(By Alec Drake) When you walk into a social setting, your first inclination is to read the room. Adapting your behavior is something we all do in group settings. As you look around the room to see who is present, how are they dressed? What is their demeanor? You want to know how you fit in to determine your approach.
In a professional sales setting, when meeting someone for the first time, being able to read the room now has financial implications. There are ways to use specific insights and observation techniques to manage the meeting more effectively. This approach is not covert selling; it’s intelligent, empathetic, and improves the odds of success.
We All Have Style
In my first year of radio sales, the four quadrants of social styles from Wilson Learning were part of my training. Our peers and managers evaluated each other using a written process that built a personality profile for each of us to consider. The introspection combined with the training supercharged my early success in radio. Not only did I learn more about myself and how to adapt to each prospect, but the ability to read and recognize who was across from me was a game-changer.
Wilson’s four social style labels are Driver, Amiable, Analytical, and Expressive. The Wilson quadrants with assertive characteristics on the horizontal and responsive on the vertical axis define traits that shape a person’s demeanor and how they relate to others.
For example, with Drivers, you might encounter a person who wants control and makes a statement more than asks a question. The Driver is a type “A” personality who is goal-oriented, risk-taking, and stable under stress. Does this sound like any of your prospects or customers? How would you plan to close a sale with this prospect?
The naming convention varies across various training platforms and does not matter; what’s important is the structure underneath to recognize a person’s unique characteristics as you move forward in the sale. Everyone needs help closing sales and being more observant with a perspective on personality styles will strengthen results, as it did for me.
Five Behavioral Tips in Building Relationships
Improving any relationship starts with empathy and listening coupled with common sense. It is essential to prioritize your approach to prospects as a person, not just a potential customer.
- Know when to step away and regroup. Plowing ahead with too much pressure will reduce most opportunities if you reach a roadblock.
- Being passionate about your product or solution does not equate to being pushy or short-sighted. Leave room for education in the sales process.
- We all recognize that someone can have a bad day or might be carrying a load you cannot see. By paying attention, you will improve communication and avoid misplaced rejections.
- You may be at the business acquaintance stage, so being too familiar is awkward for some prospects. Give prospects time to get to know you too.
- Plan your move from initial contact to a long-term partnership with measured steps that build confidence in the partnership.
Summary: Understanding who you are trying to gain as a customer at a deeper level will save time, increase revenues, and lead to longer-term business relationships. What is most important to your prospect’s success? How do they process decisions tied to their personality styles? Leverage available training and software tools to raise your awareness of who that prospect is. The “who” is someone you should get to know before you present the “how” in your proposals.