A Consultative Selling approach comes to life in the dialogue between the seller and the client with use of the Six Critical Skills: Presence, Relating, Questioning, Listening, Positioning, and Checking.
These skills give sellers the ability to navigate the dialogue in the moment by connecting with clients and gaining and keeping their openness and willingness to engage in productive dialogue.
Being consultative helps sellers accomplish two important things:
- They gain needed information to deeply understand client needs, identify the right solution, and tailor what they say about products to ensure relevance and impact, and
- By maintaining their focus on and connection with the client, they create a positive buying experience for the client that fosters an ongoing relationship and trust.
By using the Six Critical Skills in a consultative dialogue, sellers can make sure the client feels heard, respected, understood, helped, and genuinely cared for. Just as important is what the client does not experience: a true consultative approach means the client never feels manipulated. Thus, trust has a place to sow its seeds and grow. So, the outcome of a truly consultative approach is a closer relationship and trust.
Consultative Selling remains relevant and necessary in today’s selling environment precisely because it provides a foundation for building client trust. Sellers need to bring new ideas and insights to help clients better understand their business issues and identify the best solution to meet their business goals. But, just bringing ideas does not mean clients are receptive to those ideas or willing to invest in them. Trust is a necessary ingredient to the client being truly receptive the seller’s ideas and opposing viewpoints. If trust does not take root early on, the seller’s best ideas will remain suspect, and clients will look to other providers whose ideas they trust.