A groundbreaking sales book – “The science of selling”

hoffeld-bookOf the thousands of sales books that are published each year only a few are groundbreaking. ‘The science of selling’ by David Hoffeld is one of these.

The theories perpetuated by this book, about how to sell, are based on compelling evidence produced by the explosion of recent research into human behaviour and the brain.

It reinforced much of my thinking yet challenged and refuted many of the selling practices still be taught and coached today.

The foundations

David Hoffeld starts by laying the foundations for selling with science.  He outlines how science explains why salespeople typically under-perform. He “sheds light on the daunting obstacles salespeople face, and exposes why they’re struggling and how this trend can be reversed”. He then provides two scientifically proven routes to effectively influencing others – all the time referencing the relevant research.

A key point he makes is that science proves that we need to sell the way people buy and he proposes a process for doing this which again is in line with findings from research.

He then explores the research around the impact of human emotions on buying.  He shows that there is compelling research based evidence that emotions are a determining factor in the success of a sales.  Most importantly he leverages research that demonstrates that salespeople can identify the emotional state of buyers and provides proven methods they can apply to change the buyer’s emotions to be positively receptive.

The salesperson’s Toolkit

David provides a set of great science based toolkits that will ensure we sell more effectively.

The first covers the science of asking powerful questions.  This is based on scientific evidence of how the brain conveys information. He explains how research has proven that many of the ways salespeople are taught to ask questions “directly conflict with how the brain discloses information and encourage buyers not to share key information”. He then provides a questioning strategy that aligns with how our brains do share information.

Another tool David provides will help determine why your prospect will buy. It will enable you to tailor your sales activity to what really matters to your customer.

He also provide scientifically proven tools that help create value, neutralise competitors, overcome objections and gain commitment.

The future of selling

In the last chapter David provides a window into the future of selling and shares “some compelling insights into why merging selling with science will alter the future of sales and how you can be at the forefront of the transformation”.

In summary the science of selling will challenge much of your thinking about how we should sell.  It will provide you with evidence and research based methods and tool that will; enhance your professionalism, improve the value you create for your customers, and, maximise your success.

I highly recommend this book to anybody involved in sales.


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John works with companies who are striving to grow high margin revenue by retaining customers, creating value for customers and strategically acquiring new customers. He loves successful and happy sales teams who are driving positive change for their customers. He coaches sales professionals who are keen to enhance their career. He helps them develop their skills and capabilities and enhance & leverage their personal brand.

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