Jack Collis: The Great Sales Book Summary






  • People do business with people.
  • Selling is not seen as a function of outsmarting anyone, but as a responsibility to add value to whatever offer we are making and to whomever it is being made. Selling is supplying first-class information in a creative way that will develop a future relationship that is beneficial to all parties.
  • Successful selling is essentially a matter of being a first-class communicator, and that each sales situation is a unique experience brought about by the mix of buyer and seller needs, wants, attitudes and habits, all impacted upon by location, time constraints and the expectations of other interested and involved parties.
  • Perception is a critical issue in every sales presentation. The ability to correctly identify issues as they unfold and select the right response is a skill not every salesperson can claim.


Chapter 1: Thoughts on Selling

  • What we think is what we get, so be sure that what you are thinking is positive and reflects your current aspirations.
  • You have to be in it to win it applies as much to life as anything else.
  • If you confuse technological issues with basic human emotions you will limit your success.
  • The communication method is the technology by which you make the offer. The sale will be made, or lost, on human emotion.
  • How to get the most business from existing customers.
  • The three Ds still apply to customers: they die, they desert, they depart. They will always need to be replenished with new customers. That is why prospecting is so critical to sales success.
  • Don’t listen to those who say “It’s not done that way” – if Michelangelo had, he would have painted the Sistine floor and it would surely be rubbed away by today.
  • Commitment is the key. Winning is the motivation.
  • It has been said many times that ideas are a dime a dozen, but remember that the idea you have and don’t use are no more effective than the ideas you have never had and can’t use.
  • Today you have the time – 24 hours, the same as everyone else. What you do with it depends on what you believe.

Chapter 2: Increasing Your Sales Productivity

  • There are only 3 ways to improve your personal sales productivity. 1) Increase the value of your prospects 2) Improve your selling performance 3) Work harder.
  • The first way is to ask more people to buy what you sell.
  • Changing your attitude, brushing up on your selling skills and using time more effectively.
  • We are slaves on the treadmill of our habits.
  • Paying the price for what we want in life is a key issue for those of us who want to succeed above the ordinary.
  • The more we want, the more it costs. Success is limited by the price we are willing to pay.
  • All of life is a compromise. Trading off one aspiration against another is a reflection of our willingness to pay a particular price. Everything demands a price; the trick is to pay the right price for the right things, to know when to compromise and which compromises to make.
  • You need to be able to identify your goals clearly so that you can visualise them constantly.
  • Now that you know where you want to go, you are in a position to prepare for the journey.
  • Of all the prices to pay, commitment is the most important.
  • Clearly define your goals, prepare yourself for the journey and then commit yourself to the job ahead.
  • If you don’t change the cause, you won’t change the results.

Chapter 3: Prospecting Your Way to Millions

  • Without prospects, a salesperson has no business. The quality of our prospects decide the level of our success.
  • Of all the skills required by a salesperson, prospecting is the most important.
  • There are three aspects of prospecting. 1) Organizing prospect and client information 2) Analysing your sales performance 3) Organizing your daily and weekly activity.
  • Ratios are essential for effect planning.
  • Remember: not making a decision is a decision in itself.
  • Our habits are a key issue in our selling effectiveness.
  • Remember: those who cannot ask, cannot live; and those who don’t ask, don’t receive.
  • The goal of the modern salesperson is to ‘reach agreement’ rather than ‘overcome objections.’

Chapter 7: The Sales Story

  • Know your sales story word perfect, make it about life not product, and tell it with conviction. Talk about wants not needs: uncovering, wants is so much more productive than getting acceptance of needs.
  • Focus on solutions, not on problems.
  • Stories are a powerful way of communicating with each other.
  • The more emotion the story has, the more impact it will have and there more success you will enjoy.
  • How good is the story they are using.
  • Selling is the art of persuading your prospects to buy your solutions to their problems and wants.

