Consultative selling skills are massively under-utilised in the majority of failing sales teams.
Typically, over 50% of all sales team will fail to hit their sales targets this year.
This happens for lots of reasons.
Maybe because those sales people don’t know how to sell.
Maybe they’re order takers, chancing along looking to cherry pick the low hanging fruit and be paid cheaply for it!
Or maybe they’re King/Queen of the Discount as they hurtle towards the end of the month.
Maybe they’re not up for doing the right things at the right pace to make the magic happen….
Either way, whatever’s going on, buyers aren’t voting for them with their signed orders!
And, if this is you, with your sales function, then the good news is – you can stop this now…and it’s not a tough fix!
But you need to know WHAT it is that’s causing you to get the results you’re getting!
If you still haven’t worked this out – check out the Morton Kyle Sales Audit for more details on how you can fully audit your sales function and discover how to ramp your sales results in less than 10 days.
Critical Causes of Poor Sales Performance
There are several critical sales fails that are common to sales teams that are under performing, namely: the sales team are consistently…
- Being out sold by weaker competitors due to poor positioning and not fully understanding what the red-hot value proposition is
- Unable to build a super strong business relationship with the buyer – it’s a begging relatgionship rather than a peer to peer exchange
- Having to discount to win business – it’s cheap, looks cheap, smells cheap and repels the right buyers and attracts the wrong ones
- Having prospects go cold half way through the sales process – losing control of the sales process happens way more often than it should if you don’t get some simple relationship management rules in place
- Quoting but not converting – doing everything to get the opportunity to quote then somehow forgetting to ask for the order
- Being perceived as being the same and offering the same solution as everyone else – because they don;t dig deep enough with the prospect to build a water tight, no-brainer business case to soign the order form
No wonder they’re struggling. They are doing a classic hit and run sales pitch…
If you have any of these issues and you’re keen to eliminate them then consultative selling is the answer…
Consultative selling is for you, and your prospects, so you can avoid the hit and run approach to selling.
Research from professional buyers and prospects continually comes back with one overwhelmingly shocking piece of news….
It’s that most buyers just don’t feel they’ve been listened to.
They feel marginalised.
This means that, as a sales rep, you may be sat in front of a willing, qualified, budget-holding, authority who can happily sign off on our order and yet, that won’t happen because:
- Your buyer feels that his needs haven’t been understood
- They feel their needs haven’t been met or that
- You’ve not taken the time to really understands what they critically need…to remove risk from the purchase and demonstrate value
Do you find that shocking?
As sales people, we’re all in the communication business.
The first rule of selling – we listen.
So, why are buyers acting as if we don’t?
What Is Hit and Run Selling Costing You Every Week?
You know the format of a hit and run sales person…
It’s the one where the sales rep talks for 40 minutes, takes a pause to ask what budget you have then flees.
He exits, scampering out the door, heels a-clicking, promising to send a generic proposal followed by a million wasted telephone calls and chaser emails…
Buyer wondering why he’s wasted his time.
Sales rep giddy with an order that will never happen.
Sales Manager with a sales forecast that melts faster than your average 99 cornet in a heatwave….
That’s a lot of waste, every single day, week, month, quarter…wasted opportunity, time, leads, money, growth, market share, competitor advantage…the list goes on.
Psst…if you’re managing a sales team and you REALLY want to avoid the sales forecast that’s on life support – check this out – Simple Sales Forecasts
Anyway, what’s Simple Sales Forecasting got to do with consultative selling?
As a Sales Leader you’d be astounded at how easy sales forecasting with greater accuracy becomes once you start using sales methods that are based on selling how buyers like to be sold to.
But, in the meantime, let’s get back to consultative selling…
The 7 Insights on Consultative Selling
- Your prospects will love you for using it well – immediate win!
- It’s a sure fire way to slow the sales pitch down and speed the sales process up…I know, but it’s true.
- Use consultative selling when you want to really understand your prospect’s position. Especially use it when you want to create value and avoid discounting; and even more so in a highly competitive sales space. Do this because you then make it easy for your prospect to say ‘YES’ because you’ve delivered a sophisticated and highly relevant proposal
- Watch out – if your client wants to buy on price alone (and you need to find this out before you start) then going through a consultative sales structure will just waste your precious time and annoy said cheapskate client (that you don’t want anyway!)
