Consultative is a pretty big buzzword in the sales world today. Sales professionals and motivational sales coaches travel the country preaching from the mountain tops on the next best thing to do in order to guarantee your next sale. The ugly truth is that nothing will guarantee a sale in any type of business transaction. There are far too many circumstances that need to align in order to close a sale, and if we are honest with ourselves and we look at the criteria we should be amazed we sell anything at all. This of course depends on the product, but at the end of the day – and with the digital world we live in – any amateur can create a website and put something up for sale. We live in a market that is overflowing with product – simply put, oversaturated.
Some sales people are better at selling than others, but how can this be? The product is the same. The price is the same. The brand recognition and value is the same.
How can we possibly distinguish ourselves from the competition? How do we shine through the foggy marketplace like a beacon of truth in an effort to say “Hey! Look at me.”
First things first, our consumer must find value in the product we have to offer. Today, the ability for consumers to differentiate product has become seemingly impossible without strictly looking at the bottom-line price difference. Most markets, regardless of product, are price driven. But, what if there was a way to shift that paradigm? What if it was possible to not have to sell a product, but rather allow consumers to buy from us.
This is our beacon: consultative selling.
I work in large group commercial health insurance, and the best part of my job is the process of becoming an extension of my clients benefits team. I am given the opportunity to listen to their problems, learn about short/long term business goals, and help provide my consultation on how to get there based on the tools I have in my tool belt – in the form of new products and services. I personally feel that I have achieved some level of success in what I do, and I attribute a large portion of that to my ability to relate to my clients and their needs. They call me to tell me about their daily struggles and vent about the stress of the numerous regulatory requirements they’ve been burdened with as a result of “reform”.
I believe sales today have become more about power, authority, and who comes from the most prestigious background. To be fair, all of those emotions are a product of how we’ve been groomed to treat a competitive landscape. Those with the most power and authority will come out on top, right? Nay, I say!
Challenge: the next opportunity you have to close a sale, humble yourself and step down to look at your client face-to-face. They’ll view you as a partner and not something disposable. Relational sales people are the only sales people, everyone else is just a distraction.