What is Consultative Selling?
Consultative selling is a sales approach that focuses on building a good relationship with prospects first then selling products/services that best meets their need and requirements. It is based on what prospects/customers actually need rather than how the products should be.
In this selling, the salespeople act as a consultants to customers, they help to locate their’ problems, ask them questions being friendly about what they want, their real pain points, understand their lifestyles, preferences, and make customers feel free to say true feelings. In this course, salespeople regularly make contacts with them, convince them how their products help them meet their short and long-term goals.
In the traditional selling approach, first, the products were made and selling activities were done. But, in this consultative selling, first, the real wants and desires of customers are understood and the product is produced, which has a very high success rate that the product will be sold and meet customers’ expectations.
This sales approach requires a very typical sales presentation pitch for specific products or services and, usually, it is not done for every product. To win a long-term customer relationship for selling specific products sales reps need to have specific and critical abilities with the right authority to proceed.
Why Consultative Selling?
Although this sales concept had been in practice earlier, these days it is rationally found using to deal with sophisticated prospects and sales teams/forces. Some specific reasons salespeople should adopt this selling are,
- Salespeople have gone from selling goods to selling goods and services, to selling goods, services, and value-added services.
- Customers become more complex they want to buy from salespeople/organization that best meets their needs.
- Sales executives feel that salespeople should possess critical skills and the ability to develop a good relationship with customers over time.
- They believed that sales call is the balanced exchange of information, based on trust and focused on meeting a mutually beneficial agreement.
In addition to this, maybe the other importance of consultative selling can be pointed as below.
In consultative selling, salespeople are actively involved in identifying and solving the problems of customers. They make regular contacts with the prospects. If the prospect’s problems are solvable by words of salespeople, they are solved at that time.
If not, they provide the products that definitely solve their problems. In that course, they become a good friend with the customers that ensuring a strong trust between them.
The basic goal of consultative selling is to satisfy the specific customers as best as possible. Salesforce actively meets with customers and try to know their actual need, wants, desire, and also lifestyles. Based on the findings, they make the products. And, after this, it is clear that surely those products will satisfy the customers when they consume/use.
It is familiar to all of us that, our friends and with whom our relationship is good are the lifetime customers as well as supporters. So in this selling concept, salespeople build a good relationship with the customers that make them buy products without any hesitation, and in the future, they may also buy since they have a good mutual understanding.
Good Position and Secure Future
Once the customers are satisfied, they have a unique image of the prodcut, so the selling company. A good image in consumers’ minds is a great asset of any firm. Such a good experience makes customers feel obliged to tell their people how good the company and its products are, further it increases the potential customers of the firm securing the future.
Roles of Consultative Selling
Roles of consultative selling are reflective of what customers want from salespeople. Usually, customers want the following three things to be assured.
- They want salespeople who are committed to assisting them with trust and honesty so that they may buy quality and build a long-term relationship. Buyers can get both quick and long-term rewards from such commitment and long-term connections.
- Customers can make a purchase at any time when they need it, therefore salespeople should keep associated with them throughout time even if there are no immediate sales opportunities.
- They always want to salespeople focus on meeting their needs.
Considering these wants of customers, the consultative salespeople can play the three following alternative roles.
Team Leader Role
Salespeople in today’s sales organizations are not “Lone Rangers,” which implies they do not work alone. They even work in the organization’s multifunctional teams. The salesperson’s role as team leader is to coordinate all of the information, resources, and activities required to support and assist customers before, during, and after the sale.
The Business Consultant Role
The salesperson uses internal and external resources to learn about the customer’s business and market like a business consultant. Following this, the salesperson attempts to comprehend the customer’s true/actual wants. Then she or he provides advice and services to the consumer in order to best meet the latter’s needs. The following activities should be completed by the salesman in order to become a good business consultant.
- Demonstrating and refining understanding of the customers’ big picture.
- Creating an atmosphere of trust, integrity reliability, and professionalism helps foster the exchange of information and ideas.
- Continually strengthening business knowledge.
- Following the Golden Rule of selling, “unselfishly treating others as the salesperson would like to be treated”.
The Long-Term Ally Role
In order to establish and sustain a long-term relationship, the salesman assists the consumer in meeting their needs. It’s also because the salesman wants to match his or her sales and earnings to the sales and profits of the customer.
This implies that the salesperson produces a win-win situation for both parties. If the goods do not appear to be in the customer’s long-term interest, the salesperson declines the transaction, although making every effort to help and serve the customer honestly.
Consultative Selling Success Factors
To make consultative selling successful one can go through the below five easy steps.
To do new things effectively research is needed. As a salesperson, you should research on basic needs, lifestyles, and preferences of the potential customers. By doing research you will understand what the customers want without physically visiting them.
While doing research you may have to look at your companies criteria mentioned, the requirements of an individual to be a qualified customer, etc. Here, the research should be done on every aspect of prospects including profession, income level, family, spending habits, and so forth.
Doing good research on them helps salespeople to answers questions of customers easily. After this next step is,
Meet the Potential Customers
Once the successful research is done, the next task of the salespersons is to meet them. As consultative selling’s goal is to make better relations with customers, in this step, salespeople also make possible efforts to make a good bond.
Here, you should try introducing yourself and find the problems of customers. The goal should be to locate their problem and find alternative solutions. While meeting with them, they will surely ask different questions, here the effectiveness of your answers depends upon how effective your research was.
The more accurate your research was, the more likely you will influence them towards your offer. In addition, listen actively to customers, ensure to understand what they are actually trying to say, make them believe that you are really interested to solve their problem, and ensure a good relationship.
Show Your Offer
Once you understand what are their problems it is time to show how your products will best solve their problems. It is found that most of the customers want to see how products work, how they solve their problems before making a buying decision.
While showing products you should be confident and confidently explains every benefit and drawback your products will possibly provide. Customers must be informed of features, usages, benefits they will get. A detailed explanation of the products makes it customers easy to which product is for them and which is not.
In addition to making the presentation of products more effective, you may also give them a free sample to test, answer all the questions after the presentation if they have any, and assure that the product will meet their expectations.
Since every selling approach’s goal is to make sales, so of consultative selling. Once the customers are convinced after products presentation they will definitely make a buy. It is a time for you to work on signing agreements, making terms & conditions of payments, delivery terms, and closing sales.
Though they are convinced, here they may also ask for discounts or any free gifts. Giving discounts and free gifts further make your products more attractive and tempt customers to buy. In addition, you may opt for immediate close, empathy close, sharp angle closes, and many more techniques to close sales even more quickly.
As we already discussed, consultative selling’s main goal is to build and maintain everlasting customer relationships. Customers also want salespeople should always try to solve their needs over time even after post-sales.
Doing follow-up is an effective way you further understand the feedback of customers after they use your product and make a strong bond. Doing it makes feel customers you regularly try to know their situations, it makes them feel valued, cared, further you may provide them after-sales service, notice on new product launch, etc. Making good relations, follow-up also influences them to refer their people to test your offer.