If you’re just starting a career in sales, you likely think you know what you’re getting into. You’ll be making phone calls, talking about the firm’s services and ultimately trying to make a sale. While all of this is true, there’s a more effective way to sell your company’s services. Taking a consultative approach to sales can improve not only your close rate but also the relationship you have with clients and prospects.
Consultative selling is a sales approach that prioritizes relationships and providing solutions to clients’ needs by truly understating their pain points. Rather than focusing on the service you’re trying to sell, you’re hyper-focused on the client and what they need to streamline their everyday operations. This approach to selling can help you build effective client relationships and keep them coming back to you when they find unmet needs in their business.
Consultative selling may seem more complicated than traditional selling methods, but it doesn’t have to be. Implementing a few key methods will help you become a more consultative salesperson and keep your clients coming back for more.
Ask good questions
Often, clients come to you with an idea of the challenges they’re currently facing in their business. But what they think they need to overcome those challenges may not be what they actually need. Your job is to pinpoint the difference and guide your client in the direction of what will best serve their business.
Asking the right questions and doing so effectively in this step is crucial. Doing so will help you and your client unlock the challenge and find the right solution. If you aren’t sure where to start, try a simple shift from close-ended to open-ended questions. For example, instead of asking your client, “Do you have any other questions?” try something like “What other questions can I answer for you today?” The latter allows for continued engagement in the discussion, while the former is a simple yes/no and doesn’t keep the conversation flowing.
You can also start to engage this technique by asking rapport-building questions at the beginning of your call to help establish trust between you and your client. Get to know them on a personal level, so they feel comfortable coming to you for solutions.
Sandler Sales Training is a great resource for learning more about asking questions and how to reverse questions to keep your client talking and engaged.
Learn to listen actively
If you want to be a consultative salesperson, you need to hone your active listening skills. Active listening is the practice of listening attentively to someone when they’re speaking and engaging in the conversation by paraphrasing and reflecting what the other person said. Actively listening to your client allows you to truly understand the challenge they’re facing and offer the best possible solution to that challenge.
Another key to active listening is to avoid interrupting while your client is speaking. When you interrupt, you miss key elements of the story, which may cause you to offer a solution that doesn’t fully fit their needs. Remember the 80/20 rule: Try to spend about 80% of your time listening and 20% of your time speaking during sales calls.
Don’t give your services away
While solving challenges for your clients is the point of consultative selling, you’re also not giving away your service for free. Yes, you need to understand your service lines well enough to ask questions, listen actively and intentionally, and develop a solution. But you’re not aiming to solve those challenges during your sales call. Instead, communicate to the client at a high level what the solution you’ve come up with will do, how it will serve their business effectively and the value they’ll gain from working with you. During the engagement, you’ll follow through on the collaboratively created plan and solve their challenges.
Finally, to excel in sales, aim to nurture trusting relationships with clients by being your true self. Creating an environment where you are honest and upfront with your clients will foster better communication in both directions. Build rapport with your clients and aim to solve the challenges that keep them up at night. You’ll become a trusted advisor rather than just a salesperson. When clients know they can trust you to show them the right solution or put them on the right path, they’ll return to you over and over again to solve their challenges. Then you’ll reap the rewards of repeat business that comes from building authentic and trusting relationships that are mutually beneficial in the long run.
Are you ready to stop wasting money on business development and marketing initiatives that don’t work? Boomer Growth Consulting helps you create a clear marketing and business development roadmap that will help you reach more prospects and clients. so schedule a discovery call today and gain confidence that your firm’s marketing and business development dollars are being used effectively.
As a Solutions Advisor for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Kylie Pruser is excited about engaging with clients, helping them solve their problems, enrich their businesses and grow. Her primary focus is on communities, including the Boomer Technology Circles.
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