Not all sales reps have the same selling style.
That’s a good thing, actually.
By bringing their own unique style and personality to the sales process, a rep can actually increase the likelihood that a potential customer will buy from them. After all, people don’t buy from companies — they buy from other people.
Beyond that, different selling styles resonate with different prospects and customers, which means having a diverse bench of sellers in your organization can help you bring in a wider array of customers. However, allowing each rep’s own personality and style flourish doesn’t mean they can do whatever they please. After all, if a rep isn’t closing deals, it really doesn’t matter what their style is — something has to change.
As a sales manager, it’s important that you coach reps on the objective sales skills that will drive conversations, and deals, forward:
- Keep the prospect engaged
- Gather as much information as possible when speaking with a prospect
- Slow down
- Be likeable
- Focus on get a second (or third, or fourth) call
Mastering these objective sales skills will undoubtedly lead to more revenue. And revenue, in turn, will lead to more freedom for the rep to develop their own successful selling style.
Keep the prospect engaged
We’ve all been there: We cold call a prospect, and they respond with, “I’m busy and can’t talk.”
Sometimes this is true. Most of the time, it’s B.S.
But in either case, it’s an objection that a sales rep needs to learn to navigate, and different reps will navigate it differently.
Some reps may immediately acknowledge it. They may say something like, “Gee, I’m so sorry to bother you, it seems like you’re really busy. Can we set up another time to talk?
Others, knowing they’ve got about thirty seconds to win ‘em or lose ‘em, will immediately go into the value prop and quickly try to pique some interest.
These different selling styles each accomplish the same overarching goal: keeping the prospect engaged.
In the first example, the rep is driving the prospect to schedule the next call (more on that later). In the second, the rep is trying to hook the prospect so they’ll ask for that next call. In both cases, the rep is keeping the prospect engaged and moving the conversation forward.
The absolute worst thing you can do is say, “OK, thanks. Have a nice day.” Then, you’ve lost them for sure.
Coaching reps to keep prospects engaged is a key skill if they want to grow their revenue. How they do that depends on what type of interaction best fits their personal style.
Gather as much information as possible when speaking with a prospect
In a recent post about getting past gatekeepers, we mentioned how each sales call is an incredible opportunity to gather information about the prospect. When your reps are armed with information, they’re in a better position to sell — and win!
So there’s really no excuse to not gather information on prospecting calls. Of course, how the rep goes about this depends on their style.
A more aggressive rep may be more bullet-pointed about asking questions. They may say something to the effect of, “Hey, do you mind if I ask you some questions?”
Others may engage in a shoot-the-s*** conversation, but as it unfolds, they weave in the questions they need to ask and uncover the information they need more covertly.
There’s no right or wrong way here. The key is to always be out there gathering information.
There’s another benefit to asking these types of questions: There’s a psychological tactic where if you get your prospect in the habit of saying yes, they’re going to be predisposed to saying yes to future questions.
So if you want to get them on a future call, ask them to verify their job title, role, company size, etc. You’ll get critical information and increase your likelihood of moving to next steps.
Salespeople have the gift of gab. It’s what makes them so dang good at keeping prospects talking.
But there’s a dark side to that gift: talking too fast and overwhelming the prospect.
It’s a completely natural instinct to try and fit as much information into as limited a time as possible. A rep may be afraid that the prospect is just going to hang up on them if they don’t cram as much information as possible into those first 10 seconds.
But the thing is, they picked up the phone. As soon as they realize that you aren’t a telemarketer or a spam call, odds are, they’ll stay on the line for a bit. It’s just a human decency thing.
(And if they don’t, you probably don’t want to work with them anyway.)
You want your prospect to understand what you’re saying. But more than that, talking fast can send negative signals to the prospect and tell them that you’re:
- Insecure or have a lack of confidence
So just slow down.
No matter how a rep likes to engage with a prospect, this is going to benefit them.
Salespeople can have a reputation for being pushy, even manipulative.
But if you know the first thing about human behavior and psychology, you’d find that people who are like that are the least productive sales reps.
Why’s that? Because people buy from people they like.
So, naturally, if your reps want to get people to buy from them, they need to be likeable.
Likeability isn’t something you want to chalk up to “That’s just their style.” Because if you have a rep that pisses off a prospect, then you’ve got a negative reputation in the market that will come back to bite you and the rest of your team.
Note that we’re not conflating “likeability” with “aggressiveness.” You can be aggressive and still be likeable.
Likeable people smile. They ask questions. They’re empathetic. They don’t try to strong-arm people into doing what they want. They’re not manipulative, and they certainly don’t resort to scammy sales tactics.
So whether a rep is naturally aggressive or more easy-going, if they’ve got that likeability factor, they’ll likely close more deals.
Focus on getting a second (or third, or fourth) call.
Ultimately, the fundamental objective of any call is…to get another call.
Every moment of a sales call leads should help lead the rep to that ultimate, precious moment, where they can ask: “Hey Mike, this is great. Any chance we can look at our calendars and pick another time to talk and carry on the conversation?”
Once you have dedicated time on a person’s calendar, then you can invest time in moving them further along toward a buying decision.
It’s important to note that no matter the rep’s selling style, they usually have to be coached on how to take advantage of this critical skill. It doesn’t come naturally to most people, but you can teach any rep how to make the big ask.
Different sales reps have different selling styles. That said, not every behavior can be associated with a particular style. Some actions are simply objective standards of good or bad selling.
Understanding the difference between the two can help you as you coach your reps. When you focus on objective, high-impact behaviors, you increase the chances that your coaching will actually lead to performance improvement.
This allows you to achieve a powerful balance of a rep owning their own personality and style, while also objectively moving the business forward using the key sales skills you’ve taught them.
For more information on how to enhance your remote coaching efforts, download this eBook on coaching in an asynchronous environment.