The Sales Executive Council’s research showed this is the BEST way to sell

18th August 2015

The Sales Executive Council (SEC) found that salespeople behave in one of five ways, depending on the situation. Here’s what they found

(As you read this, ask yourself two questions – “Which am I?” and “Which is best?”)

The relationship builder

  • Gets along with everyone
  • Builds strong advocates in organisations
  • Is generous in giving time to others

The reactive problem solver

  • Reliably responds to internal and external stakeholders
  • Ensures that all problems are solved
  • Detail-orientated

The lone wolf

  • A bit of a maverick – follows their own instincts
  • Self-assured
  • Can be difficult to control

The hard worker

  • Always willing to go the extra mile
  • Doesn’t give up easily
  • Self-motivated
  • Interested in feedback and development

The challenger

  • Has a different view on the world
  • Understands the customer’s business
  • Loves to debate, often creating “positive tension” with the customer to help arrive at the best outcome

The two questions again:

  1. Which are you?
  2. Which is best?

The SEC found that most salespeople were relationship builders. The idea being that, the better someone likes you, the more likely they are to buy from you.

But they found that the most successful salespeople were challengers. In other words, those who provoke customers’ thinking.

So, whereas the relationship builder often seeks to agree with the customer to enhance the relationship; the challenger often seeks to disagree, to provoke discussion to ensure they arrive at the best solution (The rationale: customers doesn’t always know what’s best for them. As Henry Ford famously said “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse”)

The simplest way to ensure you challenge others is to teach them something. To make them think “Well I’d never thought of it like that”. When this happens, they see you as value-adding. And they want more of it. They seek you out again. Great for them, and for you.

A final question for you:

Have you found this tip useful?

Well, I guess you will have…

… if you thought “well I’d never thought of it like that”

Action Point

Who’s the most important person to impress today? And what can you teach them, so they think “well I’d never thought of it like that?”

Challenge their thinking (in an engaging way – don’t annoy them!). See if the two of you can come up with a better solution. You’ll both be delighted you did.

And if you like thinking “well, I’d never thought of it like that before”, you’ll be saying it hundreds of times at my seminar with Drayton Bird on 20 October 2015. It’s taking place at Churchill’s War Rooms, London – a great place to spend the day, network with successful people and learn new, proven ways to grow your business/career. Here’s more blurb about it.

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