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The 5 Paths to Persuasion


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In a two-year survey, customer research experts Miller and Williams studied 1,700 executives, discovered that good ideas are not enough; to make any sort of impact they must be delivered effectively. Whether it be a proposal or a business plan, The 5 Paths to Persuasion unlocks the secrets of persuasion neccessary to successfully present a plan. They reveal the five different types of decision maker: Charismatics; Thinkers; Sceptics; Followers; and Controllers and shows how to best sell ideas to each.

About the Author

Robert B. Miller and Gary A. Williams are co-founders of Miller-Williams Inc which has developed patented research methods that provide accurate measurements about how customers think and behave. Their clients include blue-chip companies such as ARAMARK, Coors, General Motors, Rockwell Automation, Sabre and Sikorsky Aircraft. Robert Miller is one of the original co-founders of Miller-Heiman and also co-author of the best-selling New Strategic Selling. Alden M. Hayashi is a senior editor at MIT Sloan Management Review and a former editor with Harvard Business Review.


This book takes aim at the "one size fits all" approach to selling. Instead, the authors, who head up a market research firm in San Diego, conducted a decision-making survey of some 1700 executives (primarily from the United States). They found that participants exhibited one of five different management styles: they were charismatics, thinkers, skeptics, followers, or controllers. Using these findings, the authors consider those they feel fit each type and also provide specific persuasion techniques tailored to each. They conclude with more general information on reading people, common mistakes made in trying to influence people, various steps in the decision-making process, and their survey methodology. This well-written and engaging book is wide-ranging enough to appeal to a variety of readers. By focusing on the types of people targeted and on how to tailor one's message, it also takes some of the art out of persuasion, transforming it into a skill we can all hone. Recommended for all libraries.-Susan Hurst, Miami Univ. of Ohio, Oxford Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"An interesting new angle on selling." Personnel Today "Identifies five types of decision-maker, and how best to sell to each type... The authors tap into the rational aspects of the decision and also the emotional drivers to help people identify effective strategies of persuasion." Business Executive "The whole concept of styles of decision-making styles is fascinating, and relevant to those involved in selling anything (i.e. most of us), and the book would be a valuable addition to your library." Training Journal

Knowing one's audience is the key to making the sale and closing the deal. It's that simple, say authors Miller and Williams, executives and customer research experts at Miller-Williams Inc., with writer Hayashi. The specific nature of an idea or business opportunity is, of course, important, but more crucial is how and in what manner it is presented to the potential signer-on. By thoroughly studying the type of decision maker to be propositioned, the presenter can, in effect, get into his or her head and customize the idea to the mindset. The authors have delineated five categories of decision makers: skeptics, charismatics, thinkers, followers and controllers. By providing a detailed account of the how, what, why and why not of persuading each type, the authors' message is clear and consistent throughout the book: decode the individual and then go in with the proper tools. Some require extensive information, others just the "big picture"; some want to be coddled, others don't mind being challenged; some take their time and others make decisions on the spot. Knowing what each type is looking for makes all the difference between success and failure, the authors argue. Busy corporate types would do well to refer to this guide to figure out why they just can't make the big sale or how they could make an even bigger one the next time around. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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