Higher Education

Professional Selling: A Trust-Based Approach, 4th Edition

  • Thomas N. Ingram Colorado State University
  • Raymond W. LaForge University of Louisville
  • Ramon A. Avila Ball State University
  • Charles H. Schwepker University of Central Missouri
  • Michael R. Williams Oklahoma City University
  • ISBN-10: 032453809X  |  ISBN-13: 9780324538090
  • 464 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2006, 2004, 1999
  • © 2008 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $161.25
  *Why an online review copy?
  • It's the greener, leaner way to review! An online copy cuts down on paper and on time. Reduce the wait (and the weight) of printed texts. Your online copy arrives instantly, and you can review it anytime from your computer or favorite mobile device.

If you prefer a print copy to review, please contact your representative.



PROFESSIONAL SELLING: A TRUST BASED-APPROACH, 4e provides students with a comprehensive coverage of contemporary professional selling in an interesting and challenging manner. Including relational consultative selling, the text is organized on a more contemporary relationship-selling process that the author team has tested in, and developed for, major selling organizations (such as Holt Equipment, CDW Corporation, and TransWestern Publishing). Many professors wish to build a foundation for selling that precedes in-depth discussion in the areas of sales strategy and sales techniques. Given that it is often difficult and time-consuming to build realistic cases and role-playing exercises, PROFESSIONAL SELLING provides such content and pedagogy in many of its key features, including "Developing Professional Selling Knowledge", "Building Professional Selling Skills", and "Making Professional Selling Decisions".

Features and Benefits

  • Sales Ethics Module: To better accentuate the emphasis on trust-building as a key foundation of professional selling, Module 2 focuses on "Building Trust and Sales Ethics".
  • Earlier Coverage on Communications Skills: "Communications Skills" is now Module 4, adding an important human element to the organizational buyer behavior material in the module. Experience says students can relate to the four communications styles (driver, analytical, amiable, expressive) and that it adds realistic depth to the task of customizing sales presentation to specific buyers.
  • Role Plays: In the new edition of Professional Selling there are an increased number of role plays at the end of each module. These role plays help students to act out various selling roles and are identified by role play icons allowing for easy identification.
  • Customer Relations Focus: Extensive coverage of trust-building in the sales process is integrated in this text, with a focus on establishing, maintaining, and enhancing customer relations.
  • Self Leadership and Teamwork: Professional Selling integrates self leadership and teamwork skills so that students fully realize professional salespeople's job responsibilities and their contributions to their employer.
  • Robust End-of-Module Applications: Each module facilitates student learning and skill-building with complete end-of-module applications. At the end of each module there are sections on: "Understanding Professional Selling Terms" (key terms addressed in the module); "Developing Professional Selling Knowledge" (questions to help readers develop and understand important professional selling issues and relationships); "Building Professional Selling Skills" (exercises in which readers can apply professional selling knowledge learned in the module); and "Making Professional Selling Decisions" (case situations that allow readers to make important professional selling decisions).

Table of Contents

Module 1: Overview of Personal Selling.
Appendix 1: Sales Careers.
Module 2: Building the Trust and Sales Ethics.
Module 3: Understanding Buyers.
Module 4: Communication Skills.
Module 5: Prospecting and Preapproach.
Module 6: Planning the Presentation and Approaching the Customer.
Module 7: Sales Presentation Delivery.
Module 8: Addressing Concerns and Earning Commitment.
Module 9: Adding Value: Follow-Up.
Module 10: Adding Value: Self-Leadership and Teamwork.
Experiential Exercises.

What's New

  • Professional Selling in the 21st Century: Each module contains two of these features, which illustrate concepts from the text and places them in a real-world setting. These examples come from companies such as Holt Equipment, CDW Corporation, and TransWestern Publishing, and include the latest practices from their sales executives.
  • Building Professional Selling Skills: Consisting of three situations or application exercises, this feature asks students to apply the professional selling knowledge learned in the module. Exercises challenge students to think like salespeople, make tough sales decisions, and to seek out additional selling resources on the Web.
  • Making Professional Selling Decisions: Each module concludes with two short cases, which represent realistic and interesting professional selling situations. Designed for students to role play the solutions, these cases include topics such as intense price competition, using new selling processes, and strengthening sales call introductions.
  • The new trust based sales process is the major organizing framework for the entire text. An overall model is presented in the first module and the remaining modules are linked to it.
  • New sales professionals have been added to the Professional Selling Panel.
  • All Opening Vignettes for the modules are new.
  • Role plays, indicated by an icon in the margins, are found in each chapter (often linked to the Ethical Dilemma Boxes).
  • New video package.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Student Supplements

