Stripped of everything else sales is simple. At it’s core, sales is about:
- “Finding a person/company with a need, helping them solve it.”
- “Finding enough of these to achieve our business goals.”
As with many complex things, we can express them in very simple terms. There is great beauty and simplicity in the expression of the laws of physics, a mathematical equation, in a great piece of art or music, in a great book.
There is great elegance and insight in the ability to describe very complex things in ways that are very simple.
But too often, we confuse simple with easy. Or even worse, we think of simple and simplistic as synonymous. They couldn’t be more different.
Unfortunately, too much of the conversation and practice of selling focuses on “easy,” and the ways we try to do that are simplistic.
Too many look for the “one thing,” there is no end to those who declare they have found it. They look for the short cuts, the technologies, the things that claim to make sales easy, so that they can avoid the work. (It is fatiguing to see so many of these people trying to drive the sales conversations in the social channels.)
However, I believe great sales people and sales leaders are committed to doing the work. They are neither seeking the easy answers or simplistic solutions. They recognize that what we do is complex.
But there’s a challenge with that. Individually and organizationally, we know the basic principles of selling. Unless you are new to sales or have been asleep for your whole career, we know what we should be doing. We know how we should be doing it. We even know why we should be doing it.
Yet we, individually and organizationally, consistently fail to do those things we know to be critical to success. Clearly, there’s something else at play. There are failure mechanisms that keep us from doing those things we know to be right and effective. Until we start to understand and address those, we won’t be able to drive consistent, systemic performance improvement.
I don’t pretend to know the answers, I tend to think these are unique to each organization. But I have some thoughts on how we might look at these failure mechanisms. I dove more deeply into this and the possible failure mechanisms in Why Are We Committed To Failure?
Sales is simple, selling isn’t easy.