Driving Sales Velocity in a Challenging Market: Discover the 4 Traits That Set Top Sellers Apart

19 Oct 23

Uncovering success in sales can be a mystery, but understanding these four definitive selling approaches is key. Learn how to redefine success today and get practical tips to start improving your team's performance.

In the ever-evolving sales landscape, understanding what drives success can often seem like deciphering an enigma. However, if we look closely, patterns begin to emerge that delineate the attributes of successful sellers. To discern these traits, SBI studied 100 frontline sellers, managers, and SDRs. Their research has illuminated four definitive selling approaches, each characterized by specific competencies and behaviors. We'll delve into these selling methodologies and explore how they redefine success in today's complex buying environment.

Unveiling the Four Pillars of Success

They delineated four unique approaches to selling through extensive research, characterizing them by specific competencies and behaviors. These include Narrowing, Provoking, Translating, and Anticipating sellers. Each approach is intriguingly different and plays a critical role in shaping the trajectory of successful selling.

Narrowing Approach

The Narrowing sellers, also known as Navigators, are the confident leaders in the sales process. Equipped with a deep understanding of the product or service they're selling, they're able to guide the customer along the buying journey. They're skilled at identifying each buyer’s unique needs and are adept at addressing any objections or concerns that may arise. Their ability to provide clear and concise information helps to alleviate any confusion or uncertainty, facilitating a smoother and more efficient buying process.

Provoking Approach

Provokers, or those using the Provoking approach, utilize their persuasive skills to evoke a strong sense of urgency in their customers. They're skilled at vividly portraying the potential benefits of their solution, compelling buyers to act swiftly. Rather than simply responding to client needs, they challenge them, pushing them to consider new perspectives and opportunities.

Translating Approach

The Translators, or those who utilize the Translating approach, are the empathetic communicators of the sales world. They're excellent listeners who take the time to truly understand their customer's needs, concerns, and goals. With this understanding, they're able to tailor their offerings, accordingly, positioning themselves not merely as sellers, but as trusted partners. Their dedication to customer satisfaction is a key factor in their success.

Anticipating Approach

Anticipators, those who adopt the Anticipating approach, stand out for their proactive and forward-thinking nature. They're always one step ahead, anticipating customer needs before they even arise. This predictive ability allows them to offer innovative solutions and seize opportunities before their competitors do. Their proactive approach not only helps them establish strong relationships with their clients but also significantly improves their chances of closing a sale.

The Currency Each Approach Trades In

When it comes to different sales approaches, each has its own unique 'deal currency' that they trade in. For Narrowing sellers, it's all about creating a sense of urgency and reaching a quick resolution. Provoking sellers rely on relevance and thoughtful consideration to engage with potential buyers. Meanwhile, Translating sellers place emphasis on the customer's acceptance of a problem or an opportunity that needs to be addressed. On the other hand, Anticipating sellers direct their efforts towards maintaining momentum towards a mutual goal, always looking ahead to what lies ahead.

The Impact on Sales Cycles and Choosing the Right Approach

Interestingly, the study uncovered some intriguing findings. One of the key findings was that utilizing a Narrowing or Provoking approach might lead to longer sales cycles, potentially extending them by 20-22%. On the other side of the spectrum, the Translating and Anticipating approaches can potentially reduce the amount of time it takes to complete a sales cycle. This data suggests that for sellers aiming to successfully wrap up the year, acquiring a deep understanding of customer dynamics and employing empathy becomes paramount.

The Paradox of Speeding Up by Slowing Down

One of the most intriguing findings from this study is the seemingly counterintuitive concept that slowing down during the sales process can, in fact, lead to an acceleration in the deal. This highlights the need for sellers to approach their work thoughtfully and deliberately rather than rushing to push out as much as possible. By taking the time to understand the customer's needs and concerns, sellers can effectively address them and move the deal forward more efficiently.

The Current State of Selling and the Way Forward

Unfortunately, data indicates that most sellers today prioritize a less productive, push-based approach. This goes against the grain of leaders and sales teams who are pressured to accelerate deals and encourage customers to close.  

To address this, SBI has developed talent assessments and conducted time studies. They've crafted playbooks to equip sellers with the necessary skills and behaviors for success. Moreover, through the Sales Readiness Group (SRG), organizations have the opportunity to align their sales training programs to bring these productivity-enhancing skills and behaviors to life. 

In conclusion, understanding and leveraging these four selling approaches can pave the way to greater success in the complex world of sales. So, which approach resonates with your selling style? 


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