ScenarioSelling Summary

In the book’s final chapter, we replay the core themes of the book. This provides a summary which may be useful to pull together the many separate and interdependent parts which make up the Scenario Selling concept. It may also be valuable as a “quick start” guide.

Death of the Salesman?

There is increasing pressure for all parties to a sale to prove their value or be eliminated. Some experts make compelling arguments that we don’t need salespeople at all. The Internet provides a 24-hour storefront and customer service access. Many sales positions have been eliminated as companies reduce or de-emphasize their sales force in favor of technology-based alternative channels, particularly the Internet.

Technology and Selling

Technology will not replace all salespeople, but it will continue to replace many sales functions and change the way that salespeople create value.

Why Consultative Selling Must Be Surpassed

It’s increasingly true that professional selling involves planning. (You’re either planning or you’re pitching.) The current paradigm for professional selling, consultative selling, doesn’t easily accommodate the use of technological planning tools in the sales process. Attempts to integrate the two end up causing delays, providing a poor customer experience, and killing sales. There must be a better way.

Fast-Professional Selling Is No Longer a Paradox

Conventional selling suggests that selling is either fast and impersonal or slow and professional.

Competitive pressures and consumer expectations demand that we find a way to bridge the gap. If professional selling is going to survive it must evolve to become both fast and professional. But how?

Many people equate selling faster with high-pressure/less professional selling. We’ve talked to many professionals who said, “I can’t do it faster. It’ll make it look too easy. They’ll think I don’t do anything.” This is particularly true of and difficult for sales consultants and advisors who bill for their time.

Some salespeople are concerned that performing the sales process start to finish faster might make customers think that they are not receiving the best possible service or product…that the salespersons value is directly related to time. But one of the paradigm shifting rules of the Digital Age is that value creation is now inversely related to the time involved.

The manufacturing world got a rude awakening on this subject in the 1980s. The quality movement proved that this is not true. In fact, adding time can lead to increased errors and reduced quality, resulting in a less effective and more costly process for all involved.

Just-in-Time Methods and Tools

Fast-professional selling can be accomplished through the application of lean thinking (just-in-time) principles and tool. When you integrate technology into professional selling, you do more than simply add tools. You fundamentally change the process. Professional selling in the future must become technology-based to bridge the fast-professional divide.

Reengineering Is Required

This requires reengineering both the methods and tools of selling. Re-engineering is a process that requires us to start over. When we start over with selling, what principles do we base our new model on?

Selling as a Social Science

We have to start out by defining what selling is. To provide selling the legitimacy it deserves we based it on our definition of scientific principles. We view selling as a social science, like psychology, economics, and management science. It’s a helping profession in which professional helpers (salespeople) work with consumers to help them solve problems and make decisions. What types of problems do people need help with that require the assistance of professional helpers?

The TOP (Type of Problem) Model

Problems can be broken down into four basic types based on the amount of information and experience required to solve them. The four types are: Simple, Complicated, Complex, and Hyper-Complex. The types of problems/decisions where human helpers provide the greatest value are ‘experiential’—complex and hyper-complex problems. What’s required to understand and solve these problems?

The Relationship Between Goals and Possibilities

You can’t put goals before possibilities when people don’t know what they want. When you’re dealing with complex problems, people don’t know what they want!

Complexity and Selling

Technological advances reduce (or replace) the value that salespeople provide for most types of problems. Most salespeople don’t have the knowledge, tools, and skills to help clients solve complex problems.

It’s difficult (and maybe impossible) to replace the role of human helpers when people are trying to solve highly complex problems. Scenario Selling represents the only type of sales problem-solving model where people cannot be replaced by technology.

A Learning Approach

Traditional linear (strategic) problem solving tactics are ineffective when trying to solve complex problems. A learning approach is required. Scenario Selling changes selling from a sellerdirected (teaching) process to a buyer-directed (learning) process. Selling is a learning process for both the buyer and the seller. Selling requires a buying decision to take place. Decision-making is the result of a learning process. The types of problems that clients need a salesperson’s help with require a collaborative learning approach.

Seller as Buying Facilitator

How does the seller’s role change when we redefine selling as a learning process? A collaborative learning approach to selling changes the salesperson’s role from expert resource (seller as consultant or teacher) to expert facilitator. Fulfilling this new role requires new knowledge, skills, and tools.

Knowledge and Skills Required

A collaborative learner-centered approach to selling may look unstructured, but requires a higher level of skill and preparation than a teacher-directed approach to selling. It requires understanding of and belief in the process.

Tools Required = Decision Flight Simulators

Collaboration requires a shared space between the buyer and seller—a place for them to work, make changes, and create together. Interactive multimedia tools like computers and projectors provide an ideal medium for collaboration. Collaboration with multimedia technologies turns the sales process into a session of visual interactive play, not child’s play, but serious play. Decision Flight Simulators describes a new class of tools designed to help clients and advisors work together during a planning-selling process.

Improving the Customer’s Sales Experience

Collaborative play redefines the customer sales experience. In the increasingly competitive global marketplace, there is no place for sales processes or people that make buying difficult or painful for consumers. Buying/selling methods that make the process engaging, enticing, and entertaining will have a distinct advantage over those that don’t.

Scenario Selling Principles

Scenario Selling has the following characteristics:

1. Done Just-in-Time.
2. Uses computer technology.
3. Uses simulation.
4. Done in front of customer.
5. Solves a complex or hyper-complex, systems problem.
6. Uses possibility planning, not goal-based planning.
7. Incorporates customer in any necessary analysis of situation.

Accelerating Trust

It is true that time can build trust. But it is not true that trust takes time. It’s a matter of misperception regarding what comes first—the feeling of trust or the act of trusting. Trust can be built stronger and faster with the proper application of E.S.P. (Environment, Skills, and Process).

Why Scenario Selling Is Inevitable

Given the pace and volume of change, learning is the key to staying competitive for both individuals and organizations. The biggest challenge today is not getting an education, it’s keeping one. We need to keep updating our knowledge and skills throughout our entire working lives.

To succeed today, all businesses and their employees must continually reshape themselves, shift, and flex to fit a rapidly changing world. They must adapt, adjust, and adopt new technologies and procedures.

Why Scenario Selling Is Imperative

Technological advances are changing the way people create value. Salespeople must adapt and evolve if they are to survive. Professional selling has evolved from consultative to collaborative. ‘Selling to’ is out. ‘Selling with’ is in. Salespeople need new knowledge, skills, and tools to make this transition.

Scenario Selling describes the theory, methods, and tools required to collaborate effectively with customers. It redefines the role of the salesperson and the skills required to survive and thrive in the Digital Age.

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© 2017 ScenarioSelling