On Sales Strategies: How to Sell Profile-Correct

BY SHANE DECKER

Published in the April 2013 issue.

Do you feel uncomfortable when it comes time to close the sale? Have you ever sensed that you connected with a customer but then lost the connection when you tried to close? You may not be selling profile-correct.

Profile-correct salesmanship means playing to your own personality and being able to say what comes naturally to close the sale. Too many salespeople think they have to be direct or a little aggressive to close. For some, this style works, but for others, who are more suited to building a relationship before making the sale, switching suddenly to a direct style can come across to the customer as pushy.

Before you can know the closes best suited to you, you have to determine which selling profile you fit. There are three types of selling profiles. In brief, they are:

SERPENTINE Usually a Type-B personality, this salesperson uses a familial touch, allowing the customer to get to know him or her before he buys. The serpentine’s definition of a close is “helping the customer make a decision.” Seventy percent of salespeople are serpentines.

MISSILE A Type-A personality who wants to get right down to business, the missile romances the jewelry (instead of wandering offtopic) and is more direct. The missile’s definition of a close is “timing and how you say it.” Twenty percent of salespeople are missiles.

SNEAK This salesperson is a chameleon, taking on the attributes of the serpentine or missile as it suits the customer. The sneak’s definition of a close is “designed and engineered for the personality.” Ten percent of salespeople are sneaks.

When a serpentine tries to sell like a missile, he tries to use direct closes, which are not profile-correct. The closes come out sounding pushy, threatening or insincere.

When a missile tries to sell like a serpentine and use compliment closes, it comes out sounding hokey. Missile presenters can use direct closes all the way through their presentation and it won’t sound pushy to the client because it’s their natural selling style. Same with the serpentine using compliment closes: It’s just natural. Clients love compliments when they are genuine.

Unfortunately, what happens is that a salesperson hears a close that works for another salesperson and tries to use it, but it comes out wrong because it doesn’t fit his own selling profile. Anytime clients think a salesperson is pushy, it makes them extremely uncomfortable. Likewise, if the salesperson doesn’t close at all (because they don’t know how or are afraid to try), the client will still leave unhappy. The client came in to be closed by a professional.

So how can you learn how to sell profile-correct without being pushy? Do what I did. I promised myself every night for one full year that before I went to bed, I would sit down at the kitchen table and write out 10 closes. It took about 15 minutes. I wouldn’t write any closes that I would not use, and I tried not to duplicate any.

In one year, I wrote out 3,650 closes. You can do the same thing if you want to improve. The ones I liked the best, I cut out and put on my refrigerator door and bathroom mirror where I saw them two times a day, and I started memorizing them.

My closing ratio went from 20 to 25 percent to more than 60 percent. If you want to be the best closer in your store ... if you want to preserve client loyalty and improve your closing ratio ... always sell profile-correct.

In one year, I wrote out 3,650 closes. The ones I liked best I put on my bathroom mirror where I saw them two times a day.

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