Being a salesperson requires a lot of skill. Having the ability to bring even the most hesitant prospective customers on board with a winning sales pitch is something that a lot of organizations would crumble without. While there’s no denying some of it comes down to natural talent, sales skills are something that can be taught and improved upon. 

Throughout this article, we’ll explore seven selling styles – a lot easier to type than say – which sales reps can use to up their closure rate. 

1. Solution Selling

The first technique that we’re going to discuss today is solution selling. Your standard sales pattern is likely more product or service-focused. Solution selling, on the other hand, shifts the focus from what you have to offer to what the customer wants.

Here, we’re selling the idea of a resolved issue as opposed to a physical product. It’s less about listing the features of an item and more about finding a customer’s pain point. This won’t be for everyone, as solution selling tends to require some out-of-the-box thinking.

For example, if they’ve moved away from in-person marketing to marketing automation, how can your software help? Do they still operate with traditional landlines, and can your IP telephony system provide a more effective way of working? It’s less about selling what it does in general and more about what it can do for them.

2. Social Media Selling

Technology has brought both new innovations (like being able to have a video conference with prospective customers) and new challenges (like high rates of online shopping cart abandonment!) to companies. But there’s nothing that’s made quite the same level of impact as social media.

The phenomenon of social media has come with some well-advertised downsides, but in the selling world, it’s an opportunity-only development. It can be used to support purchase decisions at a rapid rate, so having it as part of an arsenal of selling styles is vital.

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Social selling centers around building established relationships with customers, using the ethos of solution selling at the forefront. Presenting something on social media as a problem-solving item or service is a great way to increase your deal count.

For instance, if you’re selling an interactive voice response (IVR) system, you could start by posting funny content about the difficulties of a traditional phone system. This can help build engagement, encourage shares, and, when you do throw in the pitch to your solution, give you a pre-prepped audience.

3. Collaborative Selling

Now, this is an interesting one. While the last two points have focused on a traditional relationship between buyer and seller, collaborative selling takes a different approach.

This is a more passive selling approach. It operates on the principle that the buyer has more of an impact on how the sales process goes. Instead of being pitched to and then deciding on whether that works for them, collaborative selling involves building a relationship with the buyer and responding to what they want.

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This, as you can imagine, requires a lot of data on the end of the sales rep. It helps if the other customer-facing functions of the business are aligned in the data they’re using too. Customer experience KPIs can be of great help here, as they can help you figure out what you’re good at – and what areas might need more work.

Ultimately, the goal of collaborative selling is more about the long game. It lays the groundwork for partnerships or continued alignments, as opposed to one-off transactions.

4. Consultative Selling

Consultative selling mirrors collaborative selling in many ways. Where it breaks free from its more comprehensive twin is that it still requires the sales rep to drive the conversation forward. You’re positioning yourself as the expert, so rather than working together on a problem, you’re very much taking charge.

This technique also has similarities to solution selling – you’ll notice as we go on that a lot of these styles overlap. However, it differentiates due to the level of detail involved in consultative selling. Here, we’re relying on customers to identify the pain points themselves and incorporating data – such as market trends and user data – as selling points.

This allows a sales rep to build a narrative around the pitch. Most salespeople are gifted storytellers, and this style gives them the opportunity to really shine. However, in order to really excel in this style, they need easy access to a lot of data. That way, when a lead brings up a problem, they can tell them exactly how it helps with numbers, not just anecdotes. 

5. Unconsidered Needs

At this stage, we’ve focused a lot on how these sales styles shift between a single relationship. Is it the customer or the rep driving the conversation? Now, we need to look a little more broadly at how your sales pitch matches up with your competitors.

If you’re delivering the same pitch as those companies that also occupy your space, you’re neglecting an opportunity to differentiate yourself. While you might have high customer retention rates, you’re missing the chance to steal the customers of your rivals.

Say, for example, you supply restaurants with POS software. You’re a company that exists in the mid-range – you’re better than a basic model but have some bells and whistles missing. Attracting customers who already have the top model may be difficult. 

Yet speaking to them in terms of the advantages of a lesser system – lower cost, more streamlined, represents what they actually need to operate – can be a good “in.”

This is where unconsidered needs come in. It requires a rep to think outside the box and construct needs that the buyer may not have considered to this point. By viewing a customer’s needs as a fraction of the solution that your product offers and then introducing other ways in which it could help, you elevate its value to them. They may not have encountered this specific issue yet. But if they come across it, they know that your item or service can help.

6. Insight Selling

Insight selling is a style that’s really come into its own in recent years. Revolving around a deeper understanding of what your customer needs, the end game here is achieving unshakeable trust and absolute understanding. It requires a bit of background research – for instance, building a consumer profile, performing trend analysis, and undertaking marketing research.

This allows you to bring together benefit and value for the customer, as well as differentiate yourself from other competitors’ offers. Rather than approaching potential buyers with open-ended questions, you approach them with data. No more “do you struggle with…?”. Instead, it becomes ‘Over 50% of companies struggle with…”.

 It, as should be obvious, is not something you can just learn on day one. It takes time to build up. However, once you achieve it, very few techniques prove as effective in garnering long-term, lucrative sales.

7. High-Pressure Selling

Finally, High-Pressure Selling. We know that almost all selling involves pressure of some kind, but here we’re talking about a style of selling that can more commonly be known as hard selling.

As far as “techniques which aren’t for everyone” goes, this is the grandaddy. As a sales rep or a customer, the hard sell can be either difficult to achieve or difficult to tolerate. It’s very much not a one-size-fits-all approach, but it still has its place.

This technique taps into the basest instincts of a buyer. If you feel you’re talking to someone susceptible to greed, fear, or even pride, the hard sell can be a great style to plump for. These tend to be people in equally competitive industries or places of work built around competition. 

With this technique, it’s vital your sales team know how and when to apply it. Pick the wrong person, and you might scare them off. Pick the right one, however? You might just make the biggest deal of the year.

Throughout this article, we’ve taken a look at some selling styles. No matter what you sell, you’ll be able to use these to close more deals out and exceed your quota.

Make sure to experiment and find the ones that suit your team best. Give your sales reps the space to find one that works for them, rather than giving them all the same script. You might just unlock potential you didn’t even know you had.

Author Bio

John Allen is the Director of SEO for 8×8, a leading communication platform with an integrated contact center, predictive dialer, voice, video, and chat functionality. John is a marketing professional with over 14 years experience in the field and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs across SEM, SEO, and a myriad of services. This is his LinkedIn.