Ignoring different sales techniques for different buyers leads to disrespect by the sales team and limits the most effective of sales techniques

Selling isn’t, er, selling. You must adapt your sales techniques to different buyers.

Take the salesman who moves from say, selling fast-moving-consumer-goods (FMCG) to, say, selling electrical engineering products.  The former includes selling soaps, chewing gum and cooking oil, while the latter, monitoring switchboards, control panels and transformers. As the name suggests, FMCG products are fast moving (selling). The electrical engineering ones aren’t. Sometimes employers and salespeople alike make the mistake of assuming a stellar seller or sales manager in one will easily assimilate into the other and so proceed to poach or recruit based on this.  Many times, both get quickly frustrated.  Here’s why:

Different buyers, different selling techniques

Whereas selling across all industries will at some point require a one on one pitch, the differences in each industry call for different approaches. The FMCG salesperson has the marketing wind propelling him. This works well in business to customer (B2C) industries. The same cannot be said of business to business (B2B) industries where the electrical engineering products fall. Different sales techniques for different buyers.

Not that marketing is entirely absent, but its selective nature is not the kind that propels a sale like the FMCG one. At the end of the day, B2B demands a face-to-face interview with the end buyer; in FMCG the face to face is with the distributor or retailer through whom FMCG’s sell.

For instance, you don’t need a sales person from a bakery to convince you to buy his bread, but you do need a salesperson to take you through the dough mixer you want to buy in your bakery even if you saw it in an engineering magazine. At this point, the FMCG seller quickly realises that he’s learning curve is going to be steep  and long; and the employer, quickly realizes that the immediate returns he expected from the superstar salesperson or manager will not be forthcoming.

Sales techniques different buyers

Lack of respect from the sales team

It’s been proven again and again that salespeople have little respect for a sales manager who cannot sell, or worse, doesn’t understand how a sale is made. And without respect the managers capacity to lead is limited.

Salespeople and managers, who find themselves in the fast-moving- slow-moving dilemma, will find it wise not to compound their already steep learning curve by alienating themselves from their teams.  To manage the team successfully, the manager will find it prudent to incorporate them in his learning to adapt different sales techniques to different buyers. Whereas team members don’t respect managers who don’t appreciate their selling pain, the same team members have high regard for managers (and members) who will step down from their high horse and show a willingness to learn. It’s not a case of losing your self-respect. No. It’s stooping to conquer.

Product knowledge

Closely related to marketing is the seller’s knowledge of his products. The FMCG sales person doesn’t need to know the ingredients in the seasoning that he sells any less than the insurance sales person the actuarial science behind the pricing of his polices. Neither needs an intimate knowledge of their product. In fact, just the fact that it’s a seasoning is enough.

Buyers are happy it colours their food and gives off the aroma that they want. They believe the safety and quality issues are catered for. The electrical engineer seller does not have that luxury; in fact, he must first be technically competent before he can even sell the product. He must be able to technically explain how he’s product solves the buyer’s problem. And to do that he must have a firm grasp of his product; a superficial one won’t cut it as it would for his FMCG counterpart.

This does not mean that sellers should remain cocooned in what they know. But it does mean that they should exercise caution when shifting business buyers or industries; and, employers shouldn’t get too caught up in the need to have a “stellar seller, because that is what we lack” and forget that technical competence is sometimes just as important.

How do selling techniques influence customers? Now you know


If you would like to have your sales team sell more, we can help. In order for us to do so we propose a free consultation meeting or a call. If in agreement please complete the form below and we will get in touch after receiving your details, none of which will be public. Thank you.

Views – 399

About Author

Related posts

Mr. Branch Manager, is your branch an operations or sales centre?

Dear Branch Manager, do you run your branch focused or costs and operations or sales and profit? Perhaps yours is a service centre focused purely on the former and that’s what’s required of you. And if that’s the case, that’s okay. Just know that, that’s the exception, not the norm. Still, don’t sit too pretty

Read More

How to sell in a crisis: a step-by-step guide. The case of Airbnb.

What if your product was mired in a scandal like Airbnb is right now? What would you do? Would you roll with the punches or throw in the towel? Would you rise to the challenge or, like an errant seller, sink to resignation, blaming the product and employer? “Na niliwaambia tu.” (I told them but

Read More

Is it the economy that needs fixing? Or, is it just you? Let’s find out.

“It’s not me, it’s the economy,” so you say. And, to justify your many misses and rare hits those in your corner energize you’re position: “It’s not you; it’s the prospects that don’t have money. The problem is the economy; this economy needs fixing by the government.”  Maybe. Maybe not; maybe it’s not the economy,

Read More
Stay ahead in a rapidly changing world with Lend Me Your Ears. It’s Free! Most sales newsletters offer tips on “What” to do. But, rarely do they provide insight on exactly “How” to do it. Without the “How” newsletters are a waste of time.