The Grid: Analysis of Selling Strategies

17 Apr

Well, Changemakers, here’s one of my favorite techniques from the sales books I’ve been reading. Though I’ve forgotten the title and author, one of them concerned a new way to look at the assumptions governing both salesman and customer behavior. This is based on a pair of graphs: two graphs, one representing the salesman and one representing the customer, each using the same scale.

The Sales Grid

Here, we look at a graph of all the different ways a salesman can look at sales. The grid is laid out on two axes: the horizontal, representing the salesman’s concern for making the sale; and the vertical, showing the concern for the customer. Each axis is measured on a scale from one to nine. While there are a near infinite number of combinations here, we will only look at five, residing at the (1,1), (1,9), (9,1), (5,5), and (9,9) points.

The Sales Grid: where are you?

The Sales Grid: where are you?

Take it or Leave it

This salesman is absolutely careless, not in lack of attention, but lack of emotional investment. They care neither for the customer nor the sale, leaving little reason to put much effort in the sale. Regardless of the situation, this salesman is unlikely to provide value for himself, the customer, or the company.

Pushover Salesman

Here, the salesman is consumed with caring for the customer and their feelings. Their sales style is filled with flattery, concessions, and attempts at ensuring the customer thinks well of them. They even view sales less about selling products as selling themselves. While this salesman may possibly make more sales than (1,1) or (9,1), they rarely will actually benefit the customer, and it is even less likely to benefit the company.

Hardball Salesman

This sales style is full of distrust of, and contempt for, the customer. They believe that the customer must always be bullied into a sale, and any compromises are losses. This salesman may make a sale, but their unnecessarily tough tactics make it unlikely, and they will rarely benefit the customer or ensure repeat purchases.

Technique Salesman

Based on equal concern for the customer and the sale, this salesman bases his sales on selling techniques. In an effort to half-help both in a false compromise, they rely on proven techniques and processes to make a sale. In all the strategies mentioned so far, this one is most likely to ensure repeat purchases, and has the best set of sales ethics associated with it.

Solutions Salesman

Just as the Pushover Salesman bases his sales on selling himself, the Solutions Salesman bases his sales on selling Solutions. They believe in their heart that there is a possibility for a supreme Win-Win, where both the customer and company gets everything they need. The Solutions Salesman still uses some well-known techniques, like capitalizing on objections and soft closes, but bases most actions on on-the-moment growths from his Solutions mentality. This mentality succeeds against all customer mentalities, and helps customer and company with equal effectiveness.

The Customer Grid

The Customer Grid: Where is your buyer?

The Customer Grid: Where is your buyer?

Each of these positions roughly corresponds to the same point on the Sales Grid. For example, the Avoidance Customer (1,1) despises salesmen and purchases alike. When confronted with a salesman, they make make a hasty purchase just to get rid of the perceived assailant. The Pushover Customer (1,9) will do anything to make the salesman approve of him, while the Defensive Customer (9,1) distrusts all salesmen, and pushes his own opinions relentlessly (often doing themselves a disservice in the process). A Reputation Customer (5,5) understands that the best compromise is to base purchases on the information about the company gathered from outside sources, but the Solutions Customer (9,9) sees that a Solution exists where both salesman and customer are satisfied.

These grids allow for two keen advantages: one, self-diagnosis as a salesman, which allows us to focus our self-development efforts; and, more importantly, analysis of the customer’s mentality and the choice of appropriate sales style. There is a general rule suggested by the second use of the grids:

Given a customer style on the customer grid, the salesman is most likely to profit with any strategy that is closer to the (9,9) point than the customer.

That is, if the customer is a Pushover, the salesman would do well to value the customer just as much as the customer values him, but emphasize the goals of the company so as to do the employers and salesman justice. A Defensive Customer is put at rest when the salesman cares as much for the purchase as they do, but is willing to listen to their needs. Obviously, the best possible position to take for any customer is the (9,9) Solutions Strategy, but assuming that few salesmen are able to consistently uphold this strategy, this rule allows the salesman to always mount a successful reprisal to each customer style.

Where are you on the Sales Grid? As a customer, where are you on the Customer Grid, and how will you benefit from moving towards being a Solutions Customer?


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