- Your consultative selling power get much stronger the less you say. Definitely less is more until you’ve done your sales diagnosis. After all, prescribing your product/service before you’ve done a thorough analysis and fact find is just stupid. This alone will expose you as hit and run…
- You have to do your research in consultative selling. Whilst the prospect is the expert within HIS business, you better be the expert in his sector. So, get your case studies sorted with evidence. Build your ROI outlines. Polish your proof of concept model for his business and your deliverable schedule. May it so water tight he has to take you seriously.
- Get super comfortable talking about things you might have tried to avoid in the past. Things like risk, value, price, budgets, guarantees, commitment, investment. Find ways to make it easy to talk about working capital, partnerships and return on investment. But beware…whatever you say, you have to prove it!
Do High Performance Sales Teams Use Consultative Selling?
Of course they do!
Buying a new car? Ever wondered why you find yourself sharing the minute details of your daily commute / family holidays / worst journey ever stories with the guy you’ve never met before, all within 5 minutes?
And, why you’re equally happy for him to know your financial situation in great depth?
Well, there you go, now you know, you’ve been through a consultative sales process where you probably felt like the sales person was your long lost twin
But, what about…
Consultative Selling Skills in B2B Sales
Critical if you want to build credibility with your sales prospects.
Vital if you want to gain their cooperation in a peer to peer exchange.
You need their full co-operation if you’re expecting to really build a framework for sales success…you need open, honest, easy free-flow of critical, sensitive and valuable information and that needs to be in both directions.
Fundamentally a game changer if you’re in a competitive market space (because don’t forget this) – you’re selling against other hit and run sales reps, and if you want your buyer to share with you what he’s not sharing with others, then you need to make it worth his while.
Spending time building that trust has handfuls of benefits, most critically:
- Being able to engage with a prospect in a peer to peer space dramatically reduces sales cycles duration.
- It also minimises the need to discounts – because you’re both focusing on value and not price.
- And the existence of competitors diminishes, no-one is selling what you sell, how you sell it. (just think about that for one moment, especially if your market space is crowded with me-too competitors pushing the same gear)
- You save yourself wasted conversations with the inevitable confusion that occurs when your prospect is being delivered different sets of information from different providers.
- Plus you’re saved from having to rationalise your position amongst lesser competitors.
So, why not take the easy route?
Discover how to sell using Consultative Selling for B2B Sales Team.
Helping you get rid of competitors easily, quickly and simply. maximise profits, reduce sales cycle time and giving you a solid sales pipeline and sales forecast.
Selling Using Consultative Sales Skills.
This is a customer-centric approach. It’s not about your product, your service, you, your business…instead it’s all about your customer, what they want, what they need, why and when.
To get another insight check out – It’s Not What You Sell, It’s How You Sell
Consultative selling is customer problem solving at its very best.
- Listen: It’s based on open dialogue.
- Honest sharing: Thriving on honest discussion and freely sharing levels of information that might not typically be seen in other sales models.
- Mutual respect: Until you’ve built a established a mutual level of respect (don’t confuse this with a relationship) where talking about all of the above feels natural, comfortable, and as if you’re on the same side then you need to think twice about even starting to sell.
- Deeper conversations: Expect to talk about risk, exposure, mitigation, guarantees and deliverables /outputs, and clauses for failing to deliver.
- You can say ‘no, that won’t work’: It also means that any any point where it becomes evident that you and your prospect are on a different journey, that you need to share that information openly.
- Don’t waste time: A big part of using consultative selling as a model is that you’re prepared to walk away if there is not a perfect fit for you, your client or your respective businesses.
- Creating fans, building community: It’s the best kind of win-win. A win-win that fosters raving fans and not just orders, invoices, jobs or customers. Although you’ll get bundles of those too.
- Accurate sales forecasts that deliver: That’s why prospect qualification and understanding is key – no more sales falling out the bottom of the sales forecast as ‘lost’!
What’s your Buyers Motivation Here?
You might be asking yourself why your buyer should go though the consultative sales process with you.
You’d be perfectly justified in asking that question.
Here’s how I see it…
Your buyer wants the best solution for his business, the best fit, the best financials, the lowest risk, the greatest reward.
In short, your client wants a solution he’s proud of.
He wants an outcome that makes him feel good about his decision to buy (from you).
You’re prospect needs to happily justify internally and have people acknowledge that he’s a great person to have on the team because he sorted a fix for everyone!
