Selling the Wheel by Jeff Cox and Howard Stevens

Aligning sales personality with the phase of a customer relationship and the maturity of the product. Jeff Cox and Howard Stevens explain in Selling the Wheel.

Pacing along using the fictional development of the wheel market, ‘Selling the Wheel’ truly illuminates a time-honoured profession with a new light, shined from a new direction.

Its mechanism for clarity is a story that tells how the first wheels were sold. Its setting is more or less historically correct, being around the time that the first pyramids were constructed. The main characters are Max, the wheels inventor, and Minnie, his wife.

The story tells of their struggles to make the world a better place, with Max’s new technology. It is an incredible adventure of a garage start up becoming a serious global enterprise, set ten thousand years ago.

Poetic license aside, the story really works. Not only does it help the reader grasp the nature of ever maturing, ever changing markets, it clearly paints a well researched successful sales strategy for four distinct phases of business development.

The book distils a kaleidoscope of complex business problems into several clear four-quadrant matrices, providing numerous solutions along the way.

Notes in the margin, collected by Minnie, provide concise summaries of the boiled down wisdom. Even so I could not drag myself away from the story to save time by skimming. By the time I got to chapter 25 I had come to like the characters. I really wanted to know if the authors had killed off Max in a chariot accident, or if he survived to battle on.

At times it seems as if Max and Minnie’s enterprise is doomed, as they face apparently unsolvable problems. Usually at these junctures they consult the Oracle, a cave dwelling hermit who has all the answers. Perhaps this book really does.

The real art in Jeff and Howard’s work is in the way that complex issues are presented in an easy to grasp form. Selling the Wheel makes the intricacies of succeeding in today’s chaotic business world, clear and crisp.

Selling is what this book is about. If my review makes you think the book is for managers, directors, or owners, you are right. It holds great insight for those who steer. It also explains in a succinct, easy manner, exactly how to succeed in selling, whatever you sell.

For this column I only review books that I think have value for readers. Selling the Wheel ranks amongst the best of the best. Buy it even if you won’t get around to reading it.

ISBN 0-684-85832-0

Review by Clive Miller

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