Sales Training: The Balancing Act Between Art and Science

Since part of my business requires buying as well as selling, it’s great fun for me to sit in on sales presentations and absorb them both as a buyer and as someone who advises people about selling.

Last week, I caught someone using a familiar selling technique from a well-known sales training company. 
That was OK, but here is the issue . . . they were following the program like robots . . . 123, 123, 123 . . . neglecting to embed it into a more natural discourse.
And, when I decided to have some fun and throw them off the delivery channel, they became confused and rattled.
Here is my point.
Structured selling programs are tools of the trade. They are designed to provide some discipline to a process that can easily get out of control.
They can be an excellent means of preparing for sales calls and, when deployed within a larger, more natural format, they can help us be more efficient communicators and salespeople.
They are not, however, substitutes for mastering the art of improvisation, thinking on our feet and, most of all, listening.
Many, many times I have seen salespeople, who are determined to follow their step-by-step process completely, miss an important point and I have even seen them miss the close because, by gosh, they are not finished yet.
I actually saw a buyer say yes within the first five minutes of a lunch, only to have the salesperson blow right by it and keep selling . . . I had to almost tear him away from the table to tell him the deal was done and it was time to relax.
The other risk of selling robotically is that it can feel manipulative to the buyer.
So, like all the other things we see and hear relative to selling, including this blog, take what you need, discard what you don’t, and continuously develop your own, natural style.
People will buy from you when they feel you are being genuine and that you passionately believe in your product/service.

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