His status is at stake!
Maybe, but that aside.
The Savvy Buyer!
A savvy buyer knows that the more he shares, the better the options available to select from. You just need to convince him that if he takes the time and shares this precious information with you, that you, the sales person, won’t waste his time!
The greater the insight you, the sales rep has, the better the fit in the final purchase, the greater the scope to make the purchase a success and not a regret.
If a buyer can see that there’s a win for him, he’ll work with you.
If he can’t see any value in going through that process that serves you both, then you probably have the wrong buyer in the room, or maybe you’ve not yet been able to earn his trust so further work needs to be done on the engagement.
Or maybe the buyer still sees you as the old hit and run sales rep…
Proceed with caution!
But one final question before we move on – honesty time – are you that hit and run sales person that buyers can spot a mile off and avoid like the plague?
Feedback is Critical in B2B Consultative Selling
Without feedback your attempts at building trust, demonstrating credibility and moving a genuine and value laden conversation on are doomed.
If this is the case you’ve actually become a walking infomercial!
It’s expensive for you, the sales rep, wasting time, leads, revenue opportunities, career advancing months and bonus.
For your buyer – one chance for make a first impression and all that.
(And, infomercials don’t need a salary, company car, bonus scheme or IT kit anymore – videos and website have removed the need for that kind of sales person!)
The key is understanding the prospects style – find out if he’s fully invested in getting a working solution that suits you both or if he just wants the very cheapest price….and for that you need consultative selling skills
If you’re not sure – amp your questions so you take control of the conversation, start setting agendas around critical milestones whether that’s swapping data, site visits, progress reviews.
When he’s hitting each milestone, you can relax a bit. If he’s not…again, proceed with a caution.
Keep it conversationally structured, maintain your position as the facilitator helping the buyer get to the right decision for them, at each stage you’ll have a built in go / no-go criteria to gate you through to the next stage.
Don’t waste time.
The Consultative Selling Skills: Your Solution to Selling in a Competitive World
Ask yourself – last quarter, how many opportunities fell out of your sales pipeline and:
- Went to competitors?
- Withered before they got off the ground?
- You just never heard from after the first meeting/proposal?
How many in total?
Are You Ready To Take Action?
If you’re looking to build a sales methodology that’s proven to work in solving the 5 main issues that decimate sales teams, namely,
- Being out sold by weaker competitors
- Having to discount to win business
- Having prospects go cold half way through the sales process
- Quoting but not converting
- Being perceived as being the same and offering the same solution as everyone else
Then we should talk, because it doesn’t have to be this way.
You can change the rules of the game to suit you.
Start Today: The Sales Improvement Workshop and Consultative Selling Skills
And you can change them starting today by joining us on the Sales Improvement Workshop
This is a great start to your sales improvement journey, and a great base to start your consultative sales journey, it will be a challenge to your existing sales practices and may even cause you to have a major rethink BUT maybe that’s what you need?
Selling has changes such a lot, buyers have changed even more…this two day program will give you the tools and space to rethink how you, your sales function and your organisation may need to change too to meet the evolving needs and not get left behind.
Join us and find out….
Now, back to Consultative Selling
Consultative selling skills position your proposition so you don’t blend in for the wrong reasons, but stand out for the right ones
It is the simplest way to:
- Marginalise your competitors
- Give you a clearly differentiated position in the prospects eyes
- Convince buyers want to work with you
- And pay for the value your bring
- And be happy to refer you
The Sales Improvement Workshop shows you how to do all of this and more.
Consultative selling skills will help any sales team elevate their performance, targeting better quality opportunities and forging stronger value based relationships that convert prospects to raving fans.
If you think this all sounds great BUT you’re not sure what it is you need to boost your sales results then get in contact for a chat, alternatively you can take a look at our Sales Insights Audit or book on to our Special Offer Sales Coaching package to help you decide the next steps
Hi, thanks for visiting….if you’re looking to increase or optimise your sales results, then please book a call to discuss how I can help you (use the links at the end of this box for direct message options) If you need a few more details, then here you go…. I’m an experienced data-driven, analytical sales trainer and sales improvement specialist. Proud to design sales training and sales improvement solutions that stick! Happy to share some insights if you want a quick steer – just book a call, especially if you’re not seeing the sales results you’d like, you’re struggling to know what to do next, or you’d really like to give your competitors something to worry about!
What’s you sales challenge?