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Transactional selling: Strategy, definition and how it works

Transactional selling: Strategy, definition and how it works

min read

For quite some time now, there's been a significant emphasis on the concept of building long-term relationships with customers. Sales reps are encouraged to focus on building trust, establishing rapport, and adding value to each customer's experience as opposed to following "pushy" sales tactics.

While relational selling is certainly effective and has its place, there are times when businesses need to generate quick sales to grow revenue. Not only that, but in some industries, it doesn't exactly make sense to spend too much time building relationships with customers who only make one-off purchases.

As such, building relationships isn't the only way to make sales, and that's where transactional selling comes in. Keep reading to learn more about this popular sales strategy and improve your transactional selling tactics.

<a href="#transactional-selling" class="anchor-link">Transactional selling</a>

<a href="#other-types" class="anchor-link">Other types of selling</a>

  • <a href="#transactional-consultative-selling" class="anchor-link">Transactional and Consultative Selling</a>
  • <a href="#transactional-transitional-selling" class="anchor-link">Transactional and Transitional Selling</a>
  • <a href="#transactional-relationship-selling" class="anchor-link">Transactional and Relationship Selling</a>

<a href="#improve-sales-process" class="anchor-link">Improve your sales process</a>

  • <a href="#build-rapport" class="anchor-link">Build rapport with customers</a>
  • <a href="#discuss-benefits" class="anchor-link">Discuss benefits with customers</a>
  • <a href="#incentivize-buying" class="anchor-link">Incentivize your customer to buy</a>
  • <a href="#personalize-approach" class="anchor-link">Personalize your approach</a>
  • <a href="#trust-your-product" class="anchor-link">Trust your product</a>
  • <a href="#be-patient" class="anchor-link">Be patient</a>

<a href="#sales-success" class="anchor-link">Sales success</a>

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What is transactional selling?

Transactional selling is a sales strategy that focuses on making quick, one-time sales to customers. The goal is to drive immediate revenue by closing as many deals as possible in a short amount of time. It involves minimal personalization and relationship-building efforts, with the focus being more on "making the sale" through scarcity, urgency, and promotional offers.

How does it work?

Typically, transactional selling involves identifying potential customers who have a high likelihood of making a purchase. Once these potential customers are identified, the sales team then initiates direct contact with them through one (or several) channels, such as email, a phone call, or an in-person meeting.

The sales pitch is often centered around a limited-time offer, flash sale, or a special deal that creates a sense of urgency and entices a prospective customer to make a purchase right away. The key is to make the process as easy and convenient as possible for the customer while simultaneously shortening the sales cycle.

Examples of transactional selling

Most of us see examples of transactional selling daily, whether we realize it or not. Here are some examples:

  • Discounts and time-sensitive offers during holidays or special events (think Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales)
  • Limited edition products, such as collectible items or exclusive collaborations
  • Flash sales on social media platforms, where a product is available for a limited time only
  • "Buy one, get one free" promotions
  • One-day sales, where prices are drastically reduced for a short period

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="other-types" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

What are some other types of selling?

As mentioned earlier, there isn't just one type of selling; transactional selling is just one of several approaches. Consultative selling, transitional selling, and relationship selling are three other common sales strategies. Let's talk about the difference between those and transactional selling.

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Transactional and consultative selling

As the name implies, in consultative sales, sales reps serve as consultants to their clients. Instead of just focusing on making a sale, as is the case with transactional sales, they take a more strategic approach and work with the client to understand their needs, offer solutions, and build long-term relationships.

This typically involves a lengthier sales cycle with more conversations and interactions before a purchase is made. However, this is because the sale won't be a one-time transaction but rather a continuous partnership.

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Transactional and transitional selling

The core difference between transactional and transitional sales is that with transitional sales, potential customers take the first step by expressing interest or reaching out, whereas with transactional selling, sales reps are the ones initiating contact and making the sale.

From thereon, each sales representative attentively listens to what the potential customer's needs are and provides solutions that cater to those very needs. In other words, transitional selling is a more customer-driven approach, while transactional selling is more sales-driven.

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Transactional and relationship selling

Relationship selling is very much like consultative selling, as it also emphasizes building long-term relationships with customers. However, the primary focus of relationship selling is on nurturing and maintaining these relationships rather than just making a sale.

This involves consistently providing top-notch customer service, following up regularly, and continuously finding ways to add value to the client's business. The emphasis is on repeat business and creating a loyal customer base instead of focusing on individual transactions.

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How to improve your transactional sales process

If your business lends to a transactional sales approach, there are several steps you can take to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales process. 