Bundle: Developing and Role Playing Effective Sales Presentations, 3rd + Professional Selling: A Trust-Based Approach, 4th  (ISBN-10: 0324672861 | ISBN-13: 9780324672862)

List Price = $223.95  | CengageBrain Price = $223.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $168.75

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Thomas N. Ingram

Thomas N. Ingram (Ph.D., Georgia State University) is professor of marketing and FirstBank Professor of Business Administrations at Colorado State University. Before commencing his academic career, he worked in sales, product management, and sales management with Exxon and Mobil. Tom is a recipient of the Marketing Educator of the Year award given by Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI). He was honored as the first recipient of the Mu Kappa Tau National Marketing Honor Society recognition award for Outstanding Scholarly Contributions to the Sales Discipline. The University Sales Center Alliance has designated Professor Ingram as a Distinguished Sales Educator for his long-term contributions to sales education. Tom has served as the editor of the Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, chair of the SMEI Accreditation Institute, and as a member of the Board of Directors of SMEI. He is the former editor of the JOURNAL OF MARKETING THEORY & PRACTICE. Tom’s primary research is in personal selling and sales management. His work has appeared in the JOURNAL OF MARKETING, JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH, JOURNAL OF PERSONAL SELLING & SALES MANAGEMENT, and the JOURNAL OF THE ACADEMY OF MARKETING SCIENCE, among others. He is the coauthor of one of the ’’Ten Most Influential Articles of the 20th Century’’ as designated by the Sales and Sales Management Special Interest Group of the American Marketing Association.

Raymond W. LaForge

Raymond W. (Buddy) LaForge is the Brown-Forman Professor of Marketing at the University of Louisville. He is the founding Executive Editor of the Marketing Education Review; has co-authored Marketing: Principles & Perspectives (5e), Sales Management: Analysis and Decision Making (7e), Professional Selling: A Trust-Based Approach (5e), The Professional Selling Skills Workbook, Strategic Sales Leadership: and BREAKthrough Thinking for BREAKthrough Results. His research is published in many journals including the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Decision Sciences, and Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. Buddy has served on the board of many organizations, including as Vice President/Marketing for the Academy of Business Education; Vice President of Marketing, Teaching, and Conferences for the American Marketing Association Academic Council; and as Chair and Vice Chair for Awards and Recognition for the American Marketing Association Sales Interest Group. Buddy received the Outstanding Sales Scholar Award from Mu Kappa Tau at the National Conference in Sales Management and a Special Recognition Award from the American Marketing Association Sales Interest Group in 2005. He was selected as one of the Top Thirteen Faculty Favorites at the University of Louisville and received a Distinguished Scholar Award from the Research Symposium on Marketing and Entrepreneurship in 2006; the Distinguished Sales Educator Award from the University Sales Center Alliance and the Undergraduate Teaching Award from the College of Business in 2007; and the Outstanding Faculty Award from Beta Alpha Psi and a Faculty Favorite Award from the REACH Ambassadors in 2008. The Sales Program at the University of Louisville has been selected as a Top University Sales Education Program by the University Sales Education Foundation from 2007-2009.

