Despite conventional wisdom most of the success in sales is through science rather than art. Sure art plays some role, though that seems to be more of the nuance rather than the bread and butter of real selling. When it comes to sales some things are based more on science while others are based on art. Here a break-down where Art and Science divide in Sales.
The Science of Selling
- Know the numbers needed. Every great salesperson knows how many cold calls they need to make in order to win a deal. The old 10-3-1 rule applies here. For every 10 suspects you get 3 solid prospects and 1 sale… the more you can put into the top of the funnel the more likely you will sell.
- Know the right questions to ask. Every salesperson needs to ask about the pain they have that you can solve for them, the timing of when they want to alleviate the pain, and if there is a budget allocated to pay to solve the pain.
- Know in advance the possible objections people will bring to the table, and be prepared to respond to them. Learn the “art of persuasion” this is where you ask them questions in return that lead them to sell themselves on the pain they want to solve.
- Know your solutions very well. If you know what you are selling you will have a better chance of becoming a trusted advisor to them and not only sell them your current solution but they will come back to you for advice in solving other pain points.
The Art of Selling
- Know how to relate to people and speak their language. Show them you are a person just like them. A great salesperson can figure out their customer in 30 seconds and move the conversation accordingly.
- Know how to articulate your value proposition properly so your audience gets it. Also be careful not to come across as rude, abrasive, or over-confident, in fact you may want to listen and observe. You have two eyes, two ears and one mouth… use them proportionately.
- Know how to bow out gracefully. Some salespeople will not take no for an answer or will try to fit a square peg in a round hole. So know when someone truly means “no” understand it means no and back out with grace or even recommend them to look at a solution you do not sell (Nordstrom mantra applies here). You never want to mess up a future sale with the prospect by not adding value.
Selling is both an art and a science. Most salespeople seem to fail at the science part of selling. They believe they can present the basic idea of their solution to their customers and win deals. This only works if you are in a hot market segment and you are servicing market demand created by the vendor. Many good sales people confuse this with selling. This falls apart when there is more than one vendor solution in play so you need to make sure you get the science part down before you pick up the phone or make a sales call in a competitive market segment.
– Michael Centrella