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The Secret of Selling is Never in the Selling

"The secret of selling is never in the selling. Instead, it is always in the continuous act of prospecting." --Bill Brooks

I read as much about selling as the next guy and yet I rarely come across this principle of selling that Bill Brooks writes about. What's that about? Do you agree with what Bill wrote? - by Houston
Houston, a great question. I have three thoughts:

1. I don't believe there's a "secret" in selling. Just like there isn't a secret in playing golf, doing brain surgery, or collecting stamp, and people who spend their time looking for a secret are missing an opportunity to develop the full range of skills and qualities that will help them become a top sales performer.

2. If a salesperson has ever met with a prospect who has decided not to purchase from them, selling is about more than just prospecting.

3. The Brooks quote seems to be ignoring my many clients (companies and individuals) who sell in retail or on preset appointments and do little or no prospecting.

Of course, prospecting is very important to many, even most, sales professionals. But the quote seems to over-simplify the reality of selling for many. To me, it would kind of be like saying, "The secret to a happy sex life is finding a partner." There's just more to it than that. - by Skip Anderson
"The single, most fundamental reason why most salespeople fail, no matter what they sell, is that they lack a sufficient supply of qualified prospects to whom they can tell their story." --Bill Brooks

Even with preset appointments and retail sales if there isn't any prospects then their won't be any selling.

If we took a close look at top performers in any industry I bet we would find that they are also the top prospectors.

Some might argue that the more skilled a salesperson is at prospecting, finding the people who are ready, willing and able, the less selling that needs to happen. - by Houston
Houston, I'm a "grey hair B2B guy" who doesn't put much stock in books about selling. I base this on the fact that the authors invariably make outrageous statements to grab the attention (and sell their book/CD/course).

My personal experience on this topic: prospecting is a critical component but it's not the only tool in the kit bag. Realistically, the statement about why SR's fail relates to the numbers: there are LOTS of salespeople out there.

From my experience as a SR and an SM managing SR's:
1. it is extremely important to keep the hopper full of suspects (ie. marketing, prospecting, etc.); and,
2. it is as important to be highly skilled at qualifying these suspects to uncover the business needs, timing, players, etc.; and,
3. the ability to ask for the order (closing skills) ranks right up there with #'s 1 & 2;

In other words, the truly successful SR's have rounded-out their arsenal of skills to be proficient in all these areas. After all, a SR with a massive number of suspects (who is weak at qualifying the opportunity), will not be successful in the long run.

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
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