Not every sales professional can quickly grasp the right mindset needed for a consultative selling approach. What these individuals need is a change of perspective away from traditional sales roles into modern, relationship-building tools of success.
Here are three ways you can hammer the right points home to get sales reps thinking about consultations instead of pitches.
Teach Them Active Listening
Chances are good that your sales reps have taken a standardized test before assessing their reading comprehension. Many of us would fail these same tests as adults when it comes to listening comprehension. The sad truth is that most of us have inner monologues going on in our heads, and we don’t always have the sense to ignore them.
Help your sales team practice by engaging in active listening exercises. Consultative selling involves listening and responding to the customer’s needs, after all. Therefore, listening skills — not just “hearing” skills — will often make the difference for sales successes.
Important concepts for active listening include:
- Waiting until after the lead is done talking to formulate a response rather than waiting for your turn to speak
- Trying to follow their own mindset instead of thinking how it relates to yours
- Waiting at least five to ten seconds after someone is done talking or has trouble thinking before you chime in
- Clarifying what the speaker said, such as,“If I understand you correctly, you are basically saying this: ___, right?”
- Responding briefly to the speaker as they talk with confirmation like “yes, exactly” or “oh, ok”
- Never interrupting
- Focusing completely on the conversation and not distractions like your dinner plans
Impart Research as Part of the Sales Process
Traditionally, salespeople perform just enough research to seem like they know the client. With consultative selling, shallow knowledge will not cut it. You must know your prospect inside and out, including the competing solutions they have on their table.
Once you engage with the lead, the learning process has only begun. Using the active listening skills gleaned earlier, the sales rep should be able to ask open-ended questions that allow them to paint an accurate picture of the lead’s pain points. Only then can they honestly position their solution as a genuine answer to the lead’s problems.
Emphasize Follow-Through to Build Relationships
No matter how successful or poor a sales encounter feels, many decisions are still in the air. Touch base with them during their contemplative process, and establish what they need to complete their decision. If they say the same thing you heard before, try to offer something of value to push the conversation further, such as an interesting article that describes their pain point perfectly.
Businesses wishing to teach these skills to their staff and perfect them together can look to experienced organizations like 2Win! for guidance. Our Demo2WIN! consultative selling workshop applies the top-level skills needed to earn trust, identify motives and present the value of your consultative selling solution in a compelling way.
Between your own efforts and the insights you obtain from knowledge centers like 2Win!, your team can only get better at building sales relationships.