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Building Better Business Book Club 

Reading, sharing insights, getting recommendations, staying informed.

Neuro-Sell by Simon Hazeldine

Simon Hazeldine’s book Neuro-Sell is a guide to many aspects of how your customers and prospects are both thinking and feeling during the sales process. Simon starts the book by acknowledging that he is not a neuro scientist, but does draw upon neuro science research throughout the book.

The book goes on to discuss the whole buying process and how the brain is involved in making decisions around whether to buy or not, and encourages us all to consider how we adapt our approach as part of the sales process. We were introduced to the PRISM model of human behaviour and for purchasers of the book, were given the opportunity to take a PRISM assessment. This assessment defines four categories (assigned with colours) that indicate our preferred style of working. It is then possible to observe, classify and adapt our approach as we work with customers whose styles may be, or may not be, aligned to our own.

As I worked through the book I found that understanding my own profile from PRISM helped me to recognise many of the sales stages and the different ways customers might react to my approach. That gave context to why some sales approaches were more comfortable and successful than others from a neurological, brain centred approach. This is, I think, the crux of what Simon is asking us to consider through this book. By creating a better understanding of the neurological processes I could gain a better understanding of the experiences that buyers might be having. That provided me with the opportunity to consider some aspects of the sales process in my business and adapt it for the future.

I think if you are an experienced salesperson, the middle chapters of the book that discussed the five phases of the brain-friendly process Simon advocates might be familiar to you. Perhaps not the neuro-science but in the sense of the process being followed. However, I think if one was to read them with perceptions of your buyer in mind, there are insights here which will significantly impact the manner in which you approach some aspects of sales. 

In chapter 13, Simon digs under some more brain-friendly selling approaches and for example describes the importance of primacy and recency in the sales process. That reminder encourages us to think about how we structure meetings and presentations and how we would design documents and proposals to maximize their likely impact. Simon also talks about non verbal communication and the importance of understanding the body language of the buyer. Indeed, both he and I would agree that there is much that is made clear by the body language of buyers. It can alert us to their concerns, or enthusiasms, their nervousness or their excitement. If we are alert to this information and use it to our advantage, then we can more often accelerate a decision and maximize the opportunity of a decision being made in your favour.

For me, I think chapter 15, about negotiation, was one of the more significant chapters. Simon highlights that many, perhaps most salespeople, are not good at negotiating in the first place and separates the skills of selling and negotiating successfully. This is a key conclusion from the book, they are different skills and they need to be honed separately. Of course they can, and are, often done by different people in the largest organisations because they require mastery of those different skills. 

In the context of negotiation, Simon highlights that it is important to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable at times and discusses different styles of negotiators as well as different stages of negotiation. Of course, this is not a book on negotiation in its entirety. However, I think he has highlighted some very important elements of the negotiation process. By linking back to the different PRISM colours it’s possible to map across how best to negotiate with a buyer whose sales approach has been successfully identified.

Simon highlights in his conclusion that the book is intended to be a practical tool to be used by taking and applying it in areas of your sales process in order to maximize the impact that they will have. The book is well referenced with appropriate scientific work relevant to its contents and provides a significant list of further reading.

If you are involved in selling – if you’re in business at all then you are involved in selling, then I’d recommend reading this book and applying its principles. See the impact that they will have for you. Both Simon and I would be interested in hearing how effective it has been for you.

About the Author
Simon Hazeldine is an established professional speaker, a fellow of the Professional Speaking Association, a sales trainer who has been involved with organisations assisting their sales teams. Simon’s understanding of how to build a strong reputation as an effective salesperson is second to none. He takes great pride in his skill and great enjoyment from making sales effective and rewarding for everyone involved.