The key to a meaningful relationship is trust. You need to work at it, build it, and maintain it. Without trust you have nothing. This is especially true in the world of sales. The best salesperson is one who knows their clients. They care about their clients, and they take the time to identify their needs.
Pushing products on people without asking them what it is specifically that they need is not a strong selling strategy. Copy and paste emails without any personalized lines is not a good selling strategy. Consultative Selling is the way to build long-lasting relationships. So let’s talk about what exactly a consultative selling strategy is.
What Is Consultative Selling?
Consultative selling is a sales method that relies on getting to know the needs of your customers. It isn’t pushing products on them without knowing whether or not they need them. Consultative selling is about asking questions and performing research to better understand your customers’ needs. Through this, you find their pain points. Through a clearer understanding of what it is that your customers need, you’ll be able to propose a product. Now you’re selling exactly what they’re looking for. This builds healthy relationships that can last a long time. Your customers want to be heard, and by listening you can help them fix those problems.
How Many Steps Are In This Process?
There are four main categories of research you need to have nailed down before you call a customer. You need to know everything you can about the customer and their business before you can understand how your company can be of service. This isn’t a personalized email with a customer’s first name in it. This takes more time and dives deep into what it is they do, and what it is that you can provide. The four main steps of your consultative selling strategy are as follows.
1. Personal and business information
2. Place in the buyer’s journey
3. Insights on the business and their competitors
4. Product knowledge
What These Four Steps Mean
Personal and business information is fairly straightforward. You need to do some research and find the company name, size, some first and last names, location, and any other information that you deem relevant in your search. There are plenty of CRM’s (Customer Relationship Management) that can help you find this information.
While you’re researching it always helps to check their websites, and any other social media accounts that they might have. You can also check customer reviews. Do a full online search of the business in order to get a better understanding of who it is that you’re dealing with.
To figure out the place in the buyer’s journey you can again use CRM’s. The hot lead notification feature will help you better understand if the customer is ready to buy. You can also see if they’ve visited your social media accounts or email.
Of course, having insights into the business and its competitors is extremely important. Going into a meeting knowing if the company is doing well, or if sales have been slipping will help direct the conversation. Knowing information about a business’s competitors is just as important as the information about the business you’re hoping to work with. Snapshot is a great tool to help you find information on businesses and their competitors.
Lastly, you need to study up on their products and find solutions that your products can offer. Although you should be selling solutions rather than products, you still need to have those products in mind. Check out their content, find some pain points, and turn that into valuable information that will help you when it comes time for a meeting.
How To Turn Research Into The Right Questions
Now you’ve researched the customer, and have a better understanding of what it is they do, and what is they need. The point of the meeting isn’t to talk about everything you’ve researched, it’s to listen. Give them a chance to speak without being interrupted. They want to feel heard, and by cutting them off, and offering solutions, you’ll likely lose them.
People in these situations often don’t know exactly what it is that they need. They know and understand that they need help, but might not know what will help them. This makes sense considering that if they had a solution to their problems, they would likely implement it.
Start off with a few open-ended questions that will get them talking. Questions that will relax them, and make them feel comfortable meeting with you. Questions like: How do you feel about your online marketing efforts? How do you market your business online? Are you looking to drive more traffic to your website? These are good starting questions.
Don’t boggle their minds with technical jargon. You don’t need to be too specific. Being too specific can lead to a misunderstanding or at best a short answer. You want them to talk. Sit, listen, and take notes if you need to. Show them that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. Keep the questions about them. How are you doing this? And are you looking to achieve this? All questions should be directed towards them.
The best tip is this: talk to humans. Having a conversation like your buddies. The best salespeople are the ones who don’t act like they’re selling anything. They’re the ones who listen then offer solutions