The Changing Hinterland of the Seller

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The day of the double glazing salesman with his size 10 wedged in your front door has long gone. However, the smooth talking, focused deal closer is still what a lot of businesses would perceive as the ideal salesman. But, even this is changing.

Some recent research by Ford Retail reveals a picture that shows the successful salesman is now being defined by a different skill set. The characteristics most associated with high performance were good communication and a commitment to customer service.  They are now recruiting people, not on the basis of experience in the car sales sector, but based on individual characteristics with the support of psychometric testing.

The Ford HR Director found that: “The biggest predictor of sales success was verbal reasoning – the ability to understand what is being said, process it and then communicate clearly. What was really interesting was the importance of the customer service rating, which was produced by people being supportive, being consultative and being relaxed. These skills are associated with rapport building and trust.”

The other issue for this new breed of salesmen to address is how well informed customers are becoming, largely because of the Internet.  Buyers are able to research potential suppliers in some detail.  Equally it is expected that sales people will have done their own research, and their questioning needs to exhibit that knowledge.

This means that sales people are having to be more innovative with their pitch. They need to offer more insightful proposals, be able to work closely with the customer based on a deeper knowledge of the client’s products, and perhaps even those of the client’s competitor.

Ford found that “The key difference between the stereotypical sales person and the customer focused communicator who is more successful is mentality. These skills can be acquired and practised, but it comes down to how individuals view themselves, their jobs and the world.  A salesman who regards himself as here to win, here to beat the competition, here to get the best possible deal out of the customer, is likely to behave differently from one who regards himself as here to help.”

The hinterland of the seller is therefore changing, and DNA Business Engineering can help you to change the mindset of your sales people and make them more successful.  To hear more about our Personal Effectiveness Programme call:

Doug Jackson:                        07753 796316

Jonathan Rayfield:              01423 501161


Sharon Ashcroft HR Director Ford Retail
James Beevers Head of Talent Q, psychometric testing for Ford
Phil Squire CEO of Consalia, sales development and training