Selling styles can help management predict how a seller will act in certain sales situations and can provide worthwhile guidance for selection, training and development purposes.
In 1979, research scientist George W. Dudley approached the subject of selling styles experimentally. Using two forms of the well-known Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF), developed byRaymond Cattell, he computed an exploratory factor analysis of personality scores and functional selling behaviours for hundreds of salespeople. The result was one of the first scientifically based efforts to identify and classify selling behaviours into styles. To George W. Dudley, a “style” was defined as a relatively stable statistical representation of natural consistencies in a salesperson to prospect, present and close which tends to resist the change regardless of selling time, place and training provided or product sold.
According to Dudley, most salespeople show a statistically verifiable preference for one or two of the six different styles. Each has its own signature strengths and weaknesses. All of them have been shown to be effective in the right circumstances and under the right conditions.
The six different selling styles that can be measured by the Selling Style Profile Analysis (SSPA) and they are as follows:
Competition-oriented selling (C-O-S) - The competition-oriented salesperson is very persistent in trying to persuade a potential customer. Overcoming objections by never taking a no for an answer, he/she will do everything to close a deal resulting in direct and interpersonal influence.
Image-oriented selling (I-O-S) - Professional, oozing credibility and standing out from the crowd, the image-oriented sales person is about selling a most professional self-image.
Need-oriented selling (N-O-S) - Highly tactful and quick to ask relevant question to discover and understand the customer’s needs make them problem solvers and highly apt at reducing sales resistance. This selling style is about learning more about the client’s existing needs rather than create new ones.
Product-oriented selling (P-O-S) - This sales person knows all the features and benefits of a product or service. The selling style is about explaining and specifying product features and benefits.
Rapport-oriented selling (R-O-S) - Building and developing long-term relationships are the key characteristics of this sales person. They work to gain trust, work at customer relations and work as business partners for their clients. Interpersonal communication, trust and understanding are all highlighted.
Service Oriented selling (S-O-S) - This sales person explains the terms of services whilst providing an outstanding after sales service and exceeding customer expectations.
Do you know what your selling style is? Do you want to develop another selling style and respond to your customers in a more appropriate way?