People sell how they buy
People sell how they buy explains one of the problems frequently encountered in sales training. Salespeople do miss elements or have blind spots in the sales process based upon what they feel sales is and is not.
There are 3 components to the understanding this process:
- The sales training and knowledge the salesperson has will influence the sales process
- The personality and or beliefs the salesperson holds about sales in general can make or break the sales process
- How salespeople make purchases in their own daily life influences their ability to sell and overcome objections.
These three items combined do play into the action salespeople make when they are out in the field selling. The people sell how they buy idea is much more than just a few concepts placed together. Salespeople are largely rules by the three ideas about selling style and abilities listed previously.
Sales trainers for the most part treat sales training as a one size fits all event and then wonder why they are not able to get the same results for everyone.
The focus on people sell how they buy
Most sales training does not take into account asking salespeople what their buying style is or what they do.
The average sales trainer will bring students into a room and start presenting without having any idea the style needed to present to.
There are really three styles of buyers and they will be introduced as well as the main underlying factors of people sell how they buy.
Your buying style is your selling style
Sales training can only take salespeople so far. There are all sorts of great techniques and strategies to employ while out in the field it may be tough to choose from all of them.
One of the underlying causes of most salespeople’s failure is they revert back to their own buying style. A salesperson buying style tends to become their selling style.
In other words, people sell how they buy or you sell how you buy.
As an example if a salesperson struggles with being put under pressure they will have a tough time pressuring the buyer.
A salesperson who likes short presentation will tend to give a short presentation.
A salesperson will sell their product how they would buy or they say what they would like to hear if in the buyers’ shoes.
Your own buying process has more to do with your sales process than you could ever imagine.
Many times salespeople will enroll in great training only to discard the parts of the process because they are uncomfortable to their own buying style. There is a mismatch of sorts for their comfort zone and the strategies they could use.
For the most part what is uncomfortable for a salesperson typically isn’t performed or thought about. These processes may be role played with a sales manager or trainer but in the real world they are discarded and not used. Salespeople role play how they sell in the real world. Its not uncommon to hear a salesperson say “I don’t do that in the field” but they do.
You play how you practice and you practice how you play, this is true in sports and in sales as well.
Salespeople may have a belief of what sales is and they may be wrong. Sales may be a fable in their mind meaning they think they know what sales it but they do not. Doing the same process over and over again can hurt salespeople because they get bored and want to change the process.
It is easy to want to do a short presentation and hope the other person will make the purchase. The truth is every sales call takes time and effort in order to close the deal. Whatever you miss up front will have to be made up somewhere else.
Your greatest enemy in the sales process is your selling style if you are uncomfortable in any aspect of selling. This is also true if there are parts of the sales process you do not care for.
The sales process you will use does echo your own buying style and this can work for you or against you.
Not all buyers are the same and neither are salespeople. It is easy to be a Monday morning quarterback when it comes to breaking down a call but are you really comfortable with your sales process or do you leave aspects out?
Training elements of people sell how they buy
Watching sales training from the front of the room is not anywhere close to seeing the training from sitting with the crowd. Sales trainers get to see the subtle winces and flinches to the tough but necessary parts of the processes. All salespeople do this at some point in their sales lives and your manager or trainer does see it.
Chances are good if you think a part of the sales process would not work on you, then you may not use or even try it. Most salespeople hear what they need to do but when it comes to implementing the ideas they run away.
Some of the problems you will find in training is the lack of belief in results. If you as the salesperson does not buy the underlying message of the process none of the process will ever be used.
If there is a lack of belief in the sales trainer the process is doomed before the salesperson ever talks to someone who can buy.
Sales training may be easy to pay attention to but not always so easy to put to use. This is where you will see a group of salespeople get results and the rest will not. Implementation of the learned sales processes must happen as soon as they are learned.
The struggle some salespeople face is holding onto training and not using it until the perfect moment. This bank of horded information of sales information ends up never being used. Implementing ideas and concepts fast is the key even if it is against your own buying style. This lack of action is almost always done out of fear of the process not working out.
Sales training can be monotonous and tedious if the basics are being reviewed consistently and because of the feeling the basics boring they are largely ignored. There is nothing tedious about practicing the basics, this is sales.
