Consultative Selling - A Perspective

Consultative selling has been one of the most recent selling concepts that have evolved in the marketing field today. As Organizations have become customer oriented and service oriented, they have begun to realize that trying to sell their products or services to the Customers is not enough anymore.

The salesmen are no longer just agents facilitating sales process. There is a new concept of offering value to the prospective customers in the form of building and offering total solution to the customer of which the product or service becomes an important component.

With this new concept become the accepted norm in every industry, traditional sales training and attitude are no longer relevant. Consultative selling goes beyond traditional selling. It is useful for prospective Sales and Marketing Managers as well as Business managers to understand more about consultative selling and the approach that is required from the sales side.

Unlike traditional salesmen who concentrate on selling products, the consultative salesmen are selling solutions. They keep in mind the interest of their Organization as well as that of the Customer’s business and organization too. In a consultative mode of solution based approach, the product or service is offered as a part of the solution or is incidental to the solution proposed.

Consultative mode of selling is service or solution based. Therefore, the salesman selling the product or service needs to have primarily a service approach to the customers. In many cases, the salesman will need to cover a lot of ground to identify a problem or create a need in the customer’s business and build solution around the same. This calls for skillful approach combined with knowledge of client’s industry and business.

Consultative salesmen have got to be good at people management and posses higher EQ, as he will be required to work with all levels of people from the prospective customer Organization and elicit feedback from them. He has got to be trained in and have the knack of problem and root cause identification by going through the business processes. Ability to listen and ability to initiate response from the people is a basic skill that the consultative salesmen need to necessarily posses.

Consultative salesman is a good resource for the Organization for he becomes the chief source of information and customer feedback that is valuable for product development as well as market intelligence. A good salesman is one who is aware of this responsibility and is able to gather relevant information and channelize the same for internal use.

A savvy salesman with consultative approach acts as the Customer’s representative within his Organization. Such sales and marketing men’s opinions, views and advice always carries a lot of value with their Organizations. In most cases, these salesmen are able to demand and draw support from different quarters within the Organization be it from product development, implementation or production and service teams and facilitate solution development and implementation, thus becoming key drivers of business.

In fact senior marketing and sales personnel with consultative approach find themselves being a part of the management team and contribute to strategies concerning product development as well as short term and long term business plans of the Organizations. The fact that they are in close relationship with customers and can forecast market trends makes their opinions and advice useful and valuable for the Organizations.

We have so far detailed some of the qualities of salesmen who use the consultative approach of selling as well as explained their role in the business. This detailing we hope will enthuse all prospective managers to cultivate the right approach and attitude to building their sales and marketing skills.

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