By Lorna Heynike, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Callidus Software

We've all met salespeople whom we didn't like. And we've all walked away from buying something because we didn't like how we were being sold. Ever wonder why this happens?

Do You Need Your Customers to Like Your Sales Reps?

Generally speaking the answer is "yes." Each of us brings expectations to each selling situation we engage in. This "buying context" – the buyer's personality and expectation in the sales situation – creates a framework that determines whether or not a sale will happen. If the salesperson's selling style matches the buying context, a deal will usually occur. If it does not, the deal is usually buried alongside the chance of any further relationship with that buyer.

Generally, there are four primary selling styles that catalog most sales professionals based on their dominant personality styles [1].

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We've all dealt with each of these types of sales reps.

The Repairman, most often encountered in technical sales or support, shines when solving problems and displaying technical superiority. As long as the Repairman is in a buying context with someone who speaks the same language and reveres such a depth of knowledge, a sale should result. However, in front of a non-technical decision-maker, a sale will rarely occur, as the deal will get lost in the details and fail to bring value to the customer.

The Hunter is the driven, new account salesperson, who considers the ability to create new opportunities as the only real measure of value. As long as the funnel needs business and there's open territory to build quickly, hunters thrive. However, if you're relying on hunters to nurture deals and build account relationships that will yield longer-term quality business, you will often come up short.

The Shopkeeper is the amiable, helpful personality that relishes helping others. As long as the customer wants to buy, openly seeks help, and doesn't mind the social hurdle to getting down to business (a driver buyer), a sale should result. However, shopkeepers excel at relationships, not selling, and if required to push or create opportunities with a buyer, a sale may not even get off the ground.

Finally, The Farmer is the persuasive friend, master of the soft sell, who builds a relationship with the buyer and sells intuitively through that relationship. As long as farmers have fertile ground to burrow into, they excel at unearthing all potential in an account. Without fertile ground (lack of leads, account relationships to build on), the farmer will go hungry.

There is no universal selling style that works for every type of buyer, for every type of selling situation. Each deal requires the right match of selling style to buyer. But make no mistake: The salesperson's personality impacts the deal. The key is to understand the personality of your reps and that of your buyers so you can adapt your selling strategy to win the deal.

So, how can you make sure you match the right sales force to the right buyer? If you are in sales, how much of this is in your control? The key is to adapt your selling style to match that of your buyers to win the deal.

In our next blog, we'll outline how to understand how different types of buyer like to buy, from Analytical with Cautious buying styles, to Amiables with Passive buying styles, to Drivers with Demanding buying styles, to Expressives with Impulsive buying styles. Armed with this information, you can adapt your selling strategies to your buyer's and ensure that your buyer likes your reps.

What selling style are you? Take our free assessment test in the new Sales Selector solution to find out! As always, feel free to email me at salespulse@callidussoftware.com.

[1] Research conducted by Salesforce Assessments indicates that there are 18 different selling styles that catalog sales professionals not only by their primary selling style, but also by their secondary selling style. Most salespeople will spend the majority of their time operating in their primary sales mode or type. A person's secondary sales type is a type of selling that he or she can do but is not particularly inclined to unless the person has good reason to move out of his or her primary comfort zone. You can download the full whitepaper. For more information about selling styles, interviewing tips, and other sales hiring best practices, visit our website.