Professional Selling Skills (PSS), which I was trained in during 1980, is still the basis of most Sales Training today. Its origins are far older; they can be easily traced to Paterson at NCR since the start of the 20th century. They were taken by his protégé Thomas Watson to IBM and distributed throughout IT and Xerox Office Products, where it became PSS.
PSS is based upon two premises:
This gave rise to the "Steps in the Sale" Movement. .
Miller Heiman dominating the process planning, steps and stages,
Secondly, that Sales Behaviours can influence Buyer's Behaviours.
This is BEHAVIOURISM or content, HRG (Huthwaite Research Group) did the Classic research in the 1970's resulting in SPIN®, Problem/Solution based selling.
These two ‘schools’ have divided into BEHAVIOURS during the Sales Visit and
the PROCESS and ‘Activities’ during the Steps of the Sale.
Both made token recognition of the other, and both have had many imitators, adapters and users. Much 'in-house' training is based upon one or other of these two classics.
Since 2000, both schools were under-fire from Sales Force Automation (SFA), and
more significantly a complete revision of the Buyer's Process.
The idea behind SFA is automation of tasks and activities, works fine in Fast Food restaurants but is far more difficult to apply to Complex Selling. It gives Managers a veneer of control, while in fact taking them out of the Marketplace. It replaces ‘Feel’ with DATA,
more DATA than you need, want or can use, so much DATA you need other software to display it graphically!
Consultancy Selling, Solution selling, Key Account Selling are based upon the same a false premise of an obsolete BUYING Model. Cognitive Psychology has remodelled - Brands, how Buyers decide, how Buyers react and how Buyers are stimulated.
The advent of fMRI scanning has given new insights and
demands a complete re-think of Selling Skills and Sales Process.
The premises are still the same, an identifiable Buying Model and Sales Behaviours, which complement the Buying Process. What has changed by Science and Research is both the Process and the Behaviours.