Discover your ideal selling style

What is your ideal selling style?

Are you having trouble figuring out your ideal selling style?

You won’t be on your own if you’re a bit uncomfortable about selling. Let’s be honest, sales has lots of negative connotations.

The Hollywood portrayal of sales is always the brash, win-at-all-costs mentality. Think of the Wolf of Wall Street or Richard Gere in Pretty Woman (before his unlikely conversion of course).

Translate this to personal experience and your first sales interaction might be someone knocking on your door trying to sell you double glazing or meal kits.

Put in this position it’s uncomfortable to say no – so why would anyone choose a career that pressurises people like that?

The problem this creates for many business owners is that they actively resist selling. They likely have a fabulous service or product but – motivated by a desire not to appear “salesy” or to come across as pushy – they don’t really sell.

One reason for running your own business is that you get to choose what you do and don’t engage in.

But not selling is a limiting belief. One that holds back the number of people who enjoy the brilliant things you offer.

Are all selling styles “salesy”?

There’s inevitably a personal aspect to answering this question. One person’s enthusiasm is another’s pushiness. You can’t expect everyone to appreciate your approach every time.

But there is a mindshift that helps re-frame these conversations.

If you’ve spent a lifetime polishing your service then you know it helps people. And helping people is a good thing.

If you think every prospect you meet has a price tag above their head you’re not going to make many friends. But if you’re offering to help someone then they are at least likely to hear you out.

The key question behind this is what they want to be helped with. You know the sorts of problems your service addresses. But you don’t know which one of these solutions is important to the person you’re chatting with.

Which brings us around to the most important sales skill of all: Asking questions and being interested in the answers.

Overcome the “ick” of feeling like you’re pitching and instead ask people what problems they’re facing and you’ll be selling like a pro. Except it won’t feel like selling. You’ll just be making friends and acquaintances.

Get someone else to do the selling

We’re not really talking here about employing a sales person. Because the reality is you’re still accountable for that individual. And if you’re uncomfortable with sales then even interviewing candidates will see your stress levels rise.

What we’re talking about is the power of references and referrals. That way you’re getting other people to do your selling for you.

“What do you do?”

When answering that question try to stay away from explaining the question directly. It’s too easy to stray into a detailed list of… stuff.

Instead re-frame your response using expressions like: The people we help most are….What customers really like about our service is….Companies get best value from us when….

That way you don’t need to be “salesy” because someone else is doing that job for you.

We live in a world where websites and platforms are designed in a way you can capture and report this feedback really easily so embrace the opportunity.

The importance of setting sales goals

For many people their only sales goal is: Get more sales. This is often inferred to mean more new customers. Overlooking the potential of existing clients is one of the closest things you’ll get to a sales epidemic!

The more specific you can be in setting goals the better you can think about HOW. If your aim is to bring in one new client a month you still have a choice about whether you ask existing customers for referrals or hit the phones making hundreds of cold calls.

Cold calling is hard because you need to get lucky for someone to need your service now. If they need you next year it’s a long wait. Worse, if they wanted you last week the answer is going to be NO.

Cold calling is hard because it breaks the Know-Like-Trust rule. People typically buy from someone they know, like and trust. When you’re cold calling you’re only addressing the first of those things.

For these reasons cold calling is hard because it has rejection baked in. If you don’t want to be pushy how do you even start?

Visit our blog on achieving sales goals to read more.

The Hunter – Farmer model of selling

A great way of looking at what type of selling style you need is to think of hunters and farmers (sometimes called nurturers). The Hollywood archetype is a hunter. Focused on getting the deal and winning at all costs.

What’s the difference between Hunters and Farmers?

How do you feel about being told NO?

Hunters typically see this as an opportunity. “When one door closes another opens”. Farmers are more likely to be upset, concerned that they’ve let down a customer.

How important to you is money? Would you help someone for nothing?

Hunters are more motivated by financial reward than Farmers. Think about jobs like estate agents, car sales, investment bankers. It’s generalising, but it’s likely your perception is that these industries are populated by people who want to profit from you.

What’s more important to you, the deal or the relationship?

Hunters are likely to be laser-focused on the deal – and might even grow bored with long-term client retention. Farmers might find the deal-making uncomfortable – but are likely to be loyal suppliers who sustain customer relationships over time.

What rewards you best at work – large bonuses based on your own performance or personal development and team goals?

This can be a clear differentiator between Hunters and Farmers with Hunters more likely to be motivated by chasing big targets with hefty bonuses and less compelled to think about team dynamics.

What’s the ideal selling style?

Selling is about people so there is no one answer to this. Your selling style will work for some people and not for others. That way you’ll end up with customers you build rapport with and who you feel comfortable working with. Someone with a different selling style will fit with other businesses.

When you’re thinking about sales the important thing is to figure out whether your organisation needs a Hunter or a Farmer.

Then be really honest with yourself and think which one you are. Which approach brings you joy and gets you out of bed each morning?

If that means employing someone to take the other approach, it’ll pay off in the end.

You’ll get to focus your time and emotional energy on the things you love and the things that you’re truly talented at. Your selling style delivers real substance.

Are you struggling to untangle the complexities of your sales process?

Take the Untangle Your Sales scorecard today and unlock the potential for sales success.