Sales Secrets From the Decision Maker’s Side of the Desk

"What a novel idea: Asking decision makers what they expect from a sales rep, and then giving us the answers from the buying side of the table! Great ideas to differentiate your sales approach, build trust and increase sales. Both new and experienced salespeople should keep this book handy and refer to it often."
- Jim Graham, former VP of Training & Development, RR Donnelley

Buyer Approved SellingBuy Now

The concept of Buyer-Approved Selling came to Michael Schell when he started questioning some of the sales techniques he encountered in various sales training workshops and sales books. If an approach was gimmicky, salesy or manipulative, Mike would always ask himself, “What would a corporate buyer say about that particular approach?” Unable to find a book written from the perspective of multiple B2B buyers, he decided to write one himself.

In 2001, he began a 2 year process where his team interviewed 228 corporate decision makers from a wide variety of companies. There are many books on sales, but how many answer the question: “What are your prospects really thinking?” Thanks to winning advice from hundreds of corporate decision makers, now you can navigate the sales cycle with total confidence.

One of the questions asked was “what are the top 3 things you find annoying about certain salespeople? This yielded such a response that a section was added to the book titled: “How to Annoy Decision Makers…Guaranteed!” Good to know because if you’re annoying, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling.

By applying the specialized knowledge from Buyer-Approved Selling, you will be able to:

  • Set more sales meetings by using the Permission-Based Introductory Call
  • Conduct focused sales meetings that advance the sale with qualified prospects
  • Proactively deal with your most common objections
  • Ask insightful questions to uncover the hidden costs of not taking action
  • Close sales confidently with the #1 close preferred by decision-makers
  • Develop the power of your "Personal Brand" to build trust and earn referrals
  • Out-prepare, out-communicate and out-sell the competition
  • Avoid common mistakes that annoy decision makers

Click for a preview of Buyer-Approved Selling V3.0.

According to the research, many salespeople ignore the approaches covered in Buyer-Approved Selling.

For example, consider the Advance Meeting Agenda (AMA). A variety of decision makers including Buyers, IT Directors, Presidents, VP’s and Operations Managers were asked to explain how an agenda sent before a meeting could be helpful to them. Then they were asked, “On a scale from 1-10, how would you rate the value of an agenda that was emailed in advance of a sales meeting (and which invited you to make changes/additions to it?").

The average response was "9 out of 10."

When asked, "What percentage of salespeople employ this approach with you?” the average response was "Less than 10 %."

That pretty much says it all. If you really want to differentiate your sales approach, be prepared for two things: More work and more success.

Buyer-Approved Selling covers all steps of the sales cycle:

  • Prospecting
  • Preparing
  • Meeting
  • Proposing
  • Closing
  • Maintaining

"Many books offer advice on effective salesmanship, but this is one of the best. Schell's approach is different from most others... he focuses almost entirely on the sales process and examines both cultivation and solicitation from ‘the buyer’s side of the desk.' "
- American Chamber of Commerce Executives

"All too often the salesperson focuses only on the sale without under¬standing the full depth of the buyer's needs. This book brings it back to the basics: building trust and communicating effectively! A good book for every salesperson to read no matter how long they’ve been selling!"
- Mark Redmond, VP, Worldwide Audio/Video Products, Thomson Multimedia

"Sales professionals spend their entire careers learning to put themselves in the customer’s shoes. This book will help rookies and veterans alike by giving them the perspective they need—the customer’s perspective!"
- Brad Ballance, VP of Sales, Toshiba Information Systems Group

"Read this book to get feedback from corporate decision makers about how to interact with them throughout the sales cycle. Great advice on ways to respect a decision makers time, increase quality of communication and build trust."
- Lee Ingram, Vice President of Supply Chain Management, ThyssenKrupp Elevator

"After moving into sales, I've tripled my salary by acting as a trusted advisor to executives of public companies. My success is based on a belief in what I’m selling, knowledge, preparedness and the techniques from Buyer-Approved Selling; where one approach builds on the other to instill confidence in the buyer to keep coming back and refer you to others."
- Kevin Brown, Licensed Insurance Advisor, Aubin Insurance

"An excellent collection of buyer-centric approaches to get you into a prospective buyer’s door and earn the right to advance the sale...equally valuable to new and experienced salespeople."
- Ken Gini, Senior VP, Corporate Administration & Operations, American Reprographics Company

"This book should be required reading for every corporate sales professional."
- Greg Tennyson, Vice President of Corporate Procurement, Oracle Corporation

"No matter how experienced you are, the content and approach in Buyer- Approved Selling, will stir your soul! The basic selling process from the buyer’s point of view is revealing. Buyer-Approved Selling has raw truths for everyone in sales... The basics of selling in its purest form!"
Ken Carter, VP of Sales, Dana Corporation, Clevite Engine Parts Division

"This is the book that every sales rep reads and agrees: If they were to write a sales book, this would be it. It’s to the point & validated by buyers... Read it, follow it, and grow your business!"
Brett Manlove, General Sales Manager, Global Television Network

