What is Consultative Selling?
It’s likely that you need to speed up your selling process so you can get more sales every day. If so, this article is for you. An effective sales philosophy takes charge of your market’s expectations. That philosophy’s known as consultative selling. It’s becoming the go-to sales method of major startups and established companies. Consultative selling revolves around establishing practicality and confidence with prospects. It allows reps to address needs/pain points before a solution gets offered. There are two steps when it comes to consultative selling. 1) building a solid relationship; 2) providing the right product or service.
Many consumers feel that salespeople don’t do do all it takes to figure out what works best for them. Consultative selling is the solution to this problem. It offers a clear method. Mismatched solutions get eliminated and customer needs get maximized. You will get to the bottom of your prospect’s needs very fast. Plus, you’ll be able determine necessary solutions.
The 6 Steps of Consultative Selling
The following steps will give reps a fool-proof process. These turn conversations into sales.
1) Always stay prepared.
Reps must use effective call planning on a daily basis. It will make meeting with prospects more productive. Not to mention, the sales cycle will become shorter. This should lead to improved sales metrics across the board. A great call planning method is crucial. It ensures that reps stay prepared before talking to each individual prospect.
2) Connect with the prospect.
To get consistent sales, you’ve got to be able to connect with people in a matter of seconds. This is the only way to open a meeting in the correct format. A rep must make a great first impression. That impression sets the tone for what the rest of the relationship will get based around. When you open strong, you establish that you’re a credible salesperson.
3) Be understanding.
Some view this step as “the heart” of the consultative method. You won’t win many sales if you don’t understand the prospect’s pain points. The key here is being willing to engage in productive dialogue. How do you go about doing that? By asking a series of pertinent questions. This is so the prospect will open up to you.
4) Offer recommendations.
Now that you understand what the prospect is going through, it’s time to convey your expertise. You should be able to offer a few solutions that you believe will solve the person’s problems. Do all you can to sound compelling. People will realize if you’re going through the motions. This is when you describe the value that your product or service offers. Try to convey the value-aspects that are most relevant to the pain points. You can’t ramble here. You’ve got to be clear and concise. Think of prospect needs and your product’s value separated by a body of water. You, the salesperson are the bridge that connects value to needs.
5) Seek commitment.
Closing is a process when it comes to consultative selling. That’s how you must view it. This will allow you to ease your fear of rejection. Remember, never beg a prospect for his or her agreement. Instead, follow the closing technique articles and videos of Billions in the Bank.
6) Take action.
Talk to your sales manager about how many follow-ups you should be making per prospect. The manager will tell you that you should be making a lot. Why? Because executing tons of follow-ups is one of the keys to consultative selling. Follow-ups boost credibility. This is because many reps are too lazy to follow-up. Or, they’re too shy or lack confidence. Following up on a regular basis will elevate you beyond your lazy or timid peers. One important action is to make an action plan for the prospect as soon as they call ends. This will do more than help you stay organized. It will assist you in making each interaction count.
Consultative Selling Means Understanding Each Prospect’s Needs
It’s not good enough to pretend to be curious about what your prospect is going through. Your curiosity should be authentic. Otherwise, you’ll be much less likely to determine pain points and get to the root of problems. Here are some examples of consultative questions that convey curiosity:
-What do you need to do in the short-term?
-What about the long-term?
-What is your company currently working on?
-What problems is the company currently experiencing?
-What are your plans for the future?
Questions such as these will provide insight into the minds of your prospects. You might get surprised because the pain point you hear is different than what you assumed. This is a major reason why the consultative process takes care of objections in a fast manner. Reps are able to offer ideal solutions based on the answers to these questions. Next thing you know, you’re very close to making a sale. It should now be very clear to you what key tenet of consultive selling is. It’s learning needs before offering a solution.
Avoid Certain Common Selling Behaviors
Ask any salesperson if he or she is customer-focused. Almost all will say that they are. But let’s be realistic. That’s often not the case. In fact, many business studies have proven the opposite. They state that companies have less than a fifty percent customer satisfaction rate. This is another reason why consultative selling is so important. It’s human nature for a sales person to get frustrated and start strong-arming prospects. But that is an action that will hold you back from ever living up to your selling potential. A behavior like that will often make a prospect distrustful. The best thing you can do to prevent this form happening is to understand your prospect. This means having the ability to diagnose someone’s problems in an efficient manner. This gives the salesperson insight. And the more insight you have, the more credible you will appear. What’s the end result of this consultative process? Trust. Trust does more than make sales. It makes prospects become life-long customers. This will give you and your company way more revenue over time. It all starts with asking insightful questions. Those questions will open up a healthy dialogue. Once you adjust your selling behavior to seek out challenges. You can convert those challenges into opportunity on a regular basis.
Create Open Dialogue
Here’s one of the key unwritten rules of the consultative selling process. You’ve got to give so you can get. This means you must dive in immediately and work to solve the prospect’s challenges. The sale is unlikely to take place if you don’t do this early in the process. Once you do, the prospect will most likely feel open to divulge problems to you. Openness will allow you to realize the needs that have yet to get conveyed. Next, you can walk the prospect through clear and concise solutions. These will solve unrealized needs. This often involves using relevant data that backs up your message with facts. Be sure to make adjustments to your sales plan. When? Well, whenever you discover something important that changes the course of dialogue.
Ask Intelligent Questions
Asking smart questions is the best way to ensure that prospects connect the dots. What should the dots connect to? A line that leads to a solution that eliminates pain points. Intelligent questions get to the root problems fast. They also position the salesperson to be able to offer different solutions. This is a lot better than having one solution with no room for differentiation. Consultative selling allows prospects to consider possibilities and outcomes. This is better than the alternative. (Your prospects feeling like they’re getting pushed against their will into a sale.)
Base Your Selling Process on Facts
Many salespeople make the mistake of having their selling process revolve around assumptions. This is too bad because many assumptions are often incorrect. If you’re one fo these salespeople, don’t feel ashamed. It’s human nature for people to rely too much on one key piece of information. This is another benefit of the consultative process. It allows reps to gather many pieces of information. This is so you’re never stuck with only one notion to run with. Don’t be aggressive when gathering facts. That will scare prospects away. Instead, be diligent. Also, always think twice before you’re about to dismiss a piece of information. Try to be creative and assess whether that information might actually help lead you to a sale. This leads to the importance of active listening. It allows you test out every piece of information that your prospect shares. Next, you can pursue what’s getting said instead of always dismissing it. Never be afraid to ask the tough questions. Why? Because the answers often produce the most important information that leads to sales. Next thing you know, you’ll have an A+ level value proposition ready to roll.
Experiment with the consultative approach in your selling approach. It’s likely you’ll realize that it holds many advantages over traditional methods. Don’t expect it to get you tons of sales overnight. Be consistent and apply this needs-based approach every day. You may realize that your selling process has become both simpler and more effective. For more consultative sales information, check out plenty of content on BillionsInTheBank.com.