Selling To Win- How To Succeed At Sales

Selling To Win by Richard Denny is the kind of book that can give you a great foundation on how to succeed at sales because the approach it promotes is common sense and professional. When I was reading it I found myself thinking “I know that” and “I’ve heard that before” but then I realised just because I know it doesn’t mean I do it. If you learn and apply the principles in this book you’ll definitely close a lot more sales and in a professional way, you’ll master the art of selling.

Selling In Perspective

There is a great deal of misinformation about selling and sales people, but one thing we can all agree on is that people like buying. What they don’t like is being sold to in an unprofessional manner, but they do want help to make the best buying decision. The sales person’s job is to identify what the customer’s problem or situation is and find the right product or service to solve it. Selling To Win will show you how to become a professional.

Planning To Win

According to Richard Denny these are the six cylinders of a professional sales person:

  1. business knowledge
  2. industry knowledge
  3. company knowledge
  4. product knowledge
  5. selling knowledge
  6. attitude

To ensure that you’re travelling well all six cylinders must be running smoothly and he covers these in the book.

The Vital Ingredient

It’s desire, not ability, that determines success. If you want to achieve something badly enough your ability has nothing to do with it, how badly you want it has everything to do with it. I remember in my first outbound telephone sales job I used to stay at the end of my shift in my own time and kept calling customers even though I selling-to-winwasn’t being paid the hourly wage because I wanted to reach my targets and to get my bonus at the end of the month. Most of the time there was no one there with me, the other employees would leave as soon as the shift was finished and thought I was crazy for working without being paid. At the end of the first month the centre manager called me into his office and told me although I hadn’t reached my sales target for my first month he was still going to give me my bonus because I had worked more hours than anyone in the centre and I’d only been there one month. I got my bonus despite the fact that I didn’t yet have the ability to reach the sales targets. That day I learned how to succeed at sales, a big lesson.

The Rules Of Professional Selling

If you are going to play a game, any game, you would first want to learn the rules of the game, in this case a game of sales. These rules are principles that are sometimes obvious but the professional doesn’t care about being reminded of these principles because they know that there are very few new sales techniques that work. What does work is the principles of “communication with people” that often get forgotten or misunderstood. According to Denny these are:

  1. Sell to people- you can only make a sale to another person
  2. Sell yourself- people buy from people they like
  3. Ask the right questions- the most important skill to master
  4. Listen- stop thinking about what you are going to say next
  5. Link features to benefits
  6. Sell the results- what will your product do for the customer
  7. Don’t rely on logic- emotion plays a big part
  8. Be selective in the use of product knowledge
  9. Identify your unique sales points
  10. Don’t catch priceitis- you don’t have to be the cheapest
  11. Price condition- find out your customers budget
  12. Don’t just talk, show
  13. Don’t knock the competition

The Sales Presentation

After you’ve learned the rules of the game you’re obviously going to want to play a game, a game of sales. But the true professional studies the opposition and has a game plan for each game. In other words the tactics for each game are pre planned according to the opposition, the sales presentation. According to Denny there are seven stages:

  1. Getting yourself accepted
  2. The opening prime desire statement
  3. Ask the right questions
  4. Check and pre-close
  5. The marriage
  6. The final check
  7. The close

Closing The Sale

Denny gives closing the sale a whole chapter because it is too important to just be a section of a chapter. He covers: “The golden rule of closing the sale”, difficult closes and not closing. I understand why he felt closing needed it’s own chapter because I’ve actually read whole books by other authors entirely on closing. My personal view is that the close starts the second you start talking to customer, it’s not a technique you use to handle the customer saying no when you ask them to buy, you start closing the sale the moment you greet the customer.

The Principles Of Professionalism

In this chapter Denny considers the things that can make a difference to your performance, the essential ingredients you need to be aware of to know how to succeed at sales. Some of these are common sense, but they don’t seem to be common. Some examples are: make it easy to say ‘yes’; both win or both lose; don’t prejudge; be trustworthy; use people’s names; say ‘thank you’ and a few others.

Giving Real Service

If you provide great service you’ll automatically stand out from the crowd but not many people understand the importance of this. Give unexpected or extra service and truly help your customers and they will love you for it and keep coming back for more. It’s also important to be positive and use a personal approach with your customers.

The last few chapters of the book discuss handling objections, negotiation, letter writing, body language, avoiding the negative and not quitting (why would you quit, it’s just a game of sales).

The original Selling To Win was first published in 1988 but it’s been revised and updated to take into account changes in technology like email, the edition I have was published in 2013. This is a great book for anyone starting out in sales or anyone who feels that can do better than the current results they’re achieving. I highly recommend it

Thank you for reading and feel free to leave any comments below





  1. Hello Diego
    Great post there. I have read many books on selling including Selling to win by Richard Denny and I got to say that I’m pretty impressed by it. The quality information it possesses will help anyone increase his sales. Richard Denny puts a lot of emphasis on the mindset of both the seller and the customer and that’s what separates it from the other books.

    • I agree with you Hans. The quality of the information is great and it’s hard to fault this book. Thanks for leaving a comment, cheers.

  2. It sounds like an interesting book to read Diego,honestly, I’m not that type that likes to read books,I get easily annoyed.

    But this one sounds really interesting especially after your review,and yeah people like to buy but don’t like being sold in an unprofessional way,this sentence sounds obvious when you read it but many people don’t apply it they just know it!

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post! and your site is unique and interesting I’m going to share this post with my friends for sure!! 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment Anis, I appreciate it. One thing you can do if you don’t like reading but there’s book that interests you is you can listen to it. I like reading but I don’t have a lot of time to do it so I listen to the audio book while I’m driving or exercising. Cheers

  3. Hi Diego,

    This looks like a quality book and it’s something that would add a feather to any cap, not just for sales. It seems pretty straightforward and easy to read.

    I like your dedication and determination and in any walk of life, we need that if we are going to succeed. There’s a famous phrase that we say in Scotland. “God loves a trier”.

    • Thanks for your comment Craig. I agree with you that if you are determined to achieve a goal you are well on your way to achieving it. You’ll figure out how along the way. Cheers

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