Imagine Willie Loman, the anti-hero, of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, published in 1949, selling today.
Beyond a suitcase and a smile, he would have swallowed many sales courses and have a bagful of methodologies. Out on the road, our hero-warrior would ponder whether to SPIN, SNAP, launch The Challenger Sale or, in a pinch, have an insight and try some Provocation-Based Selling..
But can sales, when distilled to its essence, be so complicated?
Now, sales is unquestionably, coupled with superb products, the core of any business. Even a billionaire contrarian, such as Peter Thiel, recognizes this in his great book, Zero to One.
"Every tech company has salespeople. If it doesn’t, there is no company. This is true even if it’s just you and a computer. Look around you. If you don’t see any salespeople, you are the salesperson."
Similarly, sales, a $450bn industry that employs 3.2 million people in the U.S. has little to fear from automation. Along with expert thinking, complex communication (which is sales and persuasion) are the two types of professional work that won't be automated, according to the wonderful book The New Division of Labor.
In researching The One-Page Business Case, I want to work out why there are so many sales methodologies. You can find 10 methodologies without breaking a sweat:
- Consultative Selling.
- Solution Selling.
- SPIN Selling.
- The Challenger Sale.
- The Complex Sale.
- ROI Selling.
- Strategic Selling.
- Conceptual Selling.
- SNAP Selling.
- And, finally, of course, Provocation-Based Selling.
You have to ask: how, in substance, are all these methodologies different?
The One-Page Business Case is built around the hypothesis that marketing and sales for selling business technology are stages of the same, single process of building the business case for your product. Blowing through the mumbo jumbo and echoing Chris Dixon, marketing is one-to-many, while sales is one-to-one.
The first big methodology to move sales beyond "vending" with a suitcase and a smile was consultative selling and is the subject of my next post. Please Sign Up for (occasional) blog and book updates.