According to one of my most successful clients, an entrepreneur in his own right, "Selling is so easy that it's hard!"
If this line makes you chuckle or nod your head in agreement, then you probably think that selling is, at its foundation, a discipline.
If this notion makes you scratch your head in bewilderment, then you might believe that selling is a skill.
So, which is it?
A discipline is a set of practices that you follow, time and again. It is a protocol of behaviors that has proven its worth, and instead of reinventing the wheel, you harness yourself to it, so to speak.
Disciplines tend to be quantitative. You repeat them, and the more you do, the more successful you become.
Skills are qualitative and sales practitioners are distinguished by how well they speak, the cleverness of their approach, or by their overall persuasiveness.
What's better: a disciplined or a skilled salesperson?
I can say this. If you're a sales manager, trainer, or recruiter, or all three, your approach will be very different depending on how YOU answer this question.
If you think selling is a discipline: (1) You'll be a hands-on manager; (2) You'll tend to crunch numbers and closely monitor activity reports, and (3) Attribute dipping sales to laziness or to lack of hard work, while interpreting success as the reward from good work habits.
If you think selling is a skill: (1) You'll tend to be a hands-off manager, (2) Who cares only about one statistic: sales; and (3) Who interprets success or failure as a matter of intelligence, aptitude, information, or competitive positioning.
Disciplinarians believe nearly anyone can make it in selling, that salespeople are "made," while skills types are more inclined to believe that the best salespeople are "born."
It is safe to say that selling involves a blending of discipline and skill, but I wouldn't say in a 50/50 way.
I believe that selling is more like an 80/20 proposition that involves 80% discipline and 20% skill.
Knowing what to do and when will earn you 20% of your deals, while 80%, or perhaps even more will come from, as Nike might say in an ad, just doing it!
Dr. Gary S. Goodman is the best-selling author of 12 books, over 750 articles, and the creator of numerous audio and video training programs, including "The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable," published by Nightingale-Conant-a favorite among salespeople and entrepreneurs. For information about booking Gary to speak at your next sales, customer service or management meeting, conference or convention, please address your inquiry to: firstname.lastname@example.org.