Vary Your Selling Style to Fit Different Customers and Situations

Posted on 03/01/2006 in Selling Skills

Vary Your Selling Style to Fit Different Customers and Situations 

Identifying your customer's natural style and appropriately adjusting your own selling style in response is the key to building long-term customer relationships.  Average salespeople simply rely on their "natural" selling style. 

Top performing salespeople know their own style well and know how to adjust in order to build stronger relationships with different customers.  The essence of selling style flexibility is knowing when to use each style. 

In general, a sales call tends to go well when the style of the salesperson matches the style of the customer.  During a typical sales call, a combination of selling styles can be used effectively.  The best sales professionals vary their style to fit the customer and sales situation.  Flexibility is key!

Four Selling Styles

Collaborative Sellers tend to ask questions, listen actively, brainstorm with the customer, strive for partnerships, and value long-term relationships.  They genuinely solicit input and suggestions from the customer.  The best collaborative sellers are naturally good at expressing empathy.  For many customers, this style works well to build and strengthen relationships.

In a phrase, "We're in this together."

Technical Sellers view themselves as the expert, like to talk about features and benefits, make recommendations, problem solve and are perceived as rational and objective.  The best technical sellers sell on value and can quantify their value proposition.   Customers who are detail-oriented and who value a knowledgeable salesperson respond well to this style.

In a phrase, "Let me tell you about my product or service."

Closers are good at closing and generating results.  They tend to be more assertive and action-oriented, will ask for the order, and may push for an immediate sale even at the expense of a long-term relationship. The most successful closers are also good negotiators.  In Essenes:  quid pro quo.  Certain types of customers, notably higher-level decision-makers, prefer the directness and decisiveness of this style. 

Reluctant Sellers are sensitive to signs of rejection or failure and will err on the side of ending a sales call too soon, rather than create hostility or risk rejection by the customer.  To be clear, this style should NOT be your primary selling style.  However, there are some sales situations where the most productive action is to take a break or reschedule.

In a phrase, "Think abut it and we'll talk again next time."

Learn more by visiting our Essential Selling Skills workshop page and our Online Selling Skills Series