Getting a Competitive Edge: The Power of Adaptive Selling

By Simon Hazeldine

Adaptive SellingTalk to any sales professional about how challenging the current economic environment is and they will tell you about product margins decreasing due to increased competition and more aggressive and professional procurement becoming the norm.

In addition they will tell you how it is more difficult to get face to face time with potential customers. The amount of buyer time allocated to salespeople is declining (for example caused by downsizing of procurement departments) driving a need for salespeople to be able to maximise the reduced face to face sales time they do manage to secure.

Companies are striving to maximise the performance of their existing sales force and sales professionals are feeling the pressure. As a result the modern sales professional is looking for powerful and practical ways to get an advantage over their competitors like never before.

Luckily help is at hand in the form of a powerful selling methodology that research shows is proven to improve sales performance. It is called adaptive selling.

Research from the University of Louisiana defined adaptive selling as: “selling behaviours and approaches are altered during a sales interaction or across customer interactions, based on information about the nature of the selling situation.”

Adaptive salespeople will tailor aspects their questioning / probing, sales presentation, closing methodology and behavioural style based on the customer type or selling environment.

The ability to become effective at adaptive selling depends on the salesperson selecting the befitting level of adaptation and electing to employ the sales behaviours that properly correspond to this adaptation.

The abilities required for salespeople to be truly effective at adaptive selling are:

  • Observe: Sensing / registering the various cues from the buyer’s behaviour
  • Classify: Correctly interpreting them
  • Respond: Responding appropriately

The research from the University of Louisiana concluded that: “In the midst of increased competition and rising training costs, management should consider incorporating adaptive sales training into their training structure. Salespeople in this study buy into adaptive selling as an effective method. It has been shown to increase sales performance, and salespeople have indicated in this study that more adaptive sales training is necessary, in relation to other training topics.”

In order to help organisations improve the performance of their sales forces Mentor Group can offer a powerful suite of interventions designed to develop sales people’s adaptive selling capability.

We utilise a highly sophisticated and highly practical neuroscience based instrument called Prism Brain Mapping to help sales people quickly observe, correctly classify, and respond to a customer’s behaviour in an elegant and effective manner. This gives them a strong competitive advantage in a demanding commercial world.

If you would like to discover how to give your sales force a competitive edge then please get in touch!

About The Author 

Simon-HazeldineSimon has extensive international experience of leadership and talent development at all organisational levels. A particular interest is the link between effective leadership and organisational performance. With 15 years experience in senior sales roles in the FMCG industry, Simon brings a strong commercial understanding and focus to his clients with experience across the public and private sectors. He has an MSc in the Psychology of Performance, is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, a qualified Myers Briggs Practitioner and a Fellow of the Institute of Sales & Marketing Management. Simon is a regular speaker at conferences and is a member of the Professional Speakers Association. He is the bestselling author of 3 books (‘Bare Knuckle Selling’, ‘Bare Knuckle Negotiating’ and ‘The Inner Winner’) and co-author of ‘Bare Knuckle Customer Service’. Simon has a high-energy, inspirational and practical “down to earth” style and approach.

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