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1. Build rapport with your potential customers

While, yes, transactional selling strategies don't involve building long-term relationships, they're still like any other human interaction. As a sales rep, connecting with your potential customers on a personal level can go a long way in making the sales process smoother and more successful. And it doesn't contradict your "short sales cycles" goal by any means.

Build rapport with your customers by actively listening to their needs, showing genuine interest in their business, and finding common interests early on. That way, they'll feel valued and seen as the unique individual they are instead of feeling like just another potential transactional sale.

Some techniques to help are:

  • Maintaining eye contact
  • Mirroring body language
  • Recapping and summarizing what they've shared with you
  • Asking open-ended questions to learn more about them

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2. Discuss the benefits awaiting your customer

There's no denying that price is the most significant factor in any transactional sale. However, it's not the only consideration your potential customers take into account. Value is just as crucial!

So, instead of solely focusing on the price, discuss the benefits and value that your product or service offers. How will it solve their pain points? What sets you apart from other businesses offering similar products or services? Answering these questions can certainly help sway their decision in your favor.

Some techniques to highlight value are:

  • Providing case studies or success stories from previous customers
  • Demonstrating how your product or service can save them time, money, or effort
  • Addressing potential objections or concerns they may have

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3. Incentivize your customer to buy

There's a reason that countless businesses try to establish a scarcity mindset with prospective buyers — it works. There's something about "limited-time offers" or "10 spots left" that triggers fear of missing out (FOMO) and makes people want to take immediate action.

Tap into this human tendency by offering time-sensitive incentives like limited-time discounts, exclusive deals, or free trials. Make it clear that these offers won't last forever and encourage them to act swiftly before they miss out on the benefits that your product or service provides.

Just make sure to follow through on these incentives and not use them too frequently, as it can hurt your credibility and trust with customers if they feel misled.

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4. Personalize your approach

One-size-fits-all sales pitches rarely work in today's market. Customers are looking for personalized experiences and want to feel like they're more than just a number or dollar sign to your business.

This isn't to say that you should reinvent the wheel for every potential customer, but take the time to understand their needs and tailor your approach accordingly. This can involve addressing them by name, referencing specific details they’ve already shared, answering their questions clearly and concisely, and making them feel like they're being heard.

Again, this doesn't have to mean a huge time commitment on your part — small gestures go a long way in personalizing the customer experience and building a strong relationship.

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5. Trust your product

The worst thing you can do in a sales pitch is to come across as unsure or unconfident about your product or service. This can come across as insincere and cause potential customers to question the quality and reliability of what you're offering. If you don't believe in your product, how can you expect others to?

Instead, make sure to showcase your belief and enthusiasm for what you're selling. This doesn't mean overselling or exaggerating; be genuine and highlight the benefits your product or service has to offer. When you believe in what you're selling, it'll naturally come across in your pitch and increase the likelihood of making a sale.

Some techniques to help you get this right include:

  • Providing tangible evidence such as data, statistics, or case studies to back up any claims you make about your product
  • Showing genuine excitement and passion for your product during the pitch (but again, be careful not to come across as too pushy or aggressive)
  • Study your competition and know how your product differs from theirs, so you can confidently address any objections or comparisons that potential customers may make

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6. Be patient

Because of the quick nature of transactional sales, it's easy to get caught up in the rush, and push for a sale as quickly as possible. However, this can often backfire and cause potential customers to feel pressured or rushed into making a decision.

Instead, be patient and take a few extra minutes to listen to the prospect and understand their needs. This not only shows that you value their time, but it also allows you to gather important information that can help you tailor your approach and ultimately close the deal successfully.

In short, just because transactional sales are fast-paced doesn't mean that you shouldn’t take the time to build trust and really listen to potential customers.

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Connect and reconnect with customers right from your inbox for sales success

As you’ve just learned, transactional selling focuses on one-time purchases and quick conversions. Even though the focus for this type of selling isn’t typically on building long-lasting customer relationships, transactional sales reps interact with thousands of potential customers throughout their careers, even if it's just a few emails back and forth with each.

This is where automating your messages using a reliable CRM like Streak comes in handy. Because Streak integrates directly with Gmail, reps don't have to keep switching from one platform to another to track their pipeline.

If you’re a sales rep or sales leader, you can use email templates, mail merge, and automation to easily connect with potential customers and stay top-of-mind without having to manually send every single message. That's right; you can set up email sequences and let Streak do the rest while you focus on other important tasks.

Plus, the time you’ll save by automating certain routine tasks will free you up to focus on building relationships with existing customers and reconnecting with past leads. This keeps your pipeline full and allows you to maintain a steady stream of transactions, even in the fast-paced world of transactional selling.

Don't believe us? Try Streak for yourself–for free. It takes just 30 seconds to set up, so there's no reason not to give it a shot and see if it helps you close deals faster and more efficiently.

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