Why We Love Consultative Selling
“No one likes to be sold, but everyone likes to buy.” – Earl Taylor, trainer in sales, leadership and communication
The process of buying and selling has changed quite a bit in the last decade, but the statement above is still true. No one comes home after buying a fancy new tech product and says, “Hey honey, I just got sold this $4,000 TV.”
The B2B world is not much different. Many B2B companies are selling similar products and services with less and less to distinguish themselves on the surface. Consultative selling gives salespeople the edge they need when they stop selling products and start selling solutions. This style of sales puts the client’s needs first and recognizes that only through the success of the client can the salesperson, and company they represent, achieve success.
The purchase process has changed with the advancement of information and competition on the internet. The ability to choose has forced the position of the salesperson to evolve from selling a product that they’re the expert on to selling a product that can be researched in 10 minutes with a Google search.
So, why do we love consultative selling?
Mutually beneficial relationships
Well, first and foremost it becomes a partnership or a mutually beneficial relationship when a business and salesperson work hand in hand. The idea that it’s easier to sell the same clients again and again over finding new ones is a benefit sales organizations can’t ignore. And, if you like helping people, and haven’t made the jump to nonprofit because you enjoy the bonuses salespeople receive for doing a good job, helping businesses grow and develop is a close second for personal satisfaction.
When a salesperson is engaged with a client and selling consultatively, they become a partner to the client. The goal is a mutually beneficial relationship. The client buys from the salesperson, and the salesperson directs the client through avenues most beneficial to their marketing goals.
You see perfect examples of this in the wild. A symbiotic relationship of mutualism occurs when two species both benefit from the interaction. The Nile crocodile sits on the shore and leaves its mouth open for the Egyptian plover bird to walk in and clean the rotting flesh from between its teeth. The croc gets a much needed dental cleaning and the bird gets to feast on a buffet of food.
When our clients see we mean to help, they’re more than willing to open up their mouths and wallets, and let us in for a cleaning.
It’s easier to resell your clients than to go out and find new ones. When you’re concerned about helping your clients achieve their goals they in turn help you achieve yours – more sales.
A question I love my sales team to ask is, “What is one new customer worth to you over a lifetime?” Most companies like to think that when they convert a new customer they can keep them for life. Their product or service will be so beneficial to this new client that they’re going to want to keep working with their company in the future.
This question makes it easier to transition into a pitch for bigger deals, but it also begs us to consider, as salespeople, the same question. What is one new client worth to me over a lifetime? We can’t be satisfied selling our clients just once. It would signify us not being able to meet the expectations of our clients, or a failure in showing them how we can build value with a continued relationship.
Higher level of satisfaction, on both sides
People naturally want to help others. We’re not on this earth to do nothing but look out for ourselves. Consultative selling pushes us as salespeople to learn the ins and outs of a client’s business so we can recommend the best way for them to achieve their goals. It makes us more aware of what other people want, and aligns us with what we can do to help make their wants a reality. No, we don’t work in nonprofit, but helping a business grow feels good. Plus, we get paid for it.
The research is out there. If you’re a salesperson and not concerned with self-preservation, keep looking for the short-term goals and one-time wins. Consultative selling is already here and the best sales companies are using it. If you haven’t already, you need to start caring about the other person (the client) enough to make their needs the priority.