Many sales people go into a sales call with the wrong focus. This incorrect focus happens because it’s easy and is commonplace. But it hurts sales and causes salespeople to offer a discount to win the deal.

Four types of focus in sales calls.

There are four types of focus that we can see in a sales call. They are:

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Level 1 conversations focus on what the seller wants. There are lots of references to themselves, what they want why they are there and what they can do. These sales conversations are often short, have few questions from the customer and often end with a brochure being left behind. Thanks to the rise in social media, Level 1 conversations are almost at epidemic levels in society

Level 2 conversations are focused on the outcome. The salesperson frames their message and asks questions with the pure focus on selling their goods. The whole conversation is focused on closing the deal so they can get what they want before moving on. This person comes across as a hustler. While this focus on task is often desired, it lacks connection to the customer and their world and misses the possibility to expand the conversation beyond the current products.

Level 3 conversations focus on the customer and what they want. The sales person may still be doing a lot of speaking, but it is all focused on the customer and what they need and want. In Level 3 conversations the salesperson does not mention their products or services in the first part of the meeting – they keep the focus on the customer. The aim of a Level 3 conversation in a sales setting is to build consensus around an issue.

Level 4 conversations focus on curiosity. The sales person becomes the alchemist drawing on what they know, what the customer wants to explore, and the outer reaches of possibilities. These are not short conversations and may not even produce a tangible idea for several months. Sales could be years in the making.

What level to focus on

It’s important to remember that there are benefits to each level. Level 1 conversations are not always bad, nor level 4 always good. The level can also change during a conversation.

As a rule of thumb, sales people should aim for a Level 3 conversation every time. If they go for a Level 4 too soon they run the risk of being seen as aloof and wasting time. However, if all they do is focus on Level 1 or 2 they will be seen as narcissistic and hustling.

If you recognise any of these issues within your sales team, I’m running a 30 minute webinar on how to overcome this issue on Tuesday 26 November. You can get the link below in the comments.

If you can’t make it, I’m happy to send you a recording as either a podcast or link to replay if you like – just register and I’ll ensure you get a copy of it.

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Darren Fleming is a Behavioural Scientist. He is obsessed with understanding why people perform the way they do in pressure situations. His clients see him as a relationship coach for their sales team – helping them give better love to their customers.