Our New Business Environment Requires a Consultative Sales Approach

BY Tim Londergan
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Ceaselessly, corporations, companies, communities, and even cities struggle with how to define themselves. Principally for marketing or branding purposes and to attract attention, these entities grapple with the issues around ‘why’ someone should buy their product or plan a visit. It’s a vital and necessary tool to drive sales and build a customer base. Likewise, it’s an endeavor that every salesperson should take on for themselves. Taking an active role in defining yourself within your business community is a great way to compete for sales. Granted, building strong relationships with each customer is a way to support a network and receive referrals. But one-​on-​ones with customers have limited scale. Increasingly, sellers are adopting a consultative sales approach to frame their customer relations. Becoming a preferred resource for your buyers is a goal worth pursuing.

Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’” — Brian Tracy

Depth of understanding describes the consultative sales approach

More than ever, buyers are searching for trusted partners. Moreover, it’s imperative in today’s environment for companies to reduce risk and pursue efficiencies. Therefore, businesses seek advanced thinking on framing their problems and crafting solutions. Clearly, this is an opportunity for you to evolve your strategy and reframe your relationships. Through a consultative sales approach, you become a reliable resource and a dedicated problem solver. Ben Taylor, writing about consultative selling for Hubspot offers tips on how to get started:

Pre-​call research – This is a critical first step. You should use every source available to find more about the company, its personnel, the products they currently use, and how they leverage your product or service. Study their website, analyze their LinkedIn profiles and explore industry reports. Also, this is where you can prioritize your prospects to pick the most likely candidate for your product.

Prepare questions and listen intently – Direct communication with the buyer is an opportunity to learn more and gain insight. Apply what you’ve learned to dig deep into how you can help this prospect.

Show you care, not just what you know – Personalize your presentation of solutions as much as possible. A tailored value demonstration that directly addresses their needs can win the bid. Essentially, this is where you solidify your relationship with all stakeholders.

Preparing for the well-​informed buyer

Every B2B seller will tell you it’s tough to stay ahead of their customers. Astute buyers are armed with data and can easily research your product and that of your competitors. Therefore, when you deploy a consultative sales approach, you must focus on creating value for your customers. Persuading the customer to buy your product must be accompanied by why they should buy from you. The writers at decisionLink make the case for value-​based selling and how this approach can win business. Helpfully, they make distinctions between solution-​based selling and value-​based selling to help you win more business. In their explanation, they say that value-​based sellers emphasize the positive results of using their product or service.

What is unique about your product?

According to decisionLink, value-​based selling begins with understanding your unique selling point (USP). Consider how your product addresses your prospects needs and how it differentiates from your competitor. This is where your research kicks in. Also, the time spent with your prospect is rewarded by “creating a compelling USP that connects with your customer on a deeper level.” When you provide real world proof of how your product performs, you’ve achieved instant credibility with your customer.

In the changing landscape of sales, a consultative sales approach is essential to establish and sustain solid relationships and build your reputation as a trusted partner. 

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