One of the most enjoyable things I do as a business coach is coach salespeople. I especially love to see the moment when they catch on to the message I’m conveying and see the relevance of how it can help them do what they do better.
Everyone, of course, knows the Golden Rule: Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you. This principle of treating other people the way you want to be treated is the very basis of so many of life’s interactions. I like to take this idea a step further and live by the Platinum Rule: Do unto others, as they would want you to do unto them. In other words: Treat people how they want to be treated—not how you want to be treated.
Note that the Platinum Rule takes into account that not everyone wants to be treated the same way.
What we’ve discovered as professional coaches is that without proper training, most salespeople default to simply selling the way they buy. If they buy quickly and without much research, they’ll sell that way. If they buy cautiously, collecting details and doing the research before signing on the dotted line, they’ll take it slow and offer lots of detail to the buyer.
Either way, if they sell the way they buy, studies show they’ll “miss” with more than 50 percent of buyers. That’s a costly mistake.
Know What Your Buyer Wants
Let’s apply the Platinum Rule to selling. Everyone has their own unique behavioral style. Salespeople use their behavioral style (or selling style) to influence buyers. Buyers will buy a product in a way that feels most natural to them, relying intuitively upon their buying style. If the salesperson and the buyer have the same behavioral style, then the sale seems easy and natural.
But what if they have different behavioral styles?
When you have different styles, it can be difficult to have a conversation with each other, let alone try to sell a product or build a relationship. In this case of opposites, the sale becomes harder and not at all natural.
But, if you could understand how to communicate with the different behavioral styles by using the principles of the Platinum Rule, you can almost always experience the easy, natural successful outcome.
To accomplish this, you first need to understand your selling behavioral style. Do you like to influence people with words or facts and data? Are you assertive or non-assertive? Do you follow up with the prospect often, or do you take a slow, methodical approach? Knowing your selling style helps you identify your tendencies and your blind spots.
Once you understand yourself, the next step is recognizing and understanding your buyer’s behavioral style. Are they introverted or extroverted? Are they task- or people-oriented? Do they make decisions quickly, or do they need time to process the information before deciding?
There are several ways to recognize your buyer. You can look at their body language, their emails, how they sit and what their desk looks like in order to determine their buying style.
Accommodate Your Buyer
When you understand yourself and your buyer, the next step is knowing how to adapt your selling style to the buying style of your buyer (while still being authentic). This is extremely important to a salesperson when he or she is trying to make a good first impression.
This is where you apply the principles of the Platinum Rule.
With your customer top of mind, decide whether you need to move at a faster or slower pace. Do you need to jump right into business, or do you need to ease into it after some small talk? Do you need to provide a lot of details and facts? Or do you need to share only bottom-line results and information?
Using the Platinum Rule with your buyer can make a big difference. You will be able to connect with your buyer quicker and communicate more effectively. It builds better connections and stronger trust. You can feel more confident as a salesperson because you know what your buyer is looking for and you are treating the buyer the way they want to be treated.
If you would like this type of sales professional development, we offer individual coaching or group workshops. In our sales workshops, we can combine the behavioral selling (and we use a DISC assessment for this) with other sales-training topics such as fundamentals of selling, creating an elevator pitch, networking 101, replacing time-wasters with worthwhile activities, etc. We can always customize the workshop to meet your specific needs.