7 Methods of Selling and How To Choose the Right One

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published January 22, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

It can seem challenging to uniquely sell your products in ways that appeal directly to your customers. Using different methods of selling allows you to identify customers' needs, present your products uniquely and close deals efficiently. You can try out different sales methods until you find one that brings you the best results. In this article, we'll discuss what the different methods of selling are and how to decide which ones are right for you.

What are the methods of selling?

The methods of selling, also known as sales techniques or selling methods, are strategies salespeople use to effectively make more sales, close deals quickly and increase revenue. There are many different sales methods available. The one that works best for you typically depends on your techniques as a salesperson, the product you're selling and the audience you're selling to. Many successful sales employees may use more than one sales method depending on their situation. You can experiment with various methods of selling until you determine which ones bring you the best results.

Related: A Complete Guide to Effective Sales Techniques

Different methods of selling

Sales methodologies consist of a wide variety of techniques you can use to sell a product in a unique way to customers. Common methods of selling most salespeople practice include:

Challenger sales approach

Those who practice the challenger sales approach take time to gain a better understanding of the individual customer's needs, business challenges and product preferences. As the salesperson engages in conversation with the customer, they'll typically take control of it by asking questions and searching for opportunities to connect with the prospective customer.

Related: A Definitive Guide to the Challenger Sales Model

SNAP selling

Many salespeople using this method focus on reaching customers by speaking directly on their level. SNAP means to keep it simple, remain invaluable, constantly align yourself with customers and raise their priorities. Following this method allows you to reach your customers more effectively by gaining valuable knowledge about their business and determining what's most important to them. This could be hitting their revenue goals, standing out from the competition or increasing their organizational structure.

To use SNAP selling, you should first earn access to the customer's time by explaining how your product helps them. You'll then initiate change by detailing the value your product will provide. Next, you'll help them decide to purchase your product by presenting them with a roadmap of your product that mentions its characteristics and benefits. Be flexible and collaborative as you negotiate a final deal with your customer.

SPIN selling

Those who use the SPIN selling method focus primarily on using the right questions to lead conversations with customers. This acronym stands for Situation, Problem, Implication and Need-Payoff. Each of these represents a different phase in this method, which are:

  • Situation: In this phase, salespeople will carefully research and review the buyer's resources and organizational processes. This involves asking leading questions to gain a better idea of customers' structural challenges and how the product can help them.

  • Problem: Gaining more knowledge through leading questions in the situation stage helps the prospective customer identify their own challenges.

  • Implication: After the salesperson helps the buyer acknowledge challenges in their processes, the customer may then realize the potential impact these could cause their business. Your leading questions in this stage should promote a genuine need to help the customer overcome and resolve these issues.

  • Need/payoff: This final stage centers on helping the buyer realize that the product's features can help them fix these issues. Through answering your leading questions, the customer should realize that your product will help solve their problems.

Sandler system

The Sandler system involves making customers feel like they're having a relaxed conversation, rather than a traditional sales call. When you first speak with customers, you'll focus on developing your relationship and establishing trust by building a rapport. Discover what their organizational challenges are and explain that you're there to help them overcome these obstacles.

Before you sell the product, you should first make sure the customer is a good fit for it and would benefit from it. Knowing that your prospect is searching for a product similar to yours or that they have a problem your product can solve increases the likelihood that they'll buy from you. This also ensures that you're using your time wisely selling to this customer. Once you've done this, you can focus on closing the deal and explaining how your product meets their needs, solves their problems and benefits their business.

Conceptual selling

With this sales method, you'll follow a framework that centers on planning your interactions with customers. You'll identify patterns in the way customers buy products and learn what drives them to purchase new products.

Once you've located this in potential customers, you can better pose the product you're selling in a way that helps you stand out from the competition. You can also use this information to build an action plan for how the customer can use the product you're selling to improve their processes or overcome any obstacles.

Related: Conceptual Skills: Definition, Overview and Examples

Inbound selling

Inbound selling collaborates closely with marketing techniques to locate pre-qualified leads interested in your product. Having access to an abundance of information online means customers may already research your product and understand its benefits or value before you speak to them. You can use marketing analytics to understand which of your ads or web pages they've clicked on to learn more about your product.

Prospective customers may use forms on your website to request more details on your products or services. The customer could essentially come to you, meaning they're already interested in and informed about your product. This increases the chances of making a sale once you provide additional details about the product's features, since you're confident customers know about your product and how it can help them.

Solution and value selling

When you use this sales method, you'll focus on the value, benefit or solution your product brings, rather than just the product itself. This tells the customer that your primary focus is on solving their problems or meeting their needs, rather than just making sales. By doing this, you'll build trust and stronger relationships with your prospects.

Related: Solution Selling: What It Is and How to Use It

How to choose a sales method that works for you

Follow these steps to choose a sales method that's right for you:

1. Review and map out your sales process

Your sales process consists of the actionable steps you'll take to transfer an unqualified prospect into a customer. Your sales methods are the philosophies and strategies within the sales process you'll complete to reach your targeted audience. Carefully review your sales process from start to finish. You can do this by mapping out your sales process stages. These stages will usually depend on the individual company you work for and your customers. An example of common sales process stages could be:

  • Cold-call customers

  • Determine customers' needs and challenges

  • Qualify customers

  • Demonstrate how the product meets needs

  • Present the product and its features

  • Customer reviews the product and makes purchasing decision

Related: The Sales Process and Its Benefits

2. Identify your customer's needs and buying habits

To accurately determine the best selling method for you, better understand your buyer's needs. This allows you to present the product in a way that overcomes customers' challenges and adds value to their lives. You can find a pattern in your customer base's needs and habits by reaching out to current and past buyers. Call these customers on the phone or send questionnaires asking what their business needs are and how your product solves their challenges.

This can help you gain a better idea of your audience's common technical, financial or personal needs. Locate sales methods that relate to these needs and the habits or motivations of your buyers.

3. Determine which sales method to use in each stage

Once you have a better understanding of your customer base and sales process, you should determine which methods to use at certain stages. You could follow one method for several stages or a different one for each stage. The right technique for you depends on the purchasing habits and interest levels of your customers in each specific stage. Each method you choose should guide yourself on how to present and sell your product to the customer in a way that appeals and speaks directly to them.

4. Experiment with potential methods

When you've assigned your sales methods to every stage and you've fully mapped out your sales process, test each one out. Evaluate the results of each method you try to determine which ones you excel at.

This can also help you learn if you're better suited for different stages or if there are methods that don't work well in any of your stages. You'll better understand the sales methods you're more comfortable using and the ones your customers respond well to. After practicing these methods, you'll soon discover which ones are right for you and your customers.

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