You often hear the term consultative selling. But what exactly does that refer to, and how do you become a consultative salesperson?

If that is something that you are curious about, you may want to watch this recording of a recent webinar that we hosted on “How to Become a Consultative Salesperson.”

What is Not Consultative Selling
Before we look at what you can do to be a consultative salesperson, we want to start by looking at what most salespeople do, and that is what we will call “Product Selling.” Here are some characteristics of what a salesperson does that make their way of selling more of a product-selling approach:

  • Focuses on talking about the product
  • “All about me” approach
  • Assumes that every prospect needs the product
  • Tries to sell the product to every prospect
  • Focuses on selling products to prospects
  • Attempts to sell the product at every step of the sales process
  • The salesperson does most of the talking
  • Pitch centers around explanations and descriptions
  • Talks about the product to try to make the prospect interested
  • Focuses on the salesperson’s interests
  • Tries to overcome objections

It is very understandable for a salesperson to use this approach because it is much easier than consultative selling. The reason why this type of selling is easier is that a salesperson will typically have a lot of knowledge about the products that they sell, and it is easy to talk about something you are very knowledgeable about.

Because of this, it is very natural and comfortable for a salesperson to lead by talking about their company and products when interacting with prospects. This is not to say that it is an effective approach and more so that it is easier and more comfortable for the salesperson.

The Consultative Selling Approach
And while a product-selling approach is easier and more comfortable, it is not the optimum way to communicate and sell because most of the characteristics of that method are fairly negative. If you think about all of the characteristics of product selling and then stop to think about the opposite or more positive version of each characteristic, you will come up with a list of what a consultative salesperson does:

  • Focuses on talking about the prospect
  • “All about the prospect” approach
  • Questions if the prospect needs the product
  • Tries to find prospects that are a good fit
  • Focused on providing solutions to prospect’s needs
  • Trying to sell the next step in the sales process
  • Prospect does most or an equal amount of talking
  • Pitch centers around probing sales questions
  • Talks about benefits, problems, ROI, and client examples to make prospects interested
  • Focuses on the prospect’s interests
  • Tries to redirect objections

One of the key steps that make this change in approach work is to ask your prospect good probing sales questions. These will help make conversations less about you and your products and more about your prospect.

But it is not easy to know what questions to ask. We do have a process that you can go through for brainstorming good questions, and it starts with thinking about the benefits your product offers, and the pain points that those benefits help to fix, and then think about questions that you could ask to probe to see if the prospect has those pain points.

We hope this helps you to add more of a consultative selling style to your sales approach.