"Consultative Selling" gets a lot of play as an industry-favorite buzz phrase and has become a primary objective in sales training initiatives. Attaining the coveted role of sales consultant certainly isn't easy, but it is pretty simple.
What differentiates a consultative sales professional from the rest of the sales population is the level of TRUST they earn with customers by providing the following:
- Superior knowledge and insights - The consultative sales professional brings valuable information to customers that they don't already have and won't get from other sales reps. This requires an investment of time and energy to research customers and their customers, their competitors and their industry. It also requires the use of an effective exploratory process with customers and prospects. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Coming to the table with unique insight gives you a competitive advantage, and that's a nice return on your investment of research time and skill development.
- Candid feedback - The advice you give customers not only needs to be informed, but it also has to be authentic. Authentic advice serves the customer's interests first and foremost. Solutions must be about what the customer needs, not what you need to sell. Authenticity also means being honest with customers. What customers want to hear and what they need to hear are often two different things. No one likes delivering unpopular news, but in the long run being forthright with customers will foster the respect and trust you need to be a consultant. You will also find that the credibility you earn with superior knowledge and insights will help pave the way for this type of candid discussion.
Think of the most successful sales professionals you know. Do these attributes apply to them? Chances are they do and these sales professionals probably make it look easy! Their professional selling skills are like those of professional athletes who "effortlessly" run, jump and score. Spectators don't see the intense training and workouts that lead up to those moments of glory.
Consultative selling isn't some elusive, mystical concept. Quality sales training can provide you with the insights and skills to find your customers' areas of opportunity and build productive, trusting relationships. Ultimately, your commitment, time, and energy will determine your role with customers.
As part of our ongoing commitment to professional development, Carew International publishes a regular blog to provide timely advice for optimal sales performance.
Are You Ready for Consultative Selling?
Advanced Positional Selling (APS) provides the development path for sustained growth and success. Ideal for sales management and DPS graduates, APS builds on the content and methods presented in Dimensions of Professional Selling to develop the consultative skills and strategic insight necessary to secure preferred position with customers.