Adaptive Selling: Why successful sales are all in the head
12th December 2018
Marshall E-Learning have partnered with multi-award winning mentoring expert David Mellor, to produce a new e-learning course focused on Adaptive Selling, an approach that aims to provide a more consultative approach to sales in an industry that traditionally is full of uncertainty, fear and complexity.
Here, David explains why successful sales are all about mindset and what you can do to gain more confidence in the sales process.
In my previous corporate life, my business card got me everywhere.
I didn’t have to explain who I was or what I could offer clients; it was implicit in my job title and the universally recognised Deutsche Bank name.
People listened to me attentively; they sought me out for meetings.
All I had to do was turn up, assess the opportunity, evaluate the risk and close the deal. Job done.
In other words, I didn’t have to ‘sell the brand’ because an army of marketing professionals had done a great job of that for me.
So, it felt a pretty lonely and awkward place when I stepped out on my own one day, proudly waving a newly minted card, bearing the name of just one brand – my own – and expecting the same kind of fandom.
Instead, people began to legitimately ask ‘David Mellor? Who’s he?’.
It was then that it struck me just how unprepared I was – and, as I later discovered, many others who move out of the corporate limelight are – for selling.
If you’ve ascended a conventional career ladder, chances are the only big-ticket items you’ve had to persuade someone to buy from you are a house and a car – and there was probably a ‘middleman’ involved.
It’s not surprising then that many otherwise confident, well-qualified individuals approach the whole business of selling with a sense of unease, even queasiness.
After all, you’re running the risk of rejection – a deep-seated fear in most of us.
And perhaps you associate the sales function with people who are not ‘like’ you or, worse, people you don’t like… foot-in-the-door hawkers and telesales operators in overseas call centres.
Selling your expertise or convincing someone of the benefit of buying your product in a face-to-face pitch is way out of most people’s comfort zone.
In the field that I chose to enter – consultancy – that puts one at a particular disadvantage, given that the only product effectively on offer is yourself.
The desire to get a lot better at it drove me to investigate the neuroscience behind this so-called art of persuasion; which turns out, in fact, not to be an art at all, but rather a learned behaviour based on the premise that people buy from people they like or at least people who are on their wavelength.
What I’ve learned, I now pass on to other ‘sales virgins’ through the Adaptive Selling elearning course.
We are all wired up to have different behaviour preferences.
It’s therefore logical that not everyone you come across will want to be communicated with in your own preferred style.
If you can learn to read those signals and adapt your pitch to suit them, every potential sales encounter becomes a lot less scary and a lot more likely to succeed.
Adaptive selling isn’t about changing your personality type.
But if you have the will to change your behaviour to suit the circumstance, it will give you the skill to enter the client’s world for a few crucial minutes rather than attempt to drag them into yours and risk losing them for a lifetime.
And it’s not scary – promise!