2 Approaches to Selling: And Why They’re Not Mutually Exclusive

We’ve all heard people attribute sale success to innate ability. “That guy’s a natural,” they’ll say. Or, “She could sell water to a well.” Despite the fact that many people have a natural proclivity to sell, the most important factor in generating big numbers is developing skills that make you a trusted resource to prospective clients. There are countless ways to sell, but both informative and persuasive selling should be techniques everyone knows and uses. Some would have you believe that these two styles aren’t compatible. In reality, though, the two can work in concert to great effect.

Informative Selling

Informative selling, as the name implies, focuses on the details of the goods or services being sold. An informative salesperson details the pros and cons, suggests alternatives, and describes how a product meets the needs of a prospect. Informative selling requires detailed knowledge and an ability to recall the most minute details a customer may ask about. Nobody can be a truly informative salesperson from day one. It takes research and experience to inform customers with confidence.

Persuasive Selling

When you hear the term “persuasive selling,” you may immediately think of snake oil tactics designed to deceive customers. Yes, you must be persuasive to sell a garbage product, but not all persuasive selling is nefarious. Discussing the scarcity of an item or the expiration date on a promotion are totally acceptable, provided you’re being honest. Charisma, honesty, and politeness are also persuasive qualities. Customers want to work with somebody they can trust and depend on. It’s up to you to demonstrate you’re that person.

Combining the Two

Renowned broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow once said, “To be persuasive, we must be believable; to be believable, we must be credible; to be credible, we must be truthful.” Following that logic, you’ll find that informative selling allows you to more effectively practice persuasive selling. When these two techniques dovetail, you get better results than if you only relied on one or the other.