Selling is certainly an art. One does need a rather thick hide just to put aside one’s ego to approach strangers in an attempt to make a sale. I have never been good in sales and would never volunteer for such a position. However with the changing Asian business climate it is a skills that one certainly needs to master.
The way selling occurs is different from yesteryear with the arrival of Digital age however one still needs to go through the cycle of the Marketing Mix Activities ( 12 steps) to get from getting a customer to closing the deal
1st stage ( Hunting) Prospecting
- Generating Leads
- Qualifying Leads
- Pre-Approach Activities
- Making Approaches
2nd Stage ( Winning) Meetings
- Arousing interest
- building trust
- closing attempts
3rd stage ( farming) Services
- Service contract
- asking referrals
- relationship magement
- customers advocacy
The 1st 6 steps are considered TRANSNATIONAL while the remaining 6 are Consultative.
There are a few images that one needs to take note in sales.
- Inner Image
This refers to your emotional needs drivers, values and believes and personal objectives as a seller.
- Seen Sales Image
This refers to what you project yourself as – a hunter, actor, counselor, architect, farmer??
- Assumed Sales Image
This is what your prospect sees and wants you to portray.
- Experienced Sales Image
What the customer experiences in the end. This may meet or be different from what he has in mind. If what the salesman projects is not what the customer expects a deal may not be made and there maybe a bad impression on the salesperson in the mind of the potential customer.It can either be a match between the seen sales image and the assumed sales image or a mis-match and no sale is done. ( NO DEAL!!)If the salesman had a good experience he maybe encouraged to do better however he may face rejection and feel compelled to give up instead.
- Expected Sales Image
This is what the boss expects the salesman to project to potential customers based on the type of service/ product they are selling. Eg: Door to Door salesman selling encyclopedia in the past. More then often there is a mismatch with managements expected sales image with what works in today’s world. This causes a lot of stress to the salesman and he has to match up to the image expected.
- Proven Sales image ( Modeling Best Sales Practices)This refers to what is expected by the potential client based on the image known by customers. In certain industries there are certain images which the sales person must project to keep in line to the selling practices of the industry. These are highly regulated in certain industries.
Not many people make it to the top of the pyramid in selling and it takes lots of experience and hard work to climb up the ladder.
Ken Bay in his book Everyone can sell mentioned that they are 6 sales profiles
- The hunter
Out there getting the sales Eg: Door to door salesman, Insurance sales, Outdoor products, recruiter, property consultants.
Pro- Are good at cold calling and not afraid of rejections. Work well in small groups.
Cons- Is not for the introvert and can be extremely physically and mentally exhausting leading to burnouts. It is time consuming and may not be financially profitable in the long run. (Hit and GO style)
This sales profile is normally motivated by $$ and may excel in selling” fast moving” products to human traffic market with a well crafted script.
- The Painter
Capturing and converting prospects imaginations Eg: Project manager, exhibition sales and marketing personals.
Pros- Works well in small teams, meticulous, expressive and imaginative able to empathise with potential customers to give them a vision of what the product/ service can do for them. They specalise in developing sales kits on specific markets.Cons- May have self-limiting believes, stubborn, tool dependent, not flexible on unfamiliar grounds and struggle if not guided properly.
People classified in this profile are able to tell stories, crack jokes and evoke a buyer’s imagination to lead to sales.
- The Actor
Getting their attention and bringing them in. Eg: Project salesman, Training and consultancy services
Pros- Can effectivel do B2b sales as they are animated, have great showmanship, self- belief, persuasive, good presentation skills and are result oriented.Cons- Can be disorganised, random and impatient. May oversell and under deliver, assumptions are based on own perception and beliefs. May drift out of sales track.
Actors are very flexible with product types and work well as a team in helping the company to excel.
- The Counselor
knowing what you want and getting what you want and are normally in positions like Customer Service (After Sales), Counsellor, Service Industry, Financial Planning, Sole Proprietor (Doctors, Lawyers etc)Pro- They are sympathetic, people-oriented, patient, trust builder, have high commitment and deliver sales promises. They are able to manage difficult customers, provide after-sales services and will excel in the service industry.
Cons- These people can have slow sales results as it takes time to build trust leading to a prolonged sales process, they can be too dependent on their team for support. Over dependent on past information and waiting for things to happen.
Counselors are important for their supportive role in a team. They are good in building rapport and trust.
- The Architect
Slow, Steady and sure will win the sales. Eg: Financial planner, Technical Sales TrainerPro- Are very systematic and progressive towards the desired outcome. They are highly focused on being organized. They are strong on building sales system, able to follow set guidelines and staying within the boundaries while getting the desired results.
Cons- they can be impatient, inflexible, risk adverse and possess high urgency for outcome, may not work well as a team player. They can get frustrated face denial when outcomes are unclear.
Architects can provide a clear sales vision and plan for the organisation.
- The Farmer
Growing the case to its full sales potential, over and over and harvesting it. Eg: Property consultant, Financial Adviser
Pros- Is customer oriented, focused on repeated business, relationship and able to manage difficult customers with varying engagement. They are pro in up/cross selling and giving afer sales service. They help build advocacy of sales.Cons- Expensive to maintain, not willing to get referrals, may not perform as well as expected and dependent on resources available. Easily poached by competitors/ clients.
His classification differs from the standard 5 type of sales profiles as shown in the picture below
I do not fully agree with his classification and feel that there for optimal sales a combination of the different profiles would be more suitable. However as I am not in the sale industry so I can’t say who is right or wrong, you can decide by yourself how accurate his representation of sales profiles are compared to the norm and my understanding by yourself.
To me if one wants to be an effective salesperson one needs to be able to alter his behavior depending on the demands of the potential customer. It always pays to have a set of leading questions ready so that the sales profile behavior can be altered on the fly depending on the environment and type of potential customer that one meets. One can’t stay forever pigeon holed in a mode Ie: Hunter to be able to do well in an ever changing playing field.
I did the analysis that was on his website and ended up as my main profile being an Architect while the sub profile was Actor.
I found it an interesting combination as to me it meant that I was apt to give a very comprehensive sales presentation with good after sales service to potential customers. This would increase the opportunity of recurrent sales and also referral sales for every sale that I can make.
I’m still very hesitant when it comes to sales as it’s not my forte however it is a skill which I hope that I be able to hone in time to come so that I’ll be able to build up my residual income.
Do you think that you are able to sell?