In more than 40 years of coaching sales professionals here at The Brooks Group, we’ve been able to identify, with a fair amount of accuracy, the five types of selling profiles that define the professional.
We’ve identified the “Timid,” known for their fearful approach to the marketplace and lack of product knowledge; the “Buddy,” those who back-slap their way into deals over a round of golf or a big steak; the “Servicer,” who loves to overdeliver service to existing clients but is not up for the hunt; the “Commando,” a pushy type who is slicker than oil; and the “Optimizer,” a professional dedicated to real solutions, and to building trust.
Today, we’d like you to meet a new type of selling profile: the “Virtualizer.”
This sixth type of selling profile has risen, like a phoenix, from the tatters of the COVID-roiled economy. While many sales professionals have struggled to adapt their steeped-in-tradition selling skills to the quarantined landscape, the Virtualizer made the transition with ease. The Virtualizer is always dressed appropriately; their camera is pointed straight ahead; their lighting is balanced; and their presentation materials are at their side, ready to display with just a click.
Other attributes of The Virtualizer:
- They put the buyer’s experience first and prepare with the same vigor as if they were going for an on-site visit.
- They understand that they are the face of the company; that the company’s reputation is at stake; and that failure at mastery of the virtual toolscape will put the opportunity at risk.
- They prioritize form and functional equally – so they care as much about the aesthetic of their video image as they do about what is being said.
- Like the Optimizer that forms the foundation of this new profile, they bring a healthy dose of empathy for what their buyer is feeling or experiencing as a result of the pandemic. The Virtualizer uses that connective tissue to create a relationship borne of trust – and focused on real problem solving.
So, how can our original sellers upgrade their skills in a bid to succeed in the “new normal”?
- Timid: Unfortunately, they may not even be at your company anymore. With belts tightening, the Timid is most likely to be among the first to be furloughed or “managed out.” To be successful in era of COVID-19, they need a manager who is willing to be more hands on with them, helping to prioritize key opportunities and evaluating their work product to hold them accountable.
- Buddy: Without the gimmicks that they rely on to please the buyer and earn the deals, they’re going to need to suck it up and find a way to offer actual value to the buyer, rather than counting on making the sale based on their charm, wit, and personality.
- Servicer: Since they have typically been the “order taker,” the Servicer traditionally has waited for their buyer to come to them. They can pivot to proactive selling by creating a clear plan of action, with checklists that they can use to guide their conversation and stay on track. They will need to be prepared for a reality in which the existing offering is no longer adequate; and will need to offer an alternative that is more on target.
- Commando: They absolutely have to be sensitive to their buyers’ circumstances – their old approach of being a heat-seeking missile, intent on “destroying” a sales target as quickly as possible, is no longer valid.
- Optimizer: This is their time to shine! If they can add the virtual skills to their portfolio, they can quickly upgrade to a new tier of relevancy in the marketplace.