Problem: Mike, an experienced machine tool sales engineer, prided himself on being a results-oriented, take-charge guy who was able to close effectively and get his customers to make decisions quickly. He felt his strength was to show prospects how his product would help them improve efficiencies and reach their business goals. He liked to get right down to business and disliked discussing the technical aspects of his product, both from a specification as well as an application point of view.
Mike was very comfortable dealing with most C-level executives and department heads, but was often frustrated trying to sell to more technically-oriented managers even when they had decision making authority. As a result, he was closing only 30% of the proposals he made and often failed to make his quarterly quota.
Analysis: Mike was a driver or “type A” personality. When he was purchasing something himself, he loved making quick decisions, was most interested in results and cared little about the process and the details. But the real problem was that Mike assumed that everyone bought the same way he did. As a result, he approached all his prospects from the same perspective. But, not everyone wanted to be sold the way Mike wanted to sell them.
Solution: People are most comfortable dealing with people who approach life and business the same way they do (I like him; he’s just like me). Personality differences can cause a sale to get sidetracked. In Mike’s case, he failed to realize that he needed to adjust his approach with those buyers who were more analytical in nature. Analyticals represent about 15% of the population, but in Mike’s case, because of the product he sold, analyticals represented about 30% of his potential buyers. So, in effect, he was unable to connect with nearly one third of his prospects because he failed to adjust his approach. He talked only about results when they wanted to know how those results would be achieved.
Don’t make the same mistake Mike made. Not everyone buys the way you do. Determine if your buyer is a “driver,” “socializer,” “amiable” or “analytical” and adjust your approach accordingly.
Top veteran sales engineers have learned how to do this almost automatically. Some salespeople never learn how to do this because they consider it being two-faced, phony, and misleading. While some may feel that way, the reality is that you only come across that way if your intent is not true.
If your intent is to help the customer and they have a need and your product fits that need then, your intent to help will be apparent to them. People inherently know when someone is adapting their approach for the sole purpose of making the sale. These sales engineers are playing “I win and you lose game” and people can sense that.
Meet people where they are at before you take them where they want to go. It’s basic bonding and rapport building.
It’s the fastest way I know to achieve a 15% sales increase.