Chapter 8: Why People Buy

  • Most people have three basic concerns when making decisions including buying decisions: Cost, Fear, Risk.
  • The motivation of benefit, support and assurance drives the prospect towards ‘yes.’
  • Hidden buyer motivators. 1) The obligation factor 2) Testimonials 3) The friendship principle 4) The referral method.

Chapter 9: Selling Buyer Benefits

  • The difference between features and benefits.
  • Four-part benefit selling model. Part 1) Explain the feature in detail 2) Use the connecting words 3) Describe the benefits in detail. Focus on emotion at all times in detail 4) Ask the commitment question.
  • Don’t sell me products or services. Sell me ideas, a better self-image, freedom from fear and want, and a philosophy on life that will enable me to grow and reach my potential as a human being.

Chapter 10: The Visual Way to Sales Success

  • A picture is worth a thousand words. (Anon)
  • Use your product as a visual aid.
  • Too many sales are lost because of poor presentation. If you’re not ready to sell, your prospects won’t be ready to buy.
  • Being relaxed and positive during your presentation is possible only when you are confident that your support material and its preparation is first class.
  • As products and services become more complex, the need for simplification grows. The simpler you make it for your prospect to understand you, the greater your chances of making the sale.
  • Perception is the reality of human experience. If your prospects perceive you to be no different from the other salespeople they deal with, then you aren’t. It doesn’t matter what you think, it only matters what they think.
  • Creative ideas reduced to clear copy which is easily understood visually.
  • The reason why showing is so much better than telling is that the prospect’s ability to absorb information and their willingness to understand is increased dramatically by using their eyes as well as their ears.

Chapter 11: Reaching Agreement by Resolving Doubts and Objections

  • Nothing is ever gained by winning an argument and losing a prospect or customer. (C. F. Norton)
  • Prospects and customers will raise objections, and be glad that they do, otherwise you would never know what they are thinking or how much progress you are making. Objections, or doubts, are natural; they are the signposts that show you the way to create a satisfied prospect.
  • To deal effectively with objections, it is essential that you don’t fear them. Welcome the prospect’s involvement and use that involvement to make sure the prospect gets what they want.
  • The first principle of dealing with objections is to listen and learn. Listen carefully and with interest to what your prospect is saying, and you will reduce objections to a process rather than a confrontation. In a confrontation, you can easily win the fight but lose the war.
  • The truth is, your prospects have the only absolute power. They can turn off, say nothing, not listen, or terminate the discussion at any time they wish. They can go somewhere else and buy what they want. They can cease being your prospect anytime they want, and many will do so unless you meet, or exceed, their expectation. The objective at all times is to satisfy the needs and wants of your prospects.
  • There are only two kinds of objections: those that are genuine and those that are false.
  • The key issue is always to preserve the relationship. The prospect may not buy today, but if you keep their confidence in you they may very well buy next week. You are in business for the long term, and to survive long tern you need prospects who becomes customers.
  • Objections fall into four categories. No desire, No need, No money, No time.
  • More than 70 per cent of all sales are made on emotional issues, and unless the prospect becomes emotionally involved with the product or service, they are unlikely to buy.
  • I understand how you feel. However…and then state your point of view.
  • Don’t use the ‘Yes, but’ technique; it is a rebuttal, no matter how it is used.
  • Basic strategy for handling doubts or objections.
  • Listen actively. Show you are listening. Nod to show you have heard.
  • Hear them out. Listen patiently to everything the prospect has to say. Don’t interrupt.
  • Feed it back. Ask your prospect to confirm that you have understood by restating in your own words what has been said.
  • Think before answering. When you are sure you understand the objective, give your solution.
  • Desire can only be built by painting pictures in the mind of your prospect so that the benefits come alive and they can see themselves enjoying them. Remember that people only buy for two reasons: either to solve a problem or to make themselves feel good.
  • There are only two reasons why people buy: 1. To solve a problem. 2. To make themselves feel good.
  • Remember we are all constantly turned into station WIIFM, so play the benefit hit tune they want to hear. Play it loud and clear so that they know beyond all doubt how they will benefit from your offer.

