To be great at sales, you need to care about people as the emotional beings that they are, while also caring about the analytical side of measuring and evaluating human behavior and decision making. Selling is an art that requires the ability to form good relationships with others as well as a science that requires the development of successful, repeatable strategies. “To be great at sales, you need to care about people as the emotional beings that they are, while also caring about the analytical side of measuring and evaluating human behavior and decision making,” Al Davidson
The Art of Sales
There are a few elements of sales that are more like an art. Good salespeople need to have creativity, initiative, and drive. Just like artists need to bring something new into the world, starting from nothing, salespeople have to start from zero and make things happen. Artists are fueled by passion and self-belief. In the same way, some of the best salespeople have a strong spirit of passion and self-confidence – they believe in what they’re doing, and they inspire confidence in the people around them. Being in the presence of a great salesperson is like being with an artist – they are charismatic people who make ripples in the universe around them.
The Science of Sales
But on the other side, there are also elements of sales that are more scientific. Sales is a process, just like the scientific method – it requires discipline and attention to detail. The best salespeople aren’t only good at building relationships, they’re good at doing the methodical, detail-oriented, repetitive work of making cold calls and prospecting and doing lead nurturing over the long-term. In the sales business, as you work through your sales funnel, over time you will learn how to expect certain results a certain percentage of the time – certain conversion rates at each stage of your sales process. This is part of the scientific aspect of sales: knowing how to make your numbers, knowing how to make incremental improvements in your process, knowing how to refine your sales pitch to get better results, all with a spirit of experimentation and building upon your knowledge base.
The best sales engineers can be from either side of the spectrum of art vs. science, some of the very best sales engineers know how to combine both attributes. For example, if you already are great at the “artistic” elements of building relationships and being a charismatic force when meeting clients, try to improve your “scientific” skills in looking at your sales conversion rates and experimenting with new methods. If you are already good at the scientific aspects of methodically making cold calls and analyzing your sales process, try to improve your “artistic” performance by taking a public speaking class or reading about classic sales techniques such as delivering a better elevator pitch.