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Book Review: Understanding the Professional Buyer

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Understanding Buyers cover
Kogan Page

The Bottom Line

Understanding the Professional Buyer breaks down the entire purchasing process, from writing specifications to signing the contract and beyond. It also dissects the professional buyer's psyche and lays out their goals and motivations. The result is a wealth of information that's invaluable for B2B salespeople.

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  • Tons of information about corporate purchasing processes
  • Breaks down buyer motivations, giving B2B salespeople an edge
  • Gives a "buyers-eye view" of the sales process
  • Provides hints and tips of a salesperson's best possible response to different buyer situations


  • Occasionally very technical and a difficult read


  • Understanding the Professional Buyer was published in 2011.
  • Authors: Jan Paul van der Velde and Peter Cheverton
  • Publisher: Kogan Page Limited
  • 191 pages

Guide Review - Book Review: Understanding the Professional Buyer

Written by a professional buyer and a sales expert, Understanding the Professional Buyer gives a thorough look behind the curtain and into the details of a high-level purchasing process. Jan Paul van der Velde has 20 years of purchasing experience with major corporations, including Frito Lay and Heineken, and he does his best to cram every bit of purchasing information he's acquired over that period into each chapter. The result is an extremely information-dense and sometimes technical book that can be a tough read, but is well worth the effort.

Each chapter covers a different aspect of the purchasing process. The bulk of the material is written by van der Velde, giving a buyers-eye view of the process and breaking down much of the behind-the-scenes action. At the end of each chapter, Peter Cheverton, a sales training and consulting expert, gives “The Seller's Response” to van der Velde's revelations.

Van der Velde also gives hints as to what a salesperson should do in a given situation to maximize his chances of moving the sale along. By explaining what buyers want to see from salespeople at different points in the purchasing process, he almost writes the sales process out for B2B salespeople. And Cheverton's contributions build on and clarify these instructions.

Understanding the Professional Buyer is extremely valuable to B2B salespeople because not only does it discuss the technical aspects of buying, it also reveals the pressures and motivations that drive purchasing experts. And knowing what makes buyers tick gives salespeople a huge edge in building trust and rapport. This book is highly recommended for every B2B salesperson.

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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