Sales technique vs. Selling structure

There is too much energy put into sales techniques, especially at the largest of wholesalers.

How to walk into an account. How to stand in front of the buyers. How to say what you need to say. How to hit all of your bullet points. How to smile and laugh, and mirror. And of course, how to close the sale … that all important moment that you have to jump like a lion onto your prey and get em!

Then, conversely, I watch some of the most awkward, socially inept, and downright strange people I’ve ever met succeed in wine sales. These wine sales people, on the surface, do everything wrong. They look at their shoes while they talk. They never seem to laugh or smile. They don’t jump on the chance to close the sale.

Yet they mop up business everywhere they go.

So if they don’t have a sales technique or a sales personality, how do they do it?

Through structure.

Selling structure is about several key aspects that are built into a system (rather than individual techniques at the sales call). Selling structure involves a framework that you operate inside of, keeping consistency as the focus.

As has been proven in the above example (and all major wine markets have stories about sales reps like the one I told) a finely designed selling structure can often be more powerful than sales techniques. One might say that slick of-the-moment sales techniques are more about a dopamine drip of pleasure, while the solidness of a sales structure is more about the serotonin build of stability and happiness. It’s a longer view.

As this month goes on, we’ll examine this idea of sales structure more, but here are a few foundational items to think about:

A good sales structure involves proper goal setting, not only in terms of accounts but also brands and individuals, plus realistic timelines with adequate marker of success.

A good sales structure involves teamwork not only with sales managers but also small groups within the organization to help with accountability, “greasing the engine,” and group-think problem solving. (The whole is greater than the parts.)

A good sales structure involves a systematic longer term approach to building the right customers, not simply trying to build the business of all customers.

A good sales structure focuses on wines and brands that become annuities for the sales rep, rather than wines and brands that are flashes in a pan and need to be re-sold constantly.

A good sales structure is about honesty, integrity, response, solutions, and consistency. It’s not about “me vs. the world,” or profit margins, or propaganda (marketing through lies, even if it’s just “I think this wine is great!”), or the worst offense of all: telling a customer there’s a problem but offering no solutions.

A good sales structure focuses on opening accounts and relationships and opportunities. Not “closing the deal.”

A good sales structure makes use of the calendar to control time and compress time frames, rather than the chaos of a daily “to do” list reinvention.

Though a good sales structure even an awkward, odd, nervous, new, and timid sales rep can find success. This has been proven.

But what might happen if you combine a good sales structure with a very slight grooming of sales technique?

Then the possibilities are exponential.

More coming soon.


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