Are You Matching Your Sales Strategy to the Situation?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Has your sales training taught you to take control of a prospect meeting? As a challenger salesperson, your goal might be to disrupt the prospect’s mindset. Then you go on to show the prospect how your solution can work for them. Challenger sales strategies can and do succeed. But research jointly conducted by the University of Florida and VantagePoint Performance points out that the challenger method fails in 75% of cases. Why? Because the salesperson isn't taking the prospect’s situation into account. What should you do to prevent that from happening?

Situational Awareness

When you sense that your sales method isn’t allowing you to connect with your prospect, it’s time to expand your perspective. Specifically, you must consider the situation. Dr. Leff Bonney, vice president at VantagePoint Performance, reminds you to remember a basic tenet of sales. That tenet is all about listening to the prospect when doing discovery. 

Listening involves more than hearing what the prospect is saying. Situational awareness means paying attention to every detail that could be important. Is there a person on that prospect’s team who isn’t saying anything during the meeting? Try to draw them out through conversation in order to determine their position on what you’re selling. Is the key decision maker not in the room? Find out why. And don’t leave the site until you set the next meeting that will include that individual. 

Situational Solution

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. Analyze the situation at the prospect’s site and adapt your strategy.