Chapter 12: Closing the Sale

  • Nothing happens until someone buys something. Many do not buy because they are not asked.
  • There is a time to talk, a time to listen and a time to close. Waiting for the customer to buy has lost millions of sales and created as many dissatisfied customers.
  • Fear of rejection and not wanting to be seen as being pushy.
  • We fear rejections because it damages our self-image, and we will do anything to preserve our self-image.
  • Prospects and customers are not always concerned about how we feel; they are more concerned about how they feel.
  • The customer is saying no to our products, service or idea, not to us as a person.
  • Building relationship is always the key issue.
  • The always be closing ABC technique.
  • It is true that the body acts out what the mind is thinking, and if you are negative in your thinking you will display it in your action. Moods are catching and we influence others by the way we act.
  • Mutual trust is the key to developing long-term, effective relationships. All enduring relationships from school friends to parents and children, to lovers and married couples, and to work colleagues are based on mutual trust.

Chapter 13: The Gentle Art of Communicating

  • Customers are not an option, they are a necessity.
  • If we all speak the same language, how come we don’t understand each other? (Anon)
  • The whole critical issue is one of matching actions to words. When in doubt, people tend to believe actions not words.
  • What we say is what we do must become our credo if we want to communicate effectively.
  • There are two qualities that stand out and seem to be common in all of the great salespeople I’ve come across. The first is the ability to give a hard ‘no’ when an easy ‘yes’ might suffice. The second is the ability really to understand that selling, or indeed any career, requires balance and perspective.
  • If you can keep you head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming on you. If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you make allowance for their doubting too. (Rudyard Klpling)
  • Before the salesperson can send the messages in spoken words, they must first see it as a picture in their mind.
  • The degree to which the prospect understands what the salesperson has said depends on how well their picture matches the picture the salesperson has sent.

Chapter 14: Questions are the Answer

  • Every time you ask a question, you are inviting someone to talk. People like talking, so don’t be surprised if you finish up being popular and very successful. (Anon)
  • What people need and want is entirely different question. If what they need and want were the same thing, there are no difficulties. Whether the spending time trying to convert people from what they want to what, in your opinion, they need, it’s up to you. My money is on something wants.
  • When you are interested in others, they will be interested in you.
  • To succeed, all you have to do is make someone like you. (Lee Lacocca)
  • Soft questions will build relationships for you.
  • Silence is the ultimate weapon of power. (Charles de Gaulle)
  • Spend 80% of your time on the problem and 20% on the solution.
  • The strongest criticisms made about salespeople: they don’t listen, they are only interested in selling something, they don’t care about it.
  • Do the research, ask soft questions, find out what the consumer wants. Then provide the solution. Match your product or service to the perceived wants and you have a great sales success.

Chapter 15: Listening to Understand

  • If people listened to themselves more often, they would talk less.
  • Research tells us that the main reason for this poor retention is that our attention span is on average 45 seconds.
  • We tend not to listen to people whose voices we don’t like, yet the message they have may be more important than the message from voices we do like.
  • Listening improves dramatically when he focuses hard on what people are saying to him.
  • Being a good listener is essential to being an effective communicator. The payoff is in superior relationships.
  • The more courteous you are in listening, the greater your chances of success.

Chapter 16: Making Powerful Presentations

  • Imagination is one of the last remaining legal means you have to gain an unfair advantage over your competition. (Pat Fallon)
  • My life is a performance for which I was never given the chance to rehearse.
  • You have the chance to rehearse your presentation so make the most of it.
  • When you look right, you will feel right – and when you feel right, you will act right.
  • Choose your words with care. Words are the tools of your trade. Choose words that are easily understood; the objective is not to impress, but to communicate and influence.
  • Focus on why your solution will solve the problem or meet the want, and stress that you are the right person to see that whatever needs to be done to make your offer work is done to the satisfaction of your prospect.





