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Stop dancing for sales!

I do believe that many prospects play games with salespeople, and frankly, many salespeople play games with prospects. We call it the "Buyer-Seller Dance."

One example? Prospects say "think-it-over" when they actually know it's a no. They don't want to say it and hurt the salesperson's feelings. Haven't we all said "think-it-over" to a salesperson when we knew it was a no? Sure we have!

Second example? Prospects mislead salespeople into thinking they're going to buy when again they have no intention of ever buying. Sounds like this: "Gee, Mary, there's a really good, most likely, probable chance with a high likelihood that someday, most likely I will buy from you. So get back to me." This is all too often a "slow no."

We believe salespeople have rights! To avoid falling into the trap of these stalls, put-offs and excuses we get all too often when selling, I teach a number of tactical approaches that will get to the truth.

Many companies tell their salespeople to go build relationships first and “hopefully” that will increase your chances of a sale.  There is some truth to this. However, you might want to look into some fascinating studies about “The Challenger" salesperson profile. In this study, the authors surveyed 100 global companies in multiple B2B industries and 6,000 sales reps over a period of three years.  The study found that sales reps fall into one of the following categories: 

The Relationship Builder

The Challenger

The Problem Solver

The Lone Wolf

The Hard Worker 

Any guess  which group outperformed all the others? Much to their surprise, the winning profile was not "The Relationship Builder." The clear winner was "The Challenger." Challengers customize their sales approach based on a customer's goals and offer suggestions about ways to improve the bottom line. And they're not afraid to push back when warranted.

The big loser in the five categories? "The Relationship Builder." This finding must have sent shockwaves around the corporate sales and training community; for years, it's been preached with almost religious fervor that sales relied on relationships.

Don't get me wrong: neither the study nor I am saying that relationship building is not valuable at all. It's simply that the data shows that the salesperson willing to "stand his/her ground and  plant their feet" (not in an abrasive or rude fashion), and therefore "not" buy the stalls, excuses and put offs all salespeople get, and have the mentality that salespeople do have rights, closes more business than the relationship builder. This aligns well with a sales rule I have: "You're not selling if you're buying the prospects stalls and excuses."

I heard a CEO once say, "I'm tired of all these salespeople who have to be everyone's friend and be loved (called their need for approval), before they close some business! Relationship selling is just code for a salesperson that doesn't know how to close a deal on the first call."

 I'm not saying what he said is right or wrong. You be the judge. However, he does bring some food for thought that aligns well with what the data shows about who closes more business, the "challenger" or the relationship builder."

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Gary Harvey

Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the world. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or gary.harvey@sandler.com.


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