Is Selling Simple or Complicated?
By Tessa Stowe
I'd like you to take a moment right now and, before you continue
reading this article, decide whether you think selling is simple or
complicated? Please now read on. Before I start to specifically
talk about selling, I'd like to first discuss 'complicated' versus
In the past we have been taught to respect and value the
'complicated.' Whole industries have cropped up to make complicated
products, to convince us we need these complicated products and to
then help us use these complicated products. On the other hand, in
the past we have not respected or valued the 'simple'. The simple is
seen as common sense and by definition, since it's 'common' sense,
its perceived value is diminished.
The absolute irony is that to make something complicated is simple
and to make something simple is complicated! To make something
simple requires a lot of effort and skill. To make something simple
often requires a lot more time and expense than to make it
Recently people have started to demand the simple in their lives and
are seeing the value in simple. Simplicity now sells and people are
even starting to pay more money for the simple. Now let's come back
to selling and whether it is complicated or simple.
I think that not only have we been convinced that selling is
complicated but we also use the perspective that selling is
complicated as an excuse. Let me explain further. We have been told
that selling is complicated. We have been convinced that:
As the products we are selling get more and more complicated,
the selling of these complicated products must by definition get
more complicated as well.
As the number of people involved in making a single purchasing
decision increases, the more complicated the selling becomes.
Since we've been convinced that selling is complicated, we believe
we need complicated sales processes and sales tools in order to
sell. As a result, lots of companies have appeared over the years to
offer us complicated sales training and complicated sales tools that
we believe we need because we believe selling is complicated. These
companies make a lot of money from our beliefs and their very
existence relies on us continuing to hold the belief that selling is
Complexity provides us with many additional sources of excuses and
gives us the ability to cover up our failures. If you are selling
complicated products, you can use the excuse that a prospect failed
to see the value because the products are so complicated. If it is
taking a long time for your prospect to make a decision, you can
make the excuse that selling is complicated as there are lots of
people involved. You could go on and on making excuses because
selling is complicated.
I would like to propose that selling is not in fact complicated; it
is in fact quite simple. Even if the product you are selling is
complicated, so what? You are not selling a complicated product; you
are selling a solution to a problem. Your selling strategy and focus
is around the solution to your prospect's problem and not around
your complicated product. Whether your product is complicated or
simple should not be relevant to the sales conversation.
Also, even if the number of people involved in the buying decision
grows, you will still be having sales conversations with
individuals. The only difference when many people are involved is
that you will be having sales conversations with multiple people.
These sales conversations will be identical with respect to the
process and principles. What you do with the information gathered
from these sales conversations is identical no matter how many
people are involved in the buying process.
If you are willing to take on the belief that selling is simple and
you are prepared to give up the excuses you can use if you believe
selling is complicated, then what is your next step? With respect to
what's next, I recommend that you look at the sales process you are
using and if it is complicated, replace it with a simple sales
Commit to finding and learning a simple, end-to-end, sales process
that focuses on selling solutions to problems (as opposed to selling
products) and which works whether one person or many people are
involved in the buying decision. If you do, you will naturally be a
lot more successful at selling and you will enjoy it a lot more too.
Selling really is simple. Simple sells. Try it and see.
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about Tessa Stowe.
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