The highest paid and most successful sales professionals are involved in consultative selling. People involved in consultative sales position themselves as friends and consultants to their customers.
WHAT IS CONSULTATIVE SELLING?
Simply, it the selling technique in which the salesperson acts as an expert consultant to their customer, asking questions to identify their needs and choosing the ideal solution that will benefit the customer the most.
It requires positioning yourself as someone who has the experience and insight to help customers meet their needs. The practice of the consultative selling approach will help you move to the very top of your field. It is a valuable tool that is indispensable in dealing with complex sales and accounts where many factors are involved and competition is a key factor.
CONSULTATIVE SELLING SKILLS
There are certain skills you must posses when using a consultative sales approach.
- KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
In consultative selling it is important that you know exactly who your customer is and how to identify their needs and wants. It requires that you think of yourself differently and that you position yourself differently in the account.
Your focus should be on getting your customer financial results rather than the performance or price relationship. This is the difference between the perception of you as a sales advisor and a salesperson that is just trying to sell a product or service.
- DO YOUR HOMEWORK
One of the key variables in is your knowledge of the customer’s business process. You must learn everything you can about the customer’s business before you even dare to suggest a solution or course of action.
In selling to businesses, you must learn how sales are generated. What are the primary products or services sold by the customer’s company? How much are they sold for? What is the total sales volume? What kind of sales results are they enjoying? How are the profits generated?
- FOCUS ON FINANCIAL IMPROVEMENT
Your customers want to save or gain time or money and your goal and should look to solve these things. They want to achieve this goal in a cost-effective way, which means the solution costs must be less than the immediate benefits the customer seeks.
- SHOW THE EXPECTED RETURN ON INVESTMENT
In consultative sales, when you demonstrate to a customer that your product will pay for itself quickly and dependably, and then generate a net profit for a considerable time after it has paid for itself, the sale will almost take care of itself.
- ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE RESULTS
In consultative selling one of the keys to making sales is to accept full responsibility for implementing the solution and getting the results that you are promising the customer. It is important you are seen as a partner with your customer and that you have mutual, beneficial interests.
In consultative sales you must earn your right in advance by doing thorough preparation. Study your prospect’s company in advance of your first meeting. The first meeting is your very best opportunity to demonstrate that you are the kind of person that your customer can have a relationship with.