The “science” of the sales process can be taught and deals can be closed. If a sales person is diligent and follows the process as designed by proper leadership, that person can have a very successful career. But it takes the “art” in the sales person to close the really big, tough deals. It takes touch, intuition, charisma, relationship building, etc. to close the “elephants” or “whales;” the type of deal that pays everyone’s salary for a year or even two.
I was asked by a VP of Sales to give a presentation on the topic a few weeks ago to her sales team. I have included the slide deck below, which are helpful to look at but not as effective without the verbal content. I literally took the entire hour to go over 10 slides.
I had two main points I wanted to get across. The first one is that sales can either SUCK or ROCK depending on your personal leadership and outlook on life. It is managements’ responsibility to support the sales person, provide the proper resources, training, leads to ensure commission checks are fat, etc. But at the end of the day it is the individual’s duty to ensure his/her own success.
The second point is that sales is both a science and an art. The processes and practice I outlined can provide a model for a successful sales process. If one follows a similar process, they have a daily routine to hold themselves accountable to that process and use the tools out there designed to help them be successful (i.e. CRM’s like Salesforce or Zoho), even a person who does not consider themselves a natural sales person can be successful. The bottom line in the entire process – lock yourself in a room for 2-3 hours every single day (even Monday and Friday) and MAKE THE CALLS. Be disciplined and you WILL see the results.
Now the art of the sale is a little more in depth and can’t be taught in a one-hour presentation. Experience and a good mentor are probably the best teachers. In lieu of those resources, I recommend reading books like The Sandler Rules, The Sales Bible and I just started reading The 10X Rule which is really excellent. In terms of fundamentals, I would say The Sandler Rules is the best book out there. I personally re-read this book at the beginning of every quarter. I also consistently listen to a sales book or other business related book on a daily basis (I’m a big audio book guy based on my commute). You need to learn from the best if you want to be the best and if you want to win a gold medal in the Olympics, you need to train hard every single day.
So get out there, find a process that works for you, and go kill it!