As a jewelry salesperson, is it better to be a “challenger” or a “relationship builder”?
That’s the question I asked myself after reading The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. The authors surveyed over 6,000 B2B salespeople to determine what it took to be successful in today’s risk-averse business world. They decided there are five specific sales personality types and were able to rank each type according to proven success rates.
"When it comes to the jewelry industry, I believe that sales success comes from a healthy marriage between the Relationship Builder and Challenger sales approaches.”
There are the “Hard Workers,” who show up early, stay late, and go the extra mile. They’ll make more calls than anyone else. “Lone Wolves” are rule-breakers, the cowboys of the sales force who do things their way. “Problem Solvers” are customer service reps in disguise. They tend to focus more on getting the last deal implemented than moving forward to the next. “Challengers” are the debaters on the team. They push the customer’s thinking and teach him about the market. This was the type that proved to be most successful in sales. And lastly, my tribe, the “Relationship Builders.” We focus on developing strong personal and professional relationships. We are generous with our time and tend to advocate for what the customer wants. We remember names, birthdays, favorite desserts, and prefer a hug over a handshake. We are hesitant to truly push a sale for fear of damaging rapport. In most sales environments, we surprisingly come in last.
When it comes to the jewelry industry, I believe that sales success comes from a healthy marriage between the Relationship Builder and Challenger sales approaches. As a rep, it is important to help my customers identify new opportunities to cut costs, increase revenue, and mitigate risk in ways they themselves have not yet recognized. But jewelry customer loyalty is a result of both how you sell and how you follow through. In the jewelry industry, our concern is not only with the immediate sale, but the longevity and health of our business relationships. This applies to B2B sales and jewelry sales on a retail level. Jewelry itself requires a lifelong relationship, and closing a deal is just the beginning of the process. A wedding ring is sold, and over the years, if a strong connection is built between store owner and retail customer, it is cleaned, prongs are checked, it is sized and repaired all under the same roof.
After reading The Challenger Sale, I employed some more commanding approaches and noticed that closing my deals became less complicated. I am always eager to better myself professionally. Learning to adopt new approaches is part of growing and evolving as a salesperson. This is one Relationship Builder who has learned to expedite a sale by summoning her inner Challenger. However, greeting customers with a smile and following up with a thank-you note is what allows for distinction. After all, making our original pitch and closing a deal is our job, but relationship building is our business.
This article originally appeared in the December 2017 edition of INSTORE.
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