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includes all elements of the sales process. There are also a number of proven effective techniques that can be incorpo- rated into most any process model. In the next section we turn our attention to one such technique. THE SOCIAL STYLE® MATRIX: A TRAINING PROGRAM FOR BUILDING ADAPTIVE SELLING SKILLS To be effective, salespeople need to use their knowledge about products and customers to adapt both the content of their sales presentations—the benefits they emphasize to customers and the needs they attempt to satisfy—and the style they use to communicate with customers. David Merrill and Roger Reid discovered patterns of communication behav- iors, or social styles, that people use when interacting with one another. 10 Merrill and Reid found that people who recognize and adjust to these behavior patterns have better relationships with other people. While TRACOM currently owns the rights to SOCIAL STYLE® training programs and conducts training using these concepts, which includes some differences from what is discussed here, we will be describing the system that was first proposed by Merrill and Reid. 11 Here is a quick preview of how this system works. As you know, the world is made up of diverse people. For example, some are fast decision makers, whereas others are slow to make just about any kind of decision; some like to talk, whereas others are quiet. To make it easier, this system divides all people into four different types or categories that are based on two dimensions. Your goal as a salesperson is to first identify which of the four types you are. Next you figure out which of the four types your customer is. Finally, you adjust your behavior to mirror or match that of your customer. This adaptation is often called style flexing. Now that you have a general idea of how the system works, let's look at it in more detail. DIMENSIONS OF SOCIAL STYLES The social style matrix described by Merrill and Reed, is shown in Exhibit 5.2 and includes two dimensions to under- stand social behavior: assertiveness and responsiveness. Low responsiveness High responsiveness Low assertiveness High assertiveness Driver Amiable Expressive Analyticals Drivers Amiables Expressives 1 1 2 3 4 2 3 4 Analytical Exhibit 5.2 Social Style Matrix (top-left) GlowImages/Alamy Stock photo; (top-right) excentric_01/Getty Images; (bottom-left) Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock; (bottom-right) Westend61/SuperStock CHAPTER 5: Adaptive Selling for Relationship Building 133

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