A few months ago, we hosted an event focused on consultative sales that attracted over 400 attendees. We were lucky to have speakers with extensive experience in this area from companies like Datadog and Contentsquare leading the presentations.
The conference began with an overview of three main types of selling:
Throughout the conference, the speakers emphasised the importance of understanding these different selling types to position oneself and develop a sales strategy effectively.
Consultative sales focus on understanding the customer's needs and challenges and then offering solutions. It is a customer-centric approach that involves:
One of the principles of consultative sales is empathy. It requires salespeople to put themselves in the customer's shoes and understand their perspective to create a mutually beneficial relationship. This approach is efficient for selling complex or technical products, allowing the salesperson to demonstrate their expertise and provide personalised recommendations.
An essential aspect of consultative sales is the concept of value creation. Rather than simply trying to push a product or service onto the customer, the salesperson aims to create value by offering solutions that solve the customer's problems and help them achieve their goals. This value-based approach helps to build trust and establish long-term relationships with customers.
Consultative sales is a collaborative and personalised approach that involves actively listening to and understanding the customer and offering customised solutions that create value and solve their problems. It is a proactive and empathetic approach that helps build trust and long-term customer relationships.
Product selling is the traditional approach to sales, where the focus is on promoting and selling a specific product or service. The salesperson's goal is to convince the customer to purchase the product by highlighting its features and benefits. This approach is often transactional, emphasising making the sale and moving on to the next customer. (= product led growth & growth hacking)
Solution selling is a more customer-centric approach that involves understanding the customer's needs and challenges and then offering solutions that address those needs. The focus is on solving the customer's problems rather than selling a product. This approach requires the salesperson to deeply understand the customer's industry and its products and services. (= transactional & volume, but need to accompany on sales)
As Frédéric Kingue-Johnson, a master of consultative selling, will tell you, this approach involves delving deep into the inner workings of the customer's business to understand their needs and challenges. Through in-depth consultation, the consultative salesperson works closely with the customer to identify their specific requirements and develop customised solutions that address those needs.
This personalised approach requires the salesperson to be an expert in their field, with a thorough understanding of the products and services available to the customer. It also requires a high degree of empathy, as the salesperson must be able to put themselves in the customer's shoes and understand their perspective.
By taking the time to truly understand the customer's needs and develop customised solutions that address those needs, the consultative salesperson can create value for the customer and establish a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. So, consultative selling is the way to go if you're looking for a sales approach beyond simply making a sale and truly focusing on creating value for the customer.
"Customers don't want to be sold something, and they want to buy something. It's the same for us on a personal level. When we are in a shop, we don't want the salesman to jump on us and give us his sales pitch.”
We want an experience and have discovered the desire to buy.
As a sales professional, it is important to understand the different selling approaches and how to apply them in different situations effectively. Each type of selling has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and understanding the nuances of each approach can help you tailor your sales pitch to meet your customers' needs better.
For example, product selling is best suited for situations where the customer is familiar with the product and needs to be reminded of its features and benefits. Solution selling is more effective when the customer has specific needs or challenges that need to be addressed and requires the salesperson to understand the products and services available to the customer deeply. Consultative selling is a more collaborative approach that involves working with the customer to identify their needs and develop customised solutions that address those needs.
By understanding the different types of selling, you can choose the approach that best fits the situation and increase your chances of success. Whether you're selling a simple product or a complex solution, having a thorough understanding of the different types of selling can help you effectively communicate the value of your offering and build long-term relationships with your customers.
This approach is all about building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with customers. By truly taking the time to understand the customer's needs and challenges and offering customised solutions that address those needs, the consultative salesperson can create value for the customer and establish a relationship based on trust and mutual respect.
This approach is efficient for selling complex or technical products, allowing the salesperson to demonstrate their expertise and provide personalised recommendations. It is also an effective way to build relationships with key accounts and establish a loyal customer base.
In conclusion, the value of consultative sales lies in its ability to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with customers. By taking a customer-centric approach that involves actively listening to and understanding the customer and offering customised solutions that create value and solve their problems, the consultative salesperson can establish trust and a strong foundation for long-term success.
Seven critical skills are essential for success in consultative sales:
These seven skills are essential for success in consultative sales and are the foundation for building solid and long-term relationships with customers. Practice will help you develop and improve your skills.
You can learn what works best by practising different sales techniques and approaches and refining your skills. This can help you become more confident and effective in your sales interactions. The more you practice, the more natural and automatic your sales pitch and techniques will become. This can help you deliver your pitch smoothly and effectively, even under pressure or in high-stress situations.
If you want more information and content on the subject, the replay can be found here: https://app.getcontrast.io/register/soft-selling-morning-la-vente-consultative