We’ve spent years digging into how to maximise all the elements that come together on a sales journey – finding out how to unlock each at exactly the right time…

And I’ve come to the conclusion that in enabling sales to sell better, we may be missing a trick!

The author Steve Martin identifies ‘the hidden reasons’ that salespeople win or lose a sale’. Personality; Group dynamics; Industry personas; Price sensitivity.

So, what else should you know about the four hidden reasons lurking in your buyer’s mind?

Customer personas and understanding the world our customers inhabit, the industry they work in, sales training, marketing campaigns, products and propositions – are crucial to sales development.
But there’s still something missing that could move a customer connection to a strong relationship.

It’s the fact that your buyer – your prospect – is a real, actual person.
A human being.
And understanding how that person ticks will help your sales success.
After all, their personality determines how they connect with you, how they manage the internal group dynamics during the sales process and how successful you are in selling to them.

Here are a few tips:

Personality (buyer type)
40% of prospects want a salesperson to listen, understand and then match the solution to a specific problem30% want you to make them feel comfortable, earn their trust and take care of their needs30% have their thoughts and perceptions challenged, with the final solution something that they may not have already thought about

Group dynamics
Will your prospect be the dominant person in the evaluation group?
Martin says his study found 90% of people felt there was always one person who pushed for their way to be The Way – and they got it 89% of the time.

Industry personas
You need to change your style to suit your buyer’s industry. Martin found that while everyone wants salespeople to be friendly, fashion and media buyers are also looking for charismatic, while manufacturing and healthcare prefer friendly but professional!

Price sensitivity
Different buyer types react differently to price. They can be price-conscious, with the cost at the top of their buying agenda, or price-immune – or somewhere between.
Identify how sensitive to price your buyer is before you put in your proposal – it could stop you unnecessarily losing revenue.

Here’s what to think about BEFORE your next conversation with a buyer.
As well as the usual questions about their business environment, their priorities, challenges and the wider stakeholder group, how can you identify their personality, the way they like to interact, and how they like information presented to them?

If you uncover some of those ‘hidden reasons’, how will it change your selling style in response and the sales materials you present, and the proposals you submit?

Give it some thought. I promise it will be worth your while.


  • Access the full article 6 reasons salespeople win or lose a sale’ by Steve Martin (HBR 23. June 2017)

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