The Power of Consultative Selling and Becoming a Master Problem Solver
In consultative selling, you position yourself as a consultant, an expert, an advisor, a helper and teacher in the sales situation. Above all, you position yourself as a problem solver. You ask good questions and listen attentively to the answers.
When you are a sales person working with a business, you position yourself as a “Financial Improvement Specialist.” This requires that you focus all your attention on showing the customer how his or her business can be financially better off as the result of using your product or service.
Consultative Selling for Businesses
Customers of the top salespeople describe them as consultants, “unpaid members of my own staff.” They say, “He/she really understands my situation” and “He/she is my reliable problem solver”. This must be your aim as well.
As a sales person who is a problem solver, you must begin the sales process by asking questions about your prospect’s business, seeking to understand how sales and revenues are generated, how costs and expenses are incurred and how profits are made. In consultative selling, you must put yourself in the position of the business owner or executive and try to see yourself as being personally involved in achieving the financial results for which he or she is responsible.
Once you understand how your prospect’s business or department operates, you then find a way to define what you sell in financial terms. Your primary aim as a sales person in consultative selling, is to demonstrate to the prospect that the financial benefit of dealing with you is greater than the cost of what you are selling.
FREE REPORT: Everyone is a Salesperson
Many companies use “internal rate of return” to evaluate a new business expenditure. This is the return on investment that they aim to attain in purchasing new equipment of any kind. For example, a company may set 15% as their “IRR.” This means that, for you to sell the company something, you must demonstrate that it will save or make the company 15% or more each year and eventually pay for itself.
The higher the rate of return that a business can achieve in using your product or service, the more attractive it is to buy and use because it basically pays for itself, and yields a profit.
The most important decision criterion business people use in evaluating a prospective purchase or expenditure is called “time to payback.” This is the amount of time that will pass before the company gets 100% of its money back.
This is determined by dividing the IRR into the number 72. (For example, if your product or service will save or earn the company 20% of the cost each year, the time to payback is 3.6 years). The company then compares this rate of return against alternate uses of the same money. In determining time to payback, the prospect has four key questions, spoken or unspoken, that the sales person must answer. The first question is, “How much does it cost?”
The second question the sales person must answer in their presentation is, “How much do I get back in return for my investment?”
The third question the sales person must answer is, “How fast do I get this amount back?”
The fourth question is, “How sure can I be that your projections are accurate?”
The greater clarity with which a sales person in consultative selling can answer these questions, the easier it is for the prospect to buy from you. The fuzzier they are in answering these questions, the harder it is for the customer to make a buying decision. If neither the sales person nor the customer can figure out the rate and speed of return, no sale will take place. It is crucial for you to know how to answer these questions to prove that you are a reliable problem solver and consultative selling specialist for their company.
Be a Problem Solver
In consultative selling, you continually point out how the customer can achieve more of his or her business goals as the result of following your advice and recommendations. You position yourself as an unpaid member of the customer’s staff, as a problem solver, helping him or her to increase sales, reduce costs or boost profits. You show that your product or service is actually “free” in that he/she ultimately gets back far more in dollar terms than he or she pays in the first place. This is a vital key to becoming a top sales person.
Become a Top Sales Person
1. Determine the exact rate of return, in terms of time or money saved or gained from using what you sell. Describe your product or service in terms of how it effects the financial situation of your prospective customer. Think in terms of the direct as well as the indirect financial benefits your customer will enjoy as a result of using your product or service.
2. Identify the prospects in your market who can most benefit from the financial benefits your product or service can contribute. Focus more of your selling energies on those prospects who can profit the most rapidly from what you sell.
Thank you for reading this post on how to become a top sales person by using effective consultative selling techniques. Please share any comments or tips below!
Topics included in this article include
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.