Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Six Hat Salesperson

(Click on the mind map image above to view the full size. Use your browser's "zoom in" feature to magnify further.)

Each one of us is a salesperson in our own way. This is whether we are marketing products, our services, the companies we work for, or simply getting our job done. To remain competitive, there are six areas we must continuously work on. Dave Kahle referred to it as the six hats and discussed in his 1999 book, "The Six-Hat Salesperson."

The year of publication actually caught me by surprise as the principles it preaches are still as applicable today. Although in the process of reading, I can't help but wonder if this picked up on the 8th Habit (white water) or Six Thinking Hats or the other way around.

In summary, here are qualities each salesperson must have:

Astute Planner mind map

First Hat - Astute Planner

  1. Must know how to take advantage the power of useful information about one's customers and competitors.
  2. Processes must be in place to gather and prioritize what is useful.
  3. This knowledge is also valuable when communicating with customers as being able to demonstrate understanding can lead to formulation of right questions during the sales cycle.

Trusted Friend mind map

Second Hat - Trusted Friend
  1. Becoming trusted by our customers and prospective clients is important. One key aspect is knowing the profile of the person (director, thinker, socializer, supporter) you are dealing with and their preferred communication style.
  2. The salesperson must strive to give and earn respect, make the client comfortable, and gain trust in the process.

Effective Consultant mind map

Third Hat - Effective Consultant

  1. Becoming a consultant requires being able to demonstrate that you know your customer more than anyone does. This includes asking the right questions to understand the customer needs further.

Skillful Influencer mind map

Fourth Hat - Skillful Influencer
  1. Buyers make their decisions to purchase through steps of small decisions.
  2. Getting through the decision process requires proper presentation of products and services in line with customer needs while keeping an active sales discussion to close a deal.

Adept Human Resources Manager mind map

Fifth Hat - Adept Human Resources Manager
  1. Managing yourself as a resource is the main concern here. This includes spending your time effectively, tapping your strengths, and having clear goals.
  2. Have an information management process to ensure that you get what you can handle and have clear end-uses.
  3. Cope with failure, adversity, and fear.
Master Learner mind map

Sixth Hat - Master Learner

  1. An effective salesperson is someone who takes learning seriously to acquire new insights, information, knowledge, and improve behavior positively.
  2. A commitment to learning is established with goals and resources set aside to make it happen.