The way you answer this question and the selling style you employ may ultimately determine your success.
In recent an article posted in the Harvard Business Review titled “Selling Is Not About Relationships”, the authors (Matthew Dixon & Brent Adamson) share their findings and conclusions after conducting a global study of over 6000 sales reps across 100 companies in multiple industries. The results and the subsequent chatter have created quite the debate in the selling community.
The study shows that every sales professional falls into one of five distinct profiles.
Hard Worker: High activity level with go the extra mile mentality.
Lone Wolves: extremely confident, my way or the highway type.
Problem Solvers: Johnny on the spot, great follow up and very reliable.
Challengers: Thoroughly understand their customers business, take control of the conversation and push their ideas.
With the new world of social selling you might be surprised to learn the Relationship Builders were the biggest losers when it comes to sales success. Just as surprisingly, the Challengers selling style made up the largest percent of top-performers, outperforming the others at nearly 40%. The reasons cited; Challengers teach their customers, they tailor their sales messages, and they take control of the sale.
Now if you don’t consider yourself a Challenger don’t push the panic button just yet. There are numerous factors that determine one’s sales success. Yes, times are hard but when you really look at success it basically comes down to what I call the Three T’s. Timing, Talent and Territory. Just like a three legged stool, if one leg is removed, you going down. You can have all the talent in the world but if the timing is off or if you’re in the wrong territory , the results (success) won’t be there.
To be successful in sales today you need to have an adaptive hybrid style. One that leverages all five profiles. You need to be highly motivated and self-directed with a lot of confidence (Lone Wolf). You need to work smarter and put in the extra effort (Hard Worker). You also want to have an intimate understanding of your customers business, their objectives, and provide unique insight to their business (Challenger). You need to be reliable and available for your clients (Problem Solver) and above all your need to leverage your relationships to get things done (Relationship Builder).
Each of the profiles mentioned are valid selling styles but it’s your success that matters. Embrace the best of each profile and make it your own. Remember there are all kinds of people in the world and they all like to buy the way they want to buy. If you sell the same way to all of your prospects you just might be limiting your success. Create an adaptive hybrid style and adapt it to your prospects buying style.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments.
by Bruce Zimmerman
Bruce Zimmerman is a seasoned Sales and Sales Management professional who is passionate about sales and helping other achieve success. He shares his thoughts, perspectives, and experiences on a variety of topics related to sales, sales leadership, and sales enabled technology on his blog, www.brucezim.wordpress.com.