The Key to Increasing Sales—Behavioral Selling

By Whit Mitchell

“Any salesperson who is not selling behaviorally is, at best, only 25-50% effective.” 

I heard this quote during a seminar given by Judy Suiter. It certainly caught my attention and pushed my interest to discover what selling behaviorally meant. 

No matter whether you sell a product or a service, it’s pretty much a given that all salespeople are looking for ways to increase their sales. And company growth usually relies upon sales success. Companies often train their salespeople on closing techniques, yet research shows us that the sale is won or lost early in the sales process. 

In fact, research by Neal Racham has shown that the most essential phase of the sales call is the investigation stage of asking questions and uncovering needs. A similar study by Performance Seminar Group showed relationships to be over 30% of the sale, while closing techniques were only 10% of the sale.

It all comes down to a simple idea: “People buy from people they like!” Do you agree or disagree? Have you ever met a salesperson you didn’t like? If yes, did you buy his or her product? Why or why not? Unless they are desperate, most people will not buy a product if they do not like the person who is selling it. 

So how do you get people to like you as a salesperson? The secret is called Behavioral Selling. And what I am about to share with you could turn your whole business around if you practice it on a daily basis. 

What is Behavioral Selling? It is a process during which the salesperson recognizes traits within a potential customer, essentially clues that tell him or her how to adapt the sales pitch—and his or her presentation style—to that person’s preferred behaviors. 

Let’s look at these three statements:

  • People tend to buy from salespeople with behavioral styles similar to their own.For example, if I am analytical I will tend to buy from a salesperson who provides me with lots of data.
  • Salespeople tend to sell to people with behavioral styles similar to their own.A salesperson will tend to naturally connect with customers who have a behavioral style similar to their own. That means that you might consider a customer unqualified, when you are simply dealing with a different behavioral style than your own. 
  • If salespeople adapt their behavioral styles to that of the customers, sales will increase.Why is this? Because communication increases. Your customer feels heard, feels respected, and feels comfortable.

Once you learn to recognize your customers’ behavioral styles, you will be able to adapt faster and sales will increase. One of the most effective ways to determine behavioral styles is through the use of the DISC Assessment. 

What is DISC? DISC is the universal language of observable behavior. It gives us insights into preferences and helps us learn more about each other.  Every day we live in a wonderful laboratory where we can observe people and learn how to communicate with them better. By understanding common characteristics, we can enhance relationships and understanding.

DISC gives us insight into four observable behaviors:
D = Dominance – How you respond to problems and challenges.
I = Influence – How you influence others to your point of view.
S = Steadiness – How you respond to the pace of the environment.
C = Compliance – How you respond to rules set by others.

Ferguson Pontiac in Colorado Springs trained its entire sales staff using Behavioral Selling Skills. The following Saturday, they broke their all-time daily sales record. Shortly after that, they broke their all-time weekly sales record, and two months later they set a new monthly sales record. When asked about their success, the sales manager said, ”We no longer sell cars; we work to make people happy.”

To learn more about DISC and Behavioral Selling, email Whit Mitchell at whit@price-associates.com.