Why is Selling So Difficult – Let Me Count the Ways

Wouldn’t it be nice if selling was as easy as most salespeople treat it? You would just come right out and say what you’re selling, tell prospects why it’s important, explain the features and benefits, tell them what it costs, and make the sale. After all, that’s how we did it in the 60’s and 70’s. It’s so easy. It’s so logical, it’s so ineffective.  Why is selling so difficult?  I have a number of answers….

Prospects don’t buy because of logic and they have difficulty making decisions when presented with logic. Strategies and tactics exist and are constantly refined because selling by telling rarely  works. Yet a huge percentage of salespeople, perhaps your salespeople, even salespeople who have been trained and coached to be more consultative and customer focused, still find it easier to simply tell to sell. Questions to uncover compelling reasons to buy seem unnecessarily complicated to most salespeople. But if they don’t learn to effectively ask lots of really good, tough, timely questions, there won’t be many places where they can hide.

21st Century Selling requires salespeople to have and follow an effective process, to have strategies for varying scenarios, and to be armed with the tactics needed to move an opportunity through the sales process.  Salespeople skip steps because they mistakenly assume that the compelling reasons they talk about are the same as their prospects’ compelling reasons. They assume that prospects are talking with competitors and getting the business is simply a matter of price. They assume they are speaking with decision makers. They assume their prospects have and will spend the money. They assume to know the time line for a decision. They assume to have a great relationship. And the one thing they are really good at – presenting solutions and explaining capabilities – they do before they know what a needs and cost appropriate solution should be.

So why is selling so difficult? There are two primary reasons, each with a subset of reasons:

1. Salespeople. In their effort to do what is most comfortable,  they fail to adapt to changing times, requirements and advice. They do what makes sense to them, rather than what is required to be effective. They do what is easiest, rather than what works. They do what they know, rather than learning what they don’t know.

2. Management. They allow complacent, resistant, non-adapting behaviors to exist. They fool themselves into believing their salespeople know what to do.  They have the same self-limiting beliefs as their salespeople.

Why is Selling so Difficult?  Because the simplest, most obvious, most important behaviors and actions are not the most effective.  Anyone who has ever learned to play golf knows this all too well.  In order to properly hit a golf ball, you must address the ball, hold the club and swing it in a manner that is completely uncomfortable.  The difference is that with a golf swing comes an immediate result.  Do what’s comfortable and you can immediately see that comfort=failure.  In sales, do what’s comfortable and you can immediately see your prospects nods their heads up and down=Fall sense of security.  You don’t get the instant feedback that you need to know that comfort=failure.

Why is Selling So Difficult?  So that only the best salespeople can reap the rewards that sales has to offer.