Talent to sell: from God or by script?
Recently I conducted certification of sellers in one large automotive company and noticed an important feature in sales, it seemed to me very relevant today, considering that it allows to increase the personal effectiveness of the seller and save on his training.
Two types of vendors
To begin with, in my opinion, there are two types of vendors:
Guys who have passed vocational training (training on six sales points, identification of client's needs, work with objections, successful sells, etc.). Still, there is a huge number of scripts which sellers are obliged to go by during phone conversations. Professional sellers "stand out" among others because their entire sale process looks rather unnatural. The fact is that this kind of interaction misses true contact with the client. Since the head is busy choosing the right technique or script the seller cannot relax and let the intuition look for a natural approach to the client.
Sellers with “god-given” talent. There are not many of these guys left, unfortunately, because they are also forced to undergo sales training and their talent sometimes gets lost in techniques and scripts. Also, they often rebel against training and the use of sales techniques which can lead to conflicts with management. Unfortunately, managers do not understand that such sellers do not have a work process as such. They follow their intuition. Often they do not understand how they identify the client's needs, dispose of their objections, close deals and sell while remaining a friend to the client. Immediately I want to mention the DISC method, which allows identifying such sellers. Typically, these people have high “I” (the ability to influence others and convince, engage in optimism and creativity, the ability to pass their enthusiasm on to others and act positively) and it is better not to force them to undergo training. They also show high scores in “S” scale (they show tact and cordiality in communication, they feel the interlocutor well, they are ready to support and help the client throughout the process).
Talent over training
I remember my experience. Once, 15 years ago, I myself was a seller. At the time, there were no training sessions on sales techniques, and the sellers interacted intuitively with the client. What was the main thing in sales then? First, to love your product, that's directly falling in love with it. When you love a product, you cannot talk about it without enthusiasm and, just, perfectly present those qualities of the product for which you yourself would gladly buy it. Secondly, I objectively looked at the product and saw all its shortcomings. It is better not to hide disadvantages but honestly talk about them with the client. Thirdly, it is important to find contact with the client. Adjust to the person according to the tone of the voice, values and even words. Also, I tried to put myself into client’s shoes and understand in advance what problems he or she might have; what worries him or her; this way I was able to offer the most optimal solution. That's when we had excellent sales and earned customers’ loyalty! Although, of course, many will say that it is still necessary for everyone to learn the process and the standards of sales.
I think sellers today are very much over-taught, their work process is too standardized and they are driven to think inside the box. When a person has a standard, he or she is not able to think creatively and manifest the personality. Now it is very clear when the seller uses a certain technique during interaction with the client - he or she asks a huge number of client with questions, not thinking about the natural flow of the conversation, when the client feels and understands that they are paid attention to and that the seller is not indifferent and wants to solve client’s problem or task.
On the contrary, the conversation turns into an interrogation when the seller acts strictly according to the pattern like a robot.
So if you have truly talented sellers in the company, I believe that sending them to training or making them follow a script is a bad decision. Such a seller does a good job without all of that even if the numbers don’t show it. These guys do not work just for quantity – they work for client’s loyalty. People come back to them again and again. This is what I call “a client-oriented approach to sales” and the key to future success. As we all know, there's no friend like an old friend.