The Cinnamon Story: Competitive Differentiation When You Must Win the SaleOne day, Avery Davis came into Terry Slattery’s office, slumped down in the chair across from him and said, “I lost my biggest customer. They’ve been with me for ten years and they went to another supplier because they could buy cinnamon from that other supplier at three cents per pound lower than I could sell it to them. Three cents! How do I get this customer back?” Terry’s response was: “Maybe you can’t.” Then, he held up three fingers. “You won’t get them back until you can answer these three questions.”So begins The Cinnamon Story, a business fable based on sales training techniques with thousands of organizations and Terry Slattery’s more than 30 years of using dirt-simple sales principles to win complex sales. What you will quickly learn when reading this short story, however, is that dirt-simple concepts don’t always translate in high-pressure sales situations when you’re forced to compete on price. Terry dishes out his no-nonsense advice as his own character in the book. His flair for storytelling offers a hard-hitting moral: if you don’t understand your company’s differentiating value to the real customer during negotiations, you’re sunk. Get your DV right, and then make sure you’re talking to the right customer. Understand the consequences to that customer of NOT choosing your company, and then ask that customer about your DV with the right questions. Sounds simple, right? The more you follow the story of Avery, the cinnamon supplier, the more you realize that sales is at least three-fourths strategy and homework and only one-fourth in actual negotiations. Terry walks readers through the steps of identifying their differentiating value and how to take price out of the equation in complex sales.If you’re sick of losing to commodities and the low-balling competitors in your industry, it’s time to read The Cinnamon Story and take a fresh look at your competitive value.