“85% of your financial success is due to your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate & lead. Shockingly, only 15% is due to your technical knowledge.”
The Carnegie Institute of Technology.
Early in my career, I attended an industry function when someone said that they had: ‘been selling their particular product for 20 years and theirs was different.’
Fast forward 10 years I moved to another industry only to have the same conversation: ‘I have been selling XYZ for 25 years and nothing else is like it.’
Another 10 years later different product, same conversation -mmm … interesting.
These days I spend a great deal of time speaking to a range of companies across a variety of industries, most think their product is special or different. As sales people, we all think that our product and industry is unique when, actually, it’s not.
The reality is that all products in the same arena have a few nuances but most are the same, especially when it comes to getting people to buy your product.
In a country such as ours where the cost of living is high, it becomes extremely difficult for an organisation to compete on price. And quite frankly, no one wins that race to the bottom (though many still try).
The smarter businesses are differentiating through solution and relationship selling. And it needs to be a blend.
Technical sales people, although great at matching need to issue but cannot always manage the relationship. Relationship focused sales people may be great at the people side but don’t always match the need due to reduced technical knowledge.
So what’s the solution?
We need to connect the dots between individual motivations, collective skill sets and commercial realities.
The best path for a person is the slow and steady method of professional and personal development: we need equal parts technical training, soft skills workshops, practice by doing, learning from mistakes, learning from the team and individual growth. This approach is far more effective than drinking from a fire hose at some half day gee up session
As Tony Robbins says:
“Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year but underestimate what they can achieve in a decade”.
It begins, like all innovation, with the insights and awareness of an opportunity to improve something.