You must determine your own selling style
In order to close more sales you must understand what you like to do in your own sales process as well as what you do not like from others. This is where you can find what your true enemy in the sales process is.
When you shop for goods and service in your own personal life pay attention to how you make decisions. It could be you write in a journal or you observe your style to see what goes into the sales process. If you have a significant other you may want to pay attention to their style as well because it may influence your presentation in front of buyers as well. Sometimes parents and close friends can influence your sales process as to what you may or may not do as well if there are comfort issues or lessons taught in life.
Most salespeople never think about the problems their own buying style creates for training they take or the sales process. Most failures in the sales process are blamed on the product, service, or the buyers.
Instead of just buying something blindly take the time to note how you have made your decision. This process of figuring out your own buying style does take time and effort but it will pay off when you need it the most.
There are quite a few items or questions you can take note of:
- Do you take a long time to decide or are you a quick decision maker?
- Are you a window shopper?
- Do you like to be courted by the salesperson?
- Do you like the salesperson to try and build rapport or do you like to cut to the chase?
- Do you like the salesperson to address you in a specific way or does this matter to you?
- Do you like discounts or do you like items that are unique?
- Is there a certain amount of information you like to acquire or do you take the salespersons word for it?
- What type of questions do you ask?
- How many questions do you ask?
- Do you like a full product demonstration?
- Are you intrigued by all of the sales information you can get your hands on?
- How patient are you with your salesperson or the representative being met with?
- How do you talk to your salesperson, do you talk to them or at them?
- Are there questions you do not want to answer?
- Are there questions you feel manipulated when answering?
- How long of a presentation are you comfortable with?
- Is it all about the price or is it about the experience?
- When do you become uncomfortable in the sales process with questions or closing processes?
- Do you get nervous with silence?
- What happens when the salesperson asks for the business?
- Do you like direct questions or do you like the salesperson to beat around the bush?
- Do you read reviews on product sites and ask the salesperson about flaws?
- Do you ask for discounts and if so how many?
- Do you play games with the salesperson or are you straight up with them?
- Do you have buyers remorse once you buy or are you ok with your decision?
- Does it satisfy you when the salesperson keeps in touch or do you find it annoying?
All of these questions do matter and can be asked for large purchases as well as small purchases. It may be time consuming to look at your own buying style.
What type of presentation do you like?
The amount of information you need to make your own buying decision has impact on the presentation you give to a potential client especially if you are struggling.
If you like to gather tons of information you may believe your buyer needs just as much as you do in order to make a decision. You may even over compensate for the sales not being made and make your presentation way longer then what it needs to be.
Pay attention to the previous list to help determine your own buying process and style.
On the other end of the spectrum you may not need much information to make a decision. If you like short presentations, you may get impatient with a slow buyer. If this style represents you there is a possibility you are cutting your process even shorter than normal to try and get to the next sale.
If you are a slow buyer you may feel rushed from someone who is a fast buyer.
Does a fast buyer seem like they are reckless to you and your sensibility?
All of these ideas can translate into how you sell and your own style and in the end will lead to objections, rejection or the sale.
When a salesperson struggles they will present to their own style especially if they are under great pressure to close the sale. This is the personality sale people try to make and go to the buddy sell. This means more than a sales process the call is a rapport process with no point.
Just because you only need a certain amount of information to make a decision does not mean your buyer has the same style as you. A hidden danger is when too much rapport has been built is to remove parts of the sales process and not just presentation. This reversion backwards in the sales process happens frequently. Sometimes the buyer has heard enough and they pull the trigger on the purchase.
When salespeople get the objections in the sales process they tend to blame the buyer for not making the decision to buy. The real fault lies in the abilities of the salesperson.
Once again your sales process is influenced from your own buying style or even what you believe sales is.
Referrals and other forms of buying proof
Some buyers love to get their hands on information from other people in the form of referrals or literature. Some salespeople hate giving this information out as it seems as if the buyer is dragging their feet. If you need tons of proof in your own buying process the chances are really good you are doing the same for your buyers. You could be giving them too much information and overloading their process.
On the other hand if you do not need all of the glossy pictures in order for you to make a decisions you may be leaving this part of the equation out for the buyer and their needs. This may seem pushy to the person you are working with and building resistance you do not need in your sales presentations.