Chapter 17: Follow Up with After-Sales Service

  • This is where you win in the long term. Selling is the easy part; keeping the customer is the real test of any business. (Anon)

Chapter 18: Dealing with Complaints

  • Four percent of dissatisfied customers complain; the other 96 per cent don’t talk – instead, they go to your competitor, and it costs six times as much to replace them as to service them as existing customers.
  • A good general principle to follow in all complains, disputes or negotiations is to separate the people from the problem and be soft on the people and hard on the problem.

Chapter 19: Negotiating Your Way to Sales Success

  • Whatever difference of opinions you may have with a person, or persons, that difference is a product of thinking – either theirs or yours.
  • All efforts so far in building our sales career have been aimed at developing and maintaining relationships. Our objective is to make sales, to have the prospect become a client, to develop the relationship with mutual trust and to keep the client as the basis of our business.
  • Perceptions Conflict is not about reality; it’s about perception, and perception is a product of people’s minds.
  • That people see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear and believe to be true what they want to be true – and this is part of the problem with every negotiation.
  • Negotiation is a process of communication back and forth with the purpose of reaching a win/win solution.
  • I learned that behind every position there are shared interests, and if you focus on interest not position you are on the way to becoming a first-class negotiator.
  • Always be hard on the problem, but soft on the people.
  • What if’ing. One of the most powerful methods of solving any problem is the ‘what if’. Once you start ‘what if’ing with the person with whom you are negotiating, both minds become focused on one problem, which is to create solutions which will satisfy the interests of both parties and, in the process, solve the problem.
  • A critical part of your preparation in terms of negotiation strategy is to decide your negotiation style. Basically there are five styles.
  1. Competitive: A win/lose approach which leads to confrontation
  2. Compromise: A win/win approach which is sub-optimal
  3. Co-operation: A win/win approach which creates joint problem solving
  4. Accommodation: A lose/win approach which leads to capitulation
  5. Avoidance: A lose/lose approach which leads to withdrawal
  • If you move too freely towards the other party’s goal and you don’t cause them to move towards your goal, then you are in accommodation style. The result will be that you will lose and the other party will win.
  • Solomon decision: you take half and I’ll take half. Unfortunately, too many negotiations result in a compromise.
  • Negotiation range. Implicit in every negotiation is the knowledge of each party that they will have to move once the first offers are made. If neither moves, then you get avoidance and no negotiation takes place. If one moves and the other fails to do so, then a win/lose situation is created. In order for a win/win solution to come about, both parties need to move. So, generally speaking, the first offers decide the range of the negotiation.
  • So the art of deciding final offers is a very real skill in negotiating.
  • All negotiating is about people: how they feel, what they believe in and what they are willing to defend. Once you are in control of those issues and ‘fix the people problems, you effectively fix the negotiation.
  • First, be sure you are prepared by knowing what outcome you want. Make your offer and stick to it. When you make your offer, keep quiet. Don’t speak, shut up. Silence is your most powerful weapon, as while they are talking you are learning.
  • Trust is powerful weapon.

Chapter 20: Concepts

  • Creativity is a critical issue in today’s fast-changing world and imagination is the soul of creativity. (Anon)
  • Don’t follow the crowd; nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded. (Yogi Berra)
  • Don’t sell products or services, sell solutions, philosophies, ideas and concepts.
  • For you to unlock the door to selling success, identify your real sale and sell it, and fund it with your product or service.


Chapter 21: You, Yourself Incorporated

  • Singleness of purpose is one of the chief essentials for success in life, no matter what may be one’s aim. (John D. Rockefeller, Jnr.)
  • You are the master of your own destiny. The cold, hard fact of human development is that it is all about self-development. You are the managing director, marketing manager, sales manager, accountant and chief motivator of You, Yourself Incorporated: you are the decision-maker in every aspect of your life.
  • Others can stop you temporarily; you are the only one who can do it permanently. (Zig Ziglar)

How to be your own sales manager.