"Some of the valuable interactive tools between sales and procurement have been lost in today’s fast-paced world. From a buyer’s perspective, Buyer-Approved Selling brings valuable tools back to the sales professionals."
- Jane E. Moore, C.P.M. Senior Buyer, Sara Lee Coffee and Tea

"Michael Schell’s book on sales strategies is a must-read for any sales rep desiring to close the deal with the right person at the right time."
-Tina M. Lowenthal, Associate Director of Purchasing, California Institute of Technology

"I have just finished the BEST sales book I have ever read. It’s called Buyer-Approved Selling—and if you sell something I urge you to buy it NOW! Looking at the sales process from the other side of the desk is an invaluable tool—use it!"
- Paul Sherman, Chairman, Ecademy Marketplace UK

"Our salespeople sell to the engineering community... Integrating the supply chain and procurement function into account-planning is critical. Communicating effectively at this level and understanding customer requirements in a global marketplace are necessary for long-term success, and as such, Buyer- Approved Selling is a must-read for our team."
- Raymond J. Canzanese, V.P. Sales and Marketing, Southco Inc.

"Successful account executives know, understand, and use this approach to selling. Why wouldn't you? It’s what the buyer is looking for. The material in this book—the buyer’s insights and perspectives—is what every sales professional should understand. It’s required reading in my territory because my staff, our organization, and ultimately our customers will benefit."
- Rick Burkhalter, Regional Vice President, Liberty Northwest Insurance

"Buyer-Approved Selling sets out a process to meet buyers’ needs, from prospecting to post-sales communication. The book presents some innovative ideas and offers useful questions to integrate into your sales routine, but even better is hearing the voices of buyers throughout commenting on the techniques and pointing to the preferred path."
- Harvey Schachter, The Globe and Mail

"Schell’s book is refreshingly direct and wastes little time preaching or pontificating about the bad habits of salespeople. He lets the customers he’s interviewed do that for him... and it works. Consider Buyer-Approved Selling a ‘scared-straight’ program for sales reps. After reading it, your sales team may well declare, ‘We have met the enemy, and he is us’."
- Nathan Mallett, Editor, Sales Promotion Magazine

"I've seen my share of books on salesmanship and they’re all about selling technique. Mike Schell’s book addresses the disconnect salespeople suffer from: viewing the selling process from the buyer’s perspective. If all salespeople could read Mike’s book, it would save us prospects a lot of time and energy."
- Brad Forsythe, Creator & Co-Host, The Advertising Show

"You can’t communicate, connect, or sell successfully without feedback. Buyer-Approved Selling is a feedback treasure-trove."
- Nicholas Boothman, author of How to Connect in Business in 90 Seconds or Less

"Getting it right from the buyer’s point of view—in today’s marketplace, there is no Plan B. Read this book—it’s important and it will help you make a difference!"
- Richard Ruff, President of Sales Momentum and co-author of Managing Major Sales

"This book is a high-quality educational tool for sales practitioners, corporate sales trainers, and academic educators. The application content and wealth of buyer insights provided in this book clearly differentiate it from contemporary sales textbooks. Also, its research foundation differentiates it from many of the other trade books targeted at sales professionals. Regardless of the reader’s level of sales experience, they will discover that Schell delivers on the promise of his book’s title. Refreshing!"
E. Stephen Grant, MBA PhD, University of New Brunswick
(From the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Volume 32 Issue 01 pp 99-100 ©2004 by Sage Publications, Inc. Reprinted by Permission of Sage Publications, Inc. Testimonials for Buyer-Approved Selling © 2003, © 2004, © 2012).


The Companion Guide to Buyer-Approved Selling

The Sales StarBuy Now

Follow the adventures of Jack and Morena, two rookie sales reps, as they navigate through the formidable world of corporate sales. They discover Buyer-Approved strategies and completely change the way they sell and put their careers into high gear.

From the Foreword

"The Sales Star takes you on a step-by-step journey through the eyes of Jack, a new rep who wants to be the best but doesn't quite know how. Step into Jack's shoes and see how you can apply this knowledge to the art of selling… anything."
- Mitch Bardwell, Senior Director, Sales Training Division, Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Real World

The Sales Star is very 'real world'. It uses a captivating story line to drive home the point that becoming a true 'sales star' requires the motivation to put in extra time for planning and preparation.

Working towards Trust

A key chapter in the story follows Jack through his first 'buyer-approved' sales meeting. Watch as Jack uses seven critical 'trust-building steps" for a successful sales call, and see the buyer’s reactions as the call develops.

Out-Communicate the Competition

The Sales Star makes it clear that enhanced communication techniques are essential to winning more business. While these communication techniques may be simple to use, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily easy to use, at least not with consistency. That’s because they require extra work, which means changing our routines around the sales process

Sometimes it just takes a well written story like The Sales Star to shift our thinking and see why we must change our behavior if we want better results.

