Some of the key requisites of a great sales professional used to include in-depth product knowledge, experience and “the gift of the gab”.
Of course, much of this is as true today as it was decades ago. However, sales techniques have developed over the years and it is now recognised that behaviour styles also have a significant part to play in closing the deal, rather than relying on sales teams simply saying what it is they think the customer wants to hear.
The phrase “one size fits all” certainly doesn’t apply here. Everyone has an individual personality – how they communicate with people on a daily business and how they manage business interactions.
Matching your sales style to the other person’s personality can really reap rewards. However, that’s not to say that you as a sales professional need to alter your personality. You are who you are, after all. All this means is quite simply that you can place yourself at the top of your game by recognising how the other person wants to be communicated with, and adapt your selling style appropriately.
Sometimes, individual personalities do conflict and this can jeopardise any potential future negotiations. Some companies, who have been chasing a particularly important hot lead, may understand this and send along two sales professionals to a meeting – the original person and a colleague whose approach is a better fit for the prospect’s personality. However, this is a costly exercise and should be only reserved for the largest deals and potential clients, if absolutely required.
Preparation for the important meeting should begin by examining initial communication with the potential customer. How did they come across on the phone or on email? Informal and wordy or short and to the point? This observation is vital when preparing for that all important discussion with regards to selling style.
It may be that the customer places significant value on relationships within their business dealings, in which case you need to be prepared for perhaps several long discussions involving a great deal of small talk. Try not to seem too impatient – learn about and note their interests, so you can easily carry the conversation, yet bring it back to the point when necessary.
On the other hand, a more logical, analytical person may instead favour facts and figures, so why not prepare all the statistics, graphs and supporting information and perhaps send it to them before the meeting so they can make an educated purchasing decision?
Successful sales doesn’t mean trying to change your personality to suit the person – a tactic which is likely to fail. It simply involves recognising the customer’s personality and communicating with them in the way to which you know they’ll appreciate and respond favourably.