The 4 main types of selling (and when to use them)
At its core, sales is the process of convincing a customer to purchase something by using a series of planned and polished communication techniques. Good selling involves helping customers understand what they need and want so that they’re more likely to buy your products.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for selling products—what works for one company or industry may not work for another. And if sales stagnate, it’s time to ask questions and explore new methods.
The key is to find a distinctive sales strategy that benefits your business. To help you do so, I’ve detailed the four main types of selling along with the right time and situation to use them so that you can determine which would be most beneficial for your company.
There are different sales methods that you can use to appeal to your customer. Interestingly, many people who have been in sales for a long time are unaware of these four main types of selling. They include:
1. Solution selling
In the solution selling methodology, the salesperson takes a comprehensive approach to understand a prospect’s needs and then recommends products based on the client’s problem. The solution-selling method puts the customer’s needs and wants at the center of the selling process, making it more personalized and tailored to them.
In this case, your prospects know they have a problem but are unsure how to fix it, so the most important sign to look for in clients is that the client needs a tailor-made support solution that meets their specific needs. You can use this method for products or services with a slightly longer buying process, where the ROI is high. This is an excellent option if your clients are looking for long-term solutions.
2. Transactional selling
Sales representatives negotiate with customers to promote products or services in transactional selling. The sales process typically involves identifying potential customers, developing relationships with them, pitching them a product or service, and closing the sale. Your ideal prospect knows what their problems are and what possible solutions there are, but they want a custom-made product.
With this strategy, the representative usually gets in touch with the customer and then attempts to negotiate a sale. This method works better when the sales representative and customer have a pre-existing relationship. You can use this method for short sale cycles—retail, real estate or automotive—and one-time purchases.
3. Consultative selling
The consultative selling approach is about creating value and trust with potential customers and exploring their needs. With consultative selling, the salesperson’s primary goal is to establish a relationship with the customer; their second objective is to identify and provide the customer with the product they need. This is a complex sales approach to implement because it requires a highly experienced salesforce who are good communicators that ask the right questions and engage with customers throughout their journey. The end goal of consultative selling is to establish a consulting relationship with the client.
Consultative selling can be an effective sales strategy in any industry that aims to generate long-term revenue and profit rather than simply making a quick sale. For example, purchasing a car. In that case, the car salesperson takes the time to ask the client several questions about their needs and purpose before making a suggestion.
4. Provocative selling
Provocation-based selling targets a problem the customer is not aware of, but that is critically important. Once the customer is informed about the issue, they are willing to take care of it. The salesperson must create urgency and show that the customer’s current chosen method is not a safe option. Sales professionals see these challenges as opportunities to show that their products are not just a nice addition but essential.
You can use the provocative selling method to help increase sales during normal situations and when business is slow. You can use digital marketing services like digital PR, video marketing, influencer marketing services, and many more. It gives your customers an insight into your business and how you can assist them with their needs.
Get ready to market!
Focusing on your goals and expectations helps you figure out the most suitable sales strategy for your specific business and industry. Think about what you want to achieve and what steps you need to take to get there. The answers will help you focus your sales efforts and ensure that you’re on the right track.
Contributed to EO by Greg Walthour, the founder and CEO of SocialSEO, a digital marketing firm that made the 2022 Inc. 5000 list and offers a variety of digital marketing services including SEO, SEM, social media, influencer, email, Amazon, and video. Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, SocialSEO is a national brand with a diverse client portfolio.
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