Selling the Wheel is a fascinating story about sales and marketing written in the form of an ancient parable: Once upon a time, long ago, a resourceful fellow named Max came up with a brilliant idea and invented the Wheel. But human beings, who had been getting along without the Wheel for thousands of years, did not instantly appreciate their need for this clever invention.... This is the challenge facing Max, as dramatized by Jeff Cox, coauthor of the bestselling business novels Zapp! and The Goal, Selling the Wheel is based on the pioneering research of Howard Stevens's employment-testing and customer-research firm, the H. R. Chally Group. In the story, Max and his wife, Minnie, learn what it takes to market the Wheel. With the help of Ozzie the Oracle, they discover four essential selling styles -- Closer, Wizard, Relationship Builder, and Captain & Crew -- and come to understand how each style is suited to a different type of salesperson. They learn that as markets evolve, selling styles and strategies must change. There is no single right way -- and no company can be all things to all people. This critical lesson is as valuable to salespeople as it is to sales managers. Writer Jeff Cox has the amazing gift for translating technical ideas into creative, engaging stories, and his collaboration with sales and marketing expert Howard Stevens is based on empirical research collected from 250,000 salespeople, more than 1,500 people in corporate sales, and interviews with more than 100,000 actual customers who rated the strengths and weaknesses of the salespeople serving them. Packed with practical tips for salespeople, entrepreneurs, marketing managers, and business students, Selling the Wheel is an irresistible guide to sales styles, strategies, and markets.
Discussion Questions 1. In terms of your business, discuss the Oracle's Bedrock Questions listed at the end of chapter 2, the first being: Who are your customers? 2. Who are your competitors? 3. Why do customers want what you are selling? (That is, what are the values that your product or service provides for them?) 4. What makes customers prefer to buy from you? 5. What might cause customers to prefer to buy from your competitors? 6. What added values do your salespeople have to offer customers in order to make sales? 7. Turning to the Summary, "The Wheel of Sales," at the end of the book, which of the four selling styles Closer, Wizard, Builder, or Captain & Crew is most appropriate for you and your customers? If you find your sales strategy has mixed styles, which should you adopt as your dominant style? 8. Based on your answer to the previous question, what kinds of actions and incentives might help your salespeople improve their effectiveness with customers? 9. Both near-term and longer-term, where is your strongest competitive threat likely to come from? Will it be from those offering a lower price on essentially the same thing that you sell? Or will it be from some company offering new technology and higher performance? What can you do now to prepare for and counter that threat?
Jeff Cox is the co-author or author of seven works of business fiction, which include The Goal, Zapp, The Quadrant Solution, Heroz, The Venture, Selling the Wheel and The Cure. Both Zapp and The Goal ranked first and second, respectively, on a list of bestselling business books from the 1990s. Jeff and his family live near Pittsburgh, PA.
William J. Lovejoy Vice-President, General Motors This book is wonderful to read, and the wisdom in it is profound!
Michael F. Snyder President, ADT Security Services, Inc. Selling the Wheel is one of the best books on sales and marketing that I have ever read. Dozens of business books cross my desk, but this is one of the few that can truly teach the selling process. Wheel will be required reading at my company.
Richard Falcone Vice-President and General Manager, AT&T After Selling the Wheel, even the veterans of sales and management will better understand what they are about. Most people in business can't see the whole product life cycle, because it extends over such a long period of time. Reading this book is like going up in the space shuttle and being able to see the world in its entirety -- the sales world, that is. You'll be able to look down and say, "That's my kind of country; that's where I'm going to succeed."