3.3. Putting Adaptive Selling to Work

Adaptive selling occurs when a salesperson adapts, changes, and customizes her selling style based on the situation and the behavior of the customer (Weitz, Castleberry & Tanner, 2009).  Adaptive selling allows you to truly listen, understand the customer has needs, and then adapt your conversation and presentation accordingly.   On the other hand, if you were giving a canned presentation, you would not be able to learn what the customer thinks is important. For example, if you were selling landscaping to a customer, you would not know if the customer wanted the landscaping to provide privacy or create a view. The only way you would find out is by listening, asking questions, and adapting your recommendations and presentation accordingly. Adaptive selling is much easier to do when you establish a relationship with the customer.

Adaptive selling is one tool to help with being more customer-centric in building your relationships by allowing you to adapt your communications based on the feedback you receive, the sales situation and the customer themselves (Adaptive Selling-Definition, 2019).  Chances are you already use adaptive selling in your everyday life, but you may not realize it. Do you approach your parents differently than your friends? Do you speak to a professor differently than you do to your roommate? It is also likely that you interact with each of your friends differently. Do you have a friend that needs tons of information to make a decision, while another friend makes a decision in an instant? Do you know people who want to talk about their decisions before and after they make them and those who just decide and do not say a word? Understanding diversity, or the different ways people behave, is the cornerstone of adaptive selling.


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The Power of Selling Copyright © 2021 by Dr. Michelle Clement is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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