How to Update Your Transactional Selling Strategy

BY Jessica Helinski
Featured image for “How to Update Your Transactional Selling Strategy”

While a popular strategy, transactional selling shouldn’t be a seller’s sole approach. It can be successful, but it doesn’t always align with today's buyers. And it isn't very sustainable. Still, some elements of this style can have a place in modern sales, but sellers need to do more. 

Combining this type of selling with a more consultative approach will win over prospects and lead to new business. 

What is transactional selling?

Even if you haven’t heard the term, you’ve encountered this style. 

According to HubSpot’s definition, transactional selling involves one-​off sales that don’t usually involve strong relationship building. Sellers typically focus on generating revenue rather than establishing long-​term, personal connections with buyers. 

Sean McPheat, writing for MTD Sales Training, adds that the focus is on the immediate needs of the buyer. 

Transactional selling emphasizes closing deals quickly…and offering solutions that provide instant value,” he explains.

How is consultative selling different?

Modern sales advice is now encouraging sellers to embrace a more consultative approach. This style is a contrast to transactional because it focuses more on the long-​term benefits to a buyer. Sellers nurture relationships and work to demonstrate value that goes beyond just closing.

As the name implies, sellers who use this method position themselves as consultants. 

Sellers should consider combining the two

Dan Tyre believes that while transactional selling isn’t sustainable, it does have some beneficial elements. Adding consultative tactics into your overall strategy can create a more well-​rounded approach that connects with buyers.

To update your transactional selling approach, focus on establishing trust with the buyer right away. This can quickly build credibility and demonstrate your expertise. 

Do this by conducting a thorough discovery and asking effective questions. When you understand their pain points and end goal, the sooner you can show you aren’t just after a sale. They can trust you because you know what they need and how you can help.

Tyre recommends including questions in your discovery that uncover details about:

  • Their company
  • Key contacts and stakeholders
  • Goals
  • Challenges
  • Purchasing process
  • Timeline

Knowing these will give you the insight needed to articulate why your solution is a good fit. They’ll trust you because you are showing interest in them and not just closing. They become the focus.

Use conversation to add a personal touch

One of the reasons transactional selling can leave today’s buyers cold is because it’s impersonal. Today’s buyers want a connection with vendors. 

One way to do this is to use conversation. It may sound simple, but many sellers are in too big of a rush to take the time to engage on a small level.

Consultative selling is a personal game, so it serves you to add a personal edge to your communication,” Tyre writes.

Don’t make every engagement only about business. Instead, get to know the buyer and make efforts to build rapport. And don’t think you need to have long heart-​to-​hearts. A simple email to follow up on an earlier conversation or share a relevant news piece is enough.

And be authentic and enthusiastic. Make the buyer feel like your outreach efforts are genuine and it makes them more willing to open up.

They…feel that the conversation has value apart from learning about your solution,” writes the Brooks Group’s Michelle Richardson.

To add more personalization to your transactional strategy, consider these tips. They offer easy ways to make the experience more personal, and valuable, to the buyer. 

Traditionally, transactional selling has been the go-​to approach for many. As buyers evolve and awareness of their preferences grows, sellers must adapt. Embracing consultative sales tactics can freshen the transactional method. 

You’ll find that you can still close deals quickly, but you’ll also find a deeper connection with buyers who will remain loyal and become your biggest champions.

Photo by Jopwell