Managing different selling styles in a team

Sales team having a meeting

As you may have gathered from the content already covered on this topic, there is no one definitive successful style. In fact to become super successful you actually need to be able to switch between the styles at different points throughout the sales process, particularly if you work in a smaller business, or indeed are the only salesperson within your business.

Therefore if you work on your own, or you represent the entire sales department, and you feel your natural qualities lie within one of the five styles, it will help to think of the other styles in their Archetypal form, when you need to apply them.

For example, today I need to put on my Gladiator armour and hammer the phones to make some new appointments, or today I’m going to wear my Monarch robes and spend some time collating my sales reports and analyse some statistics so that I have a clear and accurate figures to help guide me.

By adopting the characteristics of each archetype only when required, you will not feel as if you have had to change your identity or adopt a completely new style of selling, perhaps one that does not feel as natural for you, instead you are merely wearing that ‘hat’ in order to get the job done.

Mix it up a bit.

However if you work within a team, or manage a sales team, this is a great opportunity to mix up the styles within the team, playing to everyone’s strengths by building your sales process around their individual capabilities. It makes sense to send the Gladiators out to hunt out the new leads, but rather than force them to develop those relationships, send in the Best Friends to develop the relationships and the Wizards to provide the technical support in the sales process. Let the Bankers assist with closing down deals, particularly the more tricky contracts and give the Monarchs the responsibility of pulling everyone’s sales figures together into a coherent report together with writing and circulating the weekly blog.

In one of the most successful sales teams I managed, I was able to find a way to reward everyone’s contribution to the overall sales process by recognising their individual contribution and ensuring that everyone utilised their strengths which balanced out other people’s areas of weakness. We paid 10% commission on all sales, so rather than reward this simply to the person who closed the sale (which tends to be the traditional method of paying sales commission); I split the commission into three payments.

Who do you reward?

We paid 3% for generating the lead, 3% for presenting the sales proposition and 4% for closing the business. Some team members were able to manage their prospects from acquiring the lead to closing the business, but by offering this split in commission it allowed everyone in the team to work together.

Best Friends would ask Bankers to help close down a client, Monarchs would ask Gladiators to bash down some doors for them and generate some new leads, and Wizards would step in with technically challenging information at presentations. By supporting each other in this way instead of creating conflict, it created a cohesive team where everyone supported each other and focused on the service we delivered to our client’s and the overall business success, over only winning business for themselves individually.

Managed in this way different styles can complement each other wonderfully, however the mistake that often occurs within organisations is that a ‘sales culture’ is created which is often a reflection of the Sales Manager who them recruits team members, based on their own style and the majority style within the team – they assume that other styles of selling are just plain weird or incompetent and perceive their way of approaching sales to be the most proficient.

Beware of thinking your Archetype knows it all!

Within organisations you will often find teams of Gladiators all charging about in battle, creating lots of opportunities but failing to move them forward, departments of Best Friends all getting to know each other and their customers better, everyone feels great but no one is closing any sales and hiding in a cupboard somewhere you can unearth a team of Wizards all strategising and mixing together an extra special potion, yet failing to communicate any of these product benefits to a single customer!

If you are contemplating joining an organisation or focusing on increasing the effectiveness of your own sales within your business, aim to work out the existing cultural selling style. If a business’s model of success is based on the Gladiator’s style and you know you can bring Best Friend qualities into the mix – be sure to understand what you will bring to the table, or would you feel comfortable working within a Gladiatorial environment. If not, then this may not be the right move for you.

Or if you now know you ave a dominant style, find a person who can compliment your strengths, even if that is a different approach to your own. Together you can create a highly effective and dynamic duo.

To be successful you need to recognise your own strengths and those of your colleagues and devise a way of working that celebrates everyone’s strengths and builds overall success for the organisation.

Want more?

We look at recruitment and developing your sales team as part of our Leadership Programme. You can find out more here.

About the Author Nicola Cook

Nicola Cook is an award winning entrepreneur and twice published international best-selling author on professional selling and personal & business growth. She is CEO of Company Shortcuts, a business devoted to improving business results by injecting skill, passion and strategy to help those entrepreneurs and sales enthusiasts achieve the sales results they desire.

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