When Selling, Keep It Simple Stupid!

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After our first half-hour telephone coaching session, when asked what he thought about our training, my client felt the learning process we had undertaken together earlier in the week, "was a bit too elementary." As a Branch Manager with over 18 years of sale experience, a supervisor who must also produce sales over and above the five representatives reporting to him, when he purchased our training, he thought that he would receive and then drill-for-skill some new and yet undiscovered selling process that would magically change his ability to produce sales. What he actually found was a "deceptively simple" system with methods proven in the field to produce a consistent flow of new business. Later he wrote:

"I was at first, skeptical about your program's efficacy. However, it turned out to be deceptively simple.

This program (telephone coaching) is set up with simple bite-sized lessons for sales people. Once using it, one discovers the complexity of the sales process and a need for a focused approach. Your weekly telephone coaching does that and re-inspires excitement for the sales process.

I can't say enough about your practical suggestions and flexible approach to an individual's specific situation?"

Another personal coaching client has written:

"?There are some decent selling systems available out there and I have used a few of them. However, most of these selling approaches have too many steps and have too much to remember when you are in the heat of the selling battle.

I mostly have one shot with a veterinarian to convince them to invest $10,000 to $24,000 in new laboratory instruments. I need an easy system to plug into-one that will get me where I need to go and distinguish me from my competitors. The Selling Edge gets me there."

I have a client in the Northwest, that after five years of working together and after tripling his sales team's production in the first three years, he decided that my training programs were not complex enough for his staff. For the last two years of our engagement, he tried to have me put into my selling system every new fangled sales technique that he read about in the latest best seller on sales, Over that same period, my goal was to take things out of the selling process that I was teaching, to make my system even more simple and easy for sales and service industry professionals to learn and use daily.

It has been interesting to see if all the complexity that this client brought to his firm's selling process after my engagement ended, gave him the selling edge that my simple, yet effective system had originally produced. His staff tells me that if anything, they are seeing less success as they try desperately to learn and then implement the latest selling fad that he requires that them to use. The lesson to me is clear, to be consistently successful in selling, you need to keep the selling process as simple as you can.

As my client's quote above suggests, I now try to keep the selling process that I teach as simple as possible. In my personal coaching sessions on the telephon or in the field ( ) I now employ a unique self-directed learning series of manuals that, in short daily lessons, outline six "simple" and easy to learn steps that must be executed to consistently produce sales or to achieve higher levels of personal productivity. These self-administered lessons take about 20 minutes each day to read and then drill-for-skill the communication technique being taught--using a programmed learning method built into each lesson. At the end of the week, on the telephone or over an internet voice connection we discuss the principle learned during the last five days and help participants worldwide to see how they can apply the technique(s) outlined in each of the daily lesson to their individual selling or management situation.

Six simple steps are all that's needed to dramatically improve your sales success levels and not 54 ways to close or learning the ten best scripts to use when your client or customer has an objection. You don't need a series of complex pitches or to tell your prospect everything they ever wanted to know about your product or service. All a sales or service industry professional needs is a simple, yet structured communications process with today's sophisticated consume4. Just keep it simple if you want to sell more!

VIRDEN THORNTON is the founder and President of The $elling Edge?, Inc. a firm specializing in sales, customer service, and management training and development. Clients have included Sears Optical, Eastman Kodak, Bank One, Jefferson Wells, and Wal-Mart to name a few.

Virden is the author of PROSPECTING: THE KEY TO SALES SUCCESS and the best selling BUILDING & CLOSING THE SALE, Fifty-Minute series books and CLOSE THAT SALE, a video/audio tape series published by Crisp Publications, a division of Thompson Learning. He has also authored a Self-Directed Learning series of sales, coaching, telemarketing, and productivity training manuals. To obtain a discount on two of Virden's new manuals, 101 SALES MYTHS and ORGANIZING FOR SALE SUCCESS, go to

Virden has a degree in communications from the University of Utah. He teaches for the Center For Professional Development, Texas Tech University and in the School Of Entrepreneurship, J. Willard And Alice S. Marriott School Of Management at Brigham Young University.

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