Sales Tip: Know your selling style

May 30, 2024
No selling style works for every possible customer, but the wrong one can sink a distributor's future.

Here’s something new for you to think about that may just make a significant positive difference to your sales results — your selling style. These are five of the most common styles of selling for distributors; think about which style your next customer would get along with the best.

  • Hard-charging closer: You live by the ABC motto — always be closing. You never miss an opportunity to go for the sale. “Let’s get this deal done right now, OK?”
  • The counselor: You guide the prospect into your product by slowly getting them thinking and talking themselves into the product. “I like how you’re thinking about the storage system and the options which are best for you. I think this is a good fit for you, don’t you?”
  • The storyteller: This style of selling includes actually telling some kind of a story that emphasizes the features, advantages, and benefits of the product that have helped a previous user. Better yet the story includes an application problem that the product solved making a previous user happy with the product. “I’m sure that you and every technician you know has cut or scratched their hand on the sharp edges of a zip-tie stub while working under a dashboard. With these full flush cutting miniature pliers, you will be able to get in and cut those zip-ties leaving a smooth cut so you and future technicians will be protected from injury. I think this tool is a good one for you, don’t you?”
  • The technician: You always go with the technical aspects or details of a product first and try to use logic to close the sale. “This 18V 4.5A hammer drill will produce 1,200 peak in-lbs of torque which is 60 percent more than most competitive products. It has a max speed of 2000 rpm and only weighs 4.5 lbs. Don’t those specs fit exactly what you are looking for?"
  • The mailman: The mailman is the mobile jobber who is convinced that if they distribute this month’s promotional brochure to each tradesperson on each call the prospects will read the brochure, get excited about one of the products promoted, and ask to buy it. “Here’s our latest brochure that has some of our best products and great prices. Take a look at it and let me know which products you want, OK.”

I’m happy to say that any of the first four selling styles will produce excellent results depending on the customer, and I’m sorry to say that if your go-to tactic is "the mailman," you have two directions from here — work hard to develop one or several of the first four selling styles or choose to go work for the USPS since there is a real shortage and demand for employees there.

About the Author

Alan Sipe | President, Toolbox Sales and Consulting

Alan W. Sipe has spent the last 42 years in the basic hand tool industry including positions as President of KNIPEX Tools North America, Sr. VP Sales and Marketing at Klein Tools, Manager Special Markets at Stanley Tools and sales management at toolbox manufacturer Waterloo Industries. Currently Sipe is the owner of Toolbox Sales and Consulting specializing in sales strategy, structure, development and training. Sipe can be reached at [email protected] or 847-910-1063. Connect with Sipe on LinkedIn.

Sponsored Recommendations

Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Training Series

Almost every new vehicle is equipped with VVT technology. This video explains the weak points in OE designs and gives you a complete overview of the replacement options available...

Cam & Crank Sensor Training Series

Today's advanced engines depend on accurate and consistent information from cam and crank sensors for performance, fuel economy and emissions, and not all cam and crank sensors...

Buying Your Next Diagnostic Tablet

When you last invested in a diagnostic tablet for your shop, did you consider it a potential gateway to increased revenue? Probably not. It’s likely you viewed it as a necessary...

Access Carside OEM Repair Data with MOTOR TruSpeed

Now available on all Autel MaxiSYS Ultra Series tools, MOTOR TruSpeed Repair delivers expanded OEM service and repair data within days of being published by

Voice Your Opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Vehicle Service Pros, create an account today!