Monday, April 15, 2019

Is selling an art or a science?

Let me ask you a question. Is selling an art or a science? What do you think?

(BTW This is important for sales managers.)

If you said it is a science, you would be wrong. That doesn't mean you can't use scientific principles for your selling activities. It means selling itself cannot be a science. If you are trying to use scientific principles to predict your future sales plan you will have a hard time.

Here's why. In science every time you perform a certain act you will get the same result. Let's take boiling water. If you are at 5,000 feet above sea level water will boil at 203 degrees F. It will do it every time. You will always get the exact same outcome. If you boil water at 10,000 feet above sea level it will boil at 194 degrees F. It won't boil at 190 degrees or 193 degrees. It will boil only when the temperature reaches 194 degrees. Every time!

Here is a scientific chart that will make you feel certain about your knowledge. It has been tested and proven over and over again. There is no room for error. You can count on these numbers.

Sea Level 212 degrees F

984 ft. 210 degrees F

2,000 ft. 208 degrees F

3,000 ft. 206 degrees F

5,000 ft. 203 degrees F

7,500 ft. 198 degrees F

10,000 ft. 194 degrees F

20,000 ft. 178 degrees F

26,000 ft. 168 degrees F

Stay with me for a minute. I will show you why some people have such a difficult time in sales. I am not saying that only certain people can sell. I am saying that certain people have a harder time with the sales process than others. The reason is they are more of a scientist than an artist. This is important to know when it comes to hiring and training as well as why you get so discouraged at times.

Selling is not a science, it is an art. In art every time you perform a certain act you get a variety of outcomes. An actor would be considered an artist. Ask 10 people what they thought of the actor in a play and you will get 10 different answers. This would be very difficult for a scientist because they would want the same predictable outcome from everyone who watched the play.

An artist can live with the fact that every time they do something, they get a different outcome. A scientist has a more difficult time because they want a predictable outcome for every action.

A salesperson has to deal with people and you and I both know that people are not predictable. We are under the continuous influence of thousands of things every day. Anyone of these things can make us change our minds about something.

If sales could be reduced to a science, we would not need any salespeople. We would only need order takers or a system to get the order turned in.

If selling was a science, what fun would it be? Isn't the excitement in not knowing what the outcome will be? However, by using certain skills you can influence the outcome. That means the more understanding you have of the sales process the more you will be able to deal with the everyday ups and downs you have in sales. This is also the reason why management gets frustrated with the sales department.

Management wants an exact, predictable outcome, which is not possible unless the sales department is given the time, tools and training to improve the skills of the sales team and improve the outcome.

Here is how you can use scientific principles to increase your sales: Focus on the activities and not so much on the outcome. Make a decision to do something and do it. That is scientific.

Here are the 7 scientific principles or skills that will greatly improve (not predict 100%) your success in sales.

1 Planning

2 Questions

3 Attention

4 Presenting

5 Objections

6 Closing

7 Follow up

I have been teaching and applying these scientific principles for more than 20 years. I know for a fact that successful salespeople improve the outcome of their activities by being more skilled in these 7 areas.

Make the decision to improve your skills. That is something you CAN do with a scientific and predictable outcome. Your sales will increase, but exactly how much is unpredictable. Let's just hope it is enough to keep yourself, your management and your family happy. However, if you don't do anything to improve your skills I can predict the outcome with scientific certainty.

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