Buyers prefer to purchase from firms that understand them and their needs
Consultative selling focuses on creating value, building trust with a prospective customer and exploring their needs before offering a solution. In consultative sales, the salesperson’s first objective is building a relationship and their second is providing the right product or service for that individual. Consultative selling doesn’t mean you can’t also offer structured information throughout the sales process. But unless the prospect feels understood, no amount of transactional value will win them over.
Consultative salespeople try to understand the problems that their prospect is facing. They ask questions to understand how important the issue is and how it is holding the person or their business back. This allows the salesperson to outline what they could bring to the table in terms of providing a solution to the problem. It also helps both parties to establish whether there is an opportunity to do business together or not.
To make a consultative selling approach work, you need to understand your prospects, the sector of the market in which they operate, who their competitors are and so forth. Once you have identified a prospect, check out their website and try to understand any gaps in the market or key news stories that relate to your prospect’s world. This knowledge will allow you to have consultative sales conversations based on current information that is relevant to the prospect’s world and this will help to build trust.
Spending time doing your research allows you to provide insights to potential clients that will interest them. Being able to offer this type of information is called sales enablement. It allows your sales team to offer information to prospects that nurtures them towards a sale, which enables the sales team to close the deal more efficiently.
The final part of a successful consultative selling approach is the follow-up strategy. The research and sales enablement that your sales team deliver should help to build a solid foundation of trust between prospective customers and your firm. Your team can then focus on nurturing the relationship, which means continuing to engage and follow up.
In order to be effective, follow-up activity should be interesting and personalised for each prospective client. If your prospects see that your sales team mean what they say and will follow through, they tend to be more responsive in return and will treat your firm as a trusted business partner. This means that if they decide to buy, your firm will be at the top of their list.