A number of years ago, I applied for a sales position. It was the first time I’d done so. As part of the application process, I had to complete an online self- assessment. Somewhere around the eighth question, it became apparent that the sole purpose of this “assessment” was to assess whether I was an extrovert or not. Questions like “How many extra-curricular activities or clubs did you belong to in high school?” made it clear that the company believed extroverts make better sales people.
If only it were that simple. According to research conducted by RAIN Group, you to win or lose at sales because of your behavior, not your personality bent. Their study revealed that top sales people engage in three specific selling behaviors that set them apart:
- They connect
- They convince
- They collaborate
The people at RAIN describe these as “three levels” that ought to be applied as a combination, not separately or sequentially—but caution that those who stop at Level 1 do not find themselves in the winner’s circle nearly as often.
This poses a challenge to introverted web designers and programmers faced with the need to “sell your services.” While we do well connecting and collaborating, we’re not so comfortable with convincing. In fact, I’d say we’re so uncomfortable with it that we take collaborating much too far, by giving away too much free information and writing proposals for which the client didn’t ask—hoping that these will do the convincing for us.
Instead, we’re left wondering why the client went elsewhere.
There’s no doubt that to be an effective sales person, you must possess certain social skills. In order to win, you must be able to convince the prospect that:
- You can achieve the results he’s after
- The return on investment is worth it
- The risk is acceptable
- You are the best choice among the available options
According to the RAIN Group report, even seasoned sales people are resistant to using maximum persuasion, yet …
… in our research, the winners convinced, and convinced with gusto.
Are you focusing too much effort on collaborating and not enough on convincing? It’s time to “go for the gusto” and start convincing.
Former owner and partner of web firm Jenesis Technologies, John is currently Director of Digital Strategy at Haines Local Search, a company providing local search marketing solutions to SMBs, including print and Internet Yellow Pages, web design, and local SEO. When not working or spending time with his family, John offers great sales and marketing advice on his blog, Small Business Marketing Sucks. When not working or spending time with his family, John offers great sales and marketing advice on his blog, Small Business Marketing Sucks.
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