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Sales Advice from Pablo Picasso

Author: Mr. Inside Sales
Posted: January 11th, 2020

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I read a great quote from Picasso (yes, the famous painter) the other day, and it really resonated with my sales philosophy. Here it is:

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

You’re probably wondering what that has to do with sales, and it’s simple: Most sales reps’ instincts are to adlib when they get an objection or when they get into a sales situation that isn’t going their way.

The problem with this is they haven’t first learned the rules of proper objection handling—like questioning an objection first, or isolating an objection, etc.—so instead they just wing it. And if your team is doing this now, then I’ll bet you’re not meeting your monthly revenue targets.

For years, I’ve been teaching and training sales teams to put in the time and effort to learn the proper sales techniques first, and then, after they understand and have mastered the fundamentals, they can “adapt” them to each particular prospect or situation.

Here is a quick example:

A common objection in sales is the, “I have to show this to my (boss, manager, partner, etc.).” How does your sales team handle this?

The “rule” a pro follows is to isolate this objection to make sure it isn’t a smokescreen hiding other objections like, “It’s too much money,” or “I can get a better deal elsewhere,” etc.

Because pros know the rule above, they can then “break it like an artist,” by adapting their rebuttal to each prospect. This can include:

“I understand, just out of curiosity, what is your take on this now?”


“I’m with you, let me ask you this, though: If your partner says ‘do whatever you think is best’, what would you tend to do?”


“If your partner could go either way, which way are you leaning now?”


“And if your partner asked you what you thought he should do, what would your answer be?”

This is the “art” of handling objections. Unfortunately, most sales reps and sales teams have never been taught the rules or fundamentals of proper selling by phone, so they adlib, lose sales, and get discouraged. And as a result, your company misses its revenue numbers.

The solution to this is to invest the time, money, and effort to learn and master core inside sales techniques.

Further resources are available in the Mr. Inside Sales blog by clicking here.


Frontline Reps, Cold Calling, Objection Handling, Phone Sales, Prospecting, Coaching, Sales Tips, Sales Training


Coaching, Cold Calling, Sales Skills, Prospecting, Best Practices, Examples