Today’s selling strategies are changing. The old traditional approach of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, emphasized closing techniques and giving persuasive presentations. The traditional model is, by design, technique driven and only allows about ten percent of your time to build rapport. Twenty percent of the time is spent qualifying the prospect and thirty percent presenting the product. When you have reached this point, you spend the balance of your time closing. Most of the sales training seminars during this traditional approach era emphasized hard core techniques, specifically, closing techniques. The most popular seminars throughout the US were teaching strategies that used pressure, aggression, and a little manipulation. Very little concern was on establishing a long-term relationship with the customer. This selling approach was effective for low ticket items where a mistake is not that big of deal. It also required less time in asking questions and developing a conversation on the part of the sales professional. Notice the emphasis in the traditional sales model found in the next illustration
The Traditional Selling Model
■ 10% Rapport
■ 20% Qualifying
■ 30% Presenting the Product
■ 40% Closing
As selling organizations became more customer oriented and developed concern on satisfying needs and wants over the long run, a change in approach developed. In essence, a reverse and 180-degree shift took place. Today, selling strategies are moving from a pressure and technique approach to a rapport building and relationship emphasis. The more popular selling training seminars today deal with listening and communication skills and customer service. As illustrated in this chapter, the model of selling success in the new millennium concentrates on building trust, identifying needs, and making your product or service offerings more customized, individualized, and personalized. With customers becoming more educated and demanding than ever before, sales professionals need to build a relationship that is long-term and prove their concern and care to their customers through reliable and dependable service. Specifically, forty percent of the time is spent developing a relationship with the customer in building trust. This is accomplished by asking well thought out questions, and listening carefully to the customer’s responses. The next thirty percent is identifying the needs, concerns, and objectives of the customers. As you can see, little emphasis is placed on the closing process if the relationship and trust have been developed.
As time goes by, people are becoming individualists by developing personal tastes and wants. For example, many years ago only a few magazines were on the market geared towards the sports enthusiast. Today, because of the many target markets in the sporting industry, magazines are found not only for basketball, baseball, and football, but also for people who enjoy golf, skiing, hiking, tennis, racquetball, guns, boats, archery, soccer, horses, wrestling, track and field, swimming, and many other sports. Instead of a few major markets, our country consists of hundreds of smaller markets–a market of segmentation. This individualization makes the selling job more challenging as sales professionals must package and customize their services to satisfy the customer’s individual needs. A few years ago, you could only find a few different types of jogging shoes. Many different types of shoes can be found for people who are into jogging, running, and walking. Because of the abundance of products and competition, a sales professional must do more today to be successful–thus, the emergence of the Today’s Sales Professional. To be successful in today’s world, a sales professional must be five things in addition to having a good product at a fair price.