Consultative Selling Tips | Digital Marketers
Welcome to first in our three (3) part article series on Consultative Sellings Tips For Digital Marketers. I am Donovan Green the Business Development manager here at Pennistone Media.
So without any further ado lets get started.
CONSULTATIVE SELLING METHOD
In the era of internet marketing and e-commerce business it may be strange to think that face-to-face selling is still an important part of the marketing mix. However, even in the most advanced digital sales platforms there will always be a need for some direct interaction with clients or business peers, which involves a skilled sales approach.
You may, for example, want to merge or link online services with other competitors and this requires a deft sales touch, which in this article will be referred to as consultative selling. There are still very many industries where direct business to business (b2b) and business to consumers (b2c) continues to require the personal touch.
Consultative Selling Process | Digital Marketers
It is difficult to sell complex products or services strictly through a website.
In the consultative sales approach, the sales persons position themselves in the role of interviewer or consultant. Other sales methods, which either use high pressure and intimidation or apply low pressure and manipulation, are ineffective in selling to today’s internet savvy customers. Using the consultative method in selling leads salespeople to increase their sales, profits and earnings.
Using consultative techniques not only increases sales, it increases the sales person’s confidence.
This process teaches:
- Strategies for cold calls improvements,
- how to neutralize negative behavior,
- Dealing with stalling,
- And objections.
The process increases the sales person’s skill level because it focuses on a practical approach:
- To gain rapport,
- Identify needs,
- fulfill needs,
- show tangible and intangible
- remove obstacles to a buy,
- and close.
1. Gain Rapport
The customer wants an interaction with a sales person that fulfills the first impressions from a website or other promotional material. You must be perceived as a professional. The first impression is a lasting one. You must have confidence in your own ability and knowledge.
You must be believable. Therefore, you must be well equipped with knowledge of your customer’s industry and understand the different products and services provided by their company.
The more you know about the customer’s organization and their decision-making process, the better you will be able to plan and develop your consultative sales strategy.
Do your research before setting the initial appointment. With so much information available on the internet there is no reason to come unprepared. Check out their website, and look at those of their competitors.
The purchasing people must recognize that you have a solid organization with a number of highly technically qualified individuals who stand behind your company’s products and services, deliver on commitments, and are willing to ensure that the customer’s expectations are consistently met.
Make your company sound like it is one of the best in the business.
Aggressively focus on your customer and listen to what they tell you. Put them at ease and make them feel important. Act as if you are comfortable in their presence and they will mirror you. Compliment them, smile to break the tension.
Get them talking about themselves, their business, their experiences, and their family. Hold eye contact and get a sense of their feelings. Express your empathy whenever possible, identify with their feelings, perceptions, and emotions.
2. Interview Effectively
The interview, helps your customers identify, clarify, and verbalize their wants or needs, thereby revealing to you the conditions upon which they will buy your products, services or do business with you.
The interview is a key element in consultative selling.
When it is done correctly, your customers is primed to self sell. Only a face-to-face interview with probing and insightful questions will give you a thorough understanding of what the customer really wants.
The successful interview accomplishes these objectives in the following manner: It gets your customers to open up, verbalize and clarify their needs or wants, how much they intend to pay, and the value they want to receive.
Ask open-ended questions that draw the customers in.
Begin your sentences with “who” “what,” “why,” “when,” or “how.” The objective is to get the customers responding, opening up, and talking about their wants or needs. It is important to move beyond the features and benefits and focus on the customer’s end-result.
Listen to and paraphrase all points—write them down. When you paraphrase, you let them know that you are listening to them, that you understand them, and that what they said was important.
Identify dominant wants and get the customer’s agreement. As you move through the interview, you will want to weigh each response and determine, which are the dominant wants or needs.
— Pennistone (@pennistoneMedia) January 7, 2017
Listen carefully to what they say as you ask “need-development questions.” Your customers will have more confidence and trust in you, and you will stand out in their minds as someone who is interested and cares more about them than the sale.
What does the customer really want?
You can be certain that It’s more than just price. The need-development questions help to identify specific wants and needs of your prospective customer. Delivery time, billing accuracy, after sales service, order completeness, zero rejects, program management, very high quality expectations, and product knowledge are examples of what might be important.
What does the customer want that we can give them better than our competitor?
It is important to know your company’s and your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses.
Determine the dominant buying motives, and assure the customer that you want to help them ensure that their buying decisions are based on what is best for them. The reasons people buy things or do business usually fall into four categories.
- Peace of Mind
At the end of the interview, summarize your findings and assure the customer of the company’s desire to not only meet but to exceed their expectations.
Customers will generally sense your genuine interest in them. Let the customer know that your intention is to ensure that they receive the most efficient service every time.
Sometimes you may not be able to provide all the information that the customer requires in one meeting.
Determine when you are to get back to the decision-maker with more specifics, then set an appointment before you leave. It is much better to do it at the meeting than to wait and play telephone or e-mail tag later. Even if you are to submit a bid, submit the bid personally to the customer if possible.
Consultative Selling Process | Digital Marketers
Follow up by always sending an e-mail or thank you note for their time and courtesy. If during your interview you determined something about their personal hobby or special interest, include some information about it with your follow up.
This will put a lasting impression in your customer’s mind. It also strengthens and builds relationships.
Document your personal customer contact record with all of the information about the customer. When you are ready to return, you can review this contact record and remind yourself of things you may have forgotten. If it is an established customer, update your records because some data may have changed since your last entry.
Join us next when we discuss all the important Integrity Selling Steps.
Here is a complete list of all of our blog post.