  • Identify the main areas for which a sales manager is responsible and take over that responsibility for your own development. The four principal areas are: Lead, Direct, Develop, Motivate.
  • Make the most of yourself because that’s all there is of you. (Emerson)
  • If there is hope in the future there is power in the present. (John Maxwell)
  • At least once a month, read a book on a subject that deals directly with sales matters.
  • At least every two months, read a book on a subject allied to business.
  • Remember: there are three factors that will decide what level of success you achieve in your life. They are: what you see, what you hear and who you associate with.
  • The Lord have us two ends – one to sit on and the other to think with. Success depends on which one you use the most. (Ann Landers)
  • Talk about your prospective buyer whenever possible and only about yourself when asked.
  • The best salesperson is the one who does the most listening as opposed to the most talking.
  • One of the most powerful skills you can acquire is to be a good listener and show a lot of interest in your client.

Chapter 23: Self-Motivation

  • Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. (Vince Lombardi)
  • Motivation comes from within.
  • The only motivation is self-motivation, and you are always motivated.
  • It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you’re not. (Denis Waitley)
  • The result is always: you did or you didn’t.
  • If you focus on doing instead of trying, two things will happen. First, you will succeed more often, because doing is more positive than trying. Second, because you will have removed the failure syndrome.
  • Commitment is the key to goal achieving, and that goal achieving is the driving force that powers personal motivation and motivation is the fuel of life.
  • Commitment is the fire you light within that won’t go out whatever difficulties are placed in your path. It’s the fire that can only be extinguished by the achievement of the goal to which you are committed.
  • Winning is not an accident – winning is planning your lifetime goals and going after them with every skill at your disposal.
  • Commitment is the driving force that makes it impossible to rest until you have accomplished your goals.

Chapter 24: The Mind Power Advantage

  • We are total mental creatures and selling is a total mental function. Sales are made in the mind. Salespeople who understand and apply mind power have a distinct advantage over those who either cannot or will not learn how.
  • You are as rich as you are now because of the way you have used your thoughts in the past. Poverty thinking brings poverty living. Bountiful thinking results in bountiful living. You are currently as happy as your thinking. Happy thinking builds a happy life.
  • To direct your subconscious mind, you need to feed it with the illusion of what you want. The subconscious mind, not knowing the difference between illusion and reality, will accept the illusion as a reality and then will bring it about in your life.

Chapter 25: Time Management

  • Time is like a precious jewel. It must be guarded well and worn with discretion, or you will suddenly find it has been stolen. (Glenn Bland)
  • In terms of time effectiveness, there are two broad options we can consider. The first is to identify our top 10 time-wasters and try to eliminate them. The second option is to become wholly goal-oriented.
  • Plan three types of priority activity. What must be done, What needs to be done and What might be done if there is time.
  • Find out how you are currently using your time. Keep a time log of your activities for at least a month and at the end of that period analyse how you used your time.
  • Your real work is selling, not shuffling paper.
  • The goal is to make sales. Other parts of your work may be necessary, but sales are crucial. No sales, no future.

Chapter 26: Achieving Your Goals

  • All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless they know where they want to go and what they want to be or do. (Norman Vincent Peale)
  • We are free up to the point of choice, then the choice controls the chooser. (Mary Crowley)
  • Once you have set a goal and started the activity necessary to achieve it, your mind’s goal-seeking device operates automatically to achieve your goal. All you have to do is keep it on target, which means you necessary, change or correct it to keep on target. If you constantly focus on the goal, the mechanism will ensure you hit the target.
  • When you fail to plan, you automatically set up failure.
  • Keep your mind constantly on your possible dream and focus all your energies on it. Your mind will do the rest.
  • Losers in life will do anything to achieve a pleasing method (process), while winners will endure any pain to get a pleasing result.
  • The more you want, the more it costs. Success is limited by the price you are willing to pay. The price is not paid in money. It is paid in knowledge, activity, creative thinking, innovation, identification, preparation, commitment and compromise.
  • Success requires more than hard work: it requires imagination and creativity applied to real-life goals in a purposeful way. It requires faith and belief in yourself and in your goals.
  • Until you make a list of the activities you are going to carry out in order to achieve your goal, you are largely only dealing with the ‘want to’, which is important for without strong desire nothing will be accomplished. However, the difference between success and wishing will depend on whether you take the next step of doing the ‘how to.’
  • Ask yourself this question: ‘How long is it since I took an hour, two hours, a whole week, to sit down and go through this planning operation as if my life really counted.