Take the Sales Star to heart and watch your sales soar as you:

  • Cold call prospects with confidence
  • Employ appointment setting tips that get results
  • Master winning sales approaches that many salespeople ignore
  • Discover what decision makers are really thinking...
  • Build trust every time you interact with a preospect
  • Out-communicate, out-prepare and out-sell your competition


"The Sales Star shows how to apply the concepts and ideas from Buyer-Approved Selling to create a winning sales strategy. Real success comes to those who apply these skills."
- Kimberly Castagnetta, Vice President, Learning and Development, IKON Office Solutions

"In Buyer-Approved Selling, the buyers made it clear how they wanted sales reps to sell to them. This step-by-step companion story shows you how to be a sales star, just like its hero."
- Wesley J. Johnston, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Business and Industrial Marketing, Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University

"Sales success is about developing trust and communicating effectively. This book shows how a sales person should organize, prepare, and set proper expectations with customers and internal resources."
- Frank Bernieri, Division Vice President, Sales Productivity and People Development, ADP Inc.


Success Secrets for Developing Your Small Business

At last—a simple, proven way to expand your business knowledge and increase your competitive edge. Buy this eye-opening book and unlock the secrets to transforming your business.

Based on proven wisdom, The Customer Approved Small Business shows you how to organize your enterprise to achieve consistent success.

Today’s ultra-competitive economy demands excellence. As a business owner or manager, you need to know the best ways to work with the important people in your company: your employees and your customers.

Invest in your success with The Customer Approved Small Business. This easy-to-read, step-by-step guide shows you how to:

  • Create a solid foundation for outstanding service
  • Hire and motivate excellent employees
  • Win and retain customers
  • Systemize your business like a well-oiled machine

From the Foreword

"Jam-packed with practical usable ideas to help you exceed your customer’s expectations and create a powerful by-product: happy customers who refer you to others."
- Mark Collins, Executive Vice President of Marketing, Sales Strategies and Small Business, Banknorth Group Inc.

From the Introduction

"Many small businesses have a hard time succeeding, [with] as high as 60% failure during the first five years. The Customer Approved Small Business is certain to increase the success rate of any small business. This book is a real bargain and a must-read for every small and large business..."
- David W. Scobey, Jr., President, Bellsouth Small Business Services

More Testimonials

"The Customer Approved Small Business is more than a good read. It's a useful roadmap for both start-ups and established small businesses looking to grow."
- Neil Metviner, President, Pitney Bowes Direct

"All small-business owners need to understand the importance of planning and effective sales processes. This book takes you through the entire sales process from A to Z. It also guides you from business inception, to getting the business up and running, to keeping it humming along."
- Bob Ash, National Sales Manager, Wachovia Small Business Segment

"The Customer Approved Small Business is a must-read for both new and existing small businesses. These key strategies ensure that small businesses will stay on course in the turbulent waters of competition."
– Kent Stone, Executive Vice President of Business Banking, U.S. Bank

"An excellent read . . . an excellent resource. Full of ideas that are practical and easy to implement!"
- Dick Ward, Executive Vice President of Marketing, BB&T Corp.

"This book shares our company’s philosophy that knowing your customers and providing them with great service are vital to success."
- James B. Hyler, Jr., Vice Chairman and COO, First Citizens Bank

"We know that choice, simplicity, and affordability are important to owners of small businesses. And like us, Mike Schell understands the value of being easy to do business with. His book provides simple, straightforward advice for small business owners and managers."
- William H. Roth, Senior Vice President, Aetna

"An outstanding resource for any existing or aspiring small-business owner. You can apply it immediately to help ensure your success!"
- W. Kenneth Yancey, Jr., CEO, SCORE Association, "Counselors to America’s Small Business"

"Hard-hitting, gritty, supremely practical. This book will—simply and directly— help you make more money and move your business to more efficiency. This is not a book on the ‘theory of the case.’ It’s a book on making your small business more profitable—step-by-step, with checklists, examples, and concrete suggestions."
- Ralph A. Oliva, Executive Director, Institute for the Study of Business Markets, Professor of Marketing,
Smeal College of Business, Penn State University

"When you own your own business, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everyday demands. The Customer-Approved Small Business is a great book to keep on your nightstand. If you can find time to read it just five minutes a day, you’ll benefit from its practical suggestions and step-by-step exercises. Use it to keep yourself and your business customer-centric!"
- Cathy Cooper, Vice President, Marketing, Washington Federal Savings

"I like this book because its practical insights and strategies will help any business, large or small, sell more effectively. In business, nothing happens until somebody sells something."
- Roy L. Thomasson, Chief Executive Officer, Young Americas Business Trust

"I enjoyed this book . . . It’s an easy read and can be used as a step-by-step guide for small business success. Or if you’re just looking for nuggets of truth to help take your business to the next level, it has plenty of those, too."
- Lee Lemke, Huntington National Bank, Business Banking Group Manager