The Core Tenets of Consultative Selling
It’s time to put the customer back into the conversation. The greatest resource a seller has in winning new business is an honest dialogue. Engage the process as a team. Call upon these core tenets of consultative selling in every buyer interaction.
Sellers need to come prepared. Effective selling begins before the conversation starts. Seek out resources to learn more about the key drivers behind the customer’s business as well as the decision makers and their process. Interactions with the customer are valuable, so be sure to tackle the easy questions on your own before meeting the customer.
Foster openness through dialogue that allows the buyer to feel less guarded about their insights on what they need in a solution. This exchange primes the seller to effectively position value later. All things being equal, the ability of a seller to tightly demonstrate relevance to a specific customer issue or opportunity (rather than simply an industry-wide one) will always be more compelling.
Successful sellers rely on periodic feedback from the customer. This “checking in” ensures that the customer is involved in the conversation. Feedback will reveal if the seller has offered any ideas that are incongruous to the customer’s perspective. Knowing these objections is critical before making recommendations that involve the product at hand.
By creating a dialogue, asking questions, and eliciting feedback, sellers will be well prepared to ask for the sale. Often, several decision makers are involved. Therefore, sellers need to propose specific next steps to continue the momentum. It’s the seller’s job to help build consensus among stakeholders.
Finally, sellers can continue to build their credibility by delivering on their commitments. When a buyer sees a seller’s actions as consistent with what they say, they establish Knowledge-based Trust. This is a critical outcome according to an independent study commissioned by SAP in which respondents revealed “trust” as the most important factor when purchasing products. Keep the customer engaged by making routine follow ups. These touch-points keep the customer locked into the various ways your solution connects to their problem.
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