Ramon A. Avila

Ramon A. Avila (Ph.D., Virginia Tech University) is the George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Marketing at Ball State University. Before coming to Ball State, he worked in sales with the Burroughs Corporation. He has held two visiting professorships at the University of Hawaii and another at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. Dr. Avila was awarded the 2009 University Sales Center Alliance Distinguished Sales Educator. In 2003, Avila earned Ball State’s Outstanding Faculty Award. In April 2002, he received a Leavey Award. This award was given for innovation in the classroom with his advanced selling class. Avila was presented the 1999 Mu Kappa Tau’s Outstanding Contributor to the Sales Profession. He is only the third recipient of this award. He has also received the University’s Outstanding Service award, the University’s Outstanding Junior Faculty award, the College of Business Professor of the Year, and the Dean’s Teaching award every year since its inception in 1987. Avila also sits on five editorial review boards. His primary research is in personal selling and sales management. His work has appeared in the JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH, JOURNAL OF PERSONAL SELLING & SALES MANAGEMENT, THE JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT, INDUSTRIAL MARKETING MANAGEMENT, THE MARKETING MANAGEMENT JOURNAL, and the JOURNAL OF MARKETING THEORY & PRACTICE, among others. He is the coauthor of THE PROFESSIONAL SELLING SKILLS WORKBOOK and SALES MANAGEMENT: ANALYSIS AND DECISION MAKING.

Charles H. Schwepker

Charles H. Schwepker, Jr. (Ph.D., University of Memphis), is the Mike and Patti Davidson Distinguished Marketing Professor at the University of Central Missouri. He has experience in wholesale and retail sales. His primary research interests are in sales management, personal selling, and marketing ethics. Dr. Schwepker's articles have been published in the JOURNAL OF THE ACADEMY OF MARKETING SCIENCE, JOURNAL OF BUSINESS RESEARCH, JOURNAL OF PUBLIC POLICY AND MARKETING, JOURNAL OF PERSONAL SELLING & SALES MANAGEMENT, JOURNAL OF SERVICE RESEARCH, and JOURNAL OF BUSINESS ETHICS, among other journals; various national and regional proceedings; and books, including MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS CLASSICS and ENVIRONMENTAL MARKETING. He has received several honors for both teaching and advising, including the Hormel Teaching Excellence award and the Alumni Foundation Harmon College of Business Administration Distinguished Professor Award. Dr. Schwepker received the James Comer Award for best contribution to selling and sales management theory awarded by the JOURNAL OF PERSONAL SELLING & SALES MANAGEMENT and two "Outstanding Paper" awards at the National Conference in Sales Management, among others. He is on the editorial review boards of the JOURNAL OF PERSONAL SELLING & SALES MANAGEMENT, JOURNAL OF MARKETING THEORY & PRACTICE, JOURNAL OF BUSINESS & INDUSTRIAL MARKETING, JOURNAL OF RELATIONSHIP MARKETING, JOURNAL OF SELLING AND MAJOR ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT, and SOUTHERN BUSINESS REVIEW, and has four times won awards for outstanding reviewer. Dr. Schwepker is a coauthor of SALES MANAGEMENT: ANALYSIS AND DECISION MAKING.

Michael R. Williams

Michael R. Williams (Ph.D., Oklahoma State University) is professor of marketing and director of the Academy of Customer Excellence and Sales at Oklahoma City University. Prior to his academic career, Williams established a successful 30-plus year career in industrial sales, market research, and sales management and continues to consult and work with a wide range of business organizations. He has coauthored THE PROFESSIONAL SELLING SKILLS WORKBOOK, SALES MANAGEMENT: ANALYSIS AND DECISION MAKING, and a variety of executive monographs and white-papers on sales performance topics. Williams’s research has been published in many different national and international journals, including the JOURNAL OF PERSONAL SELLING & SALES MANAGEMENT, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PURCHASING AND MATERIALS MANAGEMENT, JOURNAL OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRIAL MARKETING, QUALITY MANAGEMENT JOURNAL, and JOURNAL OF BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING. His work has also received numerous honors, including Outstanding Article for the Year in Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, the AACSB’s Leadership in Innovative Business Education Award, and the Marketing Science Institute’s Alden G. Clayton Competition. In 2004, Williams was honored with the Mu Kappa Tau Marketing Society recognition award for Outstanding Scholarly Contributor to the Sales Discipline. He has also been honored with numerous university, college, and corporate teaching and research awards, including Old Republic Research Scholar, the presentation of a seminar at Oxford’s Braesnose College, Who’s Who in American Education, and Who’s Who in America. Williams has and continues to serve in leadership roles as an advisor and board member for sales and sales management associations and organizations, including the University Sales Center Alliance, National Conference in Sales and Sales Management, and Vector Marketing.