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Paint Like Me – The Art of Sales

What do Pablo Picasso, Leonardo Di Vinci and Vincent van Gogh all have in common? They each had a unique perspective, point-of-view and talent. Instead of trying to be like their peers, they worked with their own talents and stood out.


Likewise, most people don’t succeed when trying to replicate what makes someone else unique. It’s surprising then that this top-down, “paint like me” strategy is how many companies try to scale sales. Sales managers often look to boost sales by replicating the efforts of senior sales talent or the founding thought leader instead of working to replicate the more tactical elements of sales first.


I was thinking about this recently as I attended a Wine and Canvas event. If you’ve never been to one, Wine and Canvas is a business that caters to groups who come together for an art lesson and a glass of wine.


The owners of Wine and Canvas know that they aren’t trying to create Picassos out of their guests. Instead, they have mastered the ability to scale art, and to make people feel good about it. Wine and Canvas breaks down the process of art in a way that makes each of us feel like a budding artist.


What does art have to do with sales? Both are processes that can be replicated.


Teachers at Wine and Canvas present the picture that guests will try to paint–a tree, a flower or a bowl of fruit–then provide a structured process to guide guests through the painting. The idea isn’t for the paintings to all look like the original, but for each individual to come away with their version.


In sales, the process should be the same. The picture you are replicating is the message that’s created to tell the story about a successful client case study, including the challenge and how it was solved for a client. The message is the same for new SDRs and eliminates the need to train them to do discovery and diagnosis on their own.


Just as the brushes, paint color and canvas are the equipment for artists, segments, scripts, and CRM are the equipment for sales reps. Providing structure and guidance about how to align the pre-determined messages by segments and how to measure in a CRM system will allow the team to start to feel like budding artists in sales.


Once the instructor has laid the foundation and structure for the paintings, then guests can start playing with color. The instructor gives some basic guidance for mixing colors and then lets guests create their own. This is where painters fill in the lines and start to create some unique flare to their paintings. The same is true for starting to introduce the art of objection handling by persona. Each SDR can start to mold to their unique style of conversing with prospects while still maintaining the brand.


In the end, everyone has created a work of art that has similarities in color, image and size, yet they are unique. While they are all a little different, they are all art. More importantly, in a short time, each novice artist in the room feels a bit more confident in his or her artistic abilities. Some might even discover a new talent.


Who knows, maybe one will become the next Picasso of sales

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About Jenny Vance

Jenny Vance is one of the leading women entrepreneurs in Indianapolis. She is the co- founder of LeadJen, a lead generation company, which she has grown to nearly 100 employees serving hundreds of companies across the United States, ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500. She also is co-founder of Salesvue (formerly Jesubi), a CRM software…