We all have a preferred style of communication or “Social Style” that drives our behaviours and approach to different situations. These preferences dictate how we approach a selling situation. Unfortunately, our own preferences do not always match those of our customers. In fact, the odds are 3-1 that the person to whom you are selling has a different communication style to you.
For example, what might be an effective approach to one sales situation could be perceived as aggressive and inappropriate in another. Most people would agree that a good sales person is one who can pick-up on all the signals a customer may give, be that body language, voice tone or eye contact. The question is: have your salespeople been trained to interpret these signals correctly?
Social Style training helps to improve our understanding of ourselves and others. There are four Social Styles: Amiable, Analytical, Expressive and Driving, and the training shows what happens to us when we are put under pressure or something is not going as we had hoped. In this type of scenario, “back-up behaviours” are then exhibited. These are like a default behaviour which could be badly received by the recipient.
For example, a “driving style” person will have a strong need to achieve results and they will try to satisfy this need by taking action. These people are seen by others as active, forceful, determined and direct, and they will often initiate social contact. However, when under pressure, their back-up behaviour is to become autocratic, perhaps by dominating situations, meetings and conversations, sometimes “steam-rolling” over others’ ideas in the process.
Taking a further example from a sales environment, imagine that your salesperson is selling to a customer who is slower-paced but very detail focused. The customer avoids eye contact, and any attempt at small talk by the salesperson is not reciprocated. This customer is an Analytical Style customer. Whilst some customers might appreciate the “look and feel” of your product, an Analytical Style person is more interested in reducing any risk to them associated with buying your product. They will be more concerned with guarantees, delivery dates and comparing the specification of your product with others. Any attempt by the salesperson to rush the Analytical Style customer into a decision would make that customer very uncomfortable: even if they did buy, they might never buy from you again.
A salesperson, or anyone else, who can read these types of situations correctly and adjust their approach accordingly, is seen as having high Versatility. Salespeople with a high Versatility score are typically the most successful salespeople.
The Advanced Communication Skills course from Ontrac Training uses the Social Style and Versatility Model from TRACOM to help salespeople improve their performance by giving them a better insight into how they appear to others. It will also give them a better understanding of what their customers’ behaviours are really telling them. Of course, these social intelligence skills are not exclusive to salespeople. They can be applied to any interaction between people, particularly in teams where there is a requirement for people with different communication styles to collaborate effectively.
We use TRACOM-Certified Social Styles Practitioners to deliver our Advanced Communication Skills training course. For more information, please get in touch.