clients act on priorities. Look for indicators of changing priorities such as trigger events.
Three Decisions in the Customer Decision Making Process
Jill Konrath presents the customer decision making process as being in 3 different stages, with two key criteria within each stage (see bullet points below). She recommends the SNAP factors be applied to each decision making stage/question, as each of the three stages may happen seperately, involve different stakeholders, and possibly over an extended time depending upon the service/product being sold.
1st Decision – To Allow Access (to the client and their organisation)
- No interest in connecting
- Agree to conversation
2nd Decision – To Initiate Change
- Will listen to ideas
- Status quo becomes unacceptable
3rd Decision – To Select Resources
- Consider their options
- Best decision selected
Jill Konrath also suggests developing profiles for your different types of clients and then doing what she calls a “mind meld” where you think like the client and review your approach from their perspective.
The idea of profiling potential clients isn’t new and the concept is used extensively these days in the web design field where website content is specifically developed for a particular audience. However Jill’s approach is to combine these tools to really see what things are like in the mind of your client, not just to use it as a superficial ‘picture’ of who they are.
To get into the minds of crazy-busy buyers Jill suggests:
- Identify the key decision makers (primary roles)
- Complete a buyers matrix for each role (see below)
- Create customer personas
- Use a mind meld
Buyers Matrix Template
(topics to examined as part of preparation for sales contact)
- Business Objectives and Metrics
- External Challenges
- Strategies and Initiatives
- Internal Issues
- Primary Interfaces
- Status Quo
- Change Drivers
- Change Inhibitors
What I liked about this book:
- It is truly a modern sales book. The focus is on how prospects in large (and medium sized) businesses are simply too busy to look at anything new. And when they do, they don’t have time for the old-fashioned chat-over-coffee and “Tell me what keeps you up at night?” approach that many sales people try to use.
- There are practical systems anyone in sales can use to conduct more effective sales conversations. Sellers need to plan their sales encounters and these tools are ideal for that.
- The language is very direct and conversational, many times provocative, resulting in an interesting and easy to read book.
- Includes many specific examples of wording to use (scripts) to illustrate important techniques, examples of extra things you should be doing, and resources you need to develop to support your SNAP selling approach. This would be easy for readers to adapt to their business.
Note: The ideas proposed in SNAP Selling are complementary to my SOX™ Question Strategy that you will find explained in my ebook The Assassin Analogy. The SOX questions and associated techniques (such as accelerating trust) are the core components of how you implement the sales conversation within the SNAP process.
What I did not like:
- The book mainly talks about selling to larger businesses, with most examples about selling big ticket products/services to big companies with layers of management and multiple stakeholders for buying decisions. This may make the topics seem less relevant to people selling to smaller businesses.
- Whilst the book covers the core concepts very well, there isn’t much information on how to implement the resources to enable the concepts to be used to full effect, such as creating a process flow chart to use as the centrepiece of your sales conversation rather than showing physical products. In fairness, one book can’t cover everything.
My Reading Recommendation
(Ratings go from 1 to 5, with 1 being ‘leave it alone’ and 5 being ‘must read’)
I rate it 5. Great ideas for modern selling with practical application.