Sales & Sales Management Expertise

9 Strengths of Consultative Sellers

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“It’s not you, it’s me!”  I love that scene from Seinfeld. 

In today's blog, we answer the sales question, "Is it me or is it you?"

Selling has changed a lot in the last 10 years and, if you haven’t noticed, some of the tried and true ways might not be as effective as they once were.

My vote is that the buyer and the buying process have changed the most, so it’s “them”. So, now that we have established who is at fault, let’s talk about why and what to do about it.

  • It continues to be harder to get to prospects. Everyone is busier and gets more e-mails, calls and texts.
  • Because they are busier, they don’t feel like they have time to meet.
  • Unless you have something compelling to say, they are less likely to listen.
  • Today, more than ever, the buyer starts the process; therefore, as salespeople, we enter the sales cycle much later than before.
  • As much as price was an issue before, it may be an even bigger issue for some today.

 So… what is a salesperson to do?

According to Dave Kurlan at the Objective Management Group, you need to sell more consultatively.

What does that mean?  Well, here are the 9 attributes for consultative selling from the OMG sales evaluation:

  1. Asks “Great” Questions. They must be questions that help uncover a problem not just lead to an issue that causes you to go into presentation mode.
  2. Asks “Enough” questions. Do you dig down beneath the surface to understand the impact of the problem or stop when you think you have enough to put together a proposal?
  3. Develops strong relationships. This goes beyond the chit-chat to a place where real trust develops.  It is a process, not an event.
  4. Presents at the appropriate times. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to present and, other times, we get ahead of the prospect.
  5. Uncovers issues. Real problems that exist or might come about if the situation is neglected.  It has to be beyond the “product”.
  6. Understands how prospects will buy. Remember, it’s their process; however, your questions can help drive urgency.
  7. Takes nothing for granted. Even if it looks like the others, it’s not!
  8. Able to ask tough questions. Anyone can ask the layups; prepare to ask questions even when it is uncomfortable.  That is one way to establish yourself as a trusted adviser.
  9. Able to listen and ask questions with ease. Listening does not mean waiting for your turn to talk.  Listen to understand what the prospect is really trying to tell you and then ask your question to clarify what you heard.  Don’t assume you know.

This is a lot of stuff to think about.  Could working on some of these 9 help you be more effective and sell more?  I think so, but it’s up to you.