You Should Throw Out Your Traditional Sales Approach

October 21, 2019

Book Review by Andy Ghillyer

The internet may have given us the convenience of one-click purchasing, but when you are contemplating a major purchase at work or at home, the sales transaction inevitably gets more complicated. Cue the slick brochures, advertisements, and eager salesperson armed with multiple scripts and techniques to get you to sign on the dotted line today.

In his new book Flip the Script: Getting People to Think Your Idea Is Their Idea, author Oren Klaff, argues that decision makers are finished with high pressure sales tactics. They do their research in advance and fully expect to negotiate based on that research. They want to buy, not be sold.

This increased skepticism has prompted many sales training experts to develop even more manipulative scripts to try and push through that resistance to close the deal. Klaff offers a reverse psychology approach. Rather than forcing prospects to accept your idea, why not leverage their inherent trust in what they see as their own ideas? Simply: “Guide them to discover it on their own, so they believe it, trust it, and get excited about it.” Successful completion of this maneuver, the author promises, delivers prospects who want to buy and feel good about buying from you.

A Counter-Intuitive Approach

Klaff acknowledges the basic elements of the traditional sales process and then demonstrates the potential of flipping that script. The traditional approach is to first invest time upfront establishing likeability and building rapport with the prospect. Then you outline the features and benefits (FAB) of your product or service before quickly moving to a trial close. If that is rebuffed, you settle in for a battle of objections.

For Klaff’s approach, the mindset is completely different. Instead of likeability and rapport, he advocates for establishing dominance through expertise and experience. Don’t waste time on FAB. Use what the author calls pre-wired ideas––prepared answers to the prospect’s “big three” concerns––Why Should I Care? What’s in It for Me? and Why You?

Once these are established and you have the prospect’s full attention, you can then focus on correct placement of the idea. FABs give the prospect too many individual variables to consider, especially if the general theme is that most of those FABs are new. Klaff advocates changing that message to emphasize how much of the idea is just a simple “plain vanilla” solution. This minimizes the distractions and then allows you to focus on one or two key criteria that the prospect can link back to the “big three” concerns that have already been addressed by your pre-wired ideas. When that connection is made in the prospect’s mind, the script has been flipped.

There are some additional tweaks that are situational. Fortunately, Klaff includes a diverse mix of examples of negotiations with Russian oligarchs, Swiss bankers, and Silicon Valley venture capitalists to show the power of these deceptively simple steps.

Flip the Script presents a compelling argument for throwing out your traditional sales scripts. If your arsenal of trial closes isn’t working anymore, this book can help.


Andy Ghillyer

Andy Ghillyer is a Contributing Writer at Soundview. He lives in Tampa, FL where he specializes in writing for the B2B and academic markets while raising a growing menagerie of cats and dogs. His other reviews are here.


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