If you do not deal with the concerns of the buyer in the presentation you will have to deal with them in the negotiation or discount phase depending upon how you sell. In other words if you cut out steps in your sales presentation you will have to cut out money at the end of the sales call.
The power of questions in the sales process
Questions are one of the best ways you find out what to deliver to the buyer in the form of needed information.
One of the questions you could use is:
The last time you had to make a similar purchase what did you need to move forward?
There are literally thousands of ways to ask this same question to the buyer. Salespeople who do not look for buying criteria may be hoping the information they would need to make the decision would be enough to buy.
Most salespeople do not ask enough questions as if they are scared of the answers. Great questions are the road to understanding what the buyer needs. If you get annoyed at salespeople asking you questions there is a good chance you will not even come close to asking enough of the buyer when you met with them. The key to questions is to pay attention to the answers and ask clarifying questions to determine what the real answer was.
Under pressure of closing the sale or in a struggle questions are typically ditched for stories with no point in the hopes rejection will not happen from running the sales call the right way. Salespeople can talk themselves right out of the sale.
The sales struggle and the sub routine
In a sales struggle you go to your buying style, this is one of the main reasons why you need know how you buy. This is not something taught in sales training because most sales trainers do not know this piece of information. This is part of the key to being able to sell more consistently.
You will want to look for all of the items that annoy or frustrate you in your own purchases because you will tend to remove them from the sales process with the buyer. You will want to present the entire amount of information needed for the person you are sitting with.
In your struggle with sales you will lose focus of the buyer and focus on yourself. You may even use the phrase “If I were you” more than you know.
When it comes to not making sales your ability to recoup depends upon your knowledge of yourself and your go to buying actions.
Negotiations and how you sell
In your own buying world how do you like negotiations to happen? Are you one who asks for a discount on everything or do you not care.
Do they make you uncomfortable to ask about if so does it annoy you when you are asked for discounts.
Do you get annoyed with people who use coupons or look for every bargain they can get?
This information matters because you will either respond or react to your client and how they buy.
You may identify with the buyer at any point in the sales process if they buy like you especially in the end zone where negotiations matter.
If you look for big discounts you may give up too much money too quick in the deal. If you look for deals and bargains you may identify with a buyer who wants to stall on the sales process. If you are a unique buyer you may miss the signs from the buyer who wants a discount but is scared to ask for one.
Almost all sales end up in some sort of negotiation so why not be ready for it. If you do not like to negotiate when you buy then you may be creating problems for yourself when it comes to “talk turkey” with the buyer.
If you get stressed out in a long negotiation so will the buyer. The buyer will react to you or they will respond to how you work with then.
Your ability to negotiate at the end of the call may be the difference between making the sale and walking away with nothing from the buyer.
Managers and sales trainers
A sales manager or trainer can only train to their comfort zone or capability. Managers, trainers and salespeople all fall under the “People sell how the buy” banner.
A manager will manage salespeople to how they would sell the product themselves out in the real world. This can work for you if they have a similar sales style or against them if you have opposite beliefs in what selling is and is not.
You may not buy into what your manager or trainer teaches because of your own buying and selling style. This does not mean they do not have good information, what it may mean is the information they have does not work for your selling style.
This doesn’t give you any reason to give up on the sales process, it may mean you need to find someone who has a similar style to your own. You should always be looking for a way to improve and push your own boundaries and sometimes it takes time to find the right manager or trainer.
Ask for the business – close the deal
If you don’t like someone asking you for the business then you are in for a rough ride when it is your turn to ask the buyer for theirs.
Your own fear could be creating your own sabotage in the sales process. If you are uncomfortable with a salesperson putting any buying pressure on you there is going to be a problem when you are in front of a buyer.
The numbers are staggering where the salesperson never asked for the business out of fear of rejection or because it was out of their comfort zone.
If you buy into what the buyer says because it rings true to your own style you are leaving money on the table for someone who is willing to close the deal and collect the commissions.
Common objections like “I wanna think about it” or “I need more information” could be your own worst enemy if you have a tough time making a buying decision in the sales process.
Your buying style really is your selling style and it can hurt you or help you to know this information as it envelops your entire sales process.