It might not sound like it, but research shows that while sales reps seem to know what buyers want, there’s a huge disparity between this, and what they actually deliver.
- 50% of sales reps state that they avoid being pushy; 84% of buyers think they don’t.
- 83% of sales reps think they listen to their prospect’s needs; just 62% of buyers agreed.
- 74% of sales reps said they research prospects before calls (so they can provide relevant information); only 45% of buyers felt that this was the case.
Traditional sales methods typically revolve around salespeople highlighting the benefits of products and services without considering prospects’ specific needs. Needs-based selling often helps salespeople establish productive, long-term relationships with customers. By taking the time to understand individual customer needs, salespeople can also set themselves up to have more educated, well-rounded prospect interactions as time goes on. Salespeople need a framework for making the best use of limited time across numerous pitches. The answer to that problem is a Consultative Selling.
What is Consultative Selling?
Consultative selling is a sales approach that prioritizes relationships and open dialogue to identify and provide solutions to a customer’s needs. It is hyper focused on the customer, rather than the product being sold. This technique helps sales professionals better understand the challenges faced by customers so they can position their solutions in a more compelling and effective way.
Outcome of Consultative Selling
The outcome of employing a consultative sales approach is greater satisfaction and stronger relationships between the buyer and seller. Salesperson who practices consultative selling develops a holistic and nuanced understanding of the buyer’s needs, and then they try to fulfill those needs with vendor agnostic and customized solution.
Why Consultative Selling?
It’s all about relationships. Building lasting, meaningful relationships with your customers is the best way for your company to survive in the competitive sales industry. Without strong relationships, you risk losing customers. In fact, having a poor relationship with customers is one of the biggest reasons for churn
Transactional (Product based) Selling Vs Consultative Selling
Transactional selling, or product-focused selling, puts the product at the center of the sales process. When using this method, sales reps will push a product’s features and benefits with little to no concern for how these align with, or can help address, the customer’s needs.
This is fine for low-ticket items, but when a customer’s spending big, they need to be confident in what they’re buying. They need to be certain they’re being sold a product that’s the best possible fit.
Despite the benefits of being able to tailor solutions to prospects, consultative sales is a very different beast to product-based selling. Here are a few product-based selling and consultative selling examples: