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The Easy Way is Often the Hard Way in Selling

It's human nature for sales people to take the path of least resistance. However, what if the traditional path of least resistance is the path of greatest resistance?

Newsflash! The easy way (traditional approach) is the hard way in today's hyper competitive environment.

As trite as it may sound, what got you here today, isn't what will get you where you want to go in the future. However, most sales organizations continue to sell in the same way in a world that's no longer the same.

Most sales organizations find themselves in the unenviable position of being very good at a game no longer being played. They have perfected the ability to consistently hit the target, but the problem is it's no longer the right target.

Too many sales people choose the easy way to sell which is definitely the hard way to sell in the information economy. The easy way to sell worked very well in an era when information wasn't accessible, free-flowing, and there wasn't a hyper global economy.

But, the information economy has negated the traditional value of sales people bringing information to the marketplace. Sales organizations have to rethink their traditional value proposition and what they will deliver at a sales interaction.

The Easy way of selling is typified by indiscriminately giving out a lot of information early on, giving very little balance (bombastic) and perspective, foolhardy persistence and stalking, hard closing and putting up with unending frustration with misdirected follow thru. It only looks easy on the surface, but it actually is very hard.

The correct way to sell is perceived as hard only because it's counterintuitive to the instincts of traditional sales people. The easy way to sell is seductive because it's so easy on the front end and very hard on the back end. The hard way to sell is challenging on the front end and very easy on the back end. There in lies the rub and why sales people usually default to the ineffective path of least resistance. The traditional easy way of selling is now so daunting because it reduces the sales person, their product and their company to a devalued commodity.

The following are some examples of beliefs, tactics and strategies that contrast the easy and hard way to sell: The hard way is #1. (Old School). The easy way is #2. (New School).

  1. (The Hard Way) The sales person has all the answers.
  1. (The Easy Way) The sales person has all the questions.


  1. Sell the sizzle of the opportunity.
  1. Sell the sizzle of the problem.


  1. Good sales people never quit.
  1. Good sales people quit early and often on low probability deals.


  1. Control the sales process.
  1. To gain control you give up control.


  1. Always be closing (ABC).
  1. Let the customer close themselves.


  1. The best information wins.
  1. The best questions wins.


  1. The best presentation is your solution.
  1. The best presentation is the customer presenting their problems.


  1. Get the customer to believe in your offering.
  1. Get the customer to believe in their problem.


  1. Enthusiasm sells.
  1. Empathy sells, enthusism kills.


  1. You're paid and rewarded to fix problems.
  1. You're paid and rewarded to find and evaluate problems.


  1. When closing always position for a yes answer.
  1. When closing close for a decision (yes or no).


  1. The solution rules.
  1. The discovery, investigation and problem evaluation process rules.


  1. For God sakes don't bring up negatives.
  1. For crying out loud bring up counterarguments and negatives especially with customers who agree too quickly. Transparency rules in the information economy. Don't fear second guessing overly positive customers.


  1. Kiss; Keep it simple stupid
  1. Kiss; Keep it simple stupid totally applicable today. Some old school stuff still works.


  1. Make a friend today. Make a customer for life.
  1. Customers can get all the friends they want from Facebook. Create trust first and let the friendship naturally follow.


  1. Sell rationally and logically.
  1. Sell intuitively and emotionally. Customers buy emotionally and intuitively very fast and buy logically and rationally very slowly. They also buy emotionally and then rationally justify it later on.


The easy way is the hard way to sell in the information economy. The Walmart model of eliminating the middleman in the distribution channel is now happening to the sales channel. Sales people who don't offer unique insight, critical business acumen and innovative ways to integrate their solution into the customer's businesses will slowly be rendered irrelevant (a commodity or worse). The only added-value that one can bring to the sales engagement that's sustainable, difficult to replicate, and is truly valuable is context not more content. Information is a dime a dozen in the age of Google when you're giving it out. Information is priceless when you're providing context, perspective and getting it directly from the horse's mouth (client) thru the quality of your thought provoking questions.

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: https://tangentknowledge.com