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 'simple'.

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 complicated.

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 complicated.

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 process.

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.

Read other articles and learn more about Tessa Stowe.

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