Selling is Complicated

I have noticed that in recent years basic sales training is on the decline and that most salespeople are not taught to understand how a prospect thinks when purchasing a product. Generally speaking, selling is the “influencing people” business. To be successful, you must understand what motivates a prospect to buy your product or service.

Instead of taking into consideration human behavior and how to persuade prospects, salespeople are being instructed that the way to sell their product is to find the need and then present their product as the solution. Simple enough.

That is what everyone wants a simple solution to sell their product. The problem is that nothing is ever that easy, especially sales. I will venture to say that to some business professionals; sales is a mystery. They do not appreciate the processes involved. Perhaps you have heard such phrases like “that guy is a real closer” or “we need to increase our activity” or “this product sells itself.” These statements might be true in some cases; however, they can just as easily be wrong. It’s easy for someone to oversimplify how salespeople sell customers. We need to face the facts:  very few things in life are simple or easy. Typically, matters are complicated, and that is particularly true when it comes to selling new customers. There are no shortcuts or simple solutions or easy ways to persuade people to see things your way.

Sales is a science and art that requires a process, continual learning, practice, implementation and hard work.  Even though in my book, R3R1: The Sales Formula for Success and the R3R1 sales training course, I categorize the selling process into three sections — Relate, Reason, and Resolve — I do not claim that the process of selling is as easy as 1-2-3. In fact, I am saying just the opposite — selling is complicated! Why is this the case? Because at its core selling is persuading another human being to do something. In addition, by our very nature, we are complicated. How complicated? Well, according to noted neuroscientist Dr. Deepak Chopra, an average person has between 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day. So, based on that figure, how many thoughts does someone have during a thirty minute or two-hour sales encounter? Moreover, how many of these thoughts – genuine questions or objections – are they expressing? Not tens of thousands!  No, they mention very few, if any. Most, if not all, questions or objections to a product or service in a sales encounter remain unspoken.


Therefore, even if a person has a legitimate interest in a product, it is much easier for the individual to do nothing, versus take action to make a purchase and assume the risk of being an owner or user of the service. Additionally, a prospect can decide to postpone a purchase – which has the same effect on sales. These details make selling a complicated process. Therefore, it is necessary for business owners, managers, and salespeople to accept this fact and commit to learning and refining the sales process. Don’t simplify it, instead embrace its complexity, study the science of selling which, although difficult, is worth the effort.

Yes, the most critical piece of the puzzle that you must address is the thought processes of a prospect – what they are thinking and not saying.  You need to uncover the real issues that prevent prospects from buying your product. It is vital to have persuasive arguments accompanying statements throughout the Relate, Reason, and Resolve portions of your presentations with prospects. There should be well thought out strategies that address underlying issues of a complicated prospect. (Keep in mind that most, if not all, prospects are complicated.)

Being a student of “sales psychology” and its application during the sales process takes time and much-continued effort, however, understanding and implementing proven methods paves the way for success.

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