Adaptive Selling Sets the Stage for Success

BY Jessica Helinski
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Being stubborn and unbending during your sales process can limit your success. Those who embrace adaptive selling will find that this strategy sets them apart while establishing a solid trusting relationship. 

Why adaptive selling?

It’s easy to become comfortable in a selling style, but a seller’s style likely will not fit every prospect. As buyers evolve, they have made it clear that pushy, one-​size-​fits-​all approaches are no longer effective. As Ashwini Dave writes for The Next Scoop, “Gone are the days where you can sell the same to everyone. Companies are now using adaptive selling in order to improve their results. This is all about providing a customized selling experience to each and every customer. This helps build their loyalty and shows that you care about them, and they aren’t just another sale.”

Benefits of adaptive selling

By taking on this approach, in which you adapt your style, communication and strategy to fit each prospect, you set yourself apart from sellers who are stuck in a more transactional approach. Buyers say they only consider about half of the sellers they interact with to be “trusted advisors,” according to SalesFuel’s Voice of the Buyer study. Embracing this customized approach can earn you boosted credibility and trust.

When you build a personal relationship with customers by adapting to their buying approach, you boost their trust in you,” writes Gitanjali Maria explains in an article for GetApp.”

Another benefit to adaptive selling is converting more leads. Successful sellers listen to the unique needs of a lead and then adapt how they present their solution in response. Instead of trying to make a lead “fit” their own style, these sellers adapt to the prospect’s needs and preferences. This paves the way for the sales process to continue.

How to adopt this approach: The first step

Maria also writes about how sellers can implement adaptive selling, highlighting three specific steps. The first step is to identify and match the prospect’s communication style. Each prospect will be unique, and they will have their own communication style. By observing and matching their communication style, you put the prospect at ease and engage in a manner they understand and respond to best.

An example she uses is “the analyzer.” This type of communication style prefers hard numbers and appreciates attention to detail. They are prepared and want to get to the point of a meeting or conversation. To adapt to this style, she recommends being on time, limit the warmup talk and explain things in detail. Be ready for questions and to share relevant insight and data. Be specific about how you can directly address their issues.

Dave points out that while modifying your style is important, there’s no need to change your entire personality or strategy. “While you don’t need to copy their exact tone or verbiage, mirroring is an effective tool and can assist greatly when trying to make a sale, help a customer or tell them something. If you speak in a way they are fond of or understand, they may be more willing to trust or appreciate you, as well.”

Put this step into practice

Adaptive selling can be difficult. Sellers may struggle with modifying a sales style or behavior that they’ve held, but practice can help. Doing mock calls and meetings with a team member or coach can help sellers get more comfortable with adapting selling.

These efforts may not come easily at first. But they will pay off when you establish a strong connection that is rooted in trust and credibility. As SalesFuel’s Kathy Crosett writes, “When you notice details and adapt your approach, you are engaging in agile selling. Maybe you’ve been in sales for a while and the selling style of your organization has been working for you. It’s easy to keep using the tactics you know. If you want to take your sales success to the next level, it may be time to expand your tool kit.”

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