The 10-Step guide to writing down your goals

  1. Define the goal. For example: ‘I want to increase my net income by 20 per cent within nine months’ Or ‘I want to sell 10 of our new product X within 25 days.’
  2. Write it down in the section of the goal record sheet headed ‘Goal’. Check that it is written in a valid way-that is, it must be specific, time bounded, measureable and achievable.
  3. Give your goal a priority. Write it in the priority box.
  4. Write down in the section called ‘Measurement method’ how you propose to measure your success in attaining your goal.
  5. Plan the activities you need to carry out to achieve your goal. Think them through. This is the heart of the method. Stay with it until you know how to achieve your goal.
  6. Now start writing down these activities on the goal record sheet. Write them in sequential order, so that you are doing in a logical, planed way what needs to be done to reach your goal.
  7. Number your activities from 1. Give each activity a sequential number. Place the number in the column headed ‘Item.’
  8. Write the activity you plan to do in the column called ‘Plan to achieve objective’ alongside its activity number.
  9. Decide the date by which you will finish each activity. Write the date under the heading ‘Proposes completion date.’
  10. As you complete each planned activity, sign it off in the column headed ‘Date complete by’. Sign it off by entering the date on which you completed the activity and initialling the date. This will be a constant check on whether you are completing your activities as planned.


Chapter 28: Creating Wealth

  • Wealth is a good servant, but a very bad mistress. (Anon)
  • Personal freedom is an objective.
  • The first principle of wealth creation is: improve your abilities so that you will be paid more.
  • The second principle in wealth creation is: pay yourself first.
  • Too few people reach total financial independence, not because they didn’t earn the money, but because they didn’t have a plan for creating wealth.
  • The real reason that much of our wealth escapes us is that we rarely take the time to think the whole matter through and establish plans and priorities for creating wealth in our life.
  • Get yourself and your family a good insurance protection plan before you do anything else. It makes no sense to try and build wealth before you safeguard what you already have.
  • Short-term, get rich quick schemes are OK if you can afford the risk. It isn’t difficult to get rich over the long term.
  • All our tomorrows becomes today, and each today is as sweet as any other.
  • Logic says that as long as wealth does not possess us and that we possess it, then wealth should be capable of improving the quality of our life.
  • The most important issue for people who want to create wealth in their life is letting time work for you. The sooner you start creating wealth the easier it will be, and if you start doing it in a constant manner over a long period of time you will always succeed. The first step is to start thinking about creating wealth and about what you want your money to do.
  • The second step is to pay off your debts – it’s the simplest form of wealth creation. Pay off all your high-interest debts because no matter where you invest you won’t earn as much as you are paying for your mortgage, credit cards and the like.
  • The third step is to look at how you are paid and whether you are paying tax effectively.
  • If you want to create long-lasting wealth follow the example of those who accumulate wealth slowly and consistently and don’t lead extravagant lifestyles. The most successful people are those who balance their lifestyle to their income.
  • If you want to create more wealth in your life then do it. Don’t think about it; do it.



Chapter 29: Making Personal Progress

  • Fears are self-created imaginations which make negative Associations of ideas. Fear is your projection about the future in your imagination.
  • Failure is only an attitude. You only become a failure when you pronounce that judgement on yourself.
  • Being excessively strongly concerned with achieving successful results is an unhelpful attitude that builds fear of failure and eventually leads to actual failure.
  • Motivation can be summed up as ‘reward, which means: ‘What’s in it for me? (Michael Le Boeuf)


Chapter 30: Go for It!

  • Every day, remind yourself of your own ability, of your good mind, and affirm that you can make something really good out of your life. (Norman Vincent Peale)
  • Even not choosing is a choice. You cannot escape making choices, everything is a decision, a choice.
  • The difference between great success and average performance is the drive to make the extra effort needed to be your best.






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