Thought Leadership on Creating a High Performing Sales Culture presented by Sandler Training Chartwell Seventeen Advisory Group.
Whether you are selling a complex product to a large enterprise or a simple “widget” to a homeowner, selling boils down to three things:
- Establishing a relationship built on trust, credibility and comfort
- Thorough qualification
- Tailoring a solution to the needs of the buyer and closing the sale
By playing three specific roles throughout the process, you will arrive at a successful outcome for both parties involved — the seller and the buyer.
Role #1: Chameleon
Your job in selling is to adjust your communication style to that of your buyer, not the other way around. Unfortunately, due to years of bad salespeople and tricky sales tactics, many buyers come with a “defensive wall” up. The more you remind them of these bad sales experiences, the more their walls go up. Therefore it is essential that you create a comfortable environment for your buyer. Just like the chameleon, which adapts its skin color to match its surroundings, a good salesperson adapts his or her communication style based on the “selling environment”. This can be something as simple as adjusting the pace and volume of your voice to match that of your prospect, or letting your prospect know up front that at the end of the conversation, it’s perfectly fine if he or she determines that there isn’t a good fit.
Role #2: Doctor
The last time you visited your doctor for an ailment, hopefully your doctor asked you a lot of questions to gather the information needed to come up with a treatment plan or cure. Like a good internal medicine practitioner, your role is to fully diagnose all aspects of the issue before you can develop the right solution.
Specifically there are three things you should examine before presenting your “cure”: pain, budget and decision. Let’s take a closer look at each:
- Pain. The first part of the process is identifying the gap between where your prospect is currently and where he or she wishes to be in the future.
- Budget. Once you have determined the issue and its underlying impacts, it is important to uncover whether your prospect is willing and able to make the appropriate investments into the solution.
- Decision. Finally, you need to understand your prospect’s decision-making style, his or her timeline for implementation, as well as other key stakeholders in the decision process who may become involved.
Role #3: Engineer
During this third and final phase of the selling process, your role as engineer is to use all of the information you gathered while you were in “doctor mode” and create the ideal solution to best address the needs of your buyer. Even though the temptation at this point might be to introduce other aspects of your product or service, you should stick to the course and discuss only the solutions that apply to the current situation. From here, closing should be a natural and easy next step, since the solution you’ve proposed came about through mutual collaboration between you and your buyer.
How effective are you in these three roles? Do you flexibly adapt to others’ styles, or does your strong style tend to shape your interactions? How curious are you with prospects, and do you ask enough of the right questions? What blind-spots might you have when assessing a problem? Additionally, how do you best think creatively and what are your sources for finding effective solutions? Effective selling is a skill set that requires ongoing development and adjustments in the way you work with and connect with prospective clients.