There are infinite ways to sell in Sales. Those ways attach to people and personalities and become Sales Types. I might be a Sales Type of one breed and you of another. One isn't necessarily better than the other, it's all about what works.
Here are some Sales Types I met and learned from at my first job out of school as an inside sales guy:
Barry was the VP of sales and was your typical Bill Branski type. You’ve seen him in airport bars and the 19th hole drinking Glenlivet on the rocks. Classic as they come, he was a red faced drinking, heavy traveling, fast driving, sharp dressing and deal making machine. The Barry way was to have ultimate style and control all while driving by the seat of your pants. He was good at taking a bad situation and driving it toward a better outcome, yet make everyone involved feel good. He had presence and strong leadership. He was crazy and cut corners from time to time, but always with good intentions. He was effective, and that’s what trumps all. It may sound petty, but I actually answer my phone, to this day the way Barry did. I say my full name, sound busy, determined, in control, yet earnest. In fact, his loud in your face personality is something I still once and a while try and emulate depending on who I’m dealing with. These things all play into the tempo you take into a business setting. If you can start yourself off with an advantageous tempo, then you might be able to riff on it and find a groove.
Ron was a Bay Area outside sales guy; the Ron way was the diligent hustle. He was on top of everything, wrote everything down on paper in order to follow up. And he would follow up relentlessly. Ron counseled me that so many people always focus on SAVING MONEY, when he said we have an opportunity to focus on the opposite: EARNING MORE MONEY. Ron also broke negotiating down into simple terms: ‘I’m here and you’re over there, and in order for us to transact we need to meet somewhere in the middle. What do I need to do to bring you more my way than you are?’
Bill was a Southwest outside sales guy, based in Dallas; the Bill way was to not write much down, to focus on the relationship sales approach. Whether it was drinks, dinners, golf, nude bars, or plain dialing for dollars, Bill was a pro at it. Bill essentially taught me to ALWAYS leave a voice mail when calling someone, even if it’s the 2nd or 3rd time you’re calling. That way the customer knows how much you care, and that you’re not going away anytime soon. Bill had such good rapport with his customers, he could get an order with a phone call. It was your classic ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” There is some risk in doing this too much though... Let’s face it, your customer’s first loyalty is to their company, so with enough pattern recognition, they’re going to notice that you call the last day of the month every month. So why not leverage that for extra points off the deal? And then there’s the ability to return the product within 30 days. I’ve seen companies and individuals get pulled to the pavement for getting carried away with these tactics. Bill always seemed to succeed unscathed.
Guy was a Midwest outside sales guy, out of Chicago; the Guy way was to tap into the finer things in life, to buy customers gifts, send flowers to their wives on behalf of the company, etc. He was a relationship guy and was as smooth as they come. He would stress about things but not let on that he’s stressed. He was sharp, diligent and mentored Ron quite a bit.
Jeff was the acting 3-day a week CEO; the Jeff way was to arm chair quarterback. He was parachuted in by the venture guys to look after the company. I’ll never forget, I was working a multi million dollar deal I’d sourced. I can’t remember how big the deal was, but I do remember it being something bigger than anyone in the history of the company had ever worked on. For the first time in my life I could envision making enough money to absolve all my debts. It was a real long shot though. Lots of stars needed to align in order for it to come together. It had to do with a new graphics production company expand nationally or something. Anyway, I had bounced some ideas off Ron here and there to get his input. I had tapped into every angle there was in order to push the deal forward. Until one day, Jeff paced over to my cube to ask me about the deal: “Michael, have you considered making them a deal?” If The Office camera crew were there, I would have given one of those looks at the camera.
I'll share more Sales Types soon.