Remember when you were in science class discussing scientific method? Did you ever think how it applies to sales? Consider what great salespeople do. They wonder whether or not a prospect will buy their product or service. Then set about finding the answer. So this is much like the scientist making an observation wondering about what they observed and setting about confirming the observation.
What Is Scientific Method?
For some readers it may have been a while since you were in school. Remember scientific method is a process to explore observations and answer questions. Like most processes it has multiple steps. Begin with posing a question. Do a bit of research. Form a hypothesis. Test it. Evaluate the results. Was the hypothesis validated? If not revise the hypothesis and retest. During the process the scientist looks for bias in the assumptions and testing. Scientists are rigorous in testing the hypothesis. At the end of the test they draw a conclusion.
How Does It Apply To Sales?
Wow! Great salespeople are wide-eyed in amazement reading about the scientific method. They recognize it’s exactly what they do all day long. Think about this scenario:
A prospect walks into a clothing store. The salesperson thinks to herself: “ I wonder whether they are looking for a new suit?”
Salesperson: “Can I help you?”
Buyer: “No, I’m just looking.”
Salesperson: “For anything in particular?”
Buyer: “No, my wife is next door at the Kitchen Shop. I’m killing time.”
You see, the salesperson formed a hypothesis and tested it. Turned out the hypothesis was wrong. Of course great salespeople would continue creating and evaluating hypotheses to perhaps make a sale. They would engage the buyer in a conversation to learn more about them. Then craft another hypothesis to test.
Compare Scientific Method To The Sales Process
You will recall like the scientific method, the fundamental sales process has several logical steps: build rapport, find the pain, determine the budget, understand the decision-making process, presenting the proposal, closing the sale and doing post sale follow up. At each point in the selling process, great salespeople make and test assumptions (hypotheses, to the scientist). We do this by asking good questions. Listening actively to the prospect and based on the answers either moving on along the process or trying a new approach.
One difference between scientists and salespeople is the approach to scientific method. Most scientists apply rigorous skepticism to the results of their experiment looking for errors. They are hopeful pessimists. But we great salespeople are optimists. We approach each sales pursuit with the belief we will land the big one.
Salespeople Never Give Up
Remember the previous scene? Here’s one way it could turn out with the salesperson continuing to engage the buyer:
Buyer’s Wife: “Oh, there you are, honey! Look what I bought at the Kitchen Shop.”
Buyer: “This nice sales lady has kept me entertained while I waited for you.”
Salesperson: “Hi, I was showing your husband shirts we have on sale.” (Hypothesis, maybe she will buy something?)
Buyer’s Wife: “Look, honey they have pink shirts. This one would look very nice with your grey suit at the wedding tomorrow.”
Buyer: “True, dear, but the tie I brought won’t work with a pink shirt.”
Buyer’s Wife: “Look. They have a very nice assortment of ties in the brand you like.”
Salesperson: “What size shirt do you wear?”
And so the sale is made. The great salesperson continued to test hypotheses until she found one leading to a sale.
What You Can Do Right Now To Use The Scientific Method In Sales
- Compare scientific method to sales process
- What are the common sales hypotheses you set out to evaluate each day?
- How do you pivot the sales process when a hypothesis is not validated?