What is Adaptive Selling & How Does It Close Deals?
By Carly Gail
It can be hard to effectively reach out to prospects if you don’t know how to stand out from the crowd. Everyone gets so many sales messages and emails that half the battle is getting someone to open a message, read it, and respond. To break through the noise and differentiate against your competitors, sellers must adapt the way they communicate with, pitch to, and engage with each individual lead. When sellers can learn to communicate in a way that resonates with each individual prospect, there is an increased likelihood that they will receive a response.
If you’re wondering what is adaptive selling and how it can help, this strategy is designed to enable sellers to adjust their sales strategy to better suit the person they are selling to. This behavior-based approach takes personalization to the next level, allowing sales reps to tailor their message and selling process to the preferences of each individual buyer.
What is Adaptive Selling?
Adaptive selling is the concept of adapting the way sales teams interact with a lead based on their unique personality and behavioral characteristics.
For example, let’s take Ross, a confident, direct, and assertive seller who prefers to meet clients face-to-face. His prospect is Rachel, a soft-spoken and risk-averse prospect who prefers plenty of written details and communication prior to any meeting. Rather than carrying on as he usually would, Ross adapts his approach to suit Rachel’s needs– not his own. Ross communicates plenty of details and information via email to Rachel ahead of their scheduled meeting, so she is comfortable with and informed of the risks and benefits of his offering. During their meeting, Ross is mindful not to speak too bluntly and instead asks Rachel plenty of questions to address her concerns. Rather than pushing her into a deal as he normally would as an assertive seller, he gives her plenty of time to think about his offering, follow up with any questions, and reach a final decision. Because Ross adapted his selling process to fit Rachel’s unique needs and preferences, his message was able to resonate with her, and she reached her decision with confidence.
An adaptive selling approach like this can greatly improve a seller’s performance and ability to connect with buyers. Because no two people are exactly alike, even communicating with buyers from within the same company may require different approaches. It also can change depending on the sales situation; while a buyer may appreciate a more subdued approach during prospecting, they may require a little more push when it’s time to close the deal, regardless of the personality. What is adaptive selling? Adaptive selling is being mindful of how individuals are motivated, their behavioral tendencies, and their own buying process, and can be especially impactful when navigating through these sales stages.
While these adjustments can be made based on the seller’s perception of the buyer, utilizing personality frameworks such as DISC can more accurately identify these characteristics and streamline the process, especially if you’ve never connected with your buyer.
How does it help to sell?
Although many sellers can find success repeating an approach that has historically won deals for them, the highest performers understand that each prospect is unique in their buying journey. By quickly identifying key differences among their buyers and adjusting their approach accordingly, sellers can personalize their entire sales process and maximize the chance of closing a deal.
For example, some buyers may appreciate a brief and strictly-business approach, while others may need more time to build trust and rapport before committing to the deal.
When you know your prospect and adapt your selling approach to suit them, they are far more likely to continue the conversation.
Personalize/tailor communication to each individual buyer
Raise conversion and win rates.
Avoid landmines in the sales process with specific personality types.
Accelerate communication skills development
Adaptive selling also enables sellers to more effectively upsell product offerings because they’ve adjusted their approach to ask the right questions and fully understand their buyer’s needs and pain. Adaptive selling teaches core fundamentals for becoming a skilled and effective communicator, making it an excellent tool for accelerating a seller’s career. If you're looking for more sales enablement tools that help with adaptive selling, read our quick blog titled Sales Enablement Tools for Adaptive Selling.
How is it used throughout the sales process?
Every buyer thinks differently.. and more often than not, the buyer thinks differently than you.
With adaptive selling skills, reps can tailor each stage of their sales process toward every buyer's unique needs and preferences.
It can be hard to effectively reach out to prospects if you don’t know how to stand out from the crowd. By taking a personalized approach and adjusting your communication to fit your intended audience, your message is far more likely to resonate with them and pique their interest.
For example, a warm, personal appeal might turn one key stakeholder into a champion, but it might make another uncomfortable and cause them to pull away.
Adaptive selling is the key to efficiently starting and building strong business relationships. With an accurate understanding of personality differences, you can better understand what your customers want, why they want it, and how they want to communicate in the buying process.
Setting up a meeting shouldn’t be a struggle, especially when they are so crucial for making a good impression, pitching your product, or closing a deal. However, convincing someone to invest the time necessary for a meeting can be difficult, especially when their inbox is flooded with various sales emails. Also, depending on their personality style, prospects may want to meet in different ways.
For example, a spontaneous call could be the best way to meet with one buyer, whereas another might prefer a scheduled meeting with a preset agenda.
Using adaptive selling, you can communicate in a way that reaches the other person and avoid spending unnecessary time and energy on countless, ineffective scheduling attempts.
Though you may have pitched the same idea or presented product hundreds of times, every audience may perceive your presentation differently. A pitch that resonates with one prospect may fall flat for another.
For example, some buyers may appreciate exciting visuals and big-picture ideas, while others may need thorough data and information to decide.
Without making an effort to adjust, it’s easy to pitch our idea or present a product in a way that feels familiar and appealing to us. By using adaptive selling, salespeople instead understand their prospects and can easily gear their pitch toward their prospects’ needs to make it more convincing, effective, and mutually beneficial.
Negotiations are a critical part of the sales process (and life). When negotiations are handled without proper care, preparation, or tact, they can be ineffective and costly for all parties involved.
For example, a negotiating tactic that pushes one deal across the finish line may cause another one to blow up. Some people value direct, bottom-line discussions, while others prefer slower conversation and collaboration.
A skillful negotiator understands the person they are speaking with on a deeper level; understanding not only what they want out of the conversation but how they want to conduct the conversation itself. Through adaptive selling, you can learn to recognize personality differences and adjust your style accordingly to help negotiations run smoothly and achieve better outcomes.
There are many voices to compete with and more noise to break through than ever, so buyers can afford to be very selective with their attention. What is adaptive selling? Adaptive selling is the key to grabbing a prospect’s attention, building relationships, and delivering value in a way that resonates.
While the vast majority of sales organizations choose a high-volume, low-touch strategy, this has created a massive opportunity for those who take the opposite approach; one focused on quality conversations, building trust, and professional empathy. Organizations employing an adaptive selling approach can truly differentiate the buying experience by making their pitch more personal, authentic, and relevant than their competition.