What Is a Consultative Sales Approach?

consultative sales approach

Consultative selling is a sales strategy that emphasizes connections and open communication in order to discover and address a customer’s needs. It puts a greater focus on the client than on the goods being supplied. This strategy aids salespeople in gaining a deeper understanding of their clients’ problems so that they may offer their solutions in a more compelling and operative manner.

Sales coach with consultative selling skills can position differentiated, compelling solutions. Using a consultative sales approach leads in more enjoyment and deeper relationships between the customer and vendor.

The Framework For Consultative Selling

The consultative selling framework gives seller a systematic, repeatable process for conducting sales discussions more effectively.

It is divided into six steps:

  • Prepare

More productive customer meetings, higher credibility, a shorter sales cycle, and improved sales results are all outcomes of effective call preparation. Using an effective call planning approach ensures that each customer call moves the sale forward.

  • Connect

The connect phase of a sales call welcomes the customer, establishes a rapport, and sets the tone. Credibility is enhanced by a solid start.

  • Understand

Consultative selling is all about understanding. Customers must be connected with and salespeople must gain and maintain their openness and readiness to engage in a dialogue as well as make a wide range of inquiries. 

  • Recommend

A salesperson’s presentation of a solution might make it easy or difficult for the consumer to comprehend. It may also make the salesman seem appealing or unappealing. To persuade customers, salespeople must communicate capabilities and solutions in clear, simple and compelling language that connects value to customer demands. 

  • Commit

Taking a systematic approach to closing minimizes the risk of rejection and enhances the possibilities of obtaining engagement and securing the business.

  • Act

Since many salespeople struggle with follow up, phenomenal follow up with customers is one of the quickest ways for them to establish credibility and differentiate themselves. Following the conversation, internal reflection and action planning are required to guarantee that each customer engagement is completely utilized in order to learn and create a winning strategy.


Understanding A Consultative Sales Approach To Understand Customer Needs

By one of the key features of consultative selling, a sales professional must use intellectual interest to fully understand client needs in order to be really consultative.

Here are some instances of actual curiosity-based consultative level questions:

  • What are you up to right now?
  • What is working well for you?
  • What are your future ambitions that we should be aware of so that we may make recommendations that are future focused?

The answers to these queries provide insight into the true nature of the customer’s problem for the salespeople. When a salesperson follows the consultative sale process, their effort to resolve issues and provide suitable solutions to move the transaction improves.

Consultative Sales Approach And Skills

Before discussing a product or solution, a salesperson uses consultative sales approach to learn about the customer’s needs. When product knowledge is supplied and positioned depending on the customer’s wants, it becomes a personalized solution.

In order to be successful at consultative selling, salespeople must focus on seven important behaviors.

  • Seller centric activities should be avoided

Almost all salespeople feel they are customer focused, yet only a small percentage of them are. This conclusion is supported by recent study which indicated that most B2B enterprises scored less than 50 percent on a customer experience index. 

When faced with a more difficult situation, salespeople may revert seller-centric practices in an attempt to bully clients or avoid addressing key issues. These actions, on the other hand, create suspicion. Salespeople must be able to communicate with the person on the other chair. This entails making a precise diagnosis of their situation. This understanding establishes credibility, hence, trust!

These steps are vital in gaining the right to ask the probing inquiries that initiate conversation. Sales professionals may better position solutions that create real value for buyers by getting to the root cause of the buyer’s problems.

  • Change your mind-set to authenticity

Salespeople must first give before getting anything. Developing a genuine understanding to solve the buyer’s business issues early in the process fosters transparency. This transparency allows sales people to analyze the buyer’s difficulties, stated demands, and undiscovered needs more precisely. From here, the vendor can demonstrate to the buyer how to efficiently use the precise pieces of data required to arrive at conclusion.

  • Use a plan to guide the conversation

Salespeople can acquire an early sense of the buyer’s expectations by taking a straightforward approach that opens the conversation with a clear direction. If the targeted path differs from the buyer’s conversation goals, the salesperson can make the necessary adjustments.

  • Strengthen your decisive momentum

By asking input from customers, sales people can steer them through the conversation. This allows them to gauge how effectively they comprehend the solutions and ideas presented. The regular verification aids the customer in progressing to the next phase, gradually increasing commitment throughout the buying process. 

  • Use questioning to leverage insights

By asking increasingly intelligent questions, the buyer is able to connect the dots and draw a line that leads to the optimum answer. Insightful questions get to the root of the matter quickly and allows the sales persons to float suggestions. Inviting the consumer to think outside the box about solutions may be made less frightening when the concepts are presented as a question. 

  • Understand why people buy or don’t buy

Buyers are people and people have three basic demands for happiness that influence how they perceive events, what they respond to, and how they finally make judgments. Autonomy, relatedness and competence are those three needs. By remaining emotionally linked with the consumer, and creating a secure place to discuss tough of sensitive problems, strong questioning skills assist salespeople respect these demands. 

  • Focus on facts instead of assumptions

Anchoring is a type of cognitive bias that describes the human inclination to place too much weight on a single piece of data. Instead of meticulously pursuing proof via dialogue, salespeople are highly susceptible to anchoring to their own preconceptions. Anchors can drive salespeople to overlook or discard potentially useful information that could help them progress the sale and offer a more attractive and valuable solution.

To avoid anchoring, the greatest salespeople use active listening. They are not sacred to ask the hard questions since they know that providing buyer with the facts and truth will result in the most attractive product offering.


The Advantages Of A Consultative Sales Approach

The words consultative and solution are the two most misunderstood, misrepresented and misused words in sales. It is noteworthy that these two terminologies have this difference because the so called solution is typically nothing more than a normal product pitch if it is not consultative. Salespeople who truly embraced the consultative sales approach benefits in many ways:

  • Competitive advantage derived from a sales strategy that is well linked with market requirements.
  • Emergence of previously unidentified requirements can lead to new and greater possibilities within existing customers. 
  • Improved closure percentages for new clients and expanded business with current customers resulted in enhanced profits.
  • Sales cycle duration shortens as a result of increased customer confidence and momentum. 


Consultative Sales Approach Versus Product Focused Selling

The focus of sales calls has changed from the vendor to the customer as a result of increased competition and customer’s greater access to information. This shift happened due to the modern customers are more informed and prepared; they are confronted with an abundance of information and options, bring increased skepticism to the table, must answer to an increasing number of stakeholders, must navigate a complex and ambiguous environment, and are less loyal to their existing solution providers. 

The relationship between the consumer and the seller is being challenged by technology, skepticism, risk aversion, and an increase in stakeholders. As a result, the sales cycle has lengthened or even come to a halt in some situations. The seller’s inertia arises from the difficulty of navigating the buyer’s research-based misunderstandings. Limited access to customers, along with tight deadlines, exacerbates the situation. Average sellers who could formerly sit lazily in the center of the pack have been driven to the bottom, while highly competent, nimble selling have been able to maintain their position at the top. While these characteristics may appear to elevate the buyer to an unattainable level, sellers must remember that they too have valuable talents to offer. To assist them synthesize value from their resources, buyers continue to seek trust, honesty, and clarity. Sellers may set themselves apart by meeting these demands.