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Shane Decker

Which of These 3 Key Sales Types Best Represents You?

Knowing which you are can determine how much you close.




THE ALARM GOES OFF and you wake up, ready for another day of sizzling on the sales floor. You grab a shower, throw on your “power clothes,” and take one last look in the mirror. But what is it you see? Are you serpentine? Are you a missile? Or a sneak? More than anything else you’ve done this morning to prepare yourself, your answer to this question will determine your selling success today.

No, I haven’t lost my mind. I’m talking about a concept which, once you accept it and apply it, has the power to double or even triple your closing ratios. The secret to consistent selling excellence does not lie in learning a given method —the “hard” or “soft” sell, for example — but in gearing your presentation to your own particular personality and style … in other words, your sales profile.

As I mentioned at the outset, there are three sales profiles: serpentine, the missile, and the sneak. No profile is better or worse than another, and they are mutually exclusive; one person cannot fit two profiles. Allow me to explain a bit about each one before I tell you why understanding your sales profile can help you improve your entire presentation, but especially your close.

That’s the reason God invented the turnover.

SERPENTINE. Seventy percent of all salespeople share this wandering profile. The serpentine talks about the product, then their pet, the product, their recent vacation, back to the product… and so forth. Usually a “type B” personality, this person uses a very familial touch, allowing the customer to get to know him or her before they buy. Their definition of a close is “helping the customer make a decision.”

MISSILE. Twenty percent of all salespeople share this to-the-point profile. The missile is the “type A” personality, wanting to get right down to business. He or she romances the jewelry more (instead of going off-topic), is more direct and more impatient. The missile is not pushy, but is professionally aggressive, and will often finish their presentation more quickly than the serpentine. Their definition of a close is “timing and how you say it”; a missile’s timing with reference to nailing the 30-second “decision window” of a customer is impeccable.


SNEAK. Ten percent of salespeople share this chameleon-like profile. The sneak can take on the attributes of either the serpentine or the missile as it suits their needs, leaving the customer wondering “How did I buy this?” The sneak is usually the person who can get away with murder on the sales floor, because they adapt so readily and can slip through any opening. Their definition of a close is “designed and engineered for the personality.”

Now, why is it important to understand which of these profiles fits you? Because you cannot change the way you are wired. If you are naturally serpentine, then sticking with that type of sales presentation gives you the strongest chance to close the sale (likewise with the missile and sneak). When you deviate from your profile, you will blow the deal more often than not. You will come across as awkward or even insincere, and your closing ratios will suffer as a consequence.

What happens if your style does not match the customer in front of you? That’s the reason God invented the turnover. A sales force that knows when to swallow their pride and turn the customer over to someone more suited to their style of buying is one of the strongest assets any jewelry store owner could ever ask for. And chances are, you’ll wind up closing a higher percentage of customers because your fellow staff members will be turning over more appropriate customers for your profile.

So … what do you see in that mirror?

Shane Decker has provided sales training to more than 3,000 jewelry stores. Shane cut his teeth in jewelry sales in Garden City, KS, and sold over 100 1-carat diamonds four years in a row. Contact him at [email protected].

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