Style is also personality dependent. For instance, does the buyer interrupt a lot? And if so, it is your responsibility to remember where the conversation veered off. Adapt to the buyer. One more advantage of taking notes as he speaks.

Selling is about as close a human interaction can come to, as a romantic relationship. To thrive, the seller must study and adapt to the habits of the buyer. Many sales are lost, triggered by the salesperson’s inability to do this. What’s most tragic is that rarely does the salesperson realise this.

Instead, he focuses solely on his frustration verbalized as “I don’t understand this customer!” or, worse, “Something is wrong with this customer.  I’m always the one initiating contact. It’s like he only remembers me when I call. I don’t think he’s interested in buying. (Insert clicking mouth)!”  Maybe. Probably though, you always catch him at the wrong time. Here are some examples to demonstrate this.

Preferred mode and Time of Communication

Technology has given us a plethora of modes communication. Email, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, SMS,  calling (fixed and mobile), Twitter, print (yes, there are still those who still insist on hard copy), and many others. Most likely your preferred mode of communication is not the buyer’s. How do you know the buyer’s? The one she uses the most when writing (not responding) to you. You may be a WhatsApp person but her, email. Insisting on communicating via WhatsApp won’t get you far. Especially when you notice that her profile shows she was “last seen in May” and it’s November. And if you didn’t understand that, then WhatsApp is not your preference. And it’s not enough to know the mode-even the time matters.

adapt to the buyer

A reader of mine told me how he had repeatedly, and in vain, tried to get this approval from a well-known General Manager in Kenya. .”I would camp at his office, send emails, text, call. I tried everything till I was blue in the face. Then I learnt that he sees everyone at 6.30am. 6.30am was the time I used to wake up but I needed this business. And so I was there without an appointment at 6.00am the following day.  Me, and seven other people who had arrived ahead of me! Not only did I get his signature, he spent another 30minutes with me talking shop! It is because of him that I’m an early bird today.” Even digital platforms are time user specific too. So, adapt to the buyer to thrive.

Style and content of communication

This is especially true for CEOs. They write and say comparatively little. Often the communication is general. Lengthy literal responses just turn them (as would most people) off. Three short sentences is a good ceiling to work with.  Which means you must have thought through what you are going to write ahead of doing so. And many are not particularly bothered about dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. But be careful about how you adapt to this buyer. Do not be fooled to assume that they’ll entertain that style from you too. So whereas you want to focus on brevity and clarity, punctuate appropriately too.

And speaking of selling to CEOs, content is easy to generate, and no it’s not sending them ‘forwards’ of jokes. Unless you have that kind of relationship, what you want to do is know what keeps him awake at night and make it your business during the day. Content must be related to his business and how that communication helps yield the results he seeks. And there has to be what you want him to do. Is it meet, read, gain knowledge, etc?.

Style is also personality dependent. Is the buyer friendly or curt? Fast or slow speaking? ‘Businessy’ or chatty? Does he interrupt a lot? And if so, it is your responsibility to remember where the conversation veered off. One more advantage of taking notes as he speaks.

Salutation as a way to adapt to the buyer

“It’s Doctor!” a well-known CEO will quickly correct you when you don’t address him as such. Finding out and addressing the buyer correctly, is a small price to pay not to compromise the sale.

For a smoother sales process, study and adapt to the habits of the buyer. Flow with tide, not against it

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