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Is Selling an Art or Science ?

The question whether Selling is an Art or Science has troubled sales folks for ages and there are those who swear that sales is nothing but a gift of the gab and that salesmen are BORN and not MADE. And truly there have been some outstanding NATURAL salespersons be it in the consumer, services or industrial sectors. But if one were to closely examine the methodology even these successful persons have used to earn a name for themselves as the ‘Super Salespersons’ , what it unmistakably always throws up is that they have knowingly or unknowingly followed a particular SYSTEM or PROCESS to score a 100% strike rate – a discipline no doubt perfected through years of intuitive selling and self improvement.

Indeed, if this same system were then to be transplanted to a group of average salespersons, it has been found that one could make good salespersons out of them.

So SELLING is a process based activity which if you follow certain steps and best practices gives you consistent , good results with a fair degree of predictability, leading to the unquestionable verdict that Selling is ACTUALLY a Science !

You add a robust process at the base of a good sales call and THEN top it up with the creativity of the seller, what you get is an outstanding achievement. This “creativity” is the ART part of the Selling Process which WITHOUT the Science of the Process itself comes to a nought !

But you ignore the process and rely only on the esoteric, glib talk mistaken for ‘sales talk’ then you might or might not get the desired result….

Think of a MasterChef that we all see on TV. How easily they seem to work around to produce outstanding dishes. This is because the Science of Cooking is so deeply ingrained in them that it LOOKS like an Art.

So if Selling is indeed a Science then why do so many sales persons have difficulty in accepting it as such? After all no one says that say Finance is an ‘Art’ – when was the last time you had your monthly pay check ‘below target’ by 20%!!??. And yet we find in the field of Selling and Sales Management, youngsters ( and even seniors) labouring under the delusion that Selling is an Art till they fail to meet their Management’s expectations and then run around to know why… the answer probably lies in the effort required initially in trying to conform to the RIGOUR that a Science invariably imposes on its practitioners – most persons, least of all in Selling, do not like to be TOLD how they should do their ‘job’ …

Selling is probably one of the last bastions that has fallen to a programmed system of Training & Indoctrination in the field of Management- specially as competition gets tough, prices crash, targets are hiked and sales productivity demands are at their peak !

The bottom line is – understand that Selling is ACTUALLY A SCIENCE and start treating it that way with process development and controls for your sector much like your colleagues in Manufacturing or R&D would treat their function , also being CURIOUS to learn anew : you will find surprising results in improved output from the same set of assets – both human or otherwise ..

And then you will come to the surprising finding :When the Science of Selling gets ingrained and assimilated, it LOOKS like an Art , almost natural and effortless !

And then you will also find yourself never again deserting the field of study of the Science of Selling as a subject ever again !

Happy Selling !!!

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