Types of Selling Models to Use for B2B Sales

B2B sales people are always asking me this question…

What B2B Sales Model Should I Use today for b2b sales success?

Then we get into a dialogue about the types of selling models and this is where it gets real interesting. Seems the topics all have something to do with a particular Sales System rather than the true model of b2b sales.

There is a huge number of selling systems for you – each guaranteeing you success. However, the true can be found in understanding the foundation of the system – one of the two types of b2b selling – to know if it will really work for you. 

Okay, you have heard about all the sales systems available to sales people – just Google sales systems and your will find many sales systems. Here is a short list of the most popular ones today…

  • Consultative Selling
  • Non-manipulative Selling
  • Concept Selling
  • SPIN Selling
  • Targeted Selling
  • Sandler Sales Systems
  • Dale Carnegie Sales
  • Solution Selling
  • Customer Centric Selling
  • New Psychology of Selling

There are literally hundreds more to pick from regarding Sales Systems and each one has both pros and cons to their effectiveness. This ability to match a sales system to your selling situation has two factors impacting their success.

These two factors include…

  1. The underlining B2B Sales Model in their Sales System
  2. The Strategic Emphasis on Selling by your company.

These two factors are the key tests for an effective sales system to work.

I was fortunate in my early sales career to have Brian Tracy as a mentor. He instructed me to read a minimum of five books on any subject to learn the real process being used. This advise has helped me to gain a higher level of understanding about both the sales models being used and the differences between many of the available selling systems in the market. Having read hundreds of books on selling as well as being an active sales person for over 25 years, I have a pretty good understanding of how to sell.

Enough about me – sorry about that – let’s get back to the real topic of Selling Models.

Remember there are a huge number of sales systems available, the key to your b2b sales success is understanding the types of selling models. These are the core elements or the foundation of a sales system and therefore is the most important differentiators to b2b sales success.

Here are the Two Types of Selling Models…

  1. The Presentation Model of Selling
  2. The Questioning Model of Selling

There you have it – simple and straight forward. Two types or Models of Selling.

The Presentation Model of Selling was developed for the classic old school sales person who was responsible for delivering information about the products or services they had to offer. They were the information source and comparison tool for all products and services. The presentation model was based upon having a scripted and memorized sales presentation designed to lead the customer to a close. They were effective during there time, yet, unfortunately many companies still require their sales people to use to the presentation model of selling while being concerned as to why their sales results are not hitting budget, margins are declining and their market has turned into a commodity market.

The Question Model of Selling is the newer kid on the block and the one I recommend to my clients. Neil Rackham of the SPIN Selling fame was the first to really show the power of the questioning Model. His work was entirely based on field research of actually going on 35,000 sales calls to observe and record what worked and did not work in the field – leading to determining what traits lead to success and which ones lead to less success.
Since his outstanding books – SPIN Selling and Major Account Sales Strategies were released it quickly became the foundation engine for other sales systems.
When the internet was developed and information flows at the speed of nanoseconds, the sales person’s role as information provider was reduced. Now, it became more important to learn about the customer and their business related issues. This is where the questioning model holds a key advantage over the presentation model.
No longer was the sales person the center of attention – it was back on the customer and their issues and needs. Proper questioning techniques allow the sales person to learn what is important, critical and how decision strategy is designed at the customer level. The model helps the sales person engage the customer in the sales process and develop rapport, trust and commitment to the process. It is a must situation for b2b sales people to be successful today.

One last point regarding the sales strategy of b2b organizations. Unfortunately, must current sales executives came from the Presentation Model of Selling background. This leads to major issues of implementation of the Questioning Model since they have less experience using questions as the driving force for their sales.

You can identify these executives and managers quickly by the methods they use as a manager. If the information flow is limited or need to know only, communication is downward and usually delivered as a presentation or tell you how to do things style, and seem to only discuss the products or services (and love a good “handling objections” session) then you have a Presentation Model of Sales manager or executive. Good luck.

However, if the sales executive is always asking questions of everyone, enjoys open and honest feedback from the sales team, wants to know about success stories and the problems you solved for this customer – well, you have a Questioning Model of Sales executive or manager. Congratulations as this will lead to a better sales environment and culture.

Well there you have it. Sorry about the length of this b2b sales tip, however there is huge amount of information to share. Please review the above information, determine which model you believe will help you be more successful and identify the model most likely supported by your organization. Control what you can however, I would advise you to learn the questioning model of b2b sales since it is the future for your selling success.

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Voss Graham

Sr Business Advisor / CEO at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Your Knowledgeable Partner for Business Success and Achievement. Dedicated to helping others get to their next level of success. Award winning business advisor; coach to executives and business owners; Business Growth Strategist; and experienced using assessments for hiring & selection, evaluation of teams and improving communication. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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