Albert Einstein's Theory of Selling

Did you know that Albert Einstein had a theory on selling? He said, “Doing things the same way you always have and expecting the results to be different is insanity.” He may not have realized it at the time, but what better theory to apply to selling? Selling is complex and we face many challenges. We think that doing what we’ve always done is a strategy for success. Yet the choices we make are critical to our success. As your upcoming new year unfolds, what are you planning to do? Is it more insanity or getting different results?

Doing it. What do you want to do different? Sometimes when we’re busy doing our job we lose sight of where our challenges are. What has stressed you? Think about all the times you thought last year “if only I could do X,” “if only I knew more about Y,” or “there’s got to be a better way to do this.” Maybe it was putting a bid proposal together, addressing the time inefficiencies of business travel, or improving your use of technology. Remember those thoughts and make a plan to incorporate them as goals in your 2000 selling. Write your goals down, set a due date and quantify how you will achieve them.

For some people, it’s hard to be creative and come up with new ideas for change. Get others to help you achieve your goals. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are enough salespeople, books and Internet sites that can be ready sources of guidance. Expect that it may take time to see results. Just remember, if you’re going to be complaining to yourself this year about something you faced last year, you’re contradicting Einstein’s Theory of Selling.

Showing it. We can plan to do things differently for our customers as well. How do you show your customers you appreciate them? Lunches are fine, but everyone does them. What else could you do that sets you apart that also builds rapport with your customers? When you read the newspaper and other journals, are you looking for articles that are of particular interest to select clients? What business book (or other book) could you recommend to your customer that would enhance his/her job performance? Each time you send information that helps your customers, you are also saying you care about them and their business.

What about our customers’ expectations? We certainly demonstrate by our past actions what our customers can expect from us as suppliers. We also know the results we have gotten from our behavior. If these results are what you want, keep doing more of the same. If they’re not, Albert would say to do something different.

Now that the new year is in view, you can vow to make it a different one. You can choose what you do in your selling. You can set your own expectations for results. Then later next year when you examine your results, remember that selling is all relative. It’s relative to your choices and your expectations. Even Einstein would agree.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Selling. Copyright: Maura Schreier-Fleming

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