Selling Above and Below the Line


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You need this book! This week’s blog is another book review and it’s a terrific read. The book is titled: Selling Above and Below the Line by Skip Miller, published by AMACOM.

Reading my past book reviews you know I ‘fold over” the corners of the pages that I find especially enlightening, in this book I think I hit one of the highs- 24 pages folder over-that shows how much I enjoyed reading this book; it is filled with great idea’s, tactical tools and concepts.

In Chapter 2 Skip gets to the heart of the matter describing why there is a difference selling to individuals and understanding the “buying-process” and how that process changes during stage two of the traditional sales process-that being a change in expected outcomes. The User Buyer (Below the Line Buyer) is thinking needs and considering decision criteria, the Above the Line Buyer is more strategic and their consideration for any change is driven by the impact the product/service will have on corporate strategy or business plan, i.e. increase sales by 20%.

The balance of the book then goes in specific details on why the traditional salesperson sells to the user buyer based upon their training and what they hear from the BTL (below the line) buyer. Their sales efforts and messaging is therefore focused around what the BTL buyer needs and they neglect gaining a full perspective on the more important strategic needs of the organization.

In 19 chapters Skip gives the reader insights into how the ATL buyer thinks, what they think about and how the salesperson can use this to gain leverage at the prospective organization. To give you some insight this is a list of just a few of the chapters:

  • Know the ATL Buyer
  • Understanding the ATL Energy
  • Sharpen Your Business Acumen
  • Discussions with an ATL Executives
  • How to Control the ATL Sales
  • Balancing Between the Lines to accelerate the Deal

Chapter 13 is worth the investment of this book alone… understanding the Law of 2X, how to accelerate your sale cycle is a gem. It is a concept I have discussed for years, but Skip put it distinctly. He then shares with you the “Journey Map”-a tool every sales organization should use.

As I have stated before, as a professional you need to read at least two sales books a year, this is one of them.   As a Sales Manager this is one of books for your Weekly Sales Team Book Club. (Have each of your salespeople read one chapter a week and discuss the content during your weekly sales meeting.)

Add this book to your sales library.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ken Thoreson
Acumen Management Group Ltd. "operationalizes" sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 13 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout North America.


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