Customers need a reason to pick you for their purchase over all the other options available, which has become an ever tougher challenge thanks to the internet, changes in marketing strategies, and the rise of social media. The convenience of the online marketplace mixed, combined with the many options out there makes the world of sales a more complicated place. As a result, the trend toward building relationships with clients continues to gain more traction.
What Is Consultative Sales?
Consultative sales is the practice of putting the customer’s needs before your own. Designing your sales model based on what your customer is looking for increases the chance of a customer actually purchasing your product. You may have a fabulous product, but if it does not solve a fairly common problem, your “peddling” it will only cost your credibility.
It’s All About Authenticity
To be true to consultative sales, you have to truly believe the client’s needs are important. It’s not something you can fake. It’s important to believe in what you are selling and how it has the power to truly change someone’s life or impact their business. When you really believe in your product or service, it’s easy to market it in the best light possible and to show others how it can change their lives.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
The only way to find out more about your potential customer is to ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. But not just any questions will do. You need to ask open-ended questions that leave room for as much information as possible. Open-ended questions lead to more questions and bring you to the heart of the customer’s problem. The client will eventually reveal the reason he or she needs your product in their life and how you can help them solve the problem. Start broad and then dig in, and don’t make assumptions!
The Customer Composes the Pitch
If consultative sales happen in the correct way, the customer actually ends up pitching the salesperson on why he or she need the product in their life. A consultative sales presentation allows the customer to lead the salesperson in the direction they want to go instead of the salesperson centering the presentation on the product. Finding a solution to the problem should feel like a team effort in which both parties contribute information. The entire experience feels more personal when the customer has input toward the solution. It no longer feels like a cookie-cutter pitch that everyone gets to hear. You spend time more building a relationship, which results in a better experience.
Drive the Plan
It’s important to listen to what the customer is telling you, but it’s also important not to waste everyone’s time letting the conversation wander. Your job is to keep the meeting on track. Offering a plan will help everyone see you came prepared, and you are ready to listen and build a relationship to serve their needs in the best way possible. Keep the conversation to the topics relating to the sale. Don’t end up talking about someone’s family picnic six years ago when Aunt Alice really needed to clean her house. If the conversation starts taking a turn in that direction, rein it in and bring it back to the topic at hand. Quick tip: Don’t just set agendas for meetings, be strategic about what is included, and prepare you will start meetings in order to set the desired tone and direction.
Make Them See the Value
The difference between product-based sales and a consultative sales approach is that you are not focusing your pitch on the product itself. A sale can be defined as the transfer of ownership of, and title to, property from one person to another for a price. People don’t want to pay that price for an item of no value. They want to know their purchase is going to offer them something and that it is going to be a smart buy. A values-based selling approach gives people the opportunity to see how your product makes sense for their life, which will make them much more likely to purchase. Deeper Thought: People don’t typically buy the specific item or service as a means in itself, they buy it as a means to an end. They buy a desired outcome – i.e. when someone goes into a hardware store and asks for a ¼ inch drill bit, what is that they want? They may be asking for a drill bit, but they really want the holes they are going to make with it. Don’t forget the result the other side is looking for.
If you are looking to improve your sales technique, sign up for SNI’s Influence & Persuasion Training course. SNI offers techniques to give you more confidence, improve your skills and to stay cool under pressure. Check out all the details here: