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Show Me The Science! - Is technology transforming sales from an art to a science?

Some people in the sales industry would have you believe that by bringing together productivity tools and processes (technology) that you can transform sales from an art to a science; effectively creating a proven system for high-profit, repeatable results.

What a scary thought for consumers!

What is your opinion? Do you believe that technology is transforming sales from an art to a science?

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Sales is a practice. You can take a scientific approach to that practice or an artistic approach--or a combination of both.

Technology obviously provides tools for both approaches and the tools will continue to evolve. Transformation is too strong of a word to describe the effect it will have on the practice. - by Gary A Boye
Some people in the sales industry would have you believe that by bringing together productivity tools and processes (technology) that you can transform sales from an art to a science; effectively creating a proven system for high-profit, repeatable results.

What a scary thought for consumers!

What is your opinion? Do you believe that technology is transforming sales from an art to a science?
Whoever suggests that technology can transform sales from an art to a science, creating a proven system for repeatable results, does not fathom the sticks of ideological dynamite he or she is playing with nor the gross assumptions such suggestion contains.

Technology for example, ultimately refers to a technique as a very specific "way of doing."

A technique is a matter of logical steps within a ridged linear process that produces consistent results.

Sales however is an abstract process. It is not a specific way of doing subject to a technology for explanation.

Science consists of technological systems contained within a working and isolated self-sustaining domain.

Therefore, the idea that there is a universal technology that can transform abstract sales to a physically based science is by definition-- impossible.

Anytime any author attempts to describe Sales as a Science, they are offering a political slogan that utterly lacks any truth value. - by John Voris
Sales will always be an art because the almost infinite variability of the sales interaction will not allow for the distillation of the process into the fixed steps required for the application of a technology.

In its essence, selling is an engagement between the salesperson and the prospect, much like music is an engagement between musician and audience and a painting is between painter and viewer. While one can analyze music or visual art and break it down to its constituent parts; the notes, the rhythm, the color, the contrast, it cannot be recreated from those parts except through the skillful manipulation of the artist.

In much the same way selling can be broken down into its parts, and much can be learned from doing so, but to put those parts together in a convincing sales conversation requires the artful skill of a true sales professional. Without the salesperson, the technology of selling is just a collection of parts that will fail to engage the prospect and compel them to buy.

But while selling is an art, there is much that can be learned from the science of selling- the close examination of the parts that great salespeople assemble to make great sales conversations. Much like a painter studies color and contrast, and a musician the notes and the rhythm of the masters, so to can sales people examine the parts of the profession and learn from them. The art will always be in in the way that those parts are put together, and the difference between the master and the novice will be the skill in doing so to the desired effect on the audience. - by thesalesgiant
Sales will always be an art because the almost infinite variability of the sales interaction will not allow for the distillation of the process into the fixed steps required for the application of a technology.

In its essence, selling is an engagement between the salesperson and the prospect, much like music is an engagement between musician and audience and a painting is between painter and viewer. While one can analyze music or visual art and break it down to its constituent parts; the notes, the rhythm, the color, the contrast, it cannot be recreated from those parts except through the skillful manipulation of the artist.

In much the same way selling can be broken down into its parts, and much can be learned from doing so, but to put those parts together in a convincing sales conversation requires the artful skill of a true sales professional. Without the salesperson, the technology of selling is just a collection of parts that will fail to engage the prospect and compel them to buy.

But while selling is an art, there is much that can be learned from the science of selling- the close examination of the parts that great salespeople assemble to make great sales conversations. Much like a painter studies color and contrast, and a musician the notes and the rhythm of the masters, so to can sales people examine the parts of the profession and learn from them. The art will always be in in the way that those parts are put together, and the difference between the master and the novice will be the skill in doing so to the desired effect on the audience.
I see you certainly have a grasp of the situation.

After I posted, I felt it was too strong of a protest. But I am tired of the nonsense that is contaminating the sales profession.

What is upsetting most is trainees are paying for Placebo Concepts: the trainee is doing the selling but the "technique" is getting the credit.

Excellent observations. - by John Voris
I see you certainly have a grasp of the situation.

After I posted, I felt it was too strong of a protest. But I am tired of the nonsense that is contaminating the sales profession.

What is upsetting most is trainees are paying for Placebo Concepts: the trainee is doing the selling but the "technique" is getting the credit.

Excellent observations.
Thanks John.

While you can analyze art with science and learn something in the process, when you try to create the art purely from the science you will be lacking most of what makes the art compelling - by thesalesgiant
Regardless of how we choose to individually answer this topic's question concerning art or science of selling, the only reflection that will bear fruit is the observance of the artists and scientists themselves.

Anyone who is serious about mastery in any field has to find the ESSENCE of what it is they practice, and perhaps discussions like this help a little. But there is no substitute, after determining that essence, for modeling the excellence that real life people have achieved.

The question begs, as a command statement: "Show me the science." But it will always be about asking the right question. Show me the scientists.

One of the problems with sales education lies in sales "training" itself which often relies on a mythical model, like Tolkien's Middle Earth, to explore a fictional world of selling and provide fictional solutions.

I will talk about the science of selling occasionally, but only if I can put on my scientist's hat. I'll talk about the art of selling, too. But I better be damned well prepared to share some brush strokes when I do that.

Oh yes--technology. The ballpoint pen was technology. I remember discovering that my quill pen wouldn't write through triplicate carbonless.

Selling is a people business. - by Gary A Boye
Regardless of how we choose to individually answer this topic's question concerning art or science of selling, the only reflection that will bear fruit is the observance of the artists and scientists themselves.

Selling is a people business.
Whenever we begin exploring human activity, we are confronted with the paradox found in the mind-body dialectic. It is inescapable, which is why some here are on the side of art and others on the side of science, while still others meld the two.

Art exhibits our capacity of abstract "being.'

Science exhibits our capacity of physically "doing."

Following exclusively one capacity to the exclusion of the other is like trying to physically hear "One hand clapping."

Physically watching a scientist or artist does does not lend to understanding without involving abstract meaning, which carries the virus--mind-body dialectic.

This is why "'selling is a people business," is far more accurate here, bringing both together, but how to teach this is extremely difficult without breaking this idea back down into variations of these two components: doing and being.

In training others and being forced to choose, for me sales is more art than science. Technology found in science, does not contain the human spirit, it is the result of the human spirit.

"Oh yes--technology. The ballpoint pen was technology. I remember discovering that my quill pen wouldn't write through triplicate carbonless."

Thanks! This is a great concept! - by John Voris
I have not read all the posts on this thread (too many) however I do agree with what thesalesgiant says.

Sales is about influencing/persuading by sending a message and having it received in the way that you want.

It involves the sender (salesperson) a receiver (the prospect) a method (sales process or tactic) and the environment the message is conveyed in. There are a lot of variables in that mix.

The environment is changing constantly. The prospect changes with each new sale and quite probably there are subtle changes from meeting to meeting with the same prospect. AND good salespeople adapt their method based on the responses they see, hear and feel.

How can you possibly make a science out of that ? - by Greg Woodley
"One of the biggest myths perpetuated in sales is that selling is, or is becoming, a science. This suggestion assumes that individuals will respond predictably (i.e., stimulus-response model) to sales techniques, sales processes or selling systems which is often interpreted as meaning that if a salesperson executes the techniques, processes or systems correctly he or she will be invincible in selling (e.g., sell anything to anybody) ...nothing could be further from the truth". - by Jeff Blackwell
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