One of the biggest problems with the ‘soft-selling’ movement is that many salespeople either intentionally or unintentionally stepped out of the assertive expert-adviser position required for successful selling.
By not wanting to appear too pushy or coercive, salespeople have been taught to focus on building the relationship, and this created the emergence of relationship-based selling.
While I certainly have no issue with the notion of relationship-based selling, or the more recently branded version of the same approach called trust-based selling, both of which are focused on building intentional trust relationships with buyers and referral partners, what I do have issue with, is the disconnect that these ‘soft’ approaches can have when the salesperson or professional adviser does not apply the principles and processes of relationship and trust-based selling with confidence, assertiveness and an obvious ‘air of expertise’.
It’s time for salespeople and professional advisers to step into their value with what I’m referring to a focus on Disruptive Positive Selling. Disruptive Positive Selling is still based on the well proven methodology of relationship and trust-based selling, however, the focus is on building the importance and value proposition of the expert-adviser in the mindset of the buyer.
This becomes a key point of differentiation for salespeople and professional advisers dealing in highly competitive markets.
Disruptive Positive Selling also draws on the latest research from applied positive psychology. For example, by helping salespeople and professional advisers increase their self-determination by identifying and managing their mindset, sales process and approach to taking more control over the achievement of their sales goals and targets, the result is an increased personal confidence and recognition by the salespeople in their own value and the value they create when they sell what they sell.
Disruptive Positive Selling also utilises the scientifically validated Appreciative Inquiry Framework to structure and design the types of value-discovery questions the salesperson asks of their client. By asking value-discovery questions that focus the client on the ‘best possible outcome’ of their personal situation, relevant to what it is they are trying to buy, the salesperson creates a communication environment where the client becomes more comfortably disturbed about their current situation and becomes more committed to making a buying decision that will motivate them toward creating the best possible outcome they’ve articulated to the salesperson.
Clients become more comfortably disturbed, resulting in more trust in the salesperson, more value-realisation for the client and, for the salesperson, more sales!
Using the framework of Appreciative Inquiry also increases the salesperson’s capacity to uncover more broader client goals, wants and needs that may identify more opportunities for the salesperson to either broaden their offer beyond what might have seemed the immediate opportunity, or to identify other internal or external connections, contacts or recommendations beyond their own products and services. This clearly demonstrates to the client the broader value of dealing with an expert adviser and not just a product/service specialist.
Disruptive Positive Selling is a combination of mindset, skillset, and a level of personal belief and self-determination that when the salesperson sells what they sell, they will be achieving a genuine intention to create the best possible outcome and create real value for their clients.
Don’t get me wrong though…The soft-sell and relationship-trust-based sales approaches have been a positive step away from the bad old days of the foot-in-the-door-stereotypical-slick-and-pushy salesperson.
However, like many things in life, the swing too far in one direction can miss that sweet spot of a balanced approach. It’s time for salespeople and professional advisers to reclaim their mantle of expert adviser, to stop pussy-footing around the sales and buying journey, and to be more confident and proud of their intention to help comfortably disturb their clients into making wise buying decisions that achieve their clients goals, fulfil client wants and needs, and create real and meaningful value that earns long term advocacy and loyalty.
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