Best Sales Books: TESTED SENTENCES THAT SELL by Elmer Wheeler

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

This is a salesman's book on selling and salesmanship. This classic sales book was originally published in 1937, it stopped being printed in 1954. It’s old, still, its teachings on the methodology of selling are elementary logical mechanics one has to learn to be a good salesperson.

Anyone who has been told to up their selling game, or those who feel a lack of personal salesmanship skills, should read Tested Sentences That Sell.

I recommend this book to those who think that selling is hard or boring.

The techniques in the book gamify the selling process and make it something much easier, fun, and successful. It has 32 chapters and the version I read was 239 pages.

The first five chapters teach Elmer’s system.

Chapters six to eight teach other three Wheeler principles.

The rest of the book, a little less than four-fifths of it, is an elaboration of the rules and principles of the Wheelerpoints. There are a lot of examples to illustrate the system.

Elmer shares formulas, the practical side to the Wheelerpoints’ theories, and gives examples to prove how they work.

The last chapter is a summary of the system.

At the beginning of Tested Sentences That Sell Elmer Wheeler shares his “Five Wheelerpoints” system.

The system is built on top of five maxims that he keeps hammering down on us for the rest of the book.

Each of the Wheelerpoints has the length of an epigram or an aphorism. Elmer dedicates one chapter of the book to each of the Wheelerpoints.

He explains the logic of the Wheelerpoint and elaborates further on the logic behind it. But this part is still the method in a nutshell form.

I think that putting the method at the beginning of the book, and making it a barebones axiomatic scheme was great. Because he uses a little over a fifth of the book to lay the foundation.

The more substantial portion are specific lessons that prove the five Wheelerpoints with luxury of detail and examples.

The simplified first chapters that outline the system make this book great.

When we read it we aren’t just following a system inordinately from start to finish. Elmer Wheeler gives us the system first, so we can have a solid foundation.

To have the minimum expression of the system’s components in five consecutive short chapters at the beginning is work that the writer did and we will not have to do.

I think a great way to study this book is first to read the first five chapters a handful of times, and then go by the rest of the book with a solid knowledge of the system’s skeleton.

Chapters six to nine are a section of the book called THREE OTHER WHEELER PRINCIPLES.

The Law of Averages
The X, Y, Z Formula
The A and B Rule.

They touch other important precepts that must be considered when selling. If I remember correctly they dissect the psychology of buyers and the tactics that a good salesperson can use to persuade them to buy.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating,
and if you want to step up your selling ability 25%,
start qualifying your statements with proof,
by learning the many ways to “Say it with flowers.”

—Elmer Wheeler, Tested Sentences That Sell

I loved this book because it’s an integral course on how to become a salesperson.

Before reading this book I had learned the basics of game theory. This book is heavy on the game theory department. Yet, it doesn’t name the discipline a single time.

The examples and teachings on what to do or don’t when dealing directly with customers and clients are applications of game theory to the process of selling.



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