You may have heard that selling is a science and art, but what does that mean? Science is the systematized knowledge of a field. Therefore, the science of selling is understanding the mechanics and processes of selling. Logically, anyone engaged in sales needs to commit to learning the science of selling to succeed in their careers.
Yes, the science of sales is understanding the sales process. It is knowing each step in a successful sales presentation and what the underlying reasons are for taking each step. A successful salesperson learns how all stages of the process work together to create a scientific approach to selling. My writing primarily focuses on learning the science of sales. This is not to underestimate the value of the art of sales. Of the two skillsets, it is more important to learn the science – the art of sales typically develops over time. Then again, without the science, the art will not matter.
What then is the art of selling? Art is the skillful application of the sales process – where the prospective customer does not even detect that the salesperson is using a process or method during the presentation. Mastering this ability usually takes time because the art of sales is the actual delivery of the presentation, and how natural you are. Does the prospective customer feel like they are listening to a sales pitch? Or are they just having a conversation with you?
When you watch a movie featuring a famous actor or actress in the leading role like Dustin Hoffman or Meryl Streep – do you think, “Oh, that is Dustin Hoffman playing Rain Man” or do think … “He is Rain Man?” When Meryl Streep starred in the movie “The Iron Lady” were you convinced that she was Margaret Thatcher? If you believed Hoffman as Rain Man and Streep was Margaret Thatcher as you watched those movies, they gave great performances – Oscar-winning in fact!
The art of sales is similar (although not near as glamorous). If someone meets with me in a sales situation and they forget I am a salesperson, and they think they are spending some time, having a conversation with Russell Rush about the product or service that they are interested in – I have mastered the art of sales, I am giving a great performance.
Your focus is on the natural delivery of an outstanding presentation, and you never let on that you are expressing any prepared statements, much less several rehearsed ideas in a row. (Even when you deliver a multi-step sales presentation that includes several “side” presentations to address specific scenarios.) That is when you know you have mastered the science and art of sales. Being able to effortlessly communicate with a prospect is like winning an academy award.
Remember though; you cannot master the art of sales without fully understanding the science. It just does not work the other way around. This is where persistence comes into play. Perhaps you are just starting on the path of learning sales process. If so, you will need to invest in time and work on perfecting the delivery of your presentation. Once it starts to flow, and it will over time, concentrate on being as natural as possible in your delivery. I have meticulously studied sales process for many years. Even today much of my work is on perfecting the art of my sales presentations. Every day I review my sales process before my workday starts and at the end of the review, I tell myself to focus on not being “salesy” and pay attention to being natural.
This approach may seem counter-intuitive – practice being natural? Yes! Like many other issues in sales, perfecting the science and art of sales takes time, practice, and hard work. When successfully performed in unison, you will see incredible results.