The Art and Science of Sales
Is sales an art or is it a science? Or is it a combination of both?
Traditionally, the sales function of any organisation has been seen as a science. There is a structure and a process to follow. When they are carefully planned and executed, the sales people using this structure and process will be successful. Selling products has always been carried out in this way – the sale is transactional and there is little chance, or need, for the sales person to develop a deep relationship with the customer. In the science of sales, the activities of sales people are seen as easily replicated behaviours that can be taught to virtually any employee who has basic social skills.
However, when selling services or Cloud products, sales could be seen as more of an art. This art of selling is less about structure and process, it is about the individuals involved and the relationships they are able to develop with their clients. The art of sales is more about creativity and painting a picture of the benefits that the client will gain from buying the solution. It is the job of the sales person to be creative and to paint this picture.
Curiosity leads to Creativity
Where does this creativity come from? In the art of sales, it is the curiosity of the sales person that will generate the required creativity. They want to spend time getting to know a potential client, understanding their issues and their needs. They want to know what makes the prospect tick and their values and drivers. They need to understand their aims – both business and personal, or career goals. They want to get to know their potential clients and what they really want. With this level of curiosity, an effective sales person can show a prospect how different their life or organisation could be, when they use the solution they are offering. They can paint a clear and compelling picture of how things can be different, even if it means challenging conventional thinking.
If the science of sales is about transactions and just doing deals, the art of sales is about behaviour and how it impacts the effectiveness of a sales person; it is about long term relationships. Traditional sales courses focus on the science of selling – how to make cold calls or how to write a proposal. Courses emphasize processes and measurement, and the replication of ‘best practice’ skills.
Effective sales training is now about the art of sales, by helping sales people to change their behaviour to have a better impact in their jobs. However, it has been suggested that the behavior of top sales people may be something that’s inherent rather than teachable. Some people have gone as far as to say that top sales people may be uniquely talented and peculiarly well-suited to a certain kind of sales task; they may not be able to articulate what they’re doing or why it works.
So How Do You Teach the Art of Sales?
Different people learn in different ways. Some learn from listening or reading; others learn from experience, both real and simulated. Learning by ‘doing’ allows people at all stages of their sales careers – and even those who have yet to start a career in sales – to develop the confidence they need. Given a safe environment in which they can try something different, they will learn from their mistakes and develop their confidence.
In your organization, is the role of sales an art or a science? Do you stick to age old processes and structures that focus on your company and your solutions; or do your sales people spend time getting to know their prospects, to find out what they really want and how you can help them? Do you teach ‘sales’ to your sales people by having them read a book and learn the product features manual? Or do they learn from the best in a safe, business-like situation, where they can develop and flourish?
If you’d like to know more about the Youd Andrews Business Simulator and how you can use it to improve the art of selling and the effectiveness of your sales people, call us now on 01494 716 688 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.