What is Consultative Selling?
Covid-19 and social distancing has become the new normal. Hence, it is even more significant to focus on a trusted sales approach and consultative selling in B2B sales cycles. We see professional service firms overcoming these difficult times by applying a stringent trusted advisor approach within their four stages of their sales cycles.
How does a typical sales cycle look like?
Nowadays there are two approaches to address prospects and thus gain leads: either an inbound or outbound sales approach. Depending on the number of potential customers, either an outbound (many potential customers / e.g. toothpaste) or inbound (few potential customers / e.g. airplanes) approach is taken.
With an inbound focus the consultative selling approach is essential to convert leads into customers. The following basic principles must be followed when using the approach in order to create the basis for successful lead generation:
- Doing research homework
- Ask questions
- Active listening
- Stay authentic
- Ask for feedback
- Build confidence
How can a consultative selling approach be implemented in your salesforce?
We have worked with many different professional services firms both agencies as well as consulting firms. After many training and coachings, we finally have developed a simple sales clock that helps the salesforce to implement basic trusted advisor skills /the consultative selling approach.
- Phase – Understanding: In this phase it is important that the sales person collects essential information about the potential customer. This includes information about the decision-makers and their personality profiles as well as the company itself. We have listed our favorite research tools here: LinkedIn, Xing, Crystalknows, Apollo.io, Google or even the company’s website.
On the basis of your research list the potential challenges and problems of your lead and map your previous experiences or services. This allows you to get a broader picture of how to support your potential lead.
- Phase – Building trust: Your goal is to expand the collected data through a personal contact with the company. We have found that asking specific questions about e.g. the business health, the competitive environment of the company, current challenges, etc can be a real door opener. Furthermore, we highly recommend you to structure the problems on a meta level. According to our experience, a structured understanding as well as a synthesis of the problems increases trust of the potential customer.
- Phase – Define your value: In this phase, you should clearly evaluate the costs of the problems and especially the long-term added value of your services. According to our research, it is very important to tailor your services to the customer’s problems.
Based on the above mentioned insights, you can now create your tailored offer. A best practice is to proactively follow up after the offer has been placed.
- Phase – Realise Value: After you have successfully sold your services to your customers, it is important to become a trusted advisor for your customer.
How can you become a trusted advisor?
To drive the individual elements of the formula forward, we have summarized our best practices for you below:
- Credibility: Enhance your credibility through accuracy and reliability.
- Reliability: Stand by your words and deliver what you promise.
- Integrity: Strengthen your already gained trust through discretion.
- Customer orientation: Put yourself in the position of your customers in order to better understand their problems / challenges.
Furthermore, the following 5 virtues can help you to build up the trust level between you and your customer:
- Know yourself
- Be a partner
- Don’t fear the risk
- Maintain flexibility and improvise if necessary
And of course, last but not least when it comes to an offer you should have also a good price logic in mind. We wish you the best of luck with the successful conversions of your coming leads.
If you want to get to know more about us or about what we do and what we offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.