In today’s marketplace, competition is fierce and buyers have endless options available at their fingertips. That’s why having a good product is no longer enough.
Salespeople must be capable of selling not only your product, but also of selling themselves as strategic advisors capable of helping solve their prospects’ and customers’ most pressing business problems.
Here are 3 consultative selling strategies for your sales team.
1. Conduct Research to Discover Wants and Needs
A thorough investigation on a prospect and their organization should be the first thing your salespeople do before getting face-to-face with anyone. The more they know about the prospect and the company—including recent company news, marketplace, and competition—the more likely it is that they’ll be perceived as being a resource as opposed to a product specialist.
On the other hand, if they show up and ask questions that can easily be answered through research prior to the meeting, they’ll be seen as wasting the buyer’s time.
Pre-call planning and strategic questioning can reveal a buyer’s needs, but your salespeople should think beyond that and try to identify the prospect’s wants as well.
Uncovering a buyer’s wants should happen in the early interactions as your salesperson sees the prospect as a person—not just a decision maker—and learns more about what makes them tick, who they’re loyal to, and why.
2. Ask Questions Based on the Prospect’s Unique Situation
Most of the time salespeople try to direct the course of the conversation by asking pre-planned questions that they think will lead the prospect to answering in a way that they want.
Asking questions “organically” in such a way that a value-added conversation occurs even outside of topics that pertain to your product or service is a powerful way for your salespeople to be seen as strategic advisors.
Urge your salespeople not to be afraid of veering slightly off the path (and their script) and seize on any opportunities that may come up to dig deeper into real pain points.
This responsive line of questioning really uncovers the challenges that the prospect is facing, which can often be different from what the salesperson initially suspected. In effective consultative selling, the buyer opens up because the conversation feels authentic, not scripted.
3. Actually Listen to the What the Prospect Has to Say
Many salespeople ask questions because they know that’s what they’re supposed to do, but they don’t really listen to the answers the prospect gives. Instead, they’re thinking about what they should say next.
It’s human nature, but when reps really shift their focus and make it their main objective to solve the prospect’s problem, there will be a sincerity to their questioning—and they’ll find what they need in the prospect’s answers. They might even find that the solution they originally thought was best for the prospect isn’t the most appropriate after all.
Coach your sales reps to slow down and ask 3-deep questions to really get to the root of an issue instead of viewing it on surface level.
They key to successful consultative selling is keeping a strong customer focus throughout the entire process. That focus creates a win-win situation where the buyer feels supported in having their challenge solved, and the seller gains a loyal, long-term customer.
Does your sales team have the consultative selling skills needed to drive revenue growth and win more business in an overcrowded marketplace?
The ability of your salespeople to consistently engage in strategic business conversations with decision makers is key to your long term success. Learn more about improving your team’s sales communication skills and start building strong client partnerships today.
Published on August 22, 2016