Is selling an art or is it science? – Norton Knows

By March 2, 2022Norton Knows

This is a question that gets asked a lot in the world of professional selling. Thought leaders and subject matter experts have debated it for years, and in the end, we all have come to recognize that it is a little bit of both, selling is an art and a science.

Anyone in a professional selling role has probably learned this lesson through trial and error. Trying to learn sales scripts, a sales process, and adhere rigidly to both while selling leaves no room for interpretation, or art, and often times the salesperson comes off sounding a little bit robotic. Too much science and not enough art. And the salesperson who sticks to their own artistic interpretation of how to sell and strays so far away from their sales process also learns that too much art without any science isn’t effective either.

The best salespeople take their craft very seriously. They study the sales process or the selling system that they follow, they do their research and gather valuable data and insights, and they leverage that knowledge to be in a better position to help their customers. And the very best salespeople know that they must learn how to do this in their own voice, with their own personality, and couple their scientific approach to selling with their own artistic nuances and style.

Having spent time with thousands of salespeople over the years, I have a great appreciation for superior selling skills coupled with artistic impression. Unfortunately, I have also observed some truly awful attempts at selling where the salesperson didn’t use art or science, they basically defaulted to brute force. When salespeople do not have a system or process to follow, or they weren’t blessed with the personality or gifted with natural sales qualities, they default to brute force.

What does brute force selling look like? Making as many calls as possible, speaking with as many people as possible, quick to present their products or services, does not ask any questions, assumes they know it all, tries to force the sale, and forcing their own agenda on their prospects, muscles their way through objections without tact, and generally isn’t very successful. There are always exceptions to every rule, but given my choice, I would take the top performing salespeople who have learned the value and have practiced and apply both art and science when selling…

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Written by Michael “Go-To” Norton, XINNIX President, former CEO and Founder at Tramazing, former President of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, and former Executive Vice President of Sandler Corporate Training, Michael Norton has helped companies accelerate their growth by elevating their talent through learning and development programs.

Michael has had the pleasure of working with world-class companies such as Siemens Healthcare, WebMD, 7-Up, Cardinal Health, Cemex, Boral, HPE, Indeed, Lonza, KONE, Evonik, Quest Software, Dell, Anixter, and many more. for 30+ years he has developed, written, delivered, reinforced, and sold sales and sales management training programs that deliver real ROI while fitting into a company’s culture, processes, daily sales workflow, and budget.

One Comment

  • Steve donovan says:

    Hi Michael,
    You know I love your passion and the simple fact you educate me always. I’m far from polished and only wish I had a fraction of your talent and knowledge. What works for me is learning my clients business, understanding their position, knowing what they need and never having to be asked twice! I devote my heart into work and clients. You have to earn it every day!

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