Selling to Different Behavioural Styles

Have you ever been really excited about something and ready to buy and then the urge suddenly faded away? Or have you ever presented a highly compelling new offering to a client who got really interested by the different options and choices you presented, only to find that in the end nothing happened – no sale.

Why? Often it is because we think that all people are like we are. We think that everyone sees the world through the same blue goggles that we do. If we get excited by lots of different and compelling options we think that they will to. Here is the problem: a lot of people (as many of 40% of all people) have a preference for procedures rather than for options. Most people have a dominant preference for one or the other and some have a preference for both. What are the implications for influencing others and for sales?

1) Options Preference: People who have an Options preference are motivated by opportunities and possibilities to do something in a different way. They are thrilled by unlimited possibilities and ideas.

When selling to an Options person the goal is to get them to think in terms of possibilities. Give them lots of alternatives. They want to examine all the reasons why they should buy. An Options person is motivated by choice, unlimited choice.

Don’t make the fatal mistake of using this approach on someone with a Procedures Preference. Want to know how you can avoid doing this?

2) Procedures Preference: People with a Procedures preference like to follow set ways. They are interested in how to do things, not in why things are the way they are.

When selling to a Procedures person the goal is to get them started on a procedure because they are compelled to complete it. They want to see a clear step-by-step procedure to follow. They don’t want to be shown several ways of doing something. They want one way, the right way. Show them how to buy.

Identifying Behavioral types:

Options people: Are excited by choice and possibility. Have trouble following set procedures

Procedures people: Prefer to follow tried-and-true set ways. Get stumped when they have no procedure to follow.

Influencing Language:

Options: Opportunities; variety; unlimited possibilities; lots of choice; options; break the rules

Procedures: The right way; how to; tried and true; speak in procedures: first ….then …. lastly

Mobile Phone Retail Sales example:

“The first step is, I’ll show you the latest mobile phones that we have available today that match your usage criteria. Then you can take a good look at them, I will show you how they work and you can try them out. You can then decide which one you like best. After that, I’ll explain how the payment plan works and set up your new phone in our system for you. Then all you need to do is sign your new Service Agreement. Lastly, you can take your brand new mobile phone home with you today, all set up, fully operational and ready to go. You can start using it immediately without any hassle or delay. Are you ready to get started?”

Based on ideas from the book “Words That Change Minds. Mastering the language of influence.” by Shelle Rose Charvet


Sales Performance Motivation

Getting the best out of your sales organization over the long term means building a dynamic, results focused, forward looking and positively motivated team. As sales team with one common and over arching goal that is totally committed to making the numbers. Sales team performance is part sales skills and part attitude. Finding the winning mix that enables your sales team to liberate their full potential and over-achieve is the key to success in Sales Management today.

SaaS Sales Acceleration 2.0

Everything is moving rapidly and irreversibly to the web. Capturing customers via the online channel is the new center of gravity for Sales and Marketing. Helping today’s customers to find your services online, self-diagnose, enter into a conversation with your company and other users, thought leaders and recommenders. Then try and buy online is the key to accelerating time to revenue.


The Buyer’s Journey

The Sales Cycle is dead. It has out lived its usefulness. Why? Because the sales cycle is all about us and our interests and not about the customer or his/her interests. The sales cycle is something that we do to the customer and not for the customer. We have all seen sales cycles that were driven by internal factors such as making the end of the quarter number or additional discounts designed to stimulate demand to offset a short fall in sales. This is about us and not them.

Consider the various steps of the sales cycle: Prospecting, Qualifying, Needs Identification, Proposing, Negotiating and Close. This language describes where we are in a series of actions that result in ‘closing’ the prospect.

The world has changed, things have moved on. Today, success in sales is all about understanding how people make buying decisions. The Sales Cycles has been replaced by the Buyer Decision Process. The good news is that there are 5 simple steps in the Buyer Decision Process and they always occur in exactly the same sequence. So then success in sales today comes from understanding where your prospects and customers are in the Buyer Decision Process and helping them move to the next decision step. Success in sales today means helping people to buy. ie. Put yourself on the same side of the table as them. This means replacing our traditional selling-centric paradigm with a buying-centric paradigm. Continue Reading →


Unlocking Audience Participation

Have you ever sat through a really bad presentation, meeting or workshop? I guess we all have and more often than we wish to remember. What was it that made it bad? Now think about a really great meeting, workshop or presentation that you have attended recently. What made it great? What were those things that made it successful? Somewhere on your list will be involvement and audience participation. The signs of a highly successful meeting are the quality of discussion, the exchange of ideas and points of view, and the sharing of knowledge and experience, in short audience participation.

How do you unlock audience participation? Continue Reading →


Adapt your Selling Style to Today’s Buyer Thinking

Buyer thinking has changed, forever. Pre-economic crisis buyer thinking rewarded relationship based selling. When the economy was strong, growing and things were relatively predictable, buyers rewarded continuity and business relationships.

Today Decision Makers are reassessing every spending and investment decision they make. They are looking for ways to reduce, delay or cancel purchases and investment decisions and they are seeking certainty that desired results will be achieved as planned. Maintaining a predominantly relationship focused sales approach will not cut much sway or add relevant value to buyers with a ‘spend less, delay or cancel’ mindset. To succeed in helping today’s buying decision makers you must move your style to a results focused approach.

3 Steps to Mastering Results-Focused Selling: Continue Reading →


From Chaos to Clarity

Success in sales comes from creating clarity in the mind of your customer. Clarity in understanding the problem to be solved, clarity in evaluating the possible solutions available and clarity in determining the real value to the business that each solution provides today and in the future.

Clarity helps the customer to move forward with commitment and confidence. How do you create clarity? The first step is to listen. Warning: Do not be deceived by the apparent simplicity or obviousness of this critical first step. Listening is the foundation of success in sales. Listen intently while the customer describes his or her current situation, and then describes their future desired state so that you can help the customer to quantify the size of the gap between the two and move your collective thinking to how to close the gap. The key to success here depends on your ability to listen intently and this means being able to temporarily suspend your self-interest and avoid doing all the talking. Listening is an underdeveloped skill in many sales professionals today and listening is vital to being able to create clarity for your customer. 3 simple steps to follow to create clarity: Continue Reading →


Quantifying Value – The Ultimate Sales Tool

Understanding your own value – the value of your products and services – and being able to connect that value to your customer’s business drivers is what makes customers want to buy. Customers want the benefits, the business benefits that your product or service can create and deliver to their business.

In today’s business climate customers are critically reviewing and reassessing their businesses, rethinking their options, re-allocating resources and re-prioritizing their business strategies. You can assist your customers in this process by helping them to identify and quantify value gaps or value opportunities, demonstrating how value can be created, implemented and then measured to ensure that the value realised meets or exceeds plan.

Value maximisation followed by value assurance is what your customers desperately want and need today. Show him or her how they can achieve these two goals and you will create more than a customer, you will create a business partner for life.

Price Advantage -> Product Advantage -> Competitive Advantage -> Value Advantage!!! Continue Reading →


Managing Your Mindset. Your #1 Challenge in 2009

Woody Allen said “80 percent of success is showing up.”
Thinking about it, this is very practical advice, and for people in sales a good rule to live by. You can’t influence, persuade, or sell yourself or your ideas if you aren’t sitting in front of the person you need to influence. Now ask yourself this.

How often have you chosen to simply send an email or make a phone call rather than holding to a face-to-face meeting?

Essentially you are choosing between sending your message vs personally delivering your message. Using email and the phone is easier for sure. However, it is also easier for the other person to choose to ignore, misunderstand or fail to take the desired action in response to your message. Less investment in time and effort equates to less commitment to influence. So, showing up wins? Yes, no contest. But, I think that there is a critical and unstated assumption here. Let me explain. Showing up, how and in what state of mind? Showing up when you are unprepared, uncommitted, de-motivated, tired, or sick means that we may have been better off sending an email or making a phone call. Showing up when you are well prepared: having a plan, being fully committed and having a positive mental attitude is what will deliver success. Continue Reading →


Selling in an Economic Downturn

“When the going gets tough the tough get going.” – Joseph P. Kennedy (JFK’s Father)

We are entering a period of enormous change and uncertainty. We are witnessing the emergence of a new world order and a new business era. The Financial Crisis will impact the global economy, but where, when and by how much we don’t yet know. One thing is for sure. The “New World” will be less tolerant and less forgiving of much of our current “Old World” sales practices. In a downturn, customers will reassess their activities, expenditures, suppliers and business relationships to see where they can make savings, streamline their business and find new levels of operational efficiency to drive down costs. This presents the New Era Sales Professional with an unparalleled opportunity to take the lead by helping guide their customers through this reassessment process.

A simple and effective way to move your thinking to a NESP (New Era Sales Professional) is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What will help my customer’s business in the new world economy?
  • How can I leverage my understanding of my customer’s business, my knowledge of their industry and my products/services to do this?

A Five Point Plan to protect your existing business and maximize your sales in an economic downturn: Continue Reading →