Recently I was having a conversation with a Business Associate about a variety of items. Although we are not in the same Industry, they asked me what Sales Methodology, I promoted and taught in my training. What I said next, I think caused them great pause. I said I promote a Commonsensical approach. After the call, my mind reached back to all the Sales training sessions I had attended over the years and what seemed to be the latest fad at the time that had been bought into as an organization and what was presented to us. There were many. The first training I had recollection of was Consultative Selling, then came Value Based Selling and finally Challenger training. All had various elements of merit but one thing they all had in common was they placed the salesperson in a box.
As much as anything 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 would be promoted when you might have stiff competition and where there is a less expensive alternative to your product. In this case you will try and sell the value your product delivers as a contrast to your competition to justify the price. Challenger Training might be given when you have a particular deadline to get to with a product where 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 perception about the selling company and the consultative process takes the buyer away from their focus on your product.
I thought deeper on all these trainings I had been through. They all served a purpose for a point in time of where I was in my career and what I was selling and the environment I was selling into at the time. But did they really change me as a seller? Today we have even more boxes for salespeople, grouping people into ever-expanding categories. Things like, The Instant Buddy, The Guru, The Consultant, The Networker, The Drive, The Expressive, The Repairman and my personal favorite, The Shopkeeper. All these labels do have some validity but everyone in sales usually finds their style and sticks with it. You are who you are. What is truer is that techniques can be learned to support your sales style which is what most Sales trainings do not address.
One example of a Sales Technique that I like to talk about whenever I can, is that of silence. Salespeople and silence, you would normally think, do not go together. But they do, and silence can be a huge tool on a sales call with your buyer at the appropriate time, particularly when you are delivering cost. When you get to this part of the conversation, I always liked to deliver the news and stop talking. This will be hard for most, as salespeople want to justify what they have just delivered. In reality you have no idea how the person at the other end of the transaction is about to react. Maybe they are ok with the cost? Maybe they are not? Let them tell you what’s on their mind and then react. But no matter what, do not speak until they do. Yes, there may be what seems like an unbearable period of silence. In person it is bad, on the phone it is worse, but don’t take the bait and interject, it will only be a few seconds. Not only does the silence give the prospect a chance to react but it gives you control of the process, a position you always want to be in. Sadly, in not one of the Sales Trainings that I mentioned earlier is this ever taught, but never was there a sales technique that help me close more business than silence.
Critical thinking is today a much sought-after commodity and it is driven by Common Sense. If I do this, what will my prospect do. If I say this, what might they say. What should I know, what do I need to know and even more basics like how should I act and maybe even dress? For me sales are primarily driven by Common Sense. Unfortunately, it cannot be bought or taught, you have to acquire it all on your own. So, if as a salesperson you lack common sense get it on your list of developmental skills as it will be a valuable tool you can call on again and again in a variety of sales situations. And when someone asks you what Sales Methodology your practice, you can say the Commonsensical Approach.
Roger McNamara Bio:
Roger is a 25+-year veteran of the Payments Industry, most recently as the Director of Business Development with American Express in the US. He has worked on the largest Acquisition targets for acceptance across multiple Industries and across the globe that include : Airlines, Communications, Technology, Cruise Lines, Entertainment, Fractional Jet, Freight, Government, Healthcare, Insurance, Oil & Gas, Residential Rent, Restaurants, QSR’s, Retail, Services, Supermarkets, Travel, Vehicle Sales, B2B and Wholesale. Over that time, he has sold more than $200 Billion worth of Card processing and became an expert in Bankcard Interchange and Discount Rates, how they are calculated and what merchant pay to accept Credit and how this is dramatically different from what they believe they pay. He is an expert in Merchant Statement analysis and payment processing and the rules and regulations associated with payments and the associations. Roger has also developed the insight for Merchant Services Salesforces and salesforces in general to be able to better position their products and gain share particularly in B2B. Let him show you how you can too. He can be reached at Guide2Interchange@gmail.com