My answer? Yes.
But, if I had to choose one or the other…selling is a science. But I will acknowledge that possessing artful selling skills is very important.
Knowledge is Key
The art of selling is the softer side of selling /consulting, the skills of relationship building, empathy, and enthusiasm. These are all essential skills and ones I have blogged about extensively.
It’s interesting, the definition of science is: the state of knowing: knowledge as an object of study. The science of selling is the discipline of knowing who you are meeting with, pinpointing needs, recommending a solution to acknowledged challenges and resolving questions/objections from your product/service.
A client of mine recently triggered this distinction by stating that his BD Team (business development team) had the art of selling, but not the science of it. When I probed further he said, “Well, they talk extensively about our service/product but they don’t match it up to our clients’ needs.”
Your Agenda Isn’t Important
From publishing to banking to private equity, many executives I coach often focus on their agendas versus systematically discovering and framing their client’s agenda. DON’T SELL or CONSULT if you do this. It gives us all a bad name. I realize it is implicit in a client meeting to at some point present your offering. It just can’t be after “Hello.”
Listen for a Solution
Your offering and mine come after respecting each client as my father did as a physician. He listened for an extended period of time, then and only then did he offer a solution. Listening and drawing a person’s challenges out is essential to present your solution, actually you can’t until you master this. Therefore, it becomes a discipline I’m placing into the science category.