Sales: Why Predictability–Not Creativity–Gets The Best Results

Arrows in The BackCall it the disruptor’s paradox. You’ve created something truly great, and you’re sure the world is ready to be turned upside down. Except that it isn’t.

As it turns out most people would rather things stay exactly the same–even when the situation is untenable–rather than take the risk that something new and untested could fix their problems.

As entrepreneurs we believe that the best way to change the world is to create better solutions to existing problems. Ultimately it is. But this isn’t the way to win a sale. And in sales, if you’re not selling, you’re sucking wind. This is business after all.

Howard Tullman writes in Inc. that originality is overrated, and suggests five lessons for entrepreneurs and salespeople to keep in mind when selling to risk-averse customers (read: most buyers)

  1. Originality is overrated. Pioneers end up with arrows in their back, and not a whole lot more. Don’t invent. Innovate.
  2. Novelty is a nuisance. It means expensive training, a new learning curve, and lots of mistakes. Tried and true trumps all.
  3. No one likes to cross the chasm–especially when they are first. Short, sure steps forward, and a lot more of the same, really sell.
  4. Don’t tell me how different your product or service is. Tell me how easy and familiar and fail-safe it will be.
  5. Analogies are better than apple pie. Show me anything I’m doing now and then tell me not how different things will be, but how much the same they will remain.

Unlike you, dear entrepreneur, your customers are probably not risk-takers. They’d much rather keep their job than be the guy or gal who introduced some new whizzbang gadget or tool to the office workflow. Pitch the value of continuity, and you’ll have a smoother path to that signed contract.

I can think back to a time when I was new in a newsroom and suggested we move from tracking stories on a shared Google Doc to something more nimble, like Asana. Keeping your head down is the Number 1 rule of surviving in an organization, and now I know that was one more reason why I didn’t last long over there.

The reason you’re an entrepreneur is because you can’t shut up when you know something isn’t right, but that’s how crafty people win in the survival game. So make a sale, or make a splash–the choice is yours.

Or think of it another way; it’s fine to brag about just how cutting-edge your technology is when grabbing beers with your pals, just play it really cool when you’re about to make deal.

H/T: Copy Blogger

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4 Responses to “Sales: Why Predictability–Not Creativity–Gets The Best Results”

  1. Chikodi Chima May 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    Where do you go to get great sales advice? Share your favorite resources (YouTube videos, podcasts, LinkedIn groups) in the comments section below.

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