How to Sell Consultatively
How to sell Consultatively
You will often see posts that say that cold calling is dead, that Sales has now merged with Marketing due to the success of online selling and, in particular, social selling on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram etc. Who hasn’t received an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, then received an immediate message with a link to a product or service that you don’t want, and worse, a link to a strangers’ online calendar to make an appointment? That’s not necessarily the most effective method of social selling and is definitely not consultative.
In the digital age buyers have become more tech savvy and sophisticated, informed and proactive; they are constantly connected, researching products and reviews online, with immediate critiques there for everyone to view instantly, which can make or break even some of the big brands.
Therefore, you can argue that Consultative Selling is now more important than ever. In particular, traditional double glazing and car salesmen used to sell the features and benefits of their products, whereas now it’s key for sellers to understand what their prospective customers really want and need, as they’re already a long-way down the Sales funnel or decision-making process when they decide to have an online chat, telephone conversation or, of course socially distanced, face to face meeting about a product or service.
Jill Maidment is the Founder and Director of Natural Talent. She is a highly respected, sought-after and effective International Executive Business Coach and Mentor, Career and Transition Coach, Resilience Coach and British Psychological Society qualified Assessor. For 18 years Jill and our Associates have been providing high impact, solutions-focused Coaching and Training to leaders, managers and their teams in some of the world’s largest organizations, as well as working with professional firms and large public sector organizations and SMEs.
Please contact Jill for a confidential initial chat to find out more about our services or to book a virtual Training session.
So, what is Consultative Selling?
It’s a common sense Sales approach that focuses on the needs of the customer and provides a solution to their problems. It is about being positioned in the clients' mind as someone who is knowledgeable and can provide solutions to their challenges or problems. It is a combination of building effective relationships, Consultancy, negotiating, influencing, persuasiveness, and selling. It’s about creating the right impression with the client, gaining their trust, establishing their key business drivers, building value propositions, treating Sales conversations as commercial discussions, and becoming their trusted business advisor. When Consultative Selling is combined with online Marketing the approach can be very effective as in the digital age customers are more demanding and knowledgeable; they look for trust, integrity, reliability, strong personal relationships, added to a digital presence and ease of use.
One of the rules of Selling is not to make assumptions and during Natural Talent's Training Module participants work on real-life scenarios to carry out the following:
- Research the prospect company and the individual decision maker
- Plan and prepare an online/telephone/face to face conversation with them
- Practise starting to build the working relationship, using the research and matching their problems and needs with your product/service
- Practise the key to Consultative Selling, which is asking a lot of Open Questions about the facts or the background to the enquiry and business issue, such as: What are the key drivers? What are your main objectives? How concerned are you about x, y, z? What prevents you from achieving your objectives? What impact is x, y, z having on your business?
- Practise Active Listening to hear what their prospective customers say about their problems to be able to match the product or service to their need
- Practise discussing their decision-making authority, budget and agreeing a timeline for a follow up with an appointment
- Practise handling objections
- Present a Business case
- Practise how to close the Sale
- Develop a SMART Action Plan for future development
'The Sales team is energized and highly motivated after the training; we can't wait to put the techniques in to practice.' Head of Sales, Finance