Lately, a Client asked a question that scared me:
Would you please arrange a sales course for us? A basic one…
Why is that question so frightening? I will tell you right now.
My analysis of businesses purchasing behaviours leads to identifying no less than 7 sales professionals.
Here they are:
- the sales-teller, the salesperson stereotype; the one with the right “gab,” whom you will remember by the foot planted in the doorframe you unwisely opened. He believes that selling means dwelling on the features of the product/service, without connecting them to the Customer’s needs. Be careful not to ask him because it is not sure he knows what he wants to sell: and if he starts grasping at straws, you will never get rid of him;
- the sales-consultant. We all buy more gladly from someone who does not necessarily want to sell us something, and he/she takes advantage of this circumstance; his/her job is to add value to what the Customer does, leveraging a relationship based on trust. The usual diffidence the Customer perceives toward a salesperson deflates because of the feeling that the sales consultant is acting in his/her best interest;
- the sales-hunter. He/she is the sales fighter, the one who makes things happen, invaluable when you want to win a Client or close a complex negotiation: he/she is precious. He/she knows how to focus on the Client’s needs and is determined to seize the result; he/she gets bored doing the same thing repeatedly: and if he does not enjoy his work, he goes away;
- the sales-farmer. He patiently and persistently manages the Client portfolio and develops it over time, nurturing and improving existing relationships: he is an asset. He manages the business with the understanding that a Customer must be cared for as carefully as the farmer sows the seeds, tends the soil, and reaps the fruits; he is the king of repetitive selling since he/she knows how to identify existing and potential revenue streams, how to activate, maintain and develop them over time. Unreplaceable when it is necessary to recover a lost Customer;
- the business developer. He is precious because he/she can identify latent business and help generate, in the Client organization, an awareness of the unfulfilled need. His/her great enemy is boredom because the business is hardly ever immediate, and patience is a must. The sale often comes through a sponsor, so good relationships are critical. The business developer brings together characteristics of the sales consultant, from whom he has the ability to listen and identify needs, and the sales hunter, by whom he takes the resolution to “close” the deal;
- the business partner. He/she knows how to develop demand rather than react to it. He/she has a comprehensive view of the Client’s business and of the company he/she works for: he can identify and design complementary solutions and increase the turnover of both organizations. The business partner brings together characteristics peculiar to the sales consultant, the sales farmer, and the business developer, from whom he borrows the ability to generate the vision of a likely future;
- the networker. He is the most advanced and valuable sales professional: and the least immediately identifiable. He puts great care into building a network that enables him to have contacts helpful both to the company and to his Clients. He hardly makes anteroom; he maintains high-level contacts and is gladly received because he dispenses ideas, suggestions, and plans that fit into a likely scenario. The profile is distinctly that of the consultant who tends to entertain relationships without an immediate sales objective and never gives the feeling that he feels pressure to sell. Like the hunter, he knows how to create the right opportunity to “bite” and bring home the business.
Is it clear now why I do not know how to answer that question?
It seems evident that attending a plain sales course can be a waste of time if you have not first properly placed it in the Client’s business context.
Selecting salespeople without a firm idea about the type of professional you are looking for can be extremely…
Don’t you think?