Many sales professionals are trading the conventional transactional method of selling for a new skill called “consultative selling.” This approach focuses on the prospect’s needs instead of selling the product. This way, they can prioritize open dialogue and relationships to recognize and provide solutions to clients’ needs. It is ultra-focused on the client rather than the product. This approach helps sales professionals understand the customers’ experience to present solutions more persuasively and effectively.
Consultative selling skills assist sales professionals in positioning persuasive, differentiated solutions. The result of employing a consultative sales approach is a stronger business relationship between the prospect and the salesperson and greater satisfaction.
How To Understand Customer Needs with Consultative Selling
Unsurprisingly, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that one of the key elements of consultative selling is being actually genuinely consultative. It means a salesperson must profoundly employ authentic curiosity to understand client requirements.
Some examples of consultative selling questions that evoke genuine curiosity are:
- What works best for you?
- What are you doing currently?
- What do you want to achieve?
- To ensure that we are future-centered in our suggestions, what are your plans moving ahead that we should know?
The answers to these queries will help the sales professional to get insight into the real nature of the client’s challenges. Sticking to the consultative selling approach enhances the salesperson’s ability to solve objections and offer relevant solutions to promote the sale.
Consultative Selling Skills Training
In consultative selling skills training, the salesperson learns about the prospect’s needs before describing the product or solution details. Product details are transformed into a bespoke solution when positioned and delivered according to the client’s language and needs. Consultative selling skills require a salesperson to focus on executing the following key behaviours.
- No seller-centric behaviour – many sales professionals think they are customer-focused, when in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Recent research emphasized this fact when it found that many B2B companies ranked lower than 50% on a client-experience index rating. The Seller-centric approach by salespersons causes mistrust, as understanding client needs is critical. This way consultative sales professionals are able to diagnose their problem, and the client feels valued and cared for.
- Switch to a mindset of legitimacy – salespeople must adopt a giving approach. Positioning a shared commitment to resolve clients’ business challenges in the initial stage of the process fosters receptiveness. This receptivity helps salespeople more precisely diagnose the client’s stated needs, business challenges, and unknown needs.
- Start conversations with a plan – by adopting a straightforward approach at the beginning of the conversation, which seeks to confirm parameters and expectations, we will pick up signals of our client’s desires. If the proposed path contrasts with the client’s objectives for the conversation, the salesperson can adjust correspondingly.
- Grasp insights through questioning – Questioning helps clients connect the dots with a line that draws them to the ideal solution. Insightful questions quickly get to the nitty-gritty problems and afford the sales professionals the chance to float ideas. Compelling the prospect to think differently about the product or solutions can be less risky when new concepts have been introduced.
- Establish conclusive momentum – Consultative salespeople lead their clients through dialogue by eliciting feedback. This occasional checking helps them to move the client to the next step and builds commitment gradually throughout the buying process. In this way, the practice of consultative selling develops conclusive momentum in which an alliance with the client makes every successive decision easy.
Salespeople who embrace the practice of consultative selling skills experience a number benefits including improved revenue from enhanced close ratios with new buyers, and expanding sales within the existing client base. They also benefit from competitive leverage due to a sales approach that is strongly in line with market needs, as well as access to better and larger sales opportunities within new accounts that conceal unidentified needs.
In the end, we can say that consultative selling strives to create an honest and ideal sales environment where the customer and their needs are central. As a sales professional, you can apply consultative selling in B2B and B2C organizations. Asking specific and relevant questions, listening to clients’ needs, suggesting options, and closing the deal are some of the key elements that characterize the true art of consultative selling.