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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.

One example of a Sales Technique that I like to talk about whenever I can is silence. Salespeople and silence, you would assume, do not go together. But they do. And silence can be a key tool at the appropriate time in a sales call. Particularly when you are discussing cost. When you get to this part of the conversation, I always like 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, and on the phone, it is worse. But don’t take the bait and interject, it will only last 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 training sessions that I mentioned earlier was this ever taught. Never was there a sales technique that helped me close more business than silence.

Critical thinking is a much sought-after commodity that 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 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 on your own. So as a salesperson, if you feel you need to enhance your common sense approach, get it on your list of developmental skills. It will be a valuable tool you can call on in a variety of sales situations. And when someone asks you what sales methodology your practice is, 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

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