27 October 2017: APS patron Neil Rackham has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Edinburgh Napier University in recognition of his world-renowned achievements in the theory and practice of sales.
Professor Rackham pioneered consultative selling, after using his psychology degree to devise what remains the largest piece of practical research ever conducted into the way salespeople interact with customers.
In his seminal 1995 book SPIN Selling he demonstrated how asking questions about the customer’s situation, the problems they faced, the implications for their business and the value they needed to add, were crucial in leading to more and more successful sales.
Based in North America, he has been a consultant to more than 40 of the US Fortune 500 companies, including IBM, Xerox and Microsoft; he is the author of other influential titles on sales and marketing; and he is a visiting professor at four universities: Portsmouth, Sheffield, Cincinatti and Cranfield School of Management, part of Cranfield University.
He accepted the role of patron of the Association of Professional Sales in 2016 and spoke authoritatively at the association’s annual conference on the need for sales to professionalise. He explained how he has continued to refine SPIN theory for the digital age, and the similarities with recent theories such as Challenger selling.
On Wednesday he joined hundreds of Edinburgh Napier students at a ceremony in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration.
“I am delighted and honoured to be recognised by the university in this way,” said Professor Rackham.
“I have a deep affection for Scotland, and have enjoyed working with Edinburgh Napier over the last two years to enhance its reputation as a learning environment for professional selling at a time when sales-ready graduates are much sought after.”
Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “It is wonderful to see people who have made such a significant impact in the worlds of business and education joining our celebrations.
“Their drive, talent and enthusiasm will inspire our students as they set out to make their own mark on the world.”
Professor Rackham’s business writing has been translated into more than 50 languages, and he has even turned his hand to poetry and science fiction in his spare time.
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