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The Science and Art of Selling

Date Added: November 08, 2011 01:22:18 AM
Author: Jeff Blackwell
Category: Business & Economy: Chats and Forums
One of the biggest myths perpetuated in sales is that selling is or is becoming a science. This suggestion assumes that individuals will respond predictably (i.e., stimulus-response model) to sales techniques, sales processes or selling systems which is often interpreted as meaning that if a salesperson executes the techniques, processes or systems correctly he or she will be invincible in selling (e.g., sell anything to anybody). Given, among other things, different people's... * Models of reality (i.e., perceptions, perspectives, values, beliefs, languages, and ways of doing things) * Individual competencies (e.g., perspective taking and decision making) * Level of need awareness (i.e., conscious, preconscious, unconscious) * States of readiness to buy (i.e., latent, passive, and exclusionary wants) * Degree of willingness and/or ability to fully discuss private, sensitive and/or confidential information (e.g., needs, politics, situation) * Internal behind the scenes issues that need to be identified, understood and managed (i.e., change management) ...nothing could be further from the truth. This is not turning a blind eye to common behavior patterns or tendencies but instead speaks to the unpredictability and dynamic nature of human behavior. Is "Selling" a "Science"? If selling was a science we could say that anyone with access could refer to a systematic knowledge (of selling) that is capable of resulting in... * A correct statement, usually quantitative, about what will happen under specific conditions, as a logical consequence of scientific theories (i.e., correct prediction) * Predictable outcomes meaning giving the same result on successive trials. (i.e., reliable outcomes) An individual (e.g., salesperson, sales trainer) may claim to possess such a systematic knowledge (of selling) however as mentioned previously to ensure that the data is reliable, an experiment must be repeatable and the data must be reproducible meaning; accurately reproduced, or replicated, by someone else working independently. This is key since reproducibility is one of the main principles of the scientific method. Against this standard "Selling" does not qualify as a "Science". Is "Selling" an "Art"? If selling was an art we could say that selling was "a process of purposely arranging symbolic elements (e.g., language) in such a manner as to influence one's thoughts, feelings and/or actions". Against this standard "Selling" qualifies as an "Art". (Note: An artist might not achieve the desired audience response from his/her Art but that does not disqualify it as Art.) The takeaway from this commentary on "The Science and Art of Selling" is an understanding that a practitioner's efforts (e.g., communication of thought) may influence the buyer's behavior and/or increase the chances of a sale (e.g., prospect in a better position to make a congruent decision) but cannot guarantee a sale because people do not always respond in a predictable way to a given stimulus (e.g., seller's behaviors).
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