Commonsensical Selling

Recently I was having a conversation with a Business Associate about various topics. We are not in the same Industry, and they asked me what Sales Methodology I promoted and taught in my training. I said that I promoted a Commonsensical approach, which seemed to cause them great pause. After the call, my mind flashed back to all the sales training sessions that I had attended over the years and the latest fads at the time that were presented to our organization. And there were many! The first training I recalled was Consultative Selling, then Value-Based Selling, and finally Challenger training. All had various elements of merit, but one thing they all had in common, they placed the salesperson in a box.

Sales Methodologies are implemented or attempted to be implemented into organizations to suit where the internal strategy is at a given time. For example, Value-Based Selling could be promoted when you might have stiff competition and there is a less expensive alternative to your product. In this case, you try to sell the value that your product delivers as a contrast to your competition to justify the price. Challenger Training might be utilized when you have a product deadline, and taking no for an answer, is just not an option. In this case, having your salespeople embrace the Challenger profile could shorten the sales cycle and deliver results. And finally, Consultative selling models might be adopted when you want your salespeople to be hyper-focused on the customer and their needs. You may also need to change your perception about the selling company, as the consultative process takes the buyer away from their focus on your product.

I thought deeper about the training methodologies I had learned over the years. They all served a purpose for that point in time in my career, for the product I was selling or the environment I was selling in. But did they really change me as a seller? Today we have even more boxes for salespeople, grouping people into ever-expanding categories. The Instant Buddy, The Guru, The Consultant, The Networker, The Drive, The Expressive, The Repairman, and my personal favorite, The Shopkeeper. All these labels have some validity, but salespeople usually find their style and stick with it. You are who you are. Techniques can be learned to support a sales style, but unfortunately, most sales training does not address this.