Friday, 12 June 2009

Selling The Wheel - Review

" Selling the Wheel", is a management book cum novel , written by Jeff Cox. The central idea behind the book is the different variety of sales techniques needed at the different stages of technology evolution. He has demonstrated the different facts through a historic plot. A guy ,Max, chances to invent wheel, which was unknown during old Egyptian days. The way this technology then grows, matures and extracts different requirements is the central idea behind the book.

During the Initial stage when the technology has just born or just evolved, people are skeptic towards adopting it. This stage requires a CLOSER salesman. He is the kind of sales person who is very enthusiastic about new technologies. They are not team players and are after percentage in profits. They do not form closer ties with the customers and are not very concerned about them once the deal is done. The primary characteristic of these people is that they have the knack of closing the deal by resolving all the doubts and issues or by threatening to break the deal or so. During the crucial stage of closing the deal they pose the question to the customer and then stay silent, whosoever then speaks first loses. Generally customers brings out his nagging fears and ends up closing the deal.

However, as the technology grows, the demands of the customers change. After the technology has become somewhat popular , customers demand support for the way they could use the technology. At this stage a WIZARD salesman becomes indispensable. The qualities of s Wizard are that he is a technical person as well as a team player. He values rewards in the form of promotions , achieved through his performance. He is a team player and values his customers. He may or may not deal with the same customer twice, but he does seek to solve customers issues. He takes presentations for the large group of the customer organization and could convince all. He would write into journals and thus advertise about the technology by raising the talk about it in the technical circle. However, they tend to overlook some customer requirements and have strong inclination to technology than to exact customer needs.

As the technology matures further, customer starts demanding full support and product develops incrementally. The organizations have to be concerned that the incremental changes do not drive up the prices considerably. Also, the customer prefer to deal with the person whom they could trust and would act as their advocate. At this stage a BUILDER is required. Primary characteristic if the builder is a long term relationship with the customers and act as their advocate in their organizations. They ensure the customers demands are met and get the proper price for it as well . They are Teams players and would deal with the same customer again and again. They prefer staying in the sales itself.

In the final phase when the technology has become ubiquitous, the equations change. The organizations have to change their strategies and diversify the portfolios of their organizations. At this stage a customer doesn't require much guidance , but the best price . A CAPTAIN is required at this stage who would manage the crew of salesmen . The primary feature of his is that he is a team player. They drive out ways to enhance customer satisfaction and push up sales through advertisement and customer services.

After the technology has reached its maturity , its ready to be taken over by another technology and the cycle repeats. However, market is largest at the last stage , around 90%. while at the the first stage the market is smallest , around 1-2%. However the mrgins are much higher in latter case than former.

It was a great book which deftly projected the different type of sales methodology as well as the life cycle of technology. A must read.

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