Sales Skills for Consultative Selling

Consultative selling has gained global acceptance as the most effective sales process and has now been adopted by all industries and organizations from insurance to hotels, from airlines to hospitals including industrial, retain and all other sectors of business.

Organizations have realized the need to be customer centric and build customer relationship to be centric to their own existence in the long run. Growing and retaining product leadership in the market is not easy. It calls for delivering superior value proposition to the customer continuously. This means the Organization has got to strive to keep creating new value propositions and meaning to the customer.

While some Organizations strive to deliver superior value through product innovation by leveraging technology, some do it by excelling in service and customer relationship. Leadership companies however have gone a step ahead by adopting a consultative mode of selling and engaging the customer in a new relationship.

Consultative selling changes the way that you perceive the customer. From a onetime sales transaction point of view, it calls for you to look at your customer as a partner and build a long term relationship. You will need to move away from a product sales perspective to a solution presentation perspective.

Engaging the customer and building a relationship with the customer is a very challenging task for the salesman. However by mastering the selling techniques you can become an ace salesman. Some of the techniques involve using the right body language as well as verbal and non verbal methods of communication and managing interpersonal communication as well.

The way you dress, carry yourself, your overtures, body language, stance, gestures as well as your smile, eye contact etc play a vital role in engaging the customer and making him open up to talk about his problems and pain areas. In the first instance it is important to get the customer to relax and feel secure in your presence. When the customer feels relaxed, he begins to talk about his issues easily and he begins to accept you too.

At the stage while you are listening to your customer, it is important that you practice the right reinforcement techniques and reassure your customer all through the discussions. Through proper reinforcement techniques you are giving the reassurance to your customer that you are listening to him, understanding his problems and are involved with him.

Nodding your head, holding the head and body erect and eyes focused on the speaker, asking meaningful questions, re visiting the problem statements etc are some of the techniques that are rewarding and help in customer engagement. Further, it is important to sound and feel confident of finding a solution to ease or alleviate the customer’s problems. If at any point of time the customer does not see that confidence in you, he is likely to stop further discussions and not waste any more time with you.

During discussions with the customer, it helps to be aware of and use the right verbal expressions in the form of phrases, questions and statements etc. Whenever a significant point or fact expressed by the customer concerning his problem area, it helps to reinforce by saying something like ‘well, this information helps and can be addressed in our solution’. Using phrases such as ‘Oh. Good’, ‘This really helps’, ‘Ok’, ‘Got It’ etc help reinforce a positive feedback to the customer egging him on to further discussion.

One other important technique that ‘Should and Must’ be practiced by every consultative salesman is to play back or recapture the discussion.

Periodically and intermittently it is highly beneficial to gather the discussion points and sum up your understanding of the issues on the table as well as outline some of the key points that are to be attended to from your end. This wrap up needs to be done before moving on to the next discussion.

At the end of the meeting, take a few minutes to collate all the discussions, highlight the issues and problems as well as outline some of the action points that you have agreed to. More importantly make few positive statements giving out your perceptions and ideas of how you think the customer’s problems can be solved. Follow your wrap up with the timelines and schedule for further meeting and action plan. Immediately after going back, it is important to tabulate the minutes of the meeting and circulate to the customer as well as within your Organization to all concerned.

As a consultative salesman, you have got to be able to take charge of every customer interaction as well as be able to manage and direct the customer relationship as well as engagement in the right direction. Learning and practicing these practical sales skills is imperative for your success in your career.

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