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3 principles of the consultative sales process

Tips & Advice - April 7, 2015

If you’re in the business of selling, you have a tried and trusted sales method. For many companies, the best way to sell to their customers is called consultative selling.

Consultative sales focuses on the dialog between salespeople and their customers. The salesperson acts not as a representative bringing his product to a client, but rather as a consultant who asks questions to determine a prospect’s needs and then uses that information to recommend the service or product that best solves their problems — usually the salesperson’s own. When done correctly consultative selling allows the sales representative to understand precisely what a customer is looking for and then tailor their pitch to show the customer how their product or service meets all the needs.

For field sales representatives, whose business often depends on forming long-lasting relationships with clients, the consultative sales process can be especially beneficial.

Here are three principles of consultative sales:

  • Research: Use the lead intelligence your business has gathered to develop a preliminary understanding of the client. What recent news has surrounded the company, have they had management changes or are they looking to change their business model? Sales reps should be using client social media websites and using Google to get a good idea of the customer and what their needs might be.
  • Question: When you meet the client face-to-face ask open-ended questions. Googling will never tell you everything you need to know about a customer, so it’s important to make sure you give them a chance to provide information. Not only does this help you better understand a customer, it also goes a long way to developing trust.
  • Listen: Active listening will help you discover pain points a client might not openly say need solving. Listen for tone, pitch and enthusiasm levels and judge their attitude when they discuss certain parts of their company. This will help you decide how to best pitch your product. Document this part of the process using, for example, a field service software, so that you can look back on it later.

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