7 Secrets of Successful Consultative Salespeople
The concept of 'consultative selling' originated in 1970; the brainchild of respected American salesman Mack Hanan. As its name suggests 'consultative selling' involves the salesperson acting as a consultant to the potential customer.
The consultative seller takes time to gather detailed information by asking the customer a series of questions designed to draw out their current situation, the problems they face, their needs, desires and aspirations for the future of their business and so on.
The salesperson then uses this information to propose the most suitable product or service to fulfil the client's needs. An alternative to a traditional 'hard-sell' approach, consultative selling, conducted effectively, is an extremely powerful strategy for winning sales.
Sales training experts Maguire Training can help salespeople to acquire the consultative selling skills and knowledge that will enable them to maximise sales meetings with clients and gain maximum benefit from this approach to sales. Consultative Selling teaches delegates how to question and listen more effectively, how to project an aura of authority and professionalism and the factors which denote a successful consultant.
As an introduction for anyone person keen to learn more about the consultative approach to selling and its potential benefits, here Maguire Training helpfully outlines 7 secrets of successful consultative salespeople.
- Think and act like a consultant first, salesperson second
The key to consultative selling is about exploring the customer's situation, empathising with them and projecting a credibility and authority which suggests that you have their best interests at heart and will find their ideal solution.
- Establishing a relationship built on trust and respect is fundamental.
Successful consultative selling rests upon the strength of the underlying relationship between salesperson and customer. Human nature dictates that we prefer to buy from people we know well, like and trust so building a warm rapport is essential.
- Research the customer in advance
Knowledge is power in consultative selling, and gaining a prior understanding of factors such as a customer's current situation, factors which may impact their business, how they make their purchasing decisions, the kind of solutions they favour and their purchasing history can only be beneficial to the sales process.
- Introduce yourself as a helper, not a seller
Make it clear to the customer from the start that you are a problem solver and that your role is to help their business overcome current challenges by gathering information through questioning in order to present the most viable solution.
- Effective questioning and listening are crucial skills
Asking the right questions and listening to, processing and correctly understanding the answers given by the client can help the successful consultative salesperson to forge a strong business relationship, pre-empt and address potential objections and make well-informed recommendations for solutions, all of which will help to close the sale.
- Face-to-face communication is more valuable than any other
How often do you consult with your doctor by email, social media or over the phone? Consultancy works best and is most valued when it is conducted in person. Giving your time to consulting with and advise your customer in person demonstrates to them that you value them and truly want to help.
- Confirm that you have understood the issues and explain your solution
If you have undertaken the role of consultative salesperson correctly you should be able to gain the customer's agreement that you acknowledge and understand every aspect of their current situation and the problems or challenges they face. Once the customer has confirmed this you should be in the perfect position to explain exactly how your chosen solution uniquely addresses and overcomes each of the issues at hand. At this stage the customer should have no reason not to agree to a sale.
As mentioned previously, consultative selling is an art, but one which salespeople can benefit greatly from perfecting. Maguire Training's practical and invaluable Consultative Selling course helps delegates to achieve this and is presented both as a traditional on-site session and as online training, conveniently accessible via Maguire Training's innovative E-learning platform.