Asking line-of-business managers, department heads and CXOs about problems and issues requires an understanding of business basics. This is also a key to gaining trust and confidence during the sales cycle. The ability to develop an ROI will aid in positioning the salesperson as a problem solver and better position the offered solution.
How can you tell if a salesperson is consultative (and not product) selling? Here are two of the biggest clues:
No. 1: He/she is listening 90 percent of the time and talking 10 percent of the time. In the product sale, a salesperson is “telling" the prospect about the features and benefits of the product, i.e., talking 90 percent of the time. In the consultative sale, the salesperson is asking questions to uncover the customer’s needs and issues and listening to the responses.
No. 2: The sales proposal focuses on the identified customer needs and issues and the business benefits that will be realized with the implementation of the solution. The “solution" is explained in terms of how it will address each need/issue/goal.
Finally, it is important to remember that consultative selling is a process with specific steps to get to the end goal — closing the sale! Miss a step and the sale could be in jeopardy. What are those steps?
- Problem Analysis
- Influence Decision Process
- Propose Solution
- Overcome Objections
- Close the Sale
Pam Avila is founder of Sierra Summit Group, a channel consulting firm. She is well known as the founder of CT Pioneers, a group of telecom and IT VARs focused on convergence. Avila is a principal of discussUC.com, a member of the 2012-13 Channel Partners Advisory Board and chairperson for CompTIA's UC Community.
Hear more from Sierra Summit Group's Pam Avila in the session, "Creating a Transformation Road Map," at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Feb. 27-March 1, in Las Vegas.