Every business owner and self-employed professional is, in addition, the organization’s primary sales representative. Organization leaders must be effective and enthusiastic sales professionals. The leader’s selling skills and communication style play a pivotal role in customer acquisition and retention.
Sales process gurus claim that only three selling styles consistently produce sales. In fact, based on observations of 800 sales professionals engaged in various types of selling situations, 63 percent of selling styles are prone to undermine the process and result in fewer sales. Ouch!
You may realize that there are two discrete parts to every sale. In part one, the seller establishes that s/he is a competent and trustworthy professional who is able to meet the prospective buyer’s expectations. In part two, the seller persuades the prospective buyer of the value of the products or services offered and convinces him/her to buy now.
It is imperative that sellers develop first-rate communication skills. Presented here is an overview of several typical selling styles, some top-notch and others less so. Do you recognize your style?
These pros make selling seem effortless. They have superior product knowledge. They are on top of what is happening in the marketplace and they are aware of how their product compares to the competition. They understand the customer’s objectives and concerns when using their product or service. Experts communicate precisely the features and benefits that have the most meaning to the customer. They effectively answer questions and objections that the customer may pose. They earn the customer’s trust and respect. As a result, they generate more sales than most.
Depend on the Closer to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. They’ve got the magic words that can salvage a sale that is in danger of going down the tubes, because they are particularly adept at finessing tough questions and objections. On the flip side, their smooth-talking style can sometimes turn off clients.
Sales professionals who employ this style are known for superior listening and problem solving skills that earn them trust and respect. Consultants excel at positioning their product as the solution that will meet client needs. Their shortcoming is that they tend to neglect valuable case studies and client success stories that can help clinch still more sales. This type has the greatest potential to ascend to the Expertgroup.
Storytellers love to provide case studies because they are talkers and they love a good story! The downside is, they often talk past the sale and waste much valuable time in unproductive sales calls.
Members of this group are earnest, enthusiastic, know their product inside-out and believe in it deeply. Typically, Focusers are new to sales and therefore lack the experience that promotes confidence. Focusers are known to exhaustively detail every product feature and benefit, because they haven’t yet learned to ask the customer questions about his/her priorities.
Narrators know the product cold and they’re well-versed in the nuances of the competitive landscape, but they are overly dependent upon a sales script, so they deliver the dreaded “canned” sales presentation. Many, but by no means all, Narrators are new to sales. They, too, lack confidence and cling tenaciously to marketing materials as they present. Members of this group do not respond well to challenging questions or objections.
Socializers may initially charm clients with friendly banter about various interesting and amusing subjects, but these folks forget their objective and don’t know how to get down to business. They make many friends, but few sales.
As far as practitioners of this selling style are concerned, a sales call is primarily a price negotiation. They are sometimes able to score big wins and they rarely concede much. Unsurprisingly, clients can be turned off by their often combative approach.
So how can you join the Best Sales Professional group? Incorporate these strategies into your sales presentations and watch your success ratio increase:
- Stay on message. Every sales presentation should convey a single major theme.
- While conveying the primary theme, limit yourself to three main points that focus on customer priorities and preferences. Let your words paint a picture of how your product or service will deliver what the customer values most.
- Use case studies or stories that illustrate how a customer with a similar profile and objectives successfully uses your product or service. Present a case study that is clear, concise and compelling and will encourage the customer to envision meeting expectations and building a successful business relationship with you.