If you are selling in a way that doesn’t fit your product/service you can’t optimize your sales to maximize your company. There are _____(too many)_____ types of sales systems: Commodity selling, Solution Selling, Consultative Selling, Relationship-based Selling, Timing-based selling. How do you choose the “best” one?
How many different ways to you have to acquire a customer? How many different reasons to people buy from you? How does this variation hurt your growth and stifle your profits?
There are hundreds of thousands of sales trainers and consultants around today. All of them have a solution that will be the magic bullet. The truth is that there is no one right way to sell. There is no one system that works in every situation. Making it more difficult, is most of the time you will have to understand multiple models to fit to your customers and prospects. To understand what your sales system or combination of sales systems should be, you need to examine your product or service and understand your customer. Why do they buy? That will be the start to deciding what system(s) you should use.
Commodity-based Selling: If you have created a less expensive widget to solve an on-going problem that has already been solved you are probably a Commodity Seller. This type of selling is difficult as you generally have one of two levers to pull: Price and Activity. You sell more if you can show you cost less or you sell more by getting in front of more people to show you have a competitive price. These gains are often short lived as most of the time once you prove your concept others are willing to do build the mouse trap for less.
Solution Selling: Solution selling generally starts with a known problem. Example: “How do we price our product or how do we decide on a salary for a new position?”
A solution selling pitch is the idea that they have been there before, they have done that before, and the results they generate will be better. The difficulty here is getting in agreement of what “better” means. Sometimes what the seller thinks is better is irrelevant to the buyer. To sell using a solutions based system you will need sellers whom have a high ability to understand before being understood. They will be well versed in being able to pull expectations out of the prospect and match the service to those needs.
Consultative Selling: Consultative Sellers have an advantage some other sellers will neglect. They have the ability to help create a problem with the current situation as to get in on the ground floor to help create in the buyers mind a need to move, a criteria to move and the resources need to move. To do this is very difficult and would need a very agile service/product develop team. Rarely is there a ready-made solution available to the consultative seller but rather a combination of internal and external resources is used. To be a true consultative seller you need to be able to quickly develop trust, be able to create a shared vision of a new future, and address the needs in this future. This is difficult as there are few capable people in the selling industry whom are willing to invest the time, have the ability to diagnose and also have the ability to prospect and grow business. This is often where the notion of team selling comes in and you ensure to bring in the experts from your company. Are you prepared to train engineers, accountants, lawyers, non-selling professionals to sell?
Relationship Selling: Think of the people who invest heavily in relationships. They know that if you can call them a friend you will eventually use their service. Often, Financial Advisors, Insurance Brokers / Agents, Accountants and even Lawyers use this tool. The problem is the selling cycle is LONG and along the way, patience is a must. It is also high risk but high reward. Since the impact of a good relationship is often had to justify in the face of invested time and space, it is difficult to find what is working and not working for management of these types of sellers.
Timing Based Selling: These are event based sales, meaning that there is an event that happens within the organization that would trigger a need. For instance, a founder is getting older and looking to transition out of the business. This requires a relationship, a good solution, but also the right timing to be top of mind when this service is needed. This is a difficult sale as there is no clear cut way to prospect. As a Commercial Real Estate agent about timing!
In short: Your selling system of choice is like a character sheet. It’s never going to be 10/10 at ALL things, but it can be 10/10 for the product you offer and the cashflow cycles present in your business. As with most things in business, “one size fits all” (unless you’re selling gloves) is a fallacy.