The announcement of a new book claiming to give you the wisdom “how to sell anything” and the opening of the Alpine ski world championships inspired me to this post. Here is why.
Ski athletes adhere all to the International Ski Federation (FIS). This makes some sense. To exercise this sport, one needs snow and some form of long small planks to glide on the snow. But this is where the commonality ends. Specialized world championships. are held for Alpine disciplines and Nordic disciplines in different geographical locations
In Alpine disciplines, gold can be won in races lasting at maximum a few minutes. In Nordic disciplines, the time span to win gold is much wider, it can go from a few minutes to closer to an hour or longer.
The terrain needed for those two disciplines is different. As the name says, for Alpine skiing long and steep mountain slopes are needed. Nordic skiing can be done on a flat terrain.
The material and skills needed to win a Nordic ski race and an Alpine ski race are thus very different.
Sports metaphors applied to sales have their limits and are often blatantly wrong. I have written about this before . As an example, of a major difference, there are no silver and bronze medals to be won in sales . Either you win and get gold or you are out. Yet there are some useful analogies between skiing an selling.
The snow needed for skiing is equivalent to the customers needed for selling. Basic people skills could be taken as the equivalent of the small long planks needed for skiing. Yet I doubt, that these two things are sufficient to be a successful seller in today's world. Specialization is needed as in skiing.
I associate Alpine skiing with B2C selling. Deals are more of a transactional nature, not taking terribly long. The slope and gravity needed for skiers is provided by marketing for sellers.
Nordic skiing looks to me more like B2B selling. Here you can have transactional type deals closing fast. This is like the Nordic ski jumping. This sport requires a specific infrastructure, the ski jump platform. This to me is equivalent to B2B Marketing that catapults the seller into the deal. Success then depends on the ability of the seller to fly and to land properly.
The Nordic discipline of cross country skiing, looks to me more like selling with long sales cycles. Infrastructure requirements are minimal for cross country skiing. The same is true for selling solutions requiring long sales cycles, sellers often cannot depend on marketing and have to find their own leads and then follow a deal through with tenacity.
In Nordic skiing there are races to be won alone or others only as a team (relay races). The same is true in B2B selling where in complex cases, team selling is needed to be successful.
Would you not think that being successful in those different types of sales situations requires specifically adapted tools, skills and methods? Yet we continue to see books like the one I mentioned above trying to convince us that in sales there is a silver bullet of one size that fits all.
For the craft of selling to progress, I think we finally must forget the myth of one size fits all and be very specific by describing the context for which we give advice or believe why a given initiative can be successful.
Most Popular Posts (last 30 days)
AH4RJ defines a customer who appreciates help for rational justification. As a seller, you can add value to this customer if you hel...
If you look to sales experts to give you the answer, you will be disappointed. There are two fractions. One fraction of experts predicts ...
The New Account Sales Challenge: The 5 Ugly Questions Helping You to Protect the Health of Your BusinessIn the CSO Insights 2015 Sales Performance Optimization study, “capturing new accounts” made it to the top of sales objectives for 20...
To be honest I still struggle with a good definition for Social Selling; even though LinkedIn is telling me that my SSI is 82, not extremely...
This is the second post based on a keynote I presented at the 10 th annual RiiM conference in Paris on the beginning of April 2015....
Sales training companies are telling us that one major soft benefit from their training is the use of a common language by the sales team. H...
This year’s online Top Sales & Marketing Awards ceremony takes place on December 15th, and this year there are three medals up for g...
Yesterday, I attended a presentation about Sales Performance International's (SPI new “Solution Selling 2.0” program. Th...
Whether a CSO has a seat at the strategy table of the company can easiest be detected in his/her possibility to influence the company's...
I remain convinced that for the sales to become a recognized profession, we need a wider scientific body of knowledge. Therefore, I try to...
Sales Management (35) Marketing and Sales (9) Sales Process (9) Sales Skills (9) Sales Effectiveness (8) Sales Executives (7) Sales Training (6) Social Media (5) Coaching (4) Sales Enablement (4) Upgrading Talent (4) Change Management (3) Performance indicators (3) Pipeline Management (3) Sales 2.0 (3) Sales Strategies (3) Account Management (2) Forecasting (2) Lead Generation (2) Leadership (2) Leaking Sales Funnel (2) Sales (2) Sales Books (2) Sales Quota (2) Sales Stages (2) Value Proposition (2) Brand Building (1) Business Acumen (1) Business Development (1) Economic Buyers (1) Executives (1) Hiring (1) Incentive Compensation (1) Knowledge Management (1) Loalty Management (1) Negotiations (1) Professional Selling (1) Relationship Management (1) Reputation Management (1) Revenue growth targets (1) Sales Conversations (1) Sales Funnel (1) Sales Productivity (1) Search Engine (1) Segmentation (1) Skills Assessment (1